Luxembourg's Ministry of Finance had confirmed that, after attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington DC (USA), Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, travelled to New York for the first financial mission since the onset of the health crisis in March 2020.
The United States is one of the most important partners for Luxembourg's financial centre. Luxembourg plays a leading role for players in the US financial sector in Europe, particularly in the areas of asset management, wealth management and, since Brexit, non-life insurance. American banks and asset managers are among the largest employers in the financial sector and account for over 20% of assets under management in the fund industry in Luxembourg.
During this financial mission, Minister Gramegna met the leaders of several leading American financial institutions, to discuss their strategic priorities in Europe and Luxembourg, and more particularly their views on the digitisation of financial services and the financing of the climate transition. In this context, the Minister notably mentioned the importance of strengthening transatlantic exchanges in the field of sustainable finance, with a view to making ESG standards and definitions interoperable and thus facilitating investments in sustainable projects and supporting the transition to carbon neutrality. Three major players have also agreed with the Minister to send teams to Luxembourg to jointly explore the potential of sustainable finance in order to ensure greater participation of the financial sector in achieving the objectives of the Paris agreement.
Minister Gramegna also met with Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, to discuss future trends in the world of payments, including the emergence of central bank digital currencies and crypto-assets. PayPal, leader and pioneer in electronic payment, has been present in Luxembourg for nearly 15 years, with its European headquarters.
The Minister also had a meeting with Ligia Noronha, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and new head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in New York, as well as Eric Usher, head of the "Finance Initiative From UNEP (UNEP FI), in preparation for COP26 in Glasgow. Luxembourg and UNEP are collaborating on several projects, particularly in the field of sustainable finance. In particular, UNEP supported Luxembourg in the development of the national roadmap for sustainable finance, which resulted in the establishment of the Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative (LSFI). During this meeting, Minister Gramegna underlined the importance of "blended finance" mechanisms in order to mobilise private investments to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Luxembourg has been a pioneer in this area, notably with the establishment of a joint climate finance platform with the European Investment Bank.
Minister Gramegna also took advantage of this mission in New York to visit the Talkwalker premises and talk to Tod Nielsen, the group's new CEO. Founded in 2009, this innovative company and a world leader, active in the analysis of consumer data, is a remarkable example of a Luxembourg start-up conquering the American market.
Minister Gramegna commented “American financial institutions have a strong footprint in Luxembourg, which has grown even stronger since Brexit. I welcome the success of this first financial mission, which testifies to the gradual normalisation of economic life on both sides of the Atlantic. These physical meetings in New York made it possible to further strengthen relations between the Luxembourg financial centre and the main American players. It emerges from our discussions that sustainable finance and digitisation, two priorities for resolving the crisis which have been accelerated by the pandemic, constitute for American entities a vector with high potential for the development of their activities in Luxembourg and through the Europe. In addition, our discussions highlighted the need for closer cooperation between the United States and Europe to align approaches to sustainable investment. As a leading international financial centre and a recognised pioneer in sustainable finance, Luxembourg will be able to play a key role in this context.”