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Welcome address

Speech by Andrea Enria, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the ECB, at the Supervision Innovators Conference

Frankfurt, 30 November 2020

I cannot see you but I know that almost 1000 experts from both hemispheres gathered together today and I am happy to welcome all of you at our first Conference for supervision innovators.

Digital technology has been changing our world and our lives. I remember that some social experiments were conducted in the 1990s, whereby people had to try and survive for several days cooped up in an empty apartment, equipped with only a computer and an internet connection. Such experiments appeared very advanced at the time, but now – as the pandemic has clearly demonstrated – we can easily purchase all kinds of goods and services and manage our finances without leaving our homes at all.

Within European banking supervision, we want to go one step further than simply accepting the new digital world we are living in. We want to use the digital transformation for banking supervision. The term “supervisory technologies” or suptech for short appeared only a couple of years ago but various authorities are already working independently to introduce tools such as machine learning or advanced data analytics into their daily processes. Within European banking supervision, we decided to think big and to start designing suptech that could be successfully used by the supervisors worldwide. And what better way to gain new insights than by bringing together innovative thinkers who look at the same issue from multiple perspectives? This is exactly what we are setting out to do today.

This conference embodies innovation not only in its title but also in its execution.

Initially the organisers of the conference – Daniela Schackis, Magí Clavé and their team members - planned a physical event in the ECB premises. Then, due to the COVID-19 crisis it was postponed and eventually moved online. It was disappointing because we all know that one of the key objectives of conferences is networking and networking works best when you can meet each other in person.

However, the organisation team was keen to offer you a virtual conference that is as close as possible to the real thing. For this purpose we have chosen an innovative conference platform with excellent networking opportunities as it makes it easy for you to find and approach other participants with matching interests.

We will also hold simultaneous roundtables on topics such as the comparative advantages of internal and outsourced development of IT tools or new sources for supervisory data. The roundtables will focus on your comments, questions and free exchange of ideas. We hope that, besides offering you plenty of new ideas, our conference will give you the opportunity to get to know more people in your field and deepen existing contacts, despite the prevailing travel restrictions and social distancing measures.

Let me say a few words on today’s speakers and topics for discussion.

Our first keynote speaker Susanne Klatten is a founder of UnternehmerTUM, a company which, since 2002, has supported entrepreneurial initiatives in technology and innovation and has helped bring forth successful products that benefit people all over Europe. One of UnternehmerTUM’s key areas is artificial intelligence and its application in business. So I am sure that we will be enriched by the business insights and experience that Susanne will share with us today.

Our second keynote speaker, ECB Supervisory Board member Pentti Hakkarainen, who is in charge of the Single Supervisory Mechanism digital agenda, will share our vision of the digital future of European banking supervision and provide an update on the technologies that are currently being prepared for implementation across European banking supervision.

Staff can only make effective and efficient use of technologies if they understand and trust the new tools. We have to keep pace with the times and be ready to change our mindset and working habits. Digital culture is an important precondition for technological transformation, as we will hear during our first panel discussion, chaired by Daniela Schackis.

This afternoon we will continue to discuss the advantages, but also the risks, of artificial intelligence during the panel chaired by Magí Clavé.

One of the most practical parts of today’s conference is the presentation of the supervisory technologies that are already being used by our colleagues in France, England and Brazil. During the case studies we will also look at the ECB’s work in this area.

As you know, there is a robust Chinese wall between the ECB’s monetary policy and banking supervision functions in respect of tasks and decision-making. But there is no barrier in respect of making the ECB digitally strong and operationally more efficient. Here we join forces in our efforts and work as a single team. In line with this approach, ECB Chief Services Officer Michael Diemer will close our conference and give a wider perspective on innovation.

Let me conclude by saying that innovation is not an individual sport. I strongly believe in the collective mind and in the creative power of collaboration. In fact, interdisciplinary teams are a precondition for successful innovation, and hence also for suptech. I am very grateful to all the speakers, presenters and facilitators from other authorities, the corporate and academic worlds for their readiness to contribute to this conference. In this increasingly interconnected global environment, we cannot stay in our silo. We only have a chance to create something big if we share our achievements and the lessons we have learned, and inspire each other.

I wish you an interesting conference and every success in your efforts to digitally transform the world.

Thank you!


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