The Nordic model in a time of change?
The Nordic model is still essential, and it stands strong in the face of disruption and change. That was one of the key take-aways from the NFU Conference “The Nordic model disrupted: A seismic shift or a natural development?” that took place in Reykjavik 20-21 June 2017. The conference gathered high-level participants from all the seven NFU member unions as-well as speakers from academia, consumers and industry.
Digitalisation, regulation and changing business models are some factors that are challenging the Nordic financial sector today. The transformation puts strain on both companies, regulators, employees and unions. But while change can be scary, it also gives us an opportunity to work together to shape it. The prominent speakers of the conference did all agree that the Nordic countries, thanks to their long-term focused corporate governance models and stable labour market conditions, are well-prepared to face these challenges.
Personal financial advice is also to remain in the future, even though automated financial advice and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly sophisticated. The panel on the future of financial advice emphasized that they see a future that is equally local and digital when it comes to financial advice. Hanne Shapiro, Head of Innovation at the Danish Technological Institute, highlighted in her keynote that digital tools and solutions, like Regtech, can benefit employees in the financial sector if used to ease the administrative burden from regulatory requirements. And how AI and algorithms will be regulated, designed and used is a development that unions can and should be a part of.
On the regulation side, the sectors are working hard to comply with all the new EU rules. Together with Alexandra Horváthóva, another of the conferences’ keynote speakers, NFU is researching the effects of the new regulation on the Nordic model. Alexandra presented the outline of the project and explained the potential disruptive effects of EU regulation on the Nordic level playing field and the corporate governance models as we know them.
Disrupted or not, it became clear that the unique Nordic labour markets stand strong for the future. As Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said during his inspiring key note address; “The Nordic model is a winning concept in a global context”.
Strong presence and engagement from the participants made the conference a success. The conference will be back in two years’ time, but until then we will of course continue to promote the Nordic model and the interests of the employees in the Nordic financial sectors.