02 Sep 2015

New Chairman at a pivotal time for Europe's capital markets

Simon Lewis, AFME Chief Executive, welcomes BNY Mellon's Michael Cole-Fontayn as its new Chairman.

At AFME’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), held 8 September, the Board elected BNY Mellon's Michael Cole-Fontayn as its new Chairman, succeeding Frédéric Janbon of BNP Paribas. Michael, who is Chairman of EMEA at BNY Mellon, has been a highly engaged member of the Board since 2011, with an acute understanding of the relationship between flourishing capital markets and economic growth. I look forward to working with him to drive this agenda further.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Frédéric Janbon, AFME’s outgoing Chairman, who has led the Board with distinction over the last two years. During Frédéric's Chairmanship AFME has become an even stronger voice in both European and international capital markets.

I am also pleased to welcome Guy America, Co-Head of Global Credit, Securitized Products & Public Finance at J.P. Morgan, as a Vice Chairman.

Towards a Capital Markets Union

As our recently published annual review shows, while there is much work still to be done on issues such as MiFID, Bank Structural Reform, and Growth in the new year, it is clear that representing the industry’s position on the European Commission's ambitious Capital Markets Union (CMU) project will be an important challenge for AFME in 2016.

The Commission has set CMU as a flagship project for its five-year term. A European-wide union will stimulate cross-border investment, diversify funding opportunities, and reduce risks faced by market participants, an initiative that AFME whole-heartedly supports

The next milestone for the project is the publication in the next few weeks of the Commission’s action plan on CMU. We will be holding a conference this December in Brussels, together with Euromoney and ICMA, to discuss the plan and the next steps for CMU. Commissioner Hill is confirmed as the keynote speaker and the event should provide the ideal forum for the industry to respond in detail to the Commission's action plan.

Supporting Europe's SMEs

October will see AFME release the first pan-European guide for SME financing as part of our work supporting the European Growth agenda. SMEs are at the heart of Europe's economy and a key driver for economic growth, innovation and employment, yet two thirds of EU SME finance comes from bank loans. This leaves tremendous scope for small businesses to tap additional funding sources for loans, bonds and equities.

The Guide explains the main types of SME finance available, namely loans provided by banks and non-banks, bonds and equity finance, and introduces emerging finance sources such as venture capital, private equity, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and crowd funding websites.

By understanding the diverse funding sources available to them, European SMEs will be better able to grow and create employment. In this respect, I hope the Guide will help facilitate decision-making on critical funding choices when it is released next month.