The Global Boardroom Day Three Summary

2:20 – 2:30 GMT

Opening Remarks Day Three

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2:30 – 2:55 GMT

Keynote Interview

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Republic of Indonesia

Moderator: Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor, Financial Times

COVID had an impact on Indonesia’s economy in the first quarter of 2020, even though the WHO had not yet announced the pandemic

SMI: We were already affected by the stop of tourists from China. Growth declined in the first quarter. This year we predict a deficit of 6.4 per cent, next year we expect 5.7 per cent. In the third and fourth quarter it’s improving, but we will still be negative territory.

SMI: Health spending has increased dramatically, and social spending – because many people were suddenly unemployed, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Some are concerned about the political influence over the central bank of Indonesia. Some proposals seem to lean towards a heavier involvement of political parties with the bank

SMI: We are very mindful about the reputation of Indonesia. When we adopt extraordinary measures we communicate directly with our rating agency and bondholders – explaining exactly what we are agreeing, and why our method of financing is acceptable.

SMI: Since the reform in 2002-03, we adopted a central bank law and they are independent in designing monetary policy. In this extraordinary time the bank and ministry of finance sit together to guide policy to rescue the economy. The government respects the independence of the central bank.

A Biden presidency may make the US-China relationship more predictable

SMI: The US and China are our biggest trading partners, investment partners and we enjoy a good relationship. It’s good if we are going to have a more predictable mechanism of how trade disputes can be settled.

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3:00 – 3:45 GMT

Asia-Pacific Investor Briefing: Investment opportunities in a year of cyclical resets

Sue Brake, Acting Chief Investment Officer, Future Fund

Michael Kelly, Global Head of Multi-Asset, PineBridge Investments

Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive, Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Vivek Pathak, Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Moderator: Leo Lewis, Asia Business Editor, Financial Times

Investor confidence was boosted by government intervention, but there are challenges

HL: In March, the investment market was worried, but we saw extremely strong intervention from governments and central banks. It brings challenges to investors like us: with such high valuation, the uncertainty of direction of the pandemic, very low Treasury yields – how do we best diversify risks and get the best return in this environment?

VP: Tourism has taken a battering. Domestic tourism is going to pick up first – I’ve got friends in Jakarta who are going to Bali already. Some of the better-managed low-cost airlines, you’re going to see their stock price go up over time, as compared to some of the large, all-purpose airlines.

There are opportunities for investment

VP: Demand for infrastructure continues – the gap is close to over $300tn a year for emerging markets. Urbanisation will continue, so you will require housing, facilities, education, entertainment, office space. The subset of opportunity is townships further away from city centres. People have also realised the value of sustainability.

SB: It’s no longer a matter of taking risky assets and putting some defensive assets with them in a 60:40 portfolio. That ballast doesn’t exist any more in terms of bonds. So it’s a matter of thinking more holistically.

Fiscal activism could have broader implications

MK: This type of event is likely to bring about more than a one-time, heat of the moment fiscal activism. Fiscal activism, if deployed broadly, can put at risk the safety asset.

HL: The kind of fiscal activism and monetary coordination supporting the economy was necessary, but it also seems to usher in a sea change of view: that this is something you have to do. If you were not doing enough, you got penalised by the market – you are not forceful enough in rescuing the market.

SB: We are still working through some profound potential changes around moving away from an era of laissez faire governance to much more policy-related approach in different investment areas.

HL: We need to look beyond the investment world, in the sense that what we saw in the past few years since the financial crisis was rapid asset price inflation – it could lead to a different societal impact, and divides between the haves and have nots. That could creep into the political space.

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4:00 – 4:45 GMT

Japan Inc: Can COVID accelerate much anticipated reform in corporate Japan?

Izumi Kobayashi, Director, Mitsui & Co.

Kinya Seto, CEO, LIXIL Group Corporation

Heizo Takenaka, Professor Emeritus, Keio University

Moderator: Robin Harding, Tokyo Bureau Chief, Financial Times

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating some long-awaited reforms of Japanese business. Although the virus has been kept under better control than in many European countries, the economic impact has still been significant. The Prime Minister's proposed reforms for greater digitalisation, productivity improvements and deregulation are all welcome. He seems to be a pragmatic and business-friendly person. I believe he will deliver his reforms and I’m looking forward to them.

KS: COVID was a disaster for all of us, but there have been some blessings in disguise. We are in a relatively conservative industry – housing and construction – so many of our customers demand physical meetings, which our sales people use as an excuse not to work from home. However, because of COVID-19, as early as February, I ordered everybody to work from home. Our people used to be able to meet only two to three customers a day, but with Zoom they can now meet more than 10 customers each day, so they’re more productive.

IK: There has been a big change in Japan’s working style. The top management now accept remote working, whereas previously they had doubts about it. People have reviewed how they live and are asking, why is it necessary to live in the centre of a city? Working from home gives them more time to spend with their families.

HT: In the second quarter of this year, Japan’s GDP growth rate was -20 per cent, the worst on record. At the same time, however, the rate of unemployment did not increase much – from 2.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent, whereas in the US, for example, unemployment rose from 4 per cent to 14 per cent.

The pandemic is forcing many companies to restructure. It is accelerating the process of exiting unprofitable businesses, re-allocating capital and re-assessing where their future lies

KS: It has forced some companies to make changes they should have made a while ago.

IK: The level of business restructuring depends on which industry you are in, and on individual companies. In the financial industry, most banks want to reduce their retail branches and shift clients to remote access. They have faced challenges doing this, but COVID has enabled them to accelerate the process.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, elected in September, is making some structural reforms that will affect Japanese businesses

HT: We are suffering from the COVID crisis, so reactive reforms are needed. At the same time, we need to catch up with digital transformation, so some proactive reforms are needed. The right mixture of reactive and proactive reforms will be important.

HT: Prime Minister Suga proposes to reduce mobile phone prices, the costs of which account for about 5-6 per cent of total household spending, which will be a stimulus to the economy. He has also raised the point that the mobile communications market is an oligopoly with companies enjoying high profits, so wants to improve competition in that market.

KS: His proposed reforms for greater digitalisation, productivity improvements and deregulation are all welcome. He seems to be a pragmatic and business-friendly person. I believe he will deliver his reforms and I’m looking forward to them.

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5:00 – 5:45 GMT

Reigniting Asia’s Infrastructure Plans: What are the priorities now?

Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore

Erik Berglöf, Chief Economist, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Mark Delaney, Chief Investment Officer and Deputy CEO, AustralianSuper

Moderator: Stefania Palma, Singapore Correspondent, Financial Times

The pandemic put a hold on many vital infrastructure plans in Asia. Now, as the immediate threat passes, policy-makers, development banks and investors are looking at projects that will help rebuild national economies

IR: In the short term, the crisis has had an adverse impact on infrastructure activities in Singapore. But we have seen a renewed interest. Healthcare infrastructure has become more important. Sustainable infrastructure and sustainable cities are at the top of people’s minds.

EB: Travel restrictions have limited what we can do in the short term. The worrying thing is the general uncertainty we see in the kind of investments being undertaken. We won’t see a lot of greenfield investment in the near term. The recycling of old assets, brownfield assets, will come round faster.

MD: COVID has impacted infrastructure plans in two ways. First it has really accentuated the structural change towards digital and renewable energy. It’s going to push those things through much faster. The second is that the economic downturn will be met by increasing fiscal programmes, government spending and large infrastructure projects.

Governments and investors are focusing on specific areas, such as healthcare and digitalisation

IR: We have to think about healthcare. We are also looking at sustainable infrastructure, which spans the entire economy and feeds many different sectors.

EB: Since I arrived at the AIIB one month ago, we have had two interesting projects that illustrate what is happening. One is on digital infrastructure in Indonesia, using satellites to provide broadband to about 45 million people. The other is a medical technology project in China.

MD: The crisis has not really changed the way we look at infrastructure projects but it has provided an opportunity to re-look at how projects attract private capital in Asia.

Even though sustainable projects may take longer to deliver financial returns than other forms of investment, there is no difficulty in attracting “green” investment

IR: There has been renewed interest by countries in sustainable infrastructure. It’s something that investors themselves make as pre-conditions for their investment. They are requiring sustainability to be front-and-centre.

EB: The AIIB is committed to having at least 50 per cent of its activities related to projects that address climate change. This is an ambitious goal for us. Multilateral development banks can help channel the vast institutional capital out there looking for sustainable investment.

MD: Infrastructure assets have a lifespan of 50 to over 100 years. So you need to think how things will evolve over a 30-year horizon, and one thing you know for certain is the world is going to de-carbonise.

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6:00 – 6:45 GMT

Investing for Good: Has the pandemic shifted Asian ESG investing further towards social impact?

Heenam Choi, Chairman and CEO, Korea Investment Corporation

Kristian Fok, Chief Investment Officer, Cbus

Suyi Kim, Senior Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific, CPP Investments

Ahmed Saeed, Vice-President, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank

Moderator: Henny Sender, Chief International Finance Correspondent, Financial Times

Being green still remains a top priority for investors

KF: It’s fair to say when you’re confronting challenges around transitioning from a high carbon and fossil fuels type of environment to low carbon, it means both a number of our members are disrupted by that change, but likewise a number of our members are involved in some of the solutions. SK: We think the ESG factor is really important, particularly as a long-term investor. We believe integrating ESG into our investment process is critical in assessing all the risk and opportunities that our investee companies change over our investment horizon. We also call ESG the 21st century business risk. HC: Our investment process is 100 per cent ESG integrated, but KIC’s ESG framework took baby steps compared to other pension funds. KIC started focusing on responsible investment back in 2018. Since then we have become the first investment institution in Korea to start a global ESG fund. AS: I think one of the things that any stress test does, whether it’s an imaginary stress test or a real one like COVID, it does reveal the fault lines, and certainly in emerging markets one of the things we realised as COVID impacted societies is that really severe problems require all three of these actors to mobilise. What’s very, very clear is if you want to get rich, you have to get clean.

COVID-19 has heightened the need for a focus on social issues in the Asian investment landscape

KF: The issue around Rio Tinto, the way that they’ve engaged the indigenous community in our mining and the impact that some of the decisions they had made that impacted some of their sacred sights — and to be honest this is a broader issue — but it coincided with Black Lives Matter. We are representers of our members' money and clearly the community expectations were that this was highly problematic.

SK: This COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need to properly integrate ESG into decision-making processes. For example, we see that the companies' ability to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees and ensure supply chain integrity is crucial for success. We believe addressing climate change in our investment activities really better positions us to make more informed, long-term decisions.

HC: I have been thinking a lot about the connection between COVID-19 and the focus on S, basically the pandemic attacked us where we are most socially vulnerable; our hands, our healthcare system, our jobs and our supply chains.

AS: It is becoming clear that pursuing what is best for society is in your economic interest, it is also clear that your economic interest only captures one subset of what people want.

The current incentives are not strong enough to get governments and the private sector to think long-term

AS: The incentives today aren’t strong enough, and I think the issues begin one step before we get to incentives because it actually begins with the facts. Are we even assembling the data required for those who might have the appropriate incentive to make the right decisions? We need to look backwards to make sure information is available.

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7:00 – 7:45 GMT

TechAsia Live: The rise of Asia's digital ecosystem

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes

Duane Kuang, Founding Managing Partner, Qiming Venture Partners

Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Startups

Yong Ying-I, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore

Moderator: James Kynge, Global China Editor, Financial Times

Global digitisation accelerated by the pandemic has strengthened the tech start-up ecosystem and forced organisations to innovate to serve their customers

KN: Everyone is finding digital ways to be efficient and be productive. All of this is a great boost for any startup or tech company involved in providing digitisation. All of the start-ups are affected in different ways, but what is unexpected is the amount of pivots; so many start-ups have just changed direction very quickly and have found themselves a new landing group.

DK: The impact of the pandemic to the healthcare investment sector is largely positive, but for digital economies; we thought in Q1 this would be a much slower investment year, but it turns out starting from Q2, Q3 things have picked up very rapidly to a point that Qiming’s activity in 2020 is at a higher pace than 2019. COVID did not really slow down the deal activity; it also infused the faster adoption of enterprise software and digitisation in many of the small and medium-sized businesses.

YY: I think the lockdown allowed people to really understand in a deep personal way what digitisation meant. They also saw how the digitally mature companies were able to manage quite well and notwithstanding circuit breakers, we also saw less mature sectors struggling, then they learnt to pivot. In terms of digital transformation, we’ve achieved in weeks what we thought might take years to do.

RA: But as companies always do, we just went back to our core assets; our customers and asked them what they are focused on and what do they need. We saw that leisure travel, especially to vacation homes, would rise and small/medium business travel would continue to hold. We redesigned our entire product and technologies to just these two consumer focus areas. As a result, as we speak, we are only 15 per cent below our pre-COVID gross margins.

A new US administration and hopes for a vaccine are creating a bright future in the Asia tech market

KN: What we are hopeful for is we are entering an era of more collaboration instead of division and from the humanity standpoint, I’m sure most folk would agree with that. Start-ups are laser focused and delivering to customers and stakeholders, and as a fund manager we are just keeping a watchful eye on what will develop, but Southeast Asia continues to be a hot investment area, no matter who is in power.

DK: There are a number of vaccines in various stages of trials in China. Qiming is an investor in one of those. I believe there are tens of thousands of people who have taken the vaccine in early trials. With the vaccine on the horizon, that can only help.

Technology has been a major boost to Southeast Asian economies throughout the crisis period

RA: As soon as Indian lockdown opened up, the Indian economy has been on a rapid improvement path at record sales announcements. Cases are still high, but less than they were previously. The technological investment in our countries allows us to be ready to be one of the biggest new digital economies in the world.

YY: While we continue to warmly welcome international friends and investors into Singapore, we’ve also moved very aggressively to encourage domestic innovation and to build our own capabilities as an innovation hub.

KN: The tech industry is transnational. The geographical boundaries, we have to look beyond them

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8:00 – 8:25 GMT

Keynote Interview

Agustín Carstens, General Manager, Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Moderator: Martin Wolf, CBE, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Central banks’ actions have been extraordinary, but there is still much left to be done

AC: Action managed to prevent an initial shock from transforming into a financial shock. But monetary policy cannot fix everything and forever.

AC: Many programmes were already on the shelf thanks, in part, to the financial crisis, which acted as a trial run. The severity didn’t have to be explained, the conviction to act was there.

AC: Many things are interdependent. In this case, everyone came into sync very quickly and with a hugely broad scope. Emerging markets weren’t abandoned.

Emerging markets were able to take action, which has averted the worst results of the crisis

AC: In previous cases, the policy response wouldn’t necessarily be in line with what emerging markets needed. This time, the actions of developed countries gave a lot of room for emerging markets to act.

AC: Emerging markets had enough room to reduce their rates, as they weren’t facing problems such as depreciation.

Central banks, including the Fed, are right to change the way they think about their inflation objectives

AC: The changes that have been put forward by the Fed are well designed and thought out. The challenge will be in the implementation, and how the markets will respond to the new reactions of the Fed.

AC: Today’s inflationary expectations are impacted by numerous factors, but at the same time it makes sense for the Fed to put these new objectives forward.

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8:30 – 8:55 GMT

Extra Time

Martin Wolf, CBE, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Martin Sandbu, European Economics Commentator, Financial Times

The risks of large stimulus and their consequences are known

MS: It seems there’s a relaxed revolution going on.

MW: I always get worried when there is a consensus among central bankers or any other officials.

MW: The central banks know what to do, so it’s unambiguously clear that this has to be done. As a result we’re helping everybody.

Central banks will run into conflict with governments if a rise in interest rates becomes necessary

MW: If there is a clash with governments, should an interest rate rise suddenly become necessary, then it’s very hard for central banks to win those fights.

MW: Central banks are aiming to maintain their independence by maintaining their credibility with the public at large.

MS: Central banks have to do a good job with that independence. In the financial crisis there was a lot of anger as the results of stimulus packages were not deemed good enough.

Inflation will come back at some point, but central banks are more relaxed about it than the political class

MW: We have now learnt that the connections between expansions for central banks’ balance sheets, the credit system, the economy and inflation are definitely not mechanical. Every step in the mechanical view turns out not to be a joint at all, or to be so loose as to be negligible.

MW: It doesn’t mean inflation won’t come back, it’s a question of how many things have to happen before inflation picks up. Credibility feeds on itself and allows governments and central banks a lot of freedom for maneuver. If they blow their credibility then we could be in Brazil 30 years ago.

MS: Central banks have a lot more power than they have been willing to use in both directions.

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10:00 – 10:45 GMT

Supply Chains: Is COVID-19 hastening the shift to a greater regional reliance?

Benoit Bazin, Chief Operating Officer, Saint-Gobain

Michael Feindt, Founder and Strategic Advisor, Blue Yonder

Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals

Christoph Schmitz, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Moderator: Judith Evans, Consumer Industries Correspondent, Financial Times

Highly localised companies have been able to weather the crisis better, and regionalisation will increase

BB: We have not experienced a significant change, because we’re multi-local and close to customers.

MF: We have to massively increase our capacity to account for uncertainty. It must be seen as the basis of decisions.

CS: Regionalisation was already on its way before COVID.

The balance for businesses will shift towards resilience from profitability in their supply chains

MF: Our intuitive responses are governed by our biases, especially in uncertain times. Decisions have to be calculated methodically.

SK: Supply chain went from a boardroom conversation to a tangible risk.

SK: People have abandoned the thought that there are no geophysical barriers in a globalised world. Governments have given huge incentives to companies to localise more. We have to think where we can bring the new efficiencies back into the system, with a distributed and risk averse supply chain.

CS: The big question will be balancing resilience and profitability costs. Companies need to act on and optimise return on invested capital. Just in time is here to stay.

Evolving supply chains will be more innovative and rely on newer technologies

BB: Being localised means that we have improved agility when responding to customer demands.

SK: A significant amount of the losses to GDP globally have come from losses incurred in the supply chains.

SK: 3D printing will have to be where new supply chains evolve.

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11:15 – 11:35 GMT

Keynote Interview

Lord Darroch of Kew, Former British Ambassador to the US

Moderator: George Parker, Political Editor, Financial Times

Trump’s next moves are predictable

LDK: Trump will never concede. I doubt he’ll even turn up to the inauguration, which wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

LDK: He’s famous for creating an alternative reality, but I wonder how much he believes it’s been stolen against creating a narrative for his supporters for a revenge campaign in 2024. There is a precedent for non-consecutive two terms.

Biden on Europe

LDK: Biden will wish to return to more classic relations with Europe, especially NATO and restating US commitment to Article 5, where an attack on one is an attack on all.

The special relationship

LDK: The order of phone calls is one of those things that doesn’t matter, until it matters. It only matters when it doesn’t happen.

LDK: There are areas where the US will want to work with the UK, and where we matter. But if we end up with a No Deal Brexit, or amends to the Market Bill, we can forget about a free trade deal.

LDK: President-elect Biden, not the Prime Minister, raised the Good Friday Agreement. Joe Biden’s Irish roots are very important to him. It was better news than expected, but not unalloyed good news for the Prime Minister.

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12:00 – 12:25 GMT

Keynote Interview

John C. Williams, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Moderator: Gillian Tett, Chair, Editorial Board, and Editor-at-large, US, Financial Times

Should people be worried about inflation?

JW: The economy is on a positive trajectory. That said, the large rise in COVID cases recently puts a question mark on the economy’s ability to weather this period. I would expect the growth in the fourth quarter and early next year to slow somewhat.

JW: I feel relatively positive about how the economy is evolving. Things are looking better but the economy took an enormous hit. The real issue we are going to be dealing with is inflation a little bit lower than we want over the next few years.

JW: The goal is to have low and stable inflation at around 2 per cent. The basic principle is that if you on average over long periods of time have inflation around 2 per cent then that’s what people will expect in future, so we have to take actions consistent with that.

Chairman Powell has announced that the Fed will join the network for greening the financial system

JW: To me this is a natural progression in thinking about standard financial regulation and understanding the broader risks to the financial system.

JW: We don’t yet have good data and metrics around climate risk, so that needs to be an early component of progress on this work.

Cash is unlikely disappear

JW: The vast majority of payments are already digital. Digital currencies are getting a lot of attention. There are reasons people like to hold paper currency – so we will probably be in a world with multiple types of payment.

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12:30 – 12:55 GMT

Extra Time

Gillian Tett, Chair, Editorial Board, and Editor-at-large, US, Financial Times

Laura Noonan, US Banking Editor, Financial Times

The Fed is facing more uncertainty in the next year or two than it has faced in a very long time

GT: Pledging to be time dependent [with rates], rather than data dependent, leaves you at the hostage of fortune. If we do get a strong recovery, I think it’s kind of nuts to give everyone free money or even negative rates for a period of time. I suspect we will see more and more wiggle room in the coming months if we get a stronger recovery.

Climate risk is likely to become a bigger priority

GT: I would guess that the moment we get President-elect Biden installed in the White House and rejoining the Paris agreement, we will see pretty rapid action.

GT: Big banks are for the most part already trying to embed climate change issues into their stress testing and scenario planning, but they need to catch up with their European rivals.

Regulators need to build bridges across the whole financial ecosystem

GT: When financial regulation is discussed, it’s all to do with backward-looking questions, mortgages, big banks. With fintech you have the geeks who understand neural networks – a very complex area – but who don’t for the most part look at issues like credit policy. That’s true inside banks; it is doubly true inside regulators.

A financial system addicted to negative real rates is a danger to the economy

GT: I would question whether ultra loose monetary policy, and indicating that you will keep negative rates for the next two years is giving a green light to financial markets and financiers to create all kinds of deeply funky structures.

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13:00 – 13:45 GMT

Racial Diversity in the Workplace: Closing the gap between rhetoric and reality

Ursula Burns, Former Chairman and CEO, Xerox; Senior Advisor, Teneo

Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines

Moderator: Aimee Keane, Acting Head of Audio, Financial Times

Without leadership from the US Government after George Floyd’s death in May, business stepped up

EB: With systemic racism, as leaders we started to ask ourselves, what does that really mean? We are not in a time where we can look to our government for all the answers.

UB: In May, businesses had to communicate what they thought they could do in a positive way. What the George Floyd case did was emphasise what we already knew for decades.

Improving racial diversity requires leadership from the top

UB: We started an alliance to call for companies to have one black or brown person on every board. To try to take advantage of this awakening to change the way we have been managing the world.

EB: Everyone needs to be given the same opportunity, but when you look at the facts you see that it’s not happening. Public accountability is bigger than making this a financial target. You don’t want to feel like this is a quota.

EB: If I’m not making my own people a bit uncomfortable on this topic, I’m not doing my job. I am learning just how personal this is. And because it’s changing me, it’s changing our company.

Attracting and retaining diverse talent requires affirmative action

UB: Identification of talent is an activity. You have to literally go looking, to get out there. Particularly middle managers – it’s a responsibility of leadership across the company. Then you have to have programmes to nurture talent, to have an infrastructure that allows growth.

EB: We make sure all our hiring slates are diverse – that managers are required to consider diversity.

UB: In the past what we have done with white and male being the source of excellence only, we have left three quarters of the world to the side of the road. These old habits, these old practices, this old sense of supremacy is going to fail us if we don’t change.

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14:00 – 14:45 GMT

Will COVID Redefine the Future of Global Banking?

TS Anil, CEO, Monzo

Onur Genç, CEO, BBVA Group

Elke König, Chair, Single Resolution Board (SRB)

Jeremy Palmer, CEO, QuantumBlack, a McKinsey Company

Moderator: Laura Noonan, US Banking Editor, Financial Times

Some observers believe 2020 will go down as a watershed year for banks, others think not

EK: I don’t think it is a watershed moment for banks. During this very strange time, banks are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Banks have so far coped well. Of course there are challenges and no doubt non-performing loans will rise in this crisis. But there are positive effects, with banks leapfrogging into digitalisation and making efficiency gains.

OG: I don’t see a complete change in banking, but I do see an acceleration of what’s already been happening, such as the move to digital channels. If you take the third quarter of 2019 versus the third quarter of 2020, we have seen interactions in our mobile app – financial and non-financial transactions – grow five times.

TA: For banks like Monzo, we began life as all-digital, so the new normal has always been normal for us. A line that is being bandied around is that COVID-19 is the chief transformation officer for most banks as it has created the impetus for change.

JP: [The COVID-19 crisis] is not a watershed moment for banks compared with other crises, but the acceleration of all of the trends that have been happening is massive. At the heart of everything is customer centricity and how we are going to respond to customer needs, which have changed during this period.

Customer behaviour has changed during the pandemic with a big increase in the use of digital channels and a decline in branch visits. In many cases these changes will not be reversed

OG: A good part of these changes are here to stay. Customers like the status quo, but once they adopt a new behaviour it is tough to change them back.

EK: Branch networks have been shrinking for years. I have heard talk that up to 50 per cent of branches will stay permanently closed.

TA: As a branchless bank, we fulfil all our customer needs through the Monzo app and we have seen how remote access has been invaluable to our close-to-5 million customers through this pandemic.

JP: The trick to being more customer centric is to determine who is more digitally savvy than others and then give people the services that are right for them.

The big, well-established banks could lose market share to smaller, newer banks because of the digital revolution

EK: If smaller banks deliver a better service then customers might move to them, but let’s be honest – customers are very sticky. I expect that customers will probably stick to their banks to a large extent, but the younger generation might be more likely to move.

TA: In the last year Monzo has continued to grow organically, without spending anything on paid marketing, at a really rapid pace. But it’s not so much about incumbent banks versus new banks – the differentiator is going to be the quality of what is being offered to customers.

OG: You can develop trust without face-to-face contact with customers, using video. But you have to spend time on it. People are stressed about money and if you can help them, even if you don’t see them face to face, through a mobile app, to manage their finances, then you establish trust.

JP: People have needed help in the crisis, and when banks help them it builds trust. For example, banks contact customers to warn them they are about to go into overdraft at penal rates. The banks are giving up short-term income, but they are massively increasing the trust in the relationship. To do that, they have to understand at a granular level the situation of every customer. So I believe trust can be even greater if you are in a data-driven operating model, whatever channel you’re using.

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15:00 – 15:45 GMT

Tech’s Big Moment: Have new forms of infrastructure become critical to business recovery?

Marina Bellini, Management Board Member and Director of Digital & Information, BAT

Jennifer Rigby, Chief Operating Officer, Lloyd's

Paul Scanlan, Chief Technology Officer, Huawei

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO, NHS Digital

Moderator: Malcolm Moore, Technology News Editor, Financial Times

New technologies will be critical to business recovery as we come out of the pandemic

SW: There is now a greater use and a broader understanding of data, and the health system is much more efficient at data sharing. We have also found better ways to present data. There’s much more visualisation of data, which you can see on the NHS website.

MB: There are many technologies that have been accelerated in the last few months. But if there’s one lasting impact of the pandemic on how organisations use technology it is how they now embrace “agile”. They don’t think about it any more – it’s just the way to do business.

PS: We have always been preaching DevOps, fail-fast, and prototyping, but everyone’s been scared to do it. It has taken a global crisis for people to change their mind-set and say, we have no choice – we can’t travel so we have found new ways to work.

JR: Technology is so important in terms of keeping people connected. We are a face-to-face market, so what happens when you are then forcibly physically distanced? We have put a lot of effort into modernisation and digitisation and it’s a continued focus.

There will be more automation which will make people’s jobs easier and more efficient

PS: Every company I talk to is automating and that will continue.

SW: Risk appetite needs to be viewed differently so we can build systems and fail-fast and fix on the way as we are running stuff in line. We have done a huge amount of that in the last nine months than we had done previously.

MB: Some people fear that automation might take away their jobs. But they need to realise that technology complements their jobs.

More people will continue to work from home supported by the technology we now have

JR: We are seeing colleagues thinking differently about their physical working environment, the technology and tools they use, how they structure their roles, what works virtually and what would benefit from face-to-face interaction.

SW: Within NHS Digital we suddenly found two big shifts. The first was distance, because everyone started working from different places. The second was that many people had caring responsibilities and struggled with home schooling and goodness knows what else.

PS: Until the pandemic I had never worked from home. I travelled around the world meeting people. But we now pack more into a day. I certainly do things differently. Everybody is having a meal with their family every single day, and we have become more efficient. It shows that technology augments, rather than replaces, jobs.

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16:00 – 16:45 GMT

Geopolitics: What impact will the US election have on a world already battered by the pandemic?

Philip Gordon, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Philip Hammond, Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary

Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution

Moderator: Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times

The results of the election aren’t really in dispute, Biden will enter the White House

PH: Biden/Harris are likely to get around 306 Electoral Votes, as Trump received in 2016, which he characterised as a landslide.

PH: It is still deeply discouraging that Trump is refusing to accept the result. He’s setting himself up for the next four years.

CS: European capitals have been quite swift to acknowledge their relief at the change in the US, which has included Number 10.

We can’t go back to where we were four years ago, but foreign policy will be refocused

PH: Dealing with the Biden administration is going to be a foretaste of what leaving the European Union really means.

PG: Biden’s view is that for 70 years the US benefits from general stability in the world, and the path to exploiting that advantage is in building alliances.

PG: Let’s not be naive. The glory days never existed. But it will be different to the past four years.

CS: We have to live with the reality of a fragile great power, run by men with fragile egos to the east of the European landmass. That’s an issue that is best not captured in facile binaries. The same is true of China.

CS: The rise of populism and illiberalism is a testament to the fact that people have lost confidence in the ability of democracies to provide the best governance and to solve problems. We always thought that democracies were self-repairing, but we have permitted it to backslide. We have undermined ourselves.

CS: Europeans understand perfectly well that Biden is not able to govern as a restorationist.

Partnerships with the US will have a greater cost than before, or Biden will fail

PH: I don’t think there is any contradiction between an America First policy and America Engaged policy. America has always benefited enormously in power, influence and commercial success from its leadership of the free world.

PH: An alliance of democracies sounds attractive, but we also have to work with partners that are not democracies. As an independent, medium-sized nation, we have to make sure we aren’t coerced with partners like China, which we have to have a relationship with.

PG: With partnerships, come expectations. Trump wasn’t elected out of nowhere; Americans believe they aren’t getting enough out of their partnerships. There is still a strong appeal to being tough on allies. That includes tough issues like China.

CS: Germans have been energetic recently because they too have read the numbers and realise that they could only have a few years of this approach before Biden potentially loses more ground.

CS: The mood in Berlin has changed towards Huawei and on the Russian pipeline project, and that’s because of Chinese and Russian behaviour.

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17:00 – 17:45 GMT

Scoreboard Live: How is COVID transforming the business of sports?

Paolo Dal Pino, Chairman, Serie A

Timothy Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group

Susan Whelan, Chief Executive Officer, Leicester City FC

Patrick Hogan, Chief Commercial Officer, Honeywell Building Technologies

Moderator: Murad Ahmed, Sports Editor, Financial Times

The pandemic has impacted the sporting world in every way possible

SW: It is clearly the biggest challenge of our generation. The biggest lesson is the interdependence of us as a club and the fans, the regulatory process of re-establishing play behind closed doors, but nothing replaces the gap that is the fan and their participation and all of these occasions, the most dramatic fans. One positive; the good side of nature has prevailed, lots of sporting organisations have stepped up to the mark and become a great frame of reference and familiarity to the fans.

PH: I would say we’ve never been so close to our customers, looking for a way to kick start their business. We’ve changed and pivoted and our customers have given us great new ways to connect with them.

TL: So we haven't laid anyone off because we believe at the end of day there is an enormous amount of work, this is a temporary situation and we'd like to hit the ground running when the world returns to sport. What we are focused on now is if the pandemic becomes an epidemic, how do we operate stadiums and arenas in an epidemic world instead of a pandemic world?

PDP: We had to stop playing football in March. It has had a tremendous impact on our financials, we count €600 million of revenue lost due to COVID; some €400 million lost due to ticketing and €200 million to lack of sponsors.

Much like other areas of business, sports organisations have had to innovate and rethink their business models throughout the crisis

PDP: COVID was an opportunity to rethink our business model. It is quite difficult to rethink when things are going well, and in tough times like the ones we were facing, we started to rethink. Even without COVID, it was necessary for Serie A legacy to rethink our business model and how?

SW: I think regular review and analysis of governance and structure is healthy and it's a responsible approach for any organisation. Before Big Picture arose and before the pandemic, all clubs of the Premier League had committed to the strategic review to ensure the Premier League remained the most competitive and compelling league in the world. Really positive has been that reaffirmation and commitment from those 20 clubs. I believe in the structure of 1 club, 1 vote — it really adds to the whole dynamic.

TL: Four billion dollars’ worth of investment — when you have that commitment, you have to believe in the positive. It's grounded in good business decisions, this is the best time to be investing, money has never been this cheap.

PH: For players, how do I know if it's safe to return to the training centre, then it's about if I'm a spectator can I return to the stadium and return home to my loved ones after? What are the things people are worried about and how can we aid this?

Bringing fans back into the stadiums is on the horizon, but the right precautions must be put in place first

SW: I can’t speak for other clubs, we are fortunate our parent company can support us. We always run the club as a business and always reinvested in it. The vaccine is fantastic news; it's going to take a bit of time until it trickles down. I think there will be a confidence issue for the first few months. I think behind the scenes, most clubs are doing a huge amount for accessibility and sanitation, but it is going to take a bit of education to make people feel secure. We need to take it step by step. It is essential for clubs and the economics of clubs, but I still think it is a couple of months away.

PDP: We are losing revenue and it is affecting the finances of the clubs and we are already in a difficult situation. We pushed a lot to open the doors of stadiums within minimum quantity. We need to come up with innovation and we can’t talk alone as Serie A or Premier League; the whole sport has to think together.

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18:00 – 18:45 GMT

Retail: How will COVID-19 accelerate transformation?

Lori Coulter, Co-Founder and CEO, Summersalt

Thierry Garnier, CEO, Kingfisher

Sajal Kohli, Senior Partner, McKinsey

Rachel Shechtman, Founder, STORY

Moderator: Jonathan Eley, Retail Correspondent, Financial Times

Both bricks and mortar stores and online retailers have felt the impact of the pandemic and the change in consumer spending

TG: Before the pandemic started, we were in fact about 7 per cent online sales — we achieved 19 per cent during H1, reaching over 1.5m orders a week, a massive change. Our key is to be really focused on click ‘n’ collect and store picking. Already before the crisis, we had decided for Kingfisher to focus on speed, click ‘n’ collect and store picking. We started this plan before the crisis and accelerated during th COVID crisis. These were the solutions that supported our operation.

LC: What's interesting about Summersault is that we are 100 per cent online. We were not dealing with legacy or store infrastructure issues, but certainly by March 12, we saw a demand shock and we went immediately to a conservative plan. We focused on community and messaging with the customer, building trust as a digital brand, supporting our community through a very difficult time. We created a platform for consumers to reach out to us and we found that incredibly uplifting. It wasn’t necessarily a commerce-driving initiative.

RS: Now you have this brick ‘n’ mortar retail store creating new revenue schemes with really high margins being approached by Apple and Walmart. What’s amazing is what was an interim strategy to COVID has now reframed the company strategy moving forward.

SK: Folks who actually dealt with the pandemic have been the ones who embraced the flight to online, consumer spending habits have changed in a seminal way. The shift to online is very sticky. They have really reasserted their loyal customer base. Folks with good balance sheets have stepped up their investment. You need to fundamentally re-evaluate the role of the store — is it an experience? Is it a click ‘n’ collect centre?

A vaccine will only strengthen prospects for 2021

LC: Q4 here in the US will look different to any other Q4. That means even on Thanksgiving there's going to be a struggle for the consumer to be together. The Summersault consumer has been less affected economically, and is still purchasing.

TG: How I see it is more how we can handle the changes, instead of having a plan. The important thing is being agile. I think that at Kingfisher we are getting more comfortable with uncertainty and that is the main thing I would like to do over 2021.

COVID has presented new opportunities for innovation but larger retail organisations will struggle to innovate at the same speed as smaller digi-native companies

RS: I think having worked in a startup environment, then worked for a big public company, it's hard because it really imagines where you sit in the scheme of things. I think it's hard being a public company and saying what we are focusing on forward thinking strategies. I think we will find innovation from B2C brands.

SK: I’m amazed at how large retail organisations have pivoted their operating models. I think folks are obsessing about how to break the back of the economics of online. Going forward, the basis of competition in retail has shifted, there will be a move away from products and price and towards experience. Building a relationship with the consumer will move from a physical one to a digital one.

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19:00 – 19:45 GMT

It Takes a Crisis: Accelerating US healthcare reform and innovation

Steven Corwin, President and CEO, New York Presbyterian Hospital

Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor-in-chief, Kaiser Health News

Roy Schoenberg, President and CEO, Amwell

Moderator: Hannah Kuchler, US Pharma and Biotech Correspondent, Financial Times

HK The US healthcare system was suffering from major deficiencies when the COVID-19 crisis hit

ER: We should first acknowledge that when COVID hit our hospitals, doctors and nurses were truly heroic. But the system is bad. It is expensive and inefficient. Patients are left with inscrutable bills and insurance statements.

SC: When the crisis hit, we saw healthcare at its best and we also saw a lot of the weaknesses. We are very conscious of the iniquities in access to care.

Telehealth – the online provision of doctor consultations and other healthcare services – has increased during the pandemic

IS: Last year in the US only 8 per cent of the population tried telehealth. This year, with COVID, 22 per cent of the population have tried it, which is still not enough.

SC: Prior to the pandemic, about 3 per cent of our visits were telehealth. During the pandemic over 90 per cent of our visits were telehealth, because that was the only way we could provide care.

ER: I have benefited tremendously from telehealth personally. We have to define what is telehealth and when it should be billed for and for how much. My great fear is that the promise will be lost in its misuse.

IS: Telehealth means different things for different people. For the past decade or so it was a call centre in the cloud that replaced your doctor, but we would much rather go to the doctor. It was cheap and served a purpose. Then telehealth became video conferencing between the doctor and the patient, but only solved a narrow problem, which is distance. Now, telehealth is an opportunity to completely re-think how healthcare is provided, from scratch.

The outcome of the presidential election will have an impact on healthcare

ER: Obamacare will persist, but we still have really high prices even with Obamacare and the premiums are unaffordable for many patients.

SC: There is little appetite for Medicare for all. Even if the Senate was 50-50, the conservative democratic senators would not go for it

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20:00 – 20:45 GMT

The Future of Education after COVID: How will online and e-learning continue to evolve?

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera

Stephanie Marken, Executive Director of Education Research, Gallup

Heather E. McGowan, Future-of-work Strategist

Moderator: Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times

The education sector has been massively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis

SG: COVID-19 has been a big game changer in many sectors, including education. It has been the biggest interruption to education in history, raising the risk of major learning loss. But there have been some positive outcomes from the crisis, in particular a new kind of international solidarity and partnership and a new kind of alliance with the private sector.

JM: As many people say, COVID has accelerated many of the trends that were already happening. Online learning and remote working are both in full force. In both cases, for education and for work, we will not go back to where we were before.

SM: There has been a transition in attitudes to online education. People used to assume online education was inexpensive and lower quality. But now, through this experience, we have demystified what online education is. It’s not necessarily lower quality, just distant.

HM: We are in the middle of a forced social experiment. A lot of people surprised themselves at how adaptive they are. My only concern is that we are still focusing on codifying and transferring predetermined skills and existing knowledge, and the world is moving way too fast. The World Economic Forum just said that in the next four years we are going to need to re-skill 50 per cent of our workforce.

There will be a focus on rebuilding the education sector when the pandemic is over

SG: Inclusion must remain a key word when looking beyond the pandemic when we rebuild the system of knowledge and how we teach.

JM: Life-long learning is with us for good because individuals will be forced to do this if they want to remain relevant in the job market.

SM: When we interview US adults on their attitude to higher education, we hear a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about it being the pathway to a better job and a better life. There is universal agreement on that.

There is pricing pressure on universities and colleges

HM: Before COVID, 25 per cent of our universities were in some form of financial distress. So it’s going to accelerate the reshaping of those universities. The ones that are not sustainable are not going to exist and new ones will emerge.

JM: Universities have demonstrated they are willing to put out high-quality education at low cost.

20:45 – 21:00 GMT

Closing Remarks Final Day

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Sessions will soon be available on-demand should you wish to revisit any of our speakers’ fascinating insights.