Johan Lindberg (International Bankers Club): ringing together the leading executives of the Luxembourg financial centre for over 50 years
In celebration of the International Bankers Club's (IBC) 50th anniversary, Johan Lindberg, president of IBC, shares that while it has predated the UCITs fund regime and the expansion of the banking sector, the IBC still remains a key forum for senior members of the financial sector to share ideas and discuss the future of Luxembourg's financial industry as a whole.
When was the IBC founded?
The International Bankers Club Luxembourg was founded in 1972 at the initiative of Constant Franssens, Managing Director of Kredietbank Luxembourg, who would later become its honorary president. The IBC was initially established under the aegis of the Association of Banks and Bankers Luxembourg (“ABBL”), in 1939, as a centre of contact for banking industry leaders and other members of the executive management of both domestic and foreign banks and financial institutions in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, offering a platform for open dialogue and presentation of thought leadership. In 2016, the IBC became independent of the ABBL, reflecting its emergence as a distinct community. Today, the IBC has more than 200 corporate members and 30 individual members. Its aim, then and now, has been to contribute to the industry’s development and share ideas on issues of interest and importance to member institutions. Over the years, it has regularly organised meetings, get-togethers and other events focusing on professional, cultural and social themes, and has developed a programme of yearly traditional and regular activities and events.
“We bring together institutions across the financial sector as a whole, reflecting its development over the years”
How are the needs of your members evolving?
The IBC members are an important community that provide the drive for its dedicated Board members to set out its yearly programme. They expect the club to continue to offer high quality speakers covering interesting and relevant industry topics and to continue being a forum where individuals can network and share ideas with equals in a relaxed setting. Our yearly program of events aims to cover this as well as numerous private events of more social character. Today, we are a significant community that continues to evolve along with the financial industry. IBC members are all senior professionals that hold or have held senior executive positions in Luxembourg. We bring together institutions across the financial sector as a whole, reflecting its development over the years, and now encompass not only banks but audit and advisory firms, the asset manager and fund service providers, IT companies and fintech firms, while individual members include academics and independent directors. Despite the constant change we see in the industry, the IBC takes its cue from Luxembourg's national motto, Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn. The organisation, too, wants to stay what it is in the sense of staying true to its roots and purpose set down by Franssens and the other pioneers of Luxembourg as a financial centre half a century ago.
How do you see the association evolving in the coming years?
We intend to continue to evolve as a distinct specialised community to respond to the ongoing growth of Luxembourg’s financial industry as it faces up to the challenges of the 21st century, such as the new international focus on transparency to the central role of the sector in helping to lead the economies of Europe and the world toward a sustainable future. In between, like everyone else, we have adapted to the global Covid-19 pandemic, during which the financial sector has pioneered innovative working patterns that are likely to continue to shape the coming years. Luxembourg’s financial community, local and global, remains in the forefront of innovation in terms of financial products, regulation and international interaction, and we expect the IBC to continue to play an important role at the industry’s heart for many more years to come. We take our cue from the distinguished anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”