NEWS 2012

December 17: Conference OEE on Savings & Social Protection

At the invitation of Jacques de Larosière, President of the OEE, Elsa Fornero, Italy's Minister of Labour and Welfare, took part in a conference organised by the OEE entitled "Savings & Social Protection".
The conference included the presentation and discussion of a study conducted for the OEE by a research team from the University of Turin, lead by Elsa Fornero, Italy's Minister of Labour and Welfare, and Mariacristina Rossi. This study, entitled "Is housing an Impediment to Consumption Smoothing?", analyses the place and the limits of housing as a patrimonial asset in terms of preserving the standard of life of the elderly. The advantages of reversed mortgages in reducing the number of people falling below the poverty line are presented.

The discussion was opened by Christian Gollier, President of the OEE's Scientific Committee.

Elsa Fornero gave a presentation on the role of savings in social protection. The conference was closed by Jacques de Larosière, President of the OEE.

For more information: visit Conferences

December 7: Solvency 2 conference at the FFSA

The FFSA organised the fourth European Solvency 2 Conference, Friday 7th of December 2012 from 9h30 am until 5 pm. Jacques de Lariosière, President of the OEE, intervened during the first round table on the theme : “Financing of the economy: what role for insurance in the future?”

For more information: Read the intervention of Jacques de Larosière, program of the conference

November: The 100 Words of Asset Management

Jean-François Boulier (Aviva Investors France) and Carlos Pardo (AFG) have co-written for “Que sais-je?” an article defining the basics, techniques and innovations characteristic of the asset manager.

October 27: Trends in European saving

Didier Davydoff participated to the radio show “trends in European savings” hosted by Marie-Christine Vallet on France-Info.

For more information: Listen to the programme

October 26: IODS press conference

INSEAD OEE Data Services organised a press conference on the 26th of October 2012 at 11am to announce the launch of the IODS patrimonial index. The purpose of this index is to measure the performance of French households’ financial savings.

For more information: Read the press release, IODS website

October 17: "Af2i Prospective Club"

Jacques de Lariosière, President of the OEE, gave an interview on the 17th of October 2012 on the long term financing of the economy and its regulatory obstacles, within the framework of the « Af2i prospective club ».

For more information: view the interview

October 11: Interview of Didier Davydoff

Didier Davydoff was interviewed by Easy Bourse on the fiscal measures adopted by the government.

For more information: read the interview

September 13: Conference organised by the Austrian financial authority on the theme of financial regulation.

Didier Davydoff, director of the OEE, presented a communication supervision at the conference « Changes in regulation: from quantitative to qualitative supervision - experience and challenges » organised by the Austrian Financial Authority, FMA Finanzmarktaufsich, on the 13th of September 2012 in Vienna. The communication picked up on various themes recently developed by the president of the OEE, Jacques de Laroisière. In particular, he insisted on the perverse effects of an overreaction by authorities on prudential regulation and budgetary policy. He advises not to precipitate the Basel 3 calendar and to examine liquidity regulation locally to prevent a strain on the financing of the economy. Concerning the budget, the 3% ceiling on public deficit should apply to structural deficit, when the effective growth is structurally below a country’s potential growth, in order to avoid a spiral of recession and aggravating public deficit.

For more information: Read Didier Davydoff’s intervention, website of the Austrian Financial Authority

June 25: Pierre Papier Conference

A conference organised by Pierre Papier took place on June 25, 2012, at the Centre Etoile Saint-Honoré.

This conference focused on the following forms of intermediated property investments: REIT, SIIC, OPCI & real estate UCITS.

Didier Davydoff, Director of the OEE, took part in the plenary session with Xavier Lépine, President of La Française AM and Nicolas Simon, CEO of Amundi Immobilier, that focused on how listed and unlisted real estate financial products are shaped by saving and investment trends.

For more information: the programme, event website (French only)

June 21: Amundi Asset Management Joins the OEE as a Founding Member

During OEE's General Meeting on Thursday 21st June at the AFG, asset management firm Amundi Asset Management became a founding member of the OEE.

June 21: OEE General Meeting

The OEE's General Meeting took place on Thursday 21 June at 11:00am in the offices of the Association Française de la Gestion Financière, 31 rue de Miromesnil, Paris VIII.

For more information, visit the member's section of the site for the meeting dossier plus documents on the OEE's current research

June: Publication of the CEPS report "Rethinking Asset Management: From Financial Stability to Investor Protection and Economic Growth"

CEPS published a report entitled "Rethinking Asset Management: From Financial Stability to Investor Protection and Economic Growth". This report is the result of a work group overseen by Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, ex- President of EFAMA (European Fund and Asset Management Association), that included Mirzha de Manbuel Aramendia and Karel Lanoo. Two representatives of AFG (Association Française de la Gestion), Stéphane Paniez and Stéphane Janin, were also worked within this group.

The authors cover the major issues concerning the regulation of asset management. The final chapter, "Nourishing the Real Economy: Today and Tomorrow" includes a study conducted by the Observatoire de l'Epargne Européenne on "The Importance of Asset Management to the European Economy » (2010).

For more information, see the report, OEE's study

June 6: OCDE Conference: "Are individuals saving adequately for retirement?"

A conference entitled "Are individuals saving adequately for retirement? Evidence from administrative and household datasets" was organized on June 6, 2012, by a joint working group of the OCDE, IOPS (International Organisation of Pension Supervisors) and research group Netspar, who focus on pensions, aging and retirement. Following an opening speech given by Elsa Fornero, Italy's Minister of Labour and Social Security, representatives of the OCDE presented the Retirement Savings Adequacy project, which aims to simulate expected pensions for people currently aged between 35 and 54 years and those between 55 and 64 years. Initial results concerning Chile, the Netherlands, Germany and the US were presented. Didier Davydoff presented the work carried out in France by INSEE and the OEE.

For more information: documents on current research

April 19: Presentation given by Didier Davydoff at the AFGAP

Didier Davydoff gave a presentation at a breakfast held at the Association de la Gestion Actif Passif (AFGAP, the Asset Liability Management Association) on April 19, 2012. The presentation compared the number of savings transfers made by savers from life insurance companies to banks.

For more information, read the presentation (French only)

April 4: Cnis: The "Financial System and Financing of the Economy" Commission

A Cnis meeting, presided by Jean-Paul Pollin, was held on April 4, 2012. The meeting's agenda covered the four following themes: banking activity according to business lines, local finance, credit for SMEs (initial quarterly results) and household wealth.

A presentation of the initial results of the 5th edition of INSEE's 2009-2010 household wealth survey was given. For this edition, more than 15,000 households took part. Notable modifications include the inclusion of Reunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique for the first time. Three additional modules of questions were also added and given to a certain number of participants. These modules covered consumption habits, risk aversion, immaterial wealth and social and symbolic aspects of wealth. Finally, the sample was examined in finer detail in order to improve understanding of the top end of wealth distribution, allowing for more accurate estimations.

For more information, visit INSEE's website (French only)

During the meeting, the Eurosystem's national central banks' "Household Finance and Consumption Survey" was also highlighted. The objective of this project is two-fold; to collect information on European household wealth and to encourage and develop research. It was inspired by the lack of data on household wealth behaviours. The aim is to obtain individual data by using data available from these national surveys, which have already been conducted in France, Italy and Spain. It is necessary to establish a level of consistency among countries with regard to the methodology used, the variables, the frequency of the survey (every three years) and the eventual use of a panel. Initial results will be released in the first quarter of 2013.

For more information, visit the European Central Banks website

April: The AMF publishes its first "Letter from the Observatory of Savings"

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) published its first "Letter from the Observatory of Savings", which includes the tariffs of financial products. At the end of 2011, the average cost of buying and selling Euronext Paris shares on the internet from large networks amounted to, on average, 7.40 € for an order of 1,000 €, 25 € for an order of 5,000 € and 47 € for an order of 10,000 €. Custody fees for Euronext Paris listed share portfolios were on average 77 € per year for a portfolio of 10,000 € with 10 different shares and 145 € for a portfolio of 50,000 €. The Total Expense Ratio (TER) of French UCITS was, on average, 1.64% of the outstanding amount in 2010, with a maximum of 2.39% for European shares funds and a minimum of 0.30% for monetary funds.

For more information, download the AMF letter (French only)

April 4: Conference on Long-Term Savings organized by the FFSA and the ANIA

The Fédération Française des Sociétés d'Assurances (FFSA) and Italy's Associazione Nazionale fra le Imprese Assicuratrici held a conference on long-term savings. Bernard Spitz was able to show, using statistical analyses provided by IODS, that the main characteristics of savings in Italy and France were similar, except for the prevalence of Italy's household bond portfolios. In France, bonds are more usually held in life insurance contracts.

During the conference, Gilles Benoist, CEO of CNP Assurances, expressed a need for a modification to the IFRS accounting rules. He gave the example of "strategic participation" that would allow insurance companies to invest in equity without excessive costs in the Solvency 2 directive. Current accounting regulations do not, however, allow this.

For more information: See the presentation, visit the FFSA website (French only)

March 28: Household Savings Rates the Highest Since 1983

INSEE published detailed results of 2011 fourth quarter national accounts. Despite a slight drop during the fourth quarter, household savings rates rose in 2011. At 16.8% of disposable income, rates rose by 0.7 in comparison to those seen in 2010, meaning the highest rates seen since 1983. The decrease at the year-end was explained by a rise in household consumption levels that was higher than that seen in levels of disposable income.

For more information, read INSEE's press release

March 27: The Evolution of French Household Financial Investments in 2011

The Banque de France and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel conducted a study on the evolution of investments made by French households in 2011. In 2011, French households reconsidered their financial investments, with preferences that were defined by availability. Precautionary saving increased, such as investments into savings accounts, which was to the detriment of life insurance investments and UCITS products.

For more information, read the study (French only)

March 27: Conference: Savings in France in the Face of Crises

The 21st parliamentary meeting on savings and tax, presided by Philippe Marini, President of the French Senate Finance Commission, focused on savings in France in the face of crises. This annual meeting gives its participants - who include figures from the French parliament, banking and insurance, in addition to savings specialists - the chance to exchange and confront ideas on savings, with each year focusing on a different theme. This year, two roundtables were organised, with one covering the behaviour of French savers and the other examining the evolution of savings in an economic, financial and fiscal context.

All of the speakers highlighted the importance of long-term savings. Life insurance, which remains the number one saving choice in France with a value of 1.362 billion euros at the end of 2011, was recognised for its potential in financing the economy. Speakers did, however, criticise the lack of fiscal and regulatory stability of life insurance contracts. The new prudential regulations of Basel III and Solvency II, which indirectly alter household saving decisions, were also discussed.

For more information, see the programme and list of speakers (French only)

March 27: Conference on High Frequency Trading

The EIFR (European Institute of Financial Regulation) organised a conference on ‘Market Imperfections and the Profitability of High Frequency Trading: Issues and Limits'. Frédéric ABERGEL, Director of the laboratory of Mathematics Applied to Systems at the Ecole Centrale Paris, presented research currently being conducted on the profitability of high-frequency trading activity (HFT). Laurent Grillet-Auber, Senior Economist at the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, provided an overview of high-frequency trading strategies and their impact on markets. HFT strategies generally involve reduced capital commitments because positions close on a daily basis. They are based on automated order flows and are supported by a heavy infrastructure and represent over 50% of equity transactions in the United States. The strategies employed fall into two categories: market making and arbitrage. The overall effect of individual strategies can create risk. Quote stuffing has a misleading effect on the market. The intermediary and the supervisory authority must therefore implement appropriate risk controls, which is, however, difficult in the absence of a mechanism that reliably records over-the-counter transactions. These negative factors raise the question of the optimality of huge investments in trading infrastructure brought about by HFT.

For more information, read Laurent Grillet-Aubert's presentation (French only)

March 14: OEE Conference: "What place for structured products in private savings?"

The availability of structured products to European savers has diversified considerably in the last 15 years and the engineering of certain products is highly sophisticated.

How can we accommodate the complexity, protection, transparency and pricing of these products? Philippe Bertrand and Jean-Luc Prigent conducted a study for the OEE that evaluated the price of products offered to savers in relation to the guarantees made available.

Research by Claire Célérier and Boris Vallée sheds light on the "industrial economy" of structured products. Topics covered included whether complexity and innovation cater more to the exposure and protection of savers or to their behaviour, or whether they are result of intermediaries responding to the sophistication of some of their clientele.

Pierre Bollon then opened the discussion by raising questions concerning the role of intermediaries, including the contributions made by financial experts, exposure to risks (and protecting clients from them) and the adequacy of information and/or advice.

At the close of the conference, Jacques de Larosière used the example of structured products to speak about the place of banks today, which is currently under scrutiny in the US following the Volcker rule, the UK by the Vickers report and in Europe. He believes it is necessary to re-evaluate which operations banks can and should carry out, including those for private accounts, so that the client is put first.

February 23: "A New Phase for Life Insurance" (AGEFI HEBDO)

An article in AGEFI HEBDO examined the increase in outflows from life insurance products in recent months and partly explained this shift as being the result of the reorientation of savings toward products offered by banks. In response to questions posed by the weekly, Didier Davydoff, Director of the OEE, attributed this shift to the phenomenon of financial decumulation that currently exists in Europe.

For more information, read the article (French only)

February 16: The End of the Dictatorship of Markets

Jacques de Larosière, President of the OEE, opened the conference ‘The End of the Dictatorship of Markets?' on February 16, 2012, which was organised by NYSE Euronext and Cercle des Economistes. His address described the symptoms of excessive inflation in the financial domain and attributed them to monetary, budgetary and regulatory causes plus those relating to the functioning of markets. He proposed a number of solutions that would "put the tigers back in their cage".

For more information, read Jacques de Larosière’s address (French only)

January 21: European Savings Trends on France Info

Didier Davydoff, Director of the Observatoire de l'Epargne Européenne, was invited by Marie-Christine Vallet to discuss recent European savings trends. Didier Davydoff highlighted the difference in saving behaviour seen in Germany, where unemployment is low and therefore allows more spending, with that of other European countries, where levels of unemployment are much higher, which in turn encourages precautionary saving.

For more information:Listen to the programme (French only)

January 10: La Banque Postale Publishes its Annual Savings Barometer

A telephone survey was conducted by TNS Sofres on a representative sample of the French population, with participants ranging from 18 to 80 years of age, for La Banque Postale and newspaper Les Echos. 76% of those who took part said that if they had money to invest, they would prefer to invest it in savings accounts, while 48% said they would invest in life insurance. Only 12% were willing to invest in shares, with 60% of those questioned believing such an investment to be too risky, notably a larger percentage than that seen at the end of 2008. The perception of risk with regard to bonds was also considerably higher than previously seen, with 44% of participants believing them to be too risky, and only a mere 9% willing to invest in them.

The survey also revealed that those saving for retirement preferred to invest in property (44%) as opposed to life insurance (37%).

For more information: click here (French only)