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Eberhard Sautter, Vorstandsvorsitzender Hanse Merkur und Vorstandsmitglied im Finanzplatz Hamburg © M.Kuhn

"Digitalisation set to change face of financial market"

Eberhard Sautter, CEO of Hanse Merkur, board member of Finanzplatz Hamburg on digitalisation and fintechs

Hamburg News: You count among the drivers of digitalisation in Hamburg, and want to make the benefits of data comprehensible to the customer, and as insurers, believe that a 3D printer will soon be able to produce dental prostheses cost-effectively. All in all, digitalisation will dampen costs. What does digitalisation mean for Hamburg as a financial and insurance location in particular?

Eberhard Sautter: Digitalisation will change the face of the financial centre. Many of today’s activities can be mapped digitally more efficiently. For this reason, the qualification profiles for employees and the employee structure will change towards IT and IT-related services. In addition, there will be demographic change, which will require a significant expansion of assistance services related to care, health and old-age provision. We will see new business models and collaborations between established and new providers. Fintechs and insurance techs will become more professional with increasing age and growth, while traditional players will become more agile and digital. Co-operation between the old and new worlds will increase noticeably.

Hamburg News: Finanzplatz Hamburg e.V. and die Hamburg Invest want to get more international fintech companies interested in Hamburg, in particular, with the new location agency. Could you briefly explain how this idea came about?

Eberhard Sautter: Hamburg has already proven to be an attractive location with branches of international digital giants such as Google and Facebook. Finanzplatz Hamburg e.V. has been involved in digitalisation for several years now and for about two years, we have been focusing on strengthening the fintech location as part of our initiative. We want a lively, innovative fintech location for which the success stories mentioned should also be repeated with international fintechs. The more diverse the location, the greater the potential for co-operation and the greater the appeal for more, talented employees. Hamburg Invest is the number one partner for the promotion and settlement and, of course, immensely important as a multiplier. Fortunately, they were swiftly convinced of the idea’s potential. Together we sharpened the profile of the fintech agency and developed a corresponding online information service. Our existing portal is the ideal location for that.

Hamburg News: What exactly should the new settlement agency do?

Eberhard Sautter: The fintech agency targets in particular foreign fintechs who are interested in entering the German market and have already proven initial market suitability in their home markets. These companies usually have initial funding and/or a development team. The fintech agency accompanies them through the decision-making and settlement process and a contact person, who is well networked in the Hamburg financial landscape, is on hand.

Hamburg News: What are the first, concrete steps?

Eberhard Sautter: The fintech agency is being launched as a web-based information service that will be expanded and optimised successively and demand-orientated on the basis of customer experience. As we are aware that such an offer can never answer every individual question, a direct contact offer is always made to get in touch with the interested parties.

Hamburg News: Many thanks for the interview.

Interview by Karolin Köcher

The full interview can be found in Fintech Magazin on October 15, 2018 which is being published to coincide with Fintech Week (October 15-20, 2018).

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