There’s still a lot of central bank ‘mismanagement,’ says Allianz CEO

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Borrowing costs remain too low today and it’s “hurting our savers,” said Allianz CEO Oliver Bäte.

“European money is too cheap and that leads to misallocation of assets,” Bäte told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford at the Singapore Summit last weekend. “We still have a lot of mismanagement in the central bank side.”

Bäte said schemes such as the European Central Bank’s “ultra-loose” monetary policy — which has been in place since the global financial crisis of 2008 — will “just make money cheaper for over indebted governments.”

He said it was not helping the economy, and just makes it easier for people to borrow money.

Despite disagreeing with easy monetary policy and its negative impact on those who save, Bäte said “there are many other things” Europe needs at the moment.

“We need more investment now, we need more optimism, particularly in infrastructure and education, that’s what we are lacking in Europe,” he added.

Since 2015, Europe has been rattled by an immigration crisis which has seen an increase in the appeal of populist, anti-immigrant and euroskeptic — critics of the European Union — parties, as evidenced by their performance at recent elections in Italy and Sweden.

By “quarreling all the time” over immigration issues, Bäte said Europe was “really masking the fact that we need to catch up with China and the United States on the tech side, on creating markets for the future.”

“We have healed some of the wounds but we haven’t really addressed the underlying problems,” Bäte said, on the legacy from the 2008 global financial crisis.

He pointed to issues such as “totally underfunded” pension systems and promised benefits to citizens, particularly the elderly, which are unlikely to be financed “because our children will not do that.”

“People are upset about the political leadership not getting the job done, fixing their everyday problems,” he added.

Beyond such infrastructural concerns, Bäte said, people are also becoming more worried about the effects of globalization on their ability to find employment if their jobs disappear.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any answers yet. “We don’t have an answer for our people to say, you know, where are the jobs coming to come from and will they pay well?”


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