L-R: Lou Kiesch, Partner and Regulatory Consulting Leader at Deloitte Luxembourg; Jacques Elvinger, Partner at Elvinger Hoss Prussen; Credit: @nelsoncoelhofilms

Deloitte Luxembourg and Elvinger Hoss Prussen, in collaboration with Financial Times Live, hosted the eighth edition of the annual Cross-Border Distribution Conference where regulators, leading asset managers and financial experts gathered at the European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL) on Tuesday, 4 February 2020.

The European Commission’s priorities for fund regulation and shifting gears of asset management for the next decade were the central themes that brought together around 600 senior fund professionals at this year’s Cross-Border Distribution Conference. The conference offered insights from an array of international high-end speakers, with James Randolph Evans, US Ambassador to Luxembourg, delivering this year's keynote address.

Lou Kiesch, Partner and Regulatory Consulting Leader at Deloitte Luxembourg and co-host of the conference stated: "The asset management industry is facing many challenges, one of which is the increasing need to develop profitable growth, particularly as competition intensifies. Asset managers need to adapt their value propositions and business models in order to remain vibrant and valuable".

Jacques Elvinger, Partner at Elvinger Hoss Prussen and co-host of the conference, added: "The active discussions and exchange of ideas between all stakeholders of the asset management industry, including rule makers, regulators and market participants is key to the ongoing shaping of the industry. A key objective must be to innovate, to modernise the product offering and to adapt to cultural evolution and investors' demands. Any initiatives in this context will necessarily trigger new regulatory requirements". 

Looking to the future, the Cross-Border Conference addressed evolving regulatory requirements, economic uncertainties, changing competitive dynamics and a greater move towards sustainable investment and finance- just some of the major developments impacting the outlook for fund management. The conference focused on the ways in which leaders in the industry can prepare and adapt, ensuring readiness to harness opportunity. Attendees were invited to reflect upon major trends likely to dominate the next decade of asset management and asset servicing, with questions being raised around asset managers’ wants and expectations from regulators and how this can support and continue to build the market. Finally, speakers and the audience members contemplated how products and investment strategies will develop further to meet investor expectations and to what extent the pace of technological innovation will change in the coming years.

Of particular interest was the European Commission’s priorities for fund regulation in the coming decade. Questions raised included: Is cooperation between international regulatory and supervisory authorities likely to continue? Another pressing matter circulating among professionals in the field is what kind of outlook can be expected for the US, especially in light of the approaching presidential election. 

The conference also drew attention to the role that policy makers have to play in embedding sustainability in investing. Should markets be trusted to self-regulate? Who is leading the charge – investors, regulators or asset managers – and to what end?

Finally, a year on from the 2019 conference where discussion was dominated by questions concerning Brexit and the implications that awaited the field, the topic was revisited. Just days after the formal departure of the UK from the European Union on Friday 31 January 2020, professionals are preoccupied with queries with what awaits them during the 11-month transition period and for the future. In this session, an expert panel explored what the latest developments mean for investment, investors and the wider finance industry. 

The full-day event was also an opportunity to present publications offering insights on the future: the Fund Distribution Industry Survey and the Casey Quirk report.