NFU Blog

Financial sectors for sustainable growth

The NFU Conference 2015 is over. It feels like I went to the middle of nowhere and came back more inspired than I have been for a long time.

In a beautiful lakeside setting outside Oslo, this year’s NFU Conference focused on how to achieve sustainable growth. A broad range of stakeholders participated in the Conference, and what strikes me is how much we have in common. Throughout the two days, it was clear that we share a common aim – that the financial sectors should stand strong for the future and be able to contribute to all stakeholders: the society, companies, consumers and employees.

It became clear that one of the most important aims going forward is that the rules governing financial services should be proportional and support finance that is close to the customer and to local economies and communities. We have seen a wave of new financial regulation for both banks and insurance companies creating better stability in the markets. Much has been needed and good, but some of it risks creating less financial sector diversity, and administrative burden for employees. In the face of these challenges and of the digitalisation and rapid change of the financial landscape, the participants agreed on the need to take the basic values of traditional finance – trust, consumer focus, stability and local connection – into the future of finance.

The methods to realize this aim might be different for different actors. But what is important is that we have a common agenda – and that NFU has acted to forward the discussions and influence them according to what we think. We had a big room full of dedicated trade union representatives, who met with speakers and participants from the financial industry, the NGO world, the European institutions and the research community. That dedication is what drives NFU forward as we try to find new ways of influencing the development in the Nordic financial sectors. One important step is to position ourselves as a credible speaking partner, showing that we are many and that we know what we talk about. Another is to build our common agenda together through mutual discussions and competence building. I saw both these steps being taken in Norway last week. Thanks to all of you who contributed to and participated in the Conference to fulfil this!

As finance employees, we need stable and proportional rules for banks and insurance companies. We share this aim with the financial industry – and we have knowledge and perspectives that both the employers and the legislators need in order to give financial regulation the right balance for the future. Let’s make them remember that!

Arvid Ahrin, General Secretary


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