There are many elements of life that have been profoundly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Some we will learn to live with, others will revert to how they were, and some we will embrace for the better. What’s certain is that we must adapt our stance in a world that is constantly changing.
One pleasant surprise of the pandemic has been the shortage of business bankruptcies, despite recurrent lockdowns that have drained their incomes. But is this rosy picture a cruel illusion to be removed as governments stop propping up small companies? Banks will soon find out if government life support has simply delayed the inevitable.
Mazars’ study on sustainable finance surveying 37 banks in North and South America, Asia and Europe indicates that progress is being made, especially in the UK and France, toward reaching ESG targets. Although improvement is still required in specific areas, banks and various agencies are joining forces to achieve sustainability goals.
Today, cloud computing is not only critical to the future success of the European financial sector. It also sits at the heart of the continent’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. However, due to concerns relating to regional independence and operational resilience, the European Commission (EC) is wary of financial institutions central to Europe’s success becoming too dependent on individual cloud providers.
Crises bring out the best in humans, and that has certainly been evident during the COVID-crisis, especially with banking, which has risen to the challenge more successfully than many expected. Sustaining the momentum post-pandemic will be critical, as economies struggle to recover. To remain robust and profitable, banks will need to pay particular attention to key areas such as transforming costs and reimagining customer relations, aided by talent and innovations.
Today’s professional accountant is expected to do more than juggle numbers; he or she increasingly participates in achieving sustainability objectives, which aim to ensure that a company’s resources are used to create not only monetary value but sustainable value today and into the future. To achieve this requires concerted multidisciplinary effort toward enhanced corporate reporting that addresses financial and sustainability concerns, guided by international accounting standards that incorporate sustainable value creation.
With just a week left before the December 31, 2020, transition-period deadline, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) finally agreed to new post-Brexit trading arrangements and, in doing so, avoided a potentially disastrous no-deal scenario. But conspicuously absent from the trade deal are rules governing the financial-services sector.
When human beings congregate in one space, troubles often abound. Even so, urbanization continues to surge, and information and communications technology plays a crucial role in improving living standards through the creation of smart cities. Thriving smart cities are greener, more efficient and much cleaner than their traditional urban counterparts, and they accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of allowing increasing numbers of human beings to occupy confined geographical spaces successfully.
Capital markets play an essential role in improving the health of the economies within which they operate but never more so than during a period of turmoil. In Europe, policymakers continue to strive to achieve their goals of supporting businesses within a low-carbon agenda, and the Capital Markets Union aims to bring unity among the continent’s capital markets to realize these objectives. Are Europe’s capital markets progressing toward this end?
Investment is no longer only about making a positive financial return. Investment options are growing, as many investors look to balanced portfolios that bring not only monetary benefits but environmental and social gains for the causes about which they care. As opportunities to invest in assets following ESG criteria multiply, the three main factors that make this investment opportunity rewarding for all include geography, the blue economy and private-sector participation.