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Future of finance – press release

Future of financeUniversity of Leeds press release – 26 May 2016

Europe’s financial sector to expand amid low growth and rising inequality

Europe faces a decade of low growth, rising inequality in income and wealth, and decline or stagnation in workers’ wages.

A wide-ranging survey of 50 business school economists about the future of financial services in Europe also found that the unregulated growth of the so-called ‘shadow banking’ (or non-bank financial) sector could cause another 2008-style financial crisis in the next five to ten years.

The economists were asked to make predictions on subjects including the future role, structure and regulation of the financial sector; the impact of the sector on society; growth and inequality in Europe; and the future remit and responsibilities of the European Central Bank (ECB) and of the central banks of developed countries.

The survey, part of the Financialisation, Economy, Society and Sustainable Development (FESSUD) research project led by the University of Leeds, found that the benefits of growth and employment of the financial system had been greatly overestimated prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

While Europe’s financial system would remain the same or grow in the next five to ten years, this would not translate into wider economic growth. Growth in the euro area is forecast to remain below 2% and rising unemployment, welfare cuts and austerity will contribute to greater inequality in society.

The economists also predicted that there would be a slight or significant increase in inequality in income and wealth distribution in developed countries in the next five to ten years, while wage income as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would fall or remain unchanged.

Future of financeProfessor Malcolm Sawyer of Leeds University Business School, project leader of FESSUD, said:
“The survey portrays a financial services sector in Europe continuing to grow, but with the benefits for the citizens of Europe being limited and likely negative. The person in the street will continue to see rising inequality, stagnating wages and sluggish growth, and the financial sector will continue to act as a drag on sustainable growth.

“The findings on the growth of shadow banking in Europe are particularly concerning. As banks are further regulated, shadow banking will continue to grow with, at best, loose regulation. This along with the inherent fragilities of the financial system will increase instability and contribute to the next financial crisis.

“The messages are clear: there has to be fundamental reforms of the financial sector, its scope and influence. It is time for the financial sector to serve society, and not society serving the interests of the financial sector.”

The survey shows that the role of the ECB is expected to change, with economists predicting that it would encompass generating real economic growth in addition to its chief objective of maintaining price stability in the Eurozone. This broadening would be mirrored in the role of national central banks, which will also focus more on financial stability as well as inflation price stability and economic activity. There was consensus that the central banks of developed countries would retain inflation targets of around 2%.

FESSUD is a €10m research programme funded by the European Union and led by Leeds University Business School and involves 14 business schools in Europe and South Africa. The project has examined the dominance of the financial system over other parts of the European economy in the last 30 years and suggests reforms to support economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Key findings of the Future Expansion and Proliferation of Finance Delphi survey include:

  • The ‘shadow banking’ sector will expand due to poor regulation and as banks seek to avoid the impact of tighter regulations by conducting more activities off-balance sheet. This may lead to instability and a financial crash in the next five to ten years
  • The number of small, locally-oriented savings banks and co-operatives will continue to fall or will be encouraged to adopt the business models of private banks
  • Household savings rates will remain the same or be slightly higher than savings rates which were registered before the financial crisis of 2008
  • The revival of household lending, mainly through mortgages, will pose a moderate or significant risk for the financial system

Paper author Jesus Ferreiro, University of the Basque Country, and Professor Giuseppe Fontana of the University of Leeds, said: “The finance industry has not learned the lessons from the global financial crisis, and deep reform is needed to make it more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.”

Professor Malcolm Sawyer is available for interview. Contact Guy Dixon, Communications, University of Leeds, on: 0113 343 1028 or 07954 277 539 or
A copy of the paper ‘The Future Expansion and Proliferation of Finance’, by Jesus Ferreiro, Carmen Gomez and Jon Landeta, is available upon request.

FESSUDNotes to editors
Financialisation, Economy, Society and Sustainable Development (FESSUD) is a research project investigating the growth and impact of the financial system in Europe which suggests ways that the system might be reformed to support economic, social and environmental sustainability.

FESSUD is funded by a near €8m grant from the European Commission. The partners are: University of Leeds (UK, lead partner), University of Siena (Italy); School of Oriental and African Studies (UK); Fondation National de Sciences Politiques (France); Pour la Solidarite (Belgium); Poznan School of Economics (Poland); Tallin University of Technology (Estonia); Berlin School of Economics and Law (Germany); University of Coimbra (Portugal); University of Pannonia (Hungary); National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece); Middle East Technical University, Ankara (Turkey); Lund University (Sweden); University of Witwatersrand (South Africa); University of the Basque Country (Spain).

PhD Researcher at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

UNWTOThe World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

In 2016, UNWTO will continue the PhD Research Programme, successfully started in 2014, which will offer again two PhD students the opportunity to contribute to the UNWTO programme for Sustainable Development of Tourism (SDT). The main aim of this programme is to support research to advance the general knowledge and further broaden ones’ understanding about the importance of sustainable and resilient tourism at the international level.


SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS: All applications must include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae that includes your contact details
  • 1-2 page motivation letter
  • Linkages between PhD study and UNWTO research
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letter of support from PhD supervisor
  • All applications must be written in English

Applications will only be accepted if completed and according to application requirements. Applications should be submitted via email to the following address:

REFERENCE: PhD Researcher at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Important pointers for applicants:
Applicants are kindly requested:

  • To clearly indicate “PhD Researcher at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)” on the motivation letter.
  • To avoid sending their application via multiple routes.
  • To refrain from contacting the Organization on the status of their application. Applicants who do not receive any feedback within three months of the deadline should consider their application as unsuccessful



Kőszeg KampuszDo you want to participate in the work of a research institute while pursuing a graduate degree?
If your answer is yes, apply NOW!

The Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg (iASK) is now welcoming applications for 4-month research scholarships in order to support excellent students in their studies and their early-stage research careers. The scholarships are renewable based on performance and academic excellence.

The amount of scholarship is 250.000 HUF/month from October 2016 to January 2017.

Applicants are expected to

1. register for one of the graduate programs at the University of Pannonia Kőszeg Campus and

2. join one of the research centres of iASK and participate in their interdisciplinary research programs under the supervision of iASK research fellows.

With this iASK aims to encourage prospective students to

  • work in an international and interdisciplinary academic environment
  • besides new knowledge and useful skills, get a unique experience in doing research
  • work on concrete research problems
  • experience a personal, tutorial relationship with professors as research colleagues

If you are a motivated student that would like to benefit from this offer, apply now.

We are expecting applications in two interdisciplinary fields:

iASKCULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT with a focus on creative regions, historic cities, tourism, connecting the world of industry, commerce, and governance with education and science.

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES with a focus on globalisation and regional development, economic, environmental and social sustainability, global political economy and the impact of new information technologies.

We strongly encourage topics that specifically focus on Central Europe in a global context.


First step:
all applicants submit their application packages to their chosen graduate program by June 15 2016! (for the application package please consult
Second step: all applicants are to send a personal research statement with bibliography (2000 words) in English AND 2 letters of recommendation detailing the research potential of the applicant SIGNED and SEALED by the deadline June 31 2016

For more information, please check out BOTH websites:

All inquiries should be sent to Dr. Izabella Agardi at

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