Finance insights 11 min read

13 finance events in Europe to attend in 2020

Patrick Whatman

The global events industry keeps right on growing. As we've shared previously, events are now a $1 trillion-plus industry and have created more than 26 million jobs. 

Marketing and sales teams already flock to trade shows to drum up buyers and spread the word about their brands. 

But we can't forget about finance teams. Finance professionals need to network and upskill too. And thankfully, there are a range of interesting events that'll help you do just that. 

This post is full of events both for companies with finance and fintech products, and finance leaders looking to exchange ideas. We'll keep it updated throughout the year, so you'll always be able to find the most exciting events approaching

Note: We already wrote this piece on the top London finance events for 2020. Since we don’t want to repeat ourselves, we haven’t included any of those in this list.

So if you’re sticking to London and looking for excellent finance events, this is the article for you.

Now, let’s see what the rest of Europe has to offer for 2020.

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European fintech events

In this section we have events specifically for companies in the fintech sector. That mostly means payments, insurance, and new financial technologies.

Paris Fintech Forum

The Fintech Forum is Paris’ annual reunion for C-level executives, finance leaders, and other decision makers in leading European companies. Speakers include executives from global companies and NGOs, founders of budding unicorns, and even world leaders.

The 2019 installment invited more than 180 fintech CEOs to speak in panels, interviews, and debates, as well as 100+ companies present in the exhibition hall. This year’s edition promises to be even bigger.

Key themes

  • Disruption and alternative finance
  • The future of regulation
  • Competition and globalisation

When: 28-29 January
Where: Palais Brongniart, Paris

To register: Event website

Finovate Berlin

Similar to the Paris Fintech Forum, Finovate promises to explore all things fintech. But with less than half the number of attendees as its French colleague, this event may feel more manageable for those not wanting the full expo experience.

finovate-berlin

The 150+ speakers include CEOs and heads of innovation from large, inventive companies, and there’s a real focus on emerging technologies in this year’s agenda. There will also be almost two days dedicated to demonstrations, so this may also be the place to discover the next hot fintech brand.

Key themes

Finovate Berlin is split into three streams:

  • Digital future industry - Digital transformation and regulations
  • Open banking industry - All things open banking
  • Future tech industry - Cryptocurrencies, AI and VR, and data management

So clearly, the organisers have a firm eye on the future.

When: 11-13 February
Where: Intercontinental Berlin, Berlin

To register: Event website

Finance Summit 2020

This is the fifth edition of this event from POLITICO and l’Agefi. And as we might expect from those organisers, this summit focuses more on European finance policy and the sector as a whole.

In particular, conversations will address new leaders in the European Parliament and Commission, a new European Central Bank president, and life after Brexit. The goal is the understand the future of finance in Europe, and consider the best ways to ensure its success.

Key themes

  • How to strengthen Europe’s finance sector
  • Competition with other major financial markets
  • Outlook for the banking and financial industry post-Brexit

This summit will be smaller than the conferences and trade shows on this list - around 130 attendees. This may well mean more in-depth discussions and better networking, and the chance to get closer to important financial policy-makers.

When: 6 February
Where: Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, Paris

To register: Event website

FiNext Awards and Conference 2020

This is part of a series of FiNext events taking place around the world each year. Recent cities include Las Vegas, Singapore, and Orlando. This year will also see events in Dubai and San Francisco.

The event is separated into two main proceedings: a conference and an award ceremony. The conference features a range of interesting discussions, covering everything from gender representation to Islamic finance and Blockchain. Attendees include fintech startups, investors, banks, service providers, and Blockchain lovers.

The awards will celebrate companies and individuals leading the future of finance.

Key themes

  • Future regulations, cryptocurrencies, and Blockchain
  • New trends and technologies
  • Inclusion and women in fintech

When: 23-24 April
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands

To register: Event website

Money 2020 Amsterdam

With more than 6,300 attendees and 350+ speakers, this is one of the largest events on our list. It’s a mix of panel discussions, networking opportunities, interactive sessions and parties.

And the aim? No less than creating the future of money. Attendees are sure to leave inspired and excited to when they leave on the last day.

Key themes

From the event website: “Rather than theme our content by industry sector (like you’ve seen at every conference ever), this year, our agenda will be structured around the biggest questions that are keeping everyone in the industry up at night.”

  • Which bleeding edge will become the leading edge?
  • Where do I play and how do I win?
  • How to build a sustainable business model?
  • How can infrastructure become my unfair advantage?
  • What does success at scale look like?
  • How do I surf the wave of regulatory change?
  • Why can’t we get trust right?
  • Macroeconomics storms - Will I need an umbrella, a raincoat, or a boat?

When: 16-18 June
Where: Rai, Amsterdam

To register: Event website

Finance meetups

For finance leaders - especially CFOs - wanting a more intimate, expert community environment.

CFO Connect

In 2020, CFO Connect will expand its meetups to include San Francisco and Amsterdam alongside London, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona. These informal, monthly information sessions see two or more experienced finance leaders present their own experiences on key topics.

The subjects change from month to month, but the knowledge gained is always hard to beat.

Previous themes include

When: At least one meetup each month
Where: Across Europe and San Francisco

To register: Join the community

Banking events

Many of the following events will still apply to those with broader fintech interests. But those one the next part of our list specifically call out banking as a key interest, so we’ve separated them here.

Money Live Madrid

“The event where banking and payments collide.” Money Live Madrid is a two-day conference centered around trends and challenges in banking and payments. There’s a whole stage dedicated to each of these two disciplines, plus time set aside for workshops and one-on-one meetings.

money-2020-spain
For those looking for strictly fintech events, there’s a pre-conference evening called “Introducing the fintechs” where young European startups pitch their wares over cocktails and canapés.

Key themes

There are two main stages at the conference:

  • Banking - Open banking, digital transformation, APIs and Big Tech in banking
  • Payments - PSD2 and instant payments, digital wallets, leveraging data, and IoT

When: 10-11 March (Fintech evening 9 March)
Where: Meliá Avenida América, Madrid

To register: Event website

Bank + Fintech

This smaller Berlin conference looks at specific partnerships between bank and fintech companies. Presented by non-profit Efma, attendees will discover how particular banks and fintechs work closely for mutual benefit:

bank-fintech-partners

The conference leads on from Efma’s own World Fintech Report, which found that “70% of banks identified different mindsets and legacy processes as a major obstacle. Moreover, only 26% of banks and 43% of fintechs said they had found a good partner for open banking.”

The goal, then, is to bring the two industries closer together.

Key themes

  • How Asian banks are reinventing financial services with the help of Big Tech
  • Best practices for using AI in financial services
  • The future of distribution in retail financial services.

Preview editions have been described as intimate and with a good mix of startups and traditional banks.

When: 21-23 April
Where: KOSMOS KG, Berlin

To register: Event website

SME Banking Summit

Another conference from Efma, this event looks closely at how banks can adjust to keep their SME divisions alive and thriving. Which should appeal specifically to heads of SME divisions in banks.

If that’s you, then this could be the perfect niche industry event to exchange best practices and share ideas. It lasts two full days, which gives ample time to network, learn from peers, and meet industry leaders.

Key themes

  • Sustainable and responsible SME banking
  • Acquiring new SME customers
  • A close look at SME ecosystems and the changing industry landscape

When: 4-5 June
Where: Milan, Italy

To register: Event website

Innovation Summit

Aimed at banking leaders, this event is an opportunity for bankers to discover the startups and technological innovators promising to change the industry. They’ll also be able to see how other successful banks are already using these new technologies to great effect.

The purpose is to explore the role of modern fintech in the banking sector. Should banks partner with tech providers or seek to develop products on their own? How can transactions be made painless and smooth while also remaining safe and secure?

This is an opportunity to discuss these issues with top minds from Europe’s most innovative banks.

Key themes

  • Digital wallets and their impact on payments
  • Challenger banks and niche players
  • Payments in the developing world
  • Security and online banking

When: 19-20 Oct
Where: Madrid, Spain

To register: Event website

Not strictly finance events

The following selection of events moves outside of strictly finance to the wider tech and startup ecosystem. Of course, there’s still plenty to appeal to finance- and fintech-oriented professionals.

SaaStr Europa

As the name suggests, SaaStr Europa is a huge annual meeting of SaaS leaders and professionals. A smaller version of its big brother event in San Francisco, the European installment is still massive.

SaaStr Europa will have more than 3,000 attendees and 100 speakers to discuss everything B2B over two full days. And perhaps the biggest enticement for startup leaders: there’s always a large contingent of VCs looking for new and exciting companies to support.

This is perhaps the event for European businesses ready to scale up. As the website declares, “our mission is to help you scale faster to $100m ARR - with less stress and more success.”

Key themes

You’ll find the agenda on the event’s website once it has been announced.

When: 17-18 June
Where: Maison de la Mutualité, Paris

To register: Event website

Bits & Pretzels

bits-pretzels-keynote

This is another conference aimed at the wider startup world - not only finance. But of course, plenty of fintech companies attend, not to mention investors and other important faces. The 2019 edition included a KPMG stage, which included detailed looks at financial sustainability, business models, and the circular economy.

A big selling point for those looking to use up their events budget is the location: it’s around Oktoberfest in Munich. In fact, attendees on the third day can share an Oktoberfest table with an industry expert for what organisers call “liquid networking.”

With past speakers including Barack Obama, Richard Branson, and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, Bits & Pretzels is one of the hottest dates on the events calendar.

Key themes

The 2019 agenda included:

  • Internationalisation and business beyond borders
  • Keys to scaling effectively
  • Raising funds and building a lasting business

When: 29 September - 1 October
Where: ICM Munich, Germany

To register: Event website

Viva Technology

Known in France simply as “VivaTech,” this conference claims to be the largest tech event in Europe. And with more than 184,000 attendees and 13,000 startups, it almost certainly is.

For some, this might feel more like a festival than a conference. Visitors are met by bright lights and flashing signs, and every stall has something fun or delicious to catch your attention.

But for finance leaders, this is still a great opportunity to discover new tools and processes, learn best practices, and make new acquaintances.

Key themes

  • Tech as a force for good
  • A united European tech industry
  • Women in tech
  • Emerging tech from Africa

When: 11-13 June
Where: Paris Expo Porte de Versailles

To register: Event website

More events and networking in 2020

Not everyone has the time or budget to attend most of the above events. Tickets to trade shows can run into the thousands of euros, and there’s very often no clear return on investment.

And yet, conferences seem to be as popular as ever. More events are popping up on the calendar, and companies seem willing to send their teams out to investigate.

Finance leaders - just like salespeople and marketers - have plenty to gain from getting out and meeting others in their field. Whether it’s a free meetup like CFO Connect or a huge tech conference like Saastr, there’s usually no better way to get exposed to new ideas and make new friends.

So will 2020 be the year that you get out and explore more? Let us know which events you’re going to in the comments below.

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Patrick Whatman

Patrick Whatman is a content marketer and writer. He lives in Paris, loves music, and writes his own brand of cultural criticism for fun. Tweet him @mrwhatman where he mainly talks digital marketing, American sports and New Zealand trivia.