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Luxembourg, City of Luxembourg: Jörg L., 31, Investment Fund Industry

The pair of shoes we have not bought yet, we’ll buy afterwards. But the coffee not spend with friends is lost.

Jörg L.
City Centre Luxembourg: April 2019

1. Who are you, where are you and what is your profession? Could you tell about your origin too, please?
I live and work in Luxembourg (more precisely in the City of Luxembourg). Before that, I studied in Denmark but I am originally from the North of Germany in Lower Saxony. Luxembourg, being the 2nd largest fund place in the world after the USA, I work in the industry or related to it since my studies. My role is

the one of a risk manager or client relationship manager. Clients here means initiators of investment funds. To give more explanations would go too far here.

2. What has changed for you since the Coronavirus appeared?
Since Corona spread I had to adjust by working from home. The work itself hasn’t changed much, except for an increasing number of requests from clients and regulators. Besides that I am limited in my activities for the weekends: no sports (but cycling), no cinema, no concerts, no going to a restaurants/café with friends, no hiking. Luckily, the local book store delivers…

3. Describe shortly, which actions against Corona happen at your place, please.
The lockdown forced places like gyms, pools, restaurants (delivery allowed) etc. to close for the time being. People are told to work from home if possible. The borders are pretty much closed. Reading this might give you the impression, that there’s not a big impact on the daily lives, but so many cross border commuters come here to work – Normally! So there aren’t that many people as it used to be either – locked away in their homes or not. Some working-districts seem to be empty at all. Also, the borders are quite close.

4. How did the virus affect your surroundings / your work / your family?
The impact on the work I’ve already described above but would like to add one point. We and all others in this industry are supposed to test the BCPs (Business Continuity Plans) every year. Now that we need them, they work surprisingly well even though they never were made for lasting this long.

In terms of my surrounding, I don’t live alone but nowadays spend most of my time in the flat. So some arrangements needed to be made with my flatmate. I started also to call my family from time to time using, for example, video calls.

5. What did you need to give up, what do you miss?
I miss the social interactions like meeting friends, also the „remote“ dinners or coffees together are not a perfect substitute. On top, I would usually bike to work and do sports 2-3 times per week (swimming and martial arts). Something I am looking forward to doing again.

6. Do you think your government is doing well in prevention against Corona? Are there some extraordinary actions or ideas against Corona in your place?
The Luxemburgish government seems to react well. It managed the capacity of the hospitals and quickly set up further facilities to cope with the virus at Rockhal and LuxExpo. Overall, Luxembourg has one of the highest rates of infected people per capita which is explained by one of the highest testing per capita. Luxembourg also helped Italy or hospitals close to the border by agreeing to take over some patients – living the European idea.

7. What insights/knowledge did you gain during the virus era?
Humans can adapt to many different circumstances. We know that from many examples in history but we currently experience it live.

8. Is it a time of transformation? Tell me your opinion: will there be changes in people/collaboration/country/politics?
From a political perspective, some politicians gained political weight. Xavier Bettel looks like someone in control and improved his popularity.

For work, home-office used to be an exception and might become more common. Even those being quite against it had to realize that it works well. Video conferences also become more popular so there’ll be less physical meetings. Especially at the beginning of the crisis, the usual conference call infrastructure experienced some weaknesses, unlike video conferences.

9. What do you think is going to happen after the quarantine, what is going to be different?
A question that I frequently discuss with clients etc. The truth is nobody knows. We can observe that existing trends (like home office etc) have been accelerated.

I am a bit afraid of the economic downturn for small business. The pair of shoes we have not bought yet, we’ll do afterwards. But the coffee not spend with friends is lost. Some city centres will look very empty with barely a store or café surviving.

10. How do you feel? Do you have wishes fort he future? Will your personally plans still work? Any fears?
The concerts I had already bought tickets for were postponed. Summer holidays were planned for September anyway. Those plans might be postponed but less because of the virus more for other reasons.

I am not worried about my job at all. However, I am aware that I am quite lucky. The main impact will probably be a smaller bonus next year. A situation many others would love to be in so no need to cry for me on that side.

11. Do you have solutions? Ideas? Something you want to tell the community?
One point I would like to add at this stage. Luxembourg is in some ways a unique country and simply a great place. I live in a country with ca ½ of the population foreigners, in a city with 2/3 foreigners. The country has so many cross border commuters. Looking at the figures, the country seems to have faired better than others. This is thanks to good politicians and has nothing to do with the multicultural environment.

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