Karel Baert

Strategic vision on tech-related risks in digital finance

As part of their risk management function, which is fundamental for financial institutions, banks engage in continuous efforts to address risks stemming from the increasing uptake of innovative technologies in financial services.

The financial sector is one of the highly cyber mature sectors and a most heavily regulated one. At European Union level, and via the European Banking Federation (EBF), banks take actions to address these risks on many levels, in many forms and through public-private partnerships: IT infrastructure, business strategies and policies, compliance with regulatory and supervisory requirements, involvement of senior management, awareness-raising for employees and customers. This presentation aims to elaborate on the key issues, actions and challenges around cybersecurity and resilience for European banks as seen through the work of EBF.

Mr. Baert obtained a master’s degree in law from the Catholic University of Leuven.

He started his career as a lawyer with Loeff Claeys Verbeke (now Allen & Overy) in Brussels. From 1985 to 1995 he worked at Deutsche Bank where he held various management positions in corporate and retail banking in Belgium and Germany. In 1995 he joined Bpost where he became General Manager Retail, a position he later combined with that of Managing Director of Bpost Bank.

In 2000 he joined the consulting and executive search firm Egon Zehnder. He became a partner in 2006 and specialized in (often international) assignments in the financial and public sector. He worked there from the perspective of talent management in the broadest sense, where he gained a unique view of society and in particular of the financial sector.

In April 2020, he became CEO of Febelfin, the federation of the financial sector in Belgium. In this position, he also holds a seat at, among others, the Board of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (VBO) and the Executive Committee of the European Banking Federation (EBF)