Finance Watch evolution: New roles for Julia Symon and Thierry Philipponnat

Philipponnat becomes Chief Economist, Symon now Head of Research & Advocacy

Brussels, 27 January 2021 – Accompanying a steady growth in Finance Watch’s scope and staff, Julia Symon has been appointed its Head of Advocacy and Research, replacing Thierry Philipponnat, who will serve as Chief Economist. Both Julia and Thierry will report to association Secretary General Benoît Lallemand.

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Finance Watch Finance Watch evolution: New roles for Julia Symon and Thierry Philipponnat

Julia Symon

Symon will lead a growing team, currently staffed with seven research and advocacy officers covering a wide set of policy areas, including banking, financial markets, sustainable finance, consumer credit and other retail financial services, digitalisation and fiscal rules. She will help the team optimize its advocacy impact, with major legislative battles set for 2022 at EU level and ongoing efforts to contribute to financial policymaking at national and international levels.

As Chief Economist, Philipponnat will oversee Finance Watch’s regular production of cutting-edge public interest policy proposals. The association recently expanded its scope to insurance and is gearing up to look at private equity and hedge funds, credit rating agencies and Net Zero standards, among others. He will also contribute to senior representation in high level policymaking fora. The team is already present on the Platform on Sustainable Finance, stakeholder groups of the EBA, ESMA and EIOPA, and recently joined EFRAG’s sustainability reporting pillar.

A trained economist with more than 10 years of financial industry experience, Symon joined Finance Watch a year ago. Since then she mastered a diverse set of policy files and related advocacy campaigns with aplomb. She previously worked at State Street Bank International in Munich as a vice president for audit and a senior internal auditor in Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Finance Watch Finance Watch evolution: New roles for Julia Symon and Thierry Philipponnat

Thierry Philipponnat

Thierry Philipponnat co-founded Finance Watch in 2011 and acted as its first Secretary General until 2014. He went on to become the Chair of the French Sustainable Investment Forum and Director of economic think tank Institut Friedland. Thierry rejoined Finance Watch as its Head of Research and Advocacy in 2019 and has since then led the development of the team. As an economist specialised in finance, he builds on a successful 20-year career in the financial sector, including senior positions at UBS, BNP Paribas and Euronext.liffe, as well as on a long experience as a regulator.

Finance Watch Secretary General Benoît Lallemand commented: “Finance Watch is as indispensable as ever as a key infrastructure enabling non-industry contributions to financial policymaking. For good reasons, the pendulum is quickly shifting from voluntary commitments and market-led initiatives to effective regulatory and supervisory mandates. Julia and Thierry’s new roles will increase the team’s capacity to make finance serve society, with high impact policy proposals and strategic advocacy campaigns to turn them into law.”

Thierry Philipponnat, Chief Economist added: “My new role gives me more bandwidth to focus on crafting impactful policy solutions and further develop Finance Watch’s roadmap to align the financial system with societal objectives. I will keep pushing our proposals and representing the voice of EU citizens in senior regulatory, supervisory and standard-setting fora.”

Julia Symon, Head of Research and Advocacy concluded: “I look forward to leading a high-impact team of senior experts and advocates that will help shape policy at national, EU and international level. We are looking at major opportunities to reform key components of the financial system in 2022 and beyond.”


For further information or interview requests, please contact James Pieper, Senior Editorial and Press Officer, at or at +32 496 51 72 70.


Notes to editors: 

Finance Watch is a European, not-for-profit association of civil society Members, dedicated to making finance work for the good of society. It works for a financial system that allocates capital to productive use through fair and open markets, in a transparent and sustainable manner, in line with society’s needs and without exploiting or endangering society at large.

Finance Watch Members are supported by a professional full-time secretariat recruited mainly from the financial and policy sectors, with strong communications and stakeholder engagement capacities, to conduct advocacy and provide technical know-how and coordination for our civil society network. The secretariat is on a steady growth trajectory.

As acknowledged by the European Commission’s Evaluation report published on 17 December 2020, “there are currently no alternative organisations at EU level covering a similar range of topics in financial services and in the same depth” besides Finance Watch and BETTER FINANCE.


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