Last November we announced the launch of our SGG Crossroads initiative; a new annual one-of-a-kind event for the finance industry offering a platform for exchange, networking and insight of the highest standard. The first Crossroads conference – titled ‘Can the finance industry contribute to a better society?’ – was held in Luxembourg on 26 June 2018.
The objective of the inaugural event, which was co-sponsored by Deloitte, Carne, ING and Baker & McKenzie, was to create a thought-provoking platform where members of the industry could reflect on how the financial sector could create a better environment for future generations.
In his opening remarks, Serge Krancenblum, CEO of SGG Group, commented:
“I wanted to show the positive contribution of the finance industry to society in general and also inspire finance professionals with the outstanding initiatives of our guest speakers. There is a new generation of investors and finance professionals who not only aim at maximizing profits but also want to have a positive impact on society.”
Serge highlighted that, at SGG, our objective is to create a better society and a sustainable business; two concepts that go hand in hand. Leading by example, he announced that he is pledging 10% of his future exit revenue to charitable causes.
Guest speaker Sir Bob Geldof explained how he was able to leverage his ‘rock star’ status for philanthropic ends and presented the genesis behind the Live Aid and Band Aid campaigns. “One person spending one dollar is charity. A million-people spending one dollar becomes political, and the needle starts to tremble. With a further push, it brings about change,” he stated. He encouraged the public to consider investments in Africa, showcasing the results of his private equity fund, 8 Miles, in bringing about positive impacts in the communities in which the fund invests.
Gina Miller, founder and head of SCM Direct, a disruptive asset manager, called for much deeper transparency in the financial industry and an inclusive capitalism. “Divided capitalism has not created societies where people thrive. Our duty is to deliver a virtuous circle of value creation, customer confidence and self-fulfilment,” she stated.
Other speakers at the event included: Nev Hyman, who presented Nev House, a sustainable social enterprise using recycled plastic to create low cost homes; Roelfien Kuijpers, Member of the Executive Committee at DWS NY, who made the case for increasing the interest of investors in responsible investments; and Myriam Vander Elst, Vice President and Head of Europe at Epic Foundation, who underlined the changing nature of philanthropy and the need for transparency in this sector.
In addition, Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard Finance, presented impact finance and how populations in the developing world can benefit greatly from access to financial services; Roger Hartmann, Board Member at Sqope SA, emphasised the importance of compliance and risk for the financial sector; while Itzik Amiel, CEO of The Switch, reminded the audience of the importance of human interaction in creating a better society.