Featured in the April 2020 edition of the EUROFI magazine, ELTI President Laurent Zylberberg expresses his views on the long-term vision of investment and the role of National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs).
The Slovak Investment Holding (SIH) joined the European Association of Long-Term Investors (ELTI) at the beginning of April 2020. Together with National Promotional Banks and Financial Institutions (NPBIs) from all over Europe, ELTI now represents 31 members from 21 European Member States as well as Turkey. ELTI members have a combined balance sheet total/assets under management, of more than €1.7 trillion. They are key partners for their national governments and the European Institutions as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group.
The current public health crisis has come at a time when persistently low interest rates, large amounts of available liquidity, nationalist retrenchment and the challenges posed by climate change require major efforts to transform our ecosystems.
The first steps to be taken are those urgently needed to address immediate needs: as a result, all efforts must be made to ensure that funding continues to flow within the economy. However, this should not distract attention from the ongoing need to invest for the long term. If our economy were a car, then it has broken down and we need to repair and probably overhaul it to prevent the same problem happening again, as well as refuelling it, which is the role of finance. However, it will all be for nothing if we stop building roads for it to drive on!
The European economy needs support in the current crisis situation. There is a chance to soften the impact of the economic downturn but companies require liquidity immediately and the financing of investments should be continued simultaneously.
The European Union and the Member States have an efficient network of promotional banks and institutions. Today, they have been asked to show their mettle. Promotional instruments should address the needs at national, regional and local levels. National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs) are best prepared to provide the necessary support on the ground. The first instruments are already working.
Amsterdam - The official launch of Invest-NL took place on 16 January 2020 in Amsterdam in the presence of Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes. As a private company led by Wouter Bos, Invest-NL will provide financing to companies that will make the Netherlands more sustainable and more innovative. With a share capital of 1.7 billion euros, Invest-NL’s focus at launch is on the energy transition and on innovative, fast-growing companies (scale-ups).
In 2018 ELTI members committed a financing volume of more than €140 bn of which more than €50 bn were invested in more than 300.000 sustainable projects all over Europe. The share of sustainable investments of our members is more than 30% of all commitments. This result is a strong incentive to remain frontrunner in sustainable finance in the years to come. Following the commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, decided under COP21 in Paris, carbon-neutral projects need to be implemented and financed today. The role of Long-Term Investors has become more important today than ever since infrastructure investment projects have an average lifetime of around 30 years whilst projects which require long planning phases – and financed today, might run longer than 2050.
ELTI Secretary-General, Helmut von Glasenapp participated in the European Parliament Seminar on “InvestEU & the Economy of Well-being: making the most of local know-how”, on Wednesday 4 December 2019. Hosted by Mr. Alfred Sant, Member of the European Parliament and the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure investment and co-organised together with European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and the Lifelong Learning Platform, this joint event brought together the main representatives of the social services, health, education, social and affordable housing and ageing sectors at European level in order to discuss concrete plans for ensuring there is sufficient support for the development and financing of quality local social projects via the InvestEU programme.
As part of the B-DAY conference on boosting connectivity and investments, held on Tuesday 3 December 2019, ELTI was invited to speak on the panel 'Tomorrow's Connected Europe'. Secretary-General Helmut von Glasenapp presented the cooperation of NPBIs, the European Commission and the EIB in the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund. He highlighted the challenges and the need of funds for digital infrastructure in rural areas and regions, noting how digital skills and investment have to be fostered.
On 13 November 2019, MEPs Dominique Riquet (France) and Simona Bonafé (Italy) organised a public presentation of the new "Long-term and sustainable investment" parliamentary intergroup. This event was part of the renewal of the European Parliament's Intergroup for long-term investment for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term, spearheaded by the European Long-Term Investors Association (ELTI).