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Rooted in Excellence – A Symposium on Structured Products: SPi Europe

Discovering a botanical garden nestled in the heart of Lisbon is like stumbling upon a hidden gem, a sanctuary of natural beauty amid the bustling cityscape. For me, this place holds a special significance—it’s where I shared my first kiss with my wife. While the enchanting surroundings and delectable cuisine could easily steal the spotlight, there was another highlight of the day that captured our attention.

We introduced WSD AI, Melody, a ground-breaking innovation that stole the show with her voice, face, and commanding presence as the event’s chair. Watching Mathias Strasser demonstrate Melody’s capabilities—pricing structured products, generating documents, translating content into multiple languages, and even deriving new data from existing products—was truly remarkable. Yet, amidst all her impressive feats, there was one thing Melody refused to do, reminding us that human expertise and intervention are irreplaceable.

Our event boasted one of the most esteemed panels in recent years, featuring global leaders from renowned institutions such as BNP, HSBC, BBVA, and Barclays. Their insights and discussions on the industry’s landscape, against the backdrop of a promising year with favourable market conditions, left us hanging on their every word. However, it was the discourse on client expectations that resonated the most. With the rapid digitization and automation of financial services, manufacturers face the challenge of meeting evolving client demands while navigating legacy systems and intensifying competition.

Amidst conversations over pasteis de nata, the topic shifted to Value for Money (VfM) and the impending changes in regulatory landscape. As discussions around the inducement ban and impending European Parliament elections unfolded, it became evident that manufacturers must adapt to stringent requirements and demonstrate VfM across their product offerings.

The day continued with insightful discussions on product innovation and market dynamics, moderated by Nilesh Jethwa and featuring diverse perspectives from providers across Europe. It became clear that reinvention is imperative, with Nevia Gregorini‘s unconventional approach of becoming a YouTuber to engage a new generation of investors serving as a poignant example.

The unveiling of the first SPi EMEA market review shed light on the industry’s growth trajectory, with European markets experiencing a notable 32% expansion in 2023. As Davide Silvestrini highlighted the reduced risk on Euro Stoxx 50 structured products hedging, a sense of optimism permeated the room. Yet, amidst the celebration of industry successes, a sobering reminder echoed—while we may have favourable winds at our backs, the landscape can shift unpredictably.

In retrospect, our event served as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the structured products industry. As we bid farewell to a memorable evening, we carry with us a renewed sense of purpose and vigilance, mindful of the ever-changing currents that shape our industry’s future.

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