Around 150 members gathered in Frankfurt on 28 October 2021 for the first physical Verband Deutscher Treasurer (VDT e.V.) event for almost two years. They met to discuss and exchange ideas, with an exciting agenda and outstanding speakers, during the 24th Annual General Meeting of the VDT.
In the first speech, Burkhard Balz, member of the Deutsche Bundesbank’s Executive Board, spoke on the future of payment transactions: digital, instant and cross-border. Regarding innovation and change, he admitted he would like Germany and its economy to incorporate “a little more optimism, courage and visionary determination”.
The relevance of cash continues to decline, he stated, at a time when people are increasingly seeing the benefits of contactless payments, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this context, Balz raised the question as to whether the further digitisation of payment transactions could also function via “instant payments as the new normal”? He went on to discuss the “new competition in payment transactions” and concluded his speech with a report on the considerations and design options for a digital euro.
Dr Heike Winter, Director Digitization in Payment Transactions, Deutsche Bundesbank, Ramin Ghafari, Head of Financial Technologies, Siemens Treasury, and Dr Raoul Herborg, Business Lead Digital Currencies, Giesecke + Devrient advance52 GmbH, participated in a panel discussion on the digital euro, which Regina Deisemann, VDT e.V. board member, moderated.
The panelists exchanged ideas on the status of introducing a digital euro, a possible design, and offered interesting insights into the projects and considerations of other international central banks. The motivation to address the topic from a corporate point of view, even at such an early phase of the development of a central bank digital currency, was part of the discussion.
Peer Steinbrück, Senior Adviser, ING Bank, and former Federal Minister of Finance, focused on the topic ‘The postponed crisis: How do we return to normalcy in the financial market?’ in an entertaining dialogue with Bastian Frien, founder of the FINANCE Think Tank.
Steinbrück commented on the current interest rate environment and the expansionary monetary policy of the central banks, as well as the possible effects of this, from the perspective of his experience as Federal Minister of Finance during the 2008 financial crisis. He also spoke about the challenges and tasks facing a new federal government and the disappointment with the “norm-setting elites”. It was agreed that the way back to ‘normal’ will be long and fraught with pitfalls for both businesses and consumers.
Despite the pandemic situation still influencing the community in 2021, the VDT departments were very active. The centralisation of payment transactions, changes in the reference interest rates, eSignatures, foreign exchange (FX) control, banking market and strategy, and trade credit insurance, were just a few of the wide range of topics discussed over the past year. In addition, events such as the VDT Summerschool Treasury® and the Young Professional Stammtisch (Roundtable) were established. In 2021, the association also published documents on liquidity control, interest rate risk management, eSignatures, know your customer (KYC) and pension de-risking in Germany.
The Treasury Day 2021 closed with a preview of events scheduled for 2022, and the VDT’s 25th anniversary, which will be celebrated on 27 October 2022.
Click here to watch the event highlights on the VDT Youtube channel!
By the German Association of Corporate Treasurers