October 21, 2011 / 4:50 PM / 8 years ago

Europe's financial elite quietly meet in Vienna

VIENNA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Europe’s financial elite quietly gathered at a posh Vienna hotel on Friday ahead of crucial European Union talks that could reshape the continent’s financial sector landscape.

Members of the secretive Institut International d’Etudes Bancaires (IIEB), which groups the chairmen and chief executives of Europe’s top finance houses, gathered in a swanky conference room at the Hotel Imperial near the Vienna opera house.

Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank CEO and head of the Institute for International Finance banking lobby, appeared in the lobby after more than three hours of talks and declined to say what his colleagues had discussed.

He said it “wouldn’t be fair” to disclose what the finance executives had discussed ahead of EU meetings in Brussels on how to address the euro zone’s debt crisis, Greece’s increasingly precarious finances and steps to shore up bank balance sheets.

More than two dozen nameplates arranged for the meeting in the gilded hall included those for Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner, Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Blessing and UniCredit Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni.

One financial source said the meeting had been long planned. The IIEB normally meets in October.

It came as 10 top European financial institutions asked the European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund for struggling euro zone members to back a proposal that the EFSF partially insure eurozone sovereign bonds.

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