Event Overview

Now in its 19th consecutive year, the European Financial Services Conference is widely considered as the major event in the Brussels calendar on financial services, annually attracting some 400 senior bankers and financial policymakers to discuss the most pertinent issues affecting European and global financial markets. 

Hosted by Barclays, Generali and Kreab, this year’s conference is planned to take place on 15 June 2021, primarily as a virtual event with a limited live element in Brussels if circumstances allow – more information on this will follow shortly. 

As we continue on the pathway out of the crisis, the conference will explore the vision for the next generation European financial system.

Key topics to be discussed:

Building back better – Opportunities and challenges ahead

Mainstreaming ESG

CBDC – The future of the digital euro

Europe and the emerging new global partnerships

financial services infographic
financial services infographic
financial services infographic


Event countdown


09:00 - 09:05
Welcome from the conference partners
09:05 - 09:45
Keynote Speeches
09:45 - 10:35
Session 1: Building Back Better – Views from the Top

Over a year has passed since the pandemic swept over us in several waves causing unprecedented economic and social upheaval. As the vaccination programmes gradually allow for the re-opening of our economies and societies, this session will look at how leaders of large global financial institutions assess the success of the economic measures taken to address the crisis and what they see as the resulting policy priorities. As we continue on the pathway out of the crisis, it will discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead as we adapt to changes in working environments and the investment climate, and the vital role that the financial sector can play in building a sustainable recovery.


– What is the current state of the EU economy in comparison to other regions?
– What should be the key priorities for financial institutions and EU economic and
financial policy over the next 12 months and beyond?
– What role should digitalisation and sustainability play in the recovery?
– What are the lessons for European economic sovereignty and how do we balance them with our global interests and instincts?

10:35 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:00
Session 2: ESG – Is Sustainable Investing moving into the mainstream?

After years on the sidelines, there are signs that environmental, social and governance investing (ESG) has begun to go mainstream, with record capital inflows in 2020. This move from sectoral, tailored sustainability legislations to broader, holistic ESG initiatives is shown in the transition of initiatives to capture more firms (NFRD, Green Bonds, Taxonomy, etc.) as well as a move to look beyond limited environmental focus. As we move into the recovery phase, focus will shift to holistic ESG – including looking at social issues, human rights, and biodiversity. This is also apparent in the connected sustainable corporate governance workstream, which will affect financial institutions and corporates. The International Platform for Sustainable Finance has begun working in global coordination of broad ESG workstreams including disclosure, reporting, labels and standards, and the use of taxonomies. This session will examine the evolution of ESG and the long-term path ahead.


-How has the EU’s vision of sustainable finance evolved from the 2018 Action Plan to now as we anticipate the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy (shift to real economy)?
-How has the COVID pandemic, both from a financial markets perspective and societal view, influenced the EU sustainable finance agenda? Of course, sustainability is actively being ingrained in the recovery, but has the focus shifted or new priorities emerged for action?
-The pandemic highlighted a large uptick in issuance of green and social bonds, how will the EU upcoming framework enhance this growing area of the market?
-What challenges and opportunities lie in the expansion of focus from just environmental sustainability to holistic ESG? Can the EU address social and governance issues the same way environmental issues were tackled (e.g. through disclosures/taxonomy)?
-What should corporates be aware of in these new horizontal initiatives? How will they be impacted?
-How will outstanding questions of access, availability and reliability of ESG data be addressed (e.g. NFRD review, ESG data single access point, etc)?
-How will the sustainable corporate governance and sustainable finance workstreams build on one another?
-Looking at a global level, the International Platform has gained a large number of Members and is expected to continue growing. With ongoing work on the international use of disclosures and taxonomies, how can the EU contribute to working to harmonise international standards and ESG initiatives?
-What’s next for global sustainability in the market?

12:00 - 12:20
12:20 - 13:30
Session 3: Central Bank Digital Currencies – the future of the digital euro

In June 2021, the ECB will decide whether to proceed with the creation and distribution of a digital euro. Preparatory work is already underway and the underlying assumption is that the project will proceed. By this time, stakeholders will have had a chance to submit feedback through a consultation and the ECB would make further details about the development and rollout of the CBDC available. Sweden is one of the most advanced countries in the world in building and trialling a CBDC, and is currently testing its electronic Krona. There is particular concern from the banking industry, as well as risks to financial stability, in the impact a digital euro would have on bank deposits (if there is a sudden shift from bank deposits to digital euro wallets creating stability risks for example).


-Do EU citizens want a digital euro? How will this help them?
-What are the risks and benefits involved in issuing a digital euro?
-With several other nations sufficiently advanced in the development of their own CBDC (e.g. Sweden, China), is the euro-area already behind in this area? If so, how will we catch up?
-How are concerns related to financial stability being analysed and addressed?
-What are existing financial markets participants, for example banks, role in the digital euro ecosystem?
-Following a decision on whether to proceed with the digital euro, what is the anticipated process and timeline for issuance?
-There are several concerns related to risk and stability, how does the infrastructure and design of the digital euro impact this?

13:30 - 15:00
Session 4: Europe and the emerging new global partnerships – forging a new future

A new future needs to be forged between the EU and its primary international partners in financial services provision, in particular the UK and the US. The UK’s departure from the EU has important implications for the EU financial system, most notably for capital markets. As the new Biden administration beds in, there is an opportunity to jointly address shared economic issues of concern. This session will give serious thought to optimally shaping the future political and regulatory relationships between our respective financial sectors. It will look at how the UK, a major global financial centre now outside the EU, may become less integrated with EU markets and firms over time and what the impacts of this are for globally operating firms. It will also focus on how the EU, UK and US can manage the process of developing differing regulatory regimes, even if the overarching objectives are likely to remain aligned, whilst maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness and attractiveness of financial markets at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.

Select date to see events.

First confirmed speakers:

Minister Sircelj

Andrej Šircelj

Minister for Finance, Slovenia

Francesco Ceccato

Francesco Ceccato

CEO, Barclays Europe

Gabriele Galateri di Genola

Gabriele Galateri di Genola

Group Chairman, Generali

Anne Richards

Anne Richards

CEO, Fidelity International

John Berrigan

John Berrigan

Director General, DG FISMA, European Commission

Javier Perez Tasso

Javier Pérez-Tasso


Katharine Braddick

Katharine Braddick

Director General for Financial Services, HM Treasury, UK

Stephanie Butcher

Stephanie Butcher

Chief Investment Officer and European Equity Fund Manager, Invesco

Further speakers to be announced shortly...

Organisers & Partners

Event Host
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs 140,000 people.Visit website: www.barclays.com 
Event Host
Generali is one of the largest global insurance and asset management providers. Established in 1831, it is present in 50 countries in the world with total premium income of more than € 69.7 billion in 2019. With nearly 72,000 employees serving 61 million customers, the Group has a leading position in Europe and a growing presence in Asia and Latin America. Generali’s ambition is to be the life-time partner to its customers, offering innovative and personalised solutions thanks to an unmatched distribution network.
Event Host
Kreab is a world leading communications consultancy. We provide independent and strategic advice on high-stakes financial, corporate and public affairs communications.With operations in 25 countries, and over 350 highly experienced consultants, we offer communications counsel to the highest levels within companies, organizations, governments and governmental agencies.Visit website: www.kreab.com
Event Organiser
Forum Europe events are where people and policy meet. We have been organising policy conferences in Brussels and around Europe since 1989. Our events provide unique insights from the people behind the policy and those seeking to influence it. Our expert team develop conference programmes with impact and provide first-class event logistics. Forum Europe is more than an event management and conference production specialist. With offices in Brussels and the UK, we operate across Europe and globally. Through our international arm, Forum Global, our events cover five continents, and engage policymakers and industry at national and regional levels around the world. Our mission is to drill down to the issues that matter, creating policy events that are ahead of the curve, facilitating frank and open debate on some of the most pressing issues facing Europe and the world today.Visit website: https://www.forum-europe.com

If you are interested in becoming involved in this event and finding out more about the sponsorship opportunities available, please contact Charlene Bowditch: charlene.bowditch@forum-europe.com / +44 (0) 2920 783 079

Overview of 2020 Conference


For more information on any aspect of this event, please contact Charlene Bowditch using any of the details below.

Charlene Bowditch
Director | Head of Event Management
Forum Europe


Tel: +44 (0) 2920 783 079