This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the opening of FIA's Brussels office. With long-established offices in Washington D.C., Singapore and London, the Brussels office continues FIA's hands-on approach to shaping regulatory affairs across jurisdictions and ensuring members' voices are heard in the many stages of policy and regulation formation.
Along with its advocacy efforts, the Brussels office provides an educational function. As the global voice for the listed and cleared derivatives markets, FIA helps educate and inform policymakers on the crucial issues that affect derivatives markets at both the regional and international levels.
Corinna Schempp, FIA’s vice president of European policy and regulation
"We bring expert practitioners to policy makers here in Brussels to explain, for example, the complex features of the clearing space, and this is something that is appreciated by regulators and members alike," said Corinna Schempp, FIA's vice president of European policy and regulation. "As an international trade association, we also bring a global perspective to Brussels."
Schempp, who joined FIA five years ago and is a dual-qualified lawyer, was tasked with setting up the Brussels office and providing feedback and expertise on relevant industry issues to European legislators. MarketVoice caught up with Schempp to discuss the benefits of being in Brussels, Brexit and her key priorities for the remainder of the year.
MarketVoice: How has being on the ground in Brussels changed your engagement with policy makers and members?
Corinna Schempp: FIA has always had well-established relationships with policy makers in Europe, but the practicalities of working near the European Parliament, Council representatives and the European Commission means engagement with key people in the areas of advocacy that we are doing has intensified tremendously. We are located on Square de Meeûs and I can walk out of the office and bump into an FIA member or a policy maker who might say "Can we talk about this?" So having an office in the European quarter of Brussels offers a big advantage. I feel that both members and policy makers appreciate FIA having a presence here. As an international trade association, policy makers appreciate the global views that we bring to Brussels.
MV: What are the key priorities/issues that you are working on?
CS: The ESMA consultations on EMIR 2.2 about systemically important CCPs and comparable compliance is an important topic that affects our third country CCP members, future third country CCP members and our clearing member firms in the event of Brexit. We recently responded to the consultations, highlighting our concerns and making a series of recommendations. On the events side, we are organising a forum where we will take a little bit of Brussels to Frankfurt on 24 September. The forum will be educational, with speakers including regulators, lawyers and industry specialists discussing the impact of new rules on the listed and cleared derivatives business in Europe. A similar event will be held in Brussels later in the year. We are also preparing for the new political landscape in Brussels following the recent parliamentary elections, and a new Commission on 1 November, which will require a lot of engagement and meetings with policy makers.
MV: Do the changes following the elections mean you have new relationships to build?
CS: Yes, the European Parliament's composition has changed dramatically with many new faces and soon we will have a new Commission. Some key contacts will remain of course, but others will be moving into areas that do not necessarily have much to do with FIA advocacy work. This will mean building new relationships and educating about global derivatives markets and other post-trade issues. FIA will be putting a lot of focus on this for the remainder of the year. I look forward to building and developing these relationships.
MV: What are the biggest items on your agenda for the rest of the year?
CS: There are post-trade legislative files including CCP recovery and resolution that we are focusing our advocacy efforts on. Brexit, of course, will be a key theme, and related to that is equivalence and access of EU27 members to UK markets. Brexit is a huge topic in Brussels and runs through every legislative file relative to our industry. FIA runs a Brussels working group, which represents a wide range of our membership. Most of the members of the working group hold regulatory affairs or government relations roles for their companies. The idea behind this group is to provide opportunities for the industry to meet policy makers and we arrange these meetings several times a year.
MV: How well represented is the derivatives industry in Brussels?
CS: I think it is well represented. FIA is not the only organization that has placed greater focus on Brussels — our members have been opening offices and relocating and hiring staff in Brussels and across Europe largely because of Brexit. With the UK falling away as the financial centre of the EU and the ambitions under the capital markets union to build a financial centre in Europe, there is a sense that firms must have a permanent presence here, which is also the expectation of policy makers.
MV: On a personal note, what do you love about living in Brussels?
CS: There is something quite beautiful about Brussels and it is this combination of 28 member states sitting in one town. When you walk across Place du Luxembourg in the summer — where a big crowd of people gather for an Aperol Spritz — you can hear a murmur of many different European languages, and it really is a beautiful sound.