BIS 90th anniversary exhibition media apéro

Opening remarks by Mr Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the BIS, at the 90th anniversary exhibition media apéro, 6 September 2021.

BIS speech  | 
07 September 2021

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, ich heisse Sie im Namen der BIZ herzlich willkommen. Vielen Dank, dass Sie gekommen sind. Es ist uns eine Freude, Sie hier bei uns persönlich begrüssen zu dürfen.  

As you know, we are on the verge of kicking off our BIS 90 Years exhibition. The exhibition should have opened in 2020, at the time of our 90th anniversary, but of course the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to postpone it until this year.  In hosting the exhibition BIS 90 Years this year, we are following the guidelines developed by the Swiss Museums Association. Our safety concept will include all measures required by the circumstances in autumn. Our priority is to have everything in place to guarantee the safest experience possible for all visitors.

The BIS has always felt at home in Basel. We employ over 600 people here, with Swiss staff representing the most numerous nationality. Overall our staff hail from more than 60 different countries, and those based here in Basel feel a strong connection to the region.

The BIS Tower next to which we stand was built in the 1970s with the overwhelming support of the people of Basel, and can be considered a testimony to the reciprocal commitment between the city and the Bank. Although we are looking at developing our premises in the coming years, the Tower will remain as an integral part of our headquarters site and of course of the Basel cityscape. We're happy to be able to open the doors of the Tower for you today and give you, as members of the Basel media community, the inside scoop on what the upcoming exhibition is all about.

Today, the BIS is a truly global organisation. With our headquarters in Basel, we also have two Representative Offices in Asia and the Americas, and a network of technology-focused BIS Innovation Hub Centres. Since we first opened our doors in 1930, the BIS has been a core institution in the world of central banking. While Basel is synonymous to art lovers around the world with Art Basel, and to tennis lovers as the home of Roger Federer and the Swiss Indoors, it also lent its name to the capital accords that were agreed here and that are credited with stabilising the banking system. If you search for Basel in English-language media outlets, you'll find that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is the main reason Basel is in the news. After that comes Art Basel, which I myself have visited several times, Novartis and Roche, and then the BIS, ahead of FC Basel and even – believe it or not – Roger Federer.1 

Our 63 central bank shareholders represent countries from around the world and include both advanced and developing economies.

Turning to the exhibition, here on the ground floor level, the exhibition will feature a multimedia space, which will allow our visitors to see for themselves what we do. In a nutshell, we are an international organisation owned by the world's main central banks. Our mission is to promote global monetary and financial stability through international cooperation.

But what exactly does that mean? You will be able to find out details by exploring three key themes of money, finance and innovation.

Most recently the BIS has been quite focused on the last one of those themes, as technological innovation in finance – or "fintech" – is becoming increasingly relevant for the central bank community. Through its research, the meetings it convenes and the work of our BIS Innovation Hub, the Bank is striving to help central banks navigate the challenges, and reap the benefits, that innovation presents.

The section of the exhibition located on the first floor will focus on who we are. You can see all our member central banks and a timeline of our history, starting with the foundation of the BIS in 1930.

Of course, the most important part of who we are as an institution is who we are as people – our staff. Especially in the remarkable circumstances of the past year and a half, they enable us to fulfil our mission and serve our stakeholders effectively.

Our success depends both on our people and on the environment in which we operate. As part of the exhibition our visitors will also be able to visit the Tower 18th floor, which affords spectacular views all across Basel from a height of nearly 70 metres and in all directions. It's a very international panorama. There you can also see in what direction and how far away our 63 member central banks are located – so far and yet so near.

We are pleased to be able to bring you closer to the BIS today, and hope the upcoming exhibition will deepen the excellent relationship between Basel and the BIS.   

1 Search of English-language news stories in the Factiva database, 31 August 2021, last 5 years.