Inge De Wolf (Swiss Life): The Luxembourg regulatory framework as a global reference
Inge De Wolf, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Swiss Life Global Solutions, says: "Beyond the technical nature of our business, we must support our clients in creating their legacy and protecting their future and that of their family. As part of a team of 160 people in Luxembourg, she leads the Legal and Compliance team and monitors compliance with the regulations of the Grand Duchy, Liechtenstein and Singapore.”
Can you present your company in a few words?
Swiss Life Global Solutions covers two lines of local and global life insurance business: "Private Wealth" (individual insurance for (U)HNW clients) and "Employee Benefits" (group insurance). Swiss Life Global Solutions has established its office in Luxembourg as a centre of excellence for the governance of these business activities in our three jurisdictions Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Singapore. We also recently acquired elipsLife Liechtenstein (and its branches) from Swiss Re Group to strengthen our positioning, particularly in the group insurance sector. Swiss Life has been present in Luxembourg since 1985 and serves multinationals, private banking clients, wealthy families and entrepreneurs. Our main ambition is to be close to them to offer them freedom of choice by creating solutions that facilitate their financial independence in terms of retirement and health, estate planning and transmission to future generations.
"Our clients expect their insurer to be there for them when they need us."
How are your clients' needs changing, and how do you adapt to them?
Generally speaking, their needs remain the same: the companies and individuals who call on our expertise want to build up savings on the one hand, and on the other hand to protect themselves against possible life accidents with the certainty that their company or their family is protected in all circumstances. This notion of self-determination is at the heart of our model and we do everything we can to offer them solutions that provide choice and peace of mind. That said, the current economic climate makes our business even more valuable: employers are looking to enhance their attractiveness by offering benefits to their employees, whether it is additional savings or disability cover. This applies to young employees, but also to more experienced people, to help them cope with the ever-increasing cost of living. Most importantly however, is to demonstrate that we are always listening and constantly working to improve the quality of our services, because our customers in 2023 will expect their insurer to go beyond the role of mathematician to accompany them in difficult times.
What risks and opportunities do you see?
I think the conditions are right for Luxembourg to strengthen its position as a regional employer of choice. The local business ecosystem has proven that it is able to efficiently manage the ongoing regulatory changes, opening up opportunities both for players like Swiss Life and for talents looking to build a career in the financial sector. AML, ESG, SFDR: there is still a lot to be done in this area in the coming years. It seems that the regulator wants to make up for 50 years of regulation at once! Our company is investing a lot in digitalisation in order to offer our customers quick access to their accounts and to make it easier for them to manage their transactions.
That said, the country should not be complacent. The service and cost efficiency that our customers demand from us is likely to be challenged by indexation, inflation, regulatory costs and the increasing demands of employees of all ages. The labour market is becoming increasingly competitive. Luxembourg will have to find agreements with neighbouring countries to maintain its attractiveness, particularly in terms of remote working or extra-legal benefits. However, our company’s priority remains to find a balance between the complex regulatory framework, the technical aspects of our business and the personal needs of our clients in order to offer them freedom of choice and financial security.