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THE BETTER FINANCE TEAM

As an association of national member organisations, BETTER FINANCE is supported by a small professional Brussels-based team and our friends on Facebook and LinkedIn. New members and supporters are always welcome to get involved.

Our team consists of finance professionals, lobbyists and communication specialists who carry out the core activities of BETTER FINANCE.

Présidente, Jella Benner-Heinacher

Madame Jella Benner-Heinacher est (vice-)PDG de la Deutsche Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz (DSW), la principale association allemande de défense des actionnaires. 

Avocate allemande, elle a étudié en France, en Suisse et aux États-Unis. En sa qualité de vice-présidente de Better Finance à  Bruxelles, elle est essentiellement en charge des activités internationales de l’organisation. 

Mme Benner-Heinacher préside également l’European Corporate Governance Services (ECGS) à  Londres et est membre du Conseil d’administration de la Bourse de Düsseldorf. Elle est également responsable des questions de gouvernance d’entreprise et de la participation de DSW à  la procédure législative, tant au niveau national qu’international.  

Vice-Président, Jean Berthon

Jean Berthon est Président de Better Finance et, depuis janvier 2009, il dirige aussi la FAIDER, la Fédération franà§aise des associations indépendantes de défense des épargnants pour la retraite, qui rassemble 14 associations franà§aises et représente plus d’un million d’épargnants et de détenteurs d’une assurance-vie. Expert financier auprès de la Commission européenne, il est membre suppléant au sein du Groupe des utilisateurs de services financiers. Il travaille également en tant qu’expert pour plusieurs comités et groupes de travail de l’Autorité européenne des marchés financiers (ESMA), de l’Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF-France) et de l’Autorité de contrôle prudentiel (ACP-France). Il représente actuellement la France au sein du Groupe consultatif actuariel européen.

Jean Berthon a démarré sa carrière comme actuaire à  la Caisse des dépôts et consignations franà§aise  et a travaillé dans plusieurs banques franà§aises, notamment comme PDG de Demachy-Worms & Cie Gestion, un des spécialistes de la gestion de portefeuille quantitative et institutionnelle. 

M. Berthon a par ailleurs créé la Fondation du risque dont il assume actuellement la vice-présidence du Conseil d’administration. Cette fondation franà§aise sans but lucratif a pour objet le financement et le développement de la recherche sur les risques, dans les universités comme dans les entreprises. Elle gère actuellement six chaires financées par de grandes banques et compagnies d’assurances franà§aises.      

Vice-President, Axel Kleinlein

Axel Kleinlein is member of the board and spokesman of the German Association of the Insured (BdV) since 2011 (with a short interruption in 2013). He was born in 1969 near Würzburg.

After finishing his studies in mathematics at the University of Cologne and at the Free University of Berlin, he worked as an actuary for Allianz Lebensversicherung in Stuttgart (in 1998-1999). From 2000 on he was responsible for the section of life insurances of Stiftung Warentest in Berlin, the most important public foundation for product ratings in Germany. Three years later he went to Assekurata Assekuranz Rating-Agentur in Cologne, where he published several studies on the life insurance industry and was also in charge of public relations. In 2004 Mr. Kleinlein founded Math Concepts in Berlin, his own research company specialized in insurance mathematics and journalism. In 2007 he additionally worked as a specialist on retirement provision and capital investments for VZBV (Federal Association of Consumer information Centers - the state's "consumer voice") in Berlin.

As Spokesman of BdV he is entirely responsible for the presence of BdV in the mass-media and for the representation of BdV in those public institutions and organizations linked to insurance issues in which consumer interests ought to be represented at the federal level (like VZBV and the insurance ombudsman).

Furthermore, as Spokesman of BdV, he is invited to expert hearings by committees of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag). He is responsible for all BdV comments on draft legal acts or regulations at the national level (by Federal Ministries of Justice, of Finance or others) and on the European level (mainly for EIOPA and the other ESAs).

Vice-president, Lars Milberg

Lars Milberg is a Board Member of Aktiespararna (CEO, Joacim Olsson), the leading shareholder association in Sweden.

Vice-president, Fernando Herrero

Fernando Herrero is currently the Secretary General for the Association of Consumers and Users of Banks, Savings Banks and Insurance (Spain), ADICAE, and member of its Board of Directors. ADICAE is the leading consumer organization in Spain in the field of financial services, with nearly 200,000 members, and involved in various advisory bodies at national and European level.

He has been also attached to the presidency ADICAE for legal services, and is now member of the Advisory Committee of the National Securities Market Commission of Spain. He has been member of the Observatory for Migration to SEPA, (Central Bank of Spain), and also of the Insurance Advisory Board [General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds, Ministry of Economy (2006-2011)], and he is usually required by institutions, agencies and universities to participate in regular works and conferences .

After an initial foray into the economic field, since 1998 he became a member of ADICAE , where has developed different responsibilities. He was Vice President of ADICAE from 2004, and later was appointed Secretary General of the association.

He was one of the first representatives of ADICAE in Euroshareholders, and since then he has been the main responsible at ADICAE for international affairs. In fact, he has been very involved in the representation of ADICAE in Better Finance, coordinating the work of ADICAE with Ià±igo Barrera, until recently a member of the Board of Better Finance.

He currently coordinates the ADICAE´s representation in the EU body and the ADICAE´s international activity . He is also member of the Observatory for Electronic Payment Card [Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (2006-2011)], and was member of the Expert Group on Market Observer Efficiency Investment Fund [DG Internal Market, European Commission (2006)], among others. 

Directeur général, Guillaume Prache

En tant que président du Groupe des parties concernées du secteur financier de l’ESMA et de vice-président du Groupe des utilisateurs de services financiers (FSUG), Guillaume Prache met son compétences au service de la défense des

utilisateurs de services financiers auprès de l’Union européenne. Il est également vice-président de la FAIDER, la Fédération des associations d’épargnants franà§aises, et est membre de la Commission « Épargnants » de lAutorité des marchés financiers, l’AMF.   

M. Prache a démarré sa carrière comme magistrat à  la Cour des comptes franà§aise et possède une vaste expérience dans le domaine financier. Entre 1997 et 2000, il a été directeur financier chez Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, Inc., une entreprise pharmaceutique cotée en bourse et classée dans le Fortune Global 500 et, entre 2000 et 2006, directeur général de la filiale européenne de Vanguard Group, Inc., leader mondial dans le domaine de la gestion d’actifs. Depuis 2005, il enseigne la gestion d’actifs pour le programme Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM). Il a aussi publié deux livres et divers articles traitant d'économie et de finance. 

Executive Director, Aleksandra Maczynska 

Aleksandra Maczynska is coming from Warsaw, Poland, where she was the Deputy Director of the International Relations and Communication Department of the Polish consumer and competition watchdog. 

She studied at the Faculty of Management at the Poznan University of Economics and at the Warsaw School of Economics. She has also a vast experience in management of international projects, e.g. EU funded capacity building projects. As a Fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation Programme for the Young Executives from the Public Sector, she worked at the Division for World Bank International Monetary Fund, Debt Issues and International Finance Structure at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. She was an expert at various EU Council’s Working Parties such as the WP on Financial Services and WP on Competitiveness and Growth, as well as European Commission’s Working Groups and Advisory Committees. One of her task was also external representation and managing professional networks such as Consumer Policy Network (CPN), International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), European Competition Network (ECN) and OECD Competition Committee.

Senior Advisor, Judith Hardt

In August 2018, Judith joined Better Finance as Senior Advisor. She has a substantial track record in leading European associations specialized in financial services.

From May 2014 until June 2018, Judith was the Managing Director of the Swiss Finance Council. It represents the interests of internationally active Swiss financial institutions in Brussels. Before joining the Council in 2014, Judith led the Federation of European Stock Exchanges (FESE) through two successive EU legislatures. In 2008, Judith was named Lobbyist of the Year by the Euromoney publication Compliance Reporter for her contribution to the adoption of the European Code of Conduct on Clearing and Settlement. From 1993 to 2004 she was the CEO of the European Mortgage Federation (EMF) which represents the interest of mortgage banks and building societies in Europe. Whilst at the EMF, she was instrumental in the successful launch of the European Covered Bond Council (ECBC) and the adoption of the European code of conduct on mortgage credit. She served two terms as Vice-Chair of the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group and she chaired the European Parliament Financial Services Forum from 2005 to 2007.

Judith Hardt is also a lecturer at the Solvay Business and teaches ‘Financial Infrastructures’ for the Advanced Master in Financial Markets.

Chief Communications Officer, Arnaud Houdmont

Arnaud Houdmont a rejoint l’équipe de Better Finance après une carrière bien remplie dans le domaine des communications, des relations avec la presse et de la recherche au cÅ“ur de l’Europe. Pendant cette période, il a travaillé en étroite coopération avec des décideurs de la Commission européenne et du Parlement européen ainsi qu'avec des acteurs du secteur privé sur des thèmes comme l'emploi des jeunes, l'esprit d'entreprise, la durabilité, la politique de la santé et l'innovation. Il avait avant cela décroché un master en communication internationale au Goldsmith’s College (Université de Londres) et une license en relations internationales à  l’Université du Sussex.  

Ses études et sa carrière lui ont permis d’acquérir des compétences analytiques et une vision critique sur une série de questions ainsi qu’une connaissance approfondie de l’économie politique, des médias et des institutions européennes. Arnaud est personnellement fasciné par tout ce qui concerne le développement durable et l’économie politique.    

Chez Better Finance, Arnaud est responsable de l’ensemble des activités de communication et de l’élaboration d’une stratégie de communication d'énsemble en direction de toutes les parties prenantes. Il parle couramment le néerlandais, l’anglais et le franà§ais et a une très bonne connaissance de l’espagnol.   

Junior Policy Officer, Marie Vial

Marie graduated from Pantheon-Sorbonne University and from the College of Europe in Bruges (Promotion Chopin). She studied European law and specialized in Economic and Monetary Union, Financial market regulation and Competition law. She joined the team for a 6-month internship.

She completed a 6-month internship at the European Commission within the DG Internal Market and services where she worked on the European Retail Action Plan. She worked as a trainee paralegal at Hill Hofstetter, a British Law firm based in Birmingham and London within their International litigation team. 

Marie was previously Research Assistant at Better Finance, and now assists the team in their projects and administrative tasks. 

Research Officer, Stefan Voicu

Stefan Dragos Voicu joined the Better Finance team as Research Assistant for a 6-months period. He obtained a double degree in law: a Bachelor’s Degree in Romanian national law (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Law) and a Bachelor’s Degree in European and French Law, from the University Paris-Sorbonne. 

Subsequently, he decided to pursue a specialisation in EU Law. During the Master’s courses at Leiden University’s (Faculty of Law) LL.M. European Law, he focused on EU Internal Market & Competition Law, as well as on EU Institutional Law. He wrote his Master’s Thesis on the topic of EU Data Protection Law and Consent for Cookies.

As part of his professional experience, Stefan undertook several internships at national and international law offices in Bucharest. He performed the activities of an intern in fields such as Banking Law. He has demonstrated a keen interest for the EU financial services sector. 

Administration & Finance Assistant, Lina Strandvåg Nagell

Before joining the Better Finance team, Norwegian national Lina Strandvåg Nagell completed several international traineeships, including time spent with Washington D.C. based firm Freedman Consulting, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the UN. Her professional experience extends to communication, research and policy work.

While studying at the European University at St. Petersburg for an MA in Energy Politics, Lina focused on the financialization of commodities and oil price volatility. She is a recent graduate from the Brussels School of International Studies, where she obtained an LLM in International Law with a minor in International Political Economy. Her main areas of focus were international financial regulation as well as trade- and investment law. Lina holds two BAs from the University of Bergen, one in Economics and one in Comparative Politics. Lina originally joined the team as Research Assistant for a 6 month period.

Research Assistant, Lorenzo Marchionni

After having gained experience in the Administrative Services Division at the Rome based UN Agency IFAD and in Milan, by working for the Italian Sustainable Investment Forum, Lorenzo joined the Better Finance team as Research Assistant for a six-months period.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florence and a postgraduate’s degree in Banking, Corporate Finance and Financial Markets from the University of Pisa. His Master’s thesis topic concerned the development of microcredit in Europe as an instrument to foster self-employment and bottom-up economic growth. He sustained part of his master studies as exchange student at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH).

His areas of interest range from financial education to economic development with a specific focus on employment and social affairs.

Spotlight

The latest edition of our report on Pension Savings is now available for download!

 

 

 

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