The Global Boardroom Day Two Summary

3:20 – 3:30 GMT

Opening Remarks Day Two

Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor, Financial Times

With a Biden presidency, we are likely to see a recommitment to Asia

JA: We’re likely to see a much more traditional approach to US foreign policy, and to see the US working closer with her allies, including Japan, Taiwan and others.

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3:30 – 3:55 GMT

Keynote Interview

Raghuram Rajan, Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

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

The influence of the US dollar will continue for now, though there is interest in alternatives

RR: The Federal Reserve takes its role as the lead central bank in the world seriously, but it can’t internalise all the effects its policy has. Emerging markets have to react and adapt, as it’s not always conducted with their interests in mind.

RR: It would be unfair to blame Trump only for the weaponisation of the dollar, as some of these ideas came out of the global financial crisis. A number of countries are looking for alternatives.

RR: People need a lot more confidence in the sanctity of their assets before they’ll move from the dollar to the renminbi. If China’s interested, it could build up confidence in the currency.

We can’t get an accurate picture of economic health from stock markets

RR: The stock market represents only a fraction of the companies in a country. Many indices are skewed towards certain sectors, like big tech in the US. What it doesn’t capture is what’s going on in the real economy.

RR: Tech giants have passed on some price benefits. Is anybody dissatisfied with the Search function of Google? They are still making a tonne of money, but would that money be passed on if there was more competition in Search?

Fixing growing inequality is a fiscal problem that requires the political willpower to reform

RR: Central banks don’t see growing inequality as something they’ve done, or something they’re responsible for. They see it as a fiscal problem.

RR: India didn’t have the fiscal space to protect its economy. It entered this crisis with a fragile financial sector. My hope is that Indians admit that they haven’t done much on reforms. Hopefully, India will embrace new reforms on labour and agriculture, driven from the centre and from the States. If it can do that, it may be the silver lining from this crisis.

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4:00 – 4:45 GMT

China after the US Election: Where now for globalism?

Michael Pettis, Professor of Finance, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University

Hera Siu, Former CEO, CISCO Greater China

Tao Wang, Chief China Economist, Head of Asia Economics, UBS

Moderator: Yuan Yang, Beijing Correspondent, Financial Times

China’s economic difficulties will continue to stem from its growth engine

MP: China relies very heavily on a rapid increase on the debt burden to keep growing.

TW: China has tried to change the internal investing model, reducing reliance on exports over the last 8-10 years. What is new in the recent strategy is tech self-reliance.

TW: If you want to reduce debt, then you have to sacrifice growth. The Chinese government will probably have to let go of headline growth and shift to more quality growth, focused around standard of living improvements and clean air.

HS: Countries are asserting control over the net and that’s leading to the splinternet, where multiple countries have separate networks. This will be much more inefficient than we’re used to. Technology will make or break globalism.

China has a consumption problem, however the panel disagreed as to how much of an issue this is

MP: When you look at it systematically, the arithmetic is pretty dire. The relative share between households has to triple before it becomes a normal country in terms of consumption. This is a political problem that there is no precedent for resolving.

TW: Our estimate of current consumption share is actually closer to 60 per cent. Housing ownership in China is very high.

TW: Household income needs to rise, but there is a way to decrease excess savings, mostly by improving safety nets so that consumers don’t feel the need to be so cautious.

What is the outlook for multinationals in China?

HS: China will remain open to foreign investment. But the Chinese government is becoming very selective about which industries are encouraged and which are not.

TW: Restrictions will only tighten for digital companies, especially as China seeks greater self reliance.

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5:00 – 5:45 GMT

Asia Financial Centres: Adjusting to new realities

Jini Lee, Head of Region, Asia, Ashurst

Hiroshi Nakaso, Chairman, FinCity.Tokyo

Tan Boon Gin, CEO, Singapore Exchange Regulation

Moderator: Leo Lewis, Asia Business Editor, Financial Times

Months of protests in Hong Kong and the Chinese government’s new securities laws there mean that Hong Kong could be losing ground to other financial centres in the region, such as Singapore and Tokyo

JL: The scenes of protest broadcast live around the world have had a serious impact on how people view the relative safety and stability of Hong Kong. Businesses and people need to reassess whether the reasons that brought them to Hong Kong still apply. But if your interest is with mainland China I still believe Hong Kong is the only place to be.

HN: Things seem to be changing in Hong Kong. I don’t want to take advantage of the situation by proactively pulling financial firms out of Hong Kong to Tokyo, but we are happy to host those who decide to come to Tokyo to provide them with a stable business environment.

TBG: Companies looking to go to Hong Kong should always ask themselves the question why they want to be there. Is it because they want to do business with mainland China? They must choose the market that’s best for them.

JL: Memories of SARS remain. It was a haunting time (17 years ago). We didn’t have the technology then that is available to us now. In Hong Kong (during the COVID pandemic) this has drummed in the need for resilience, the need for a plan B and to quickly pivot when things are going wrong.

Singapore is an attractive place for foreign companies to raise capital

TBG: Singapore’s strength (for equity issuers and investors) is in new plays like REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). Now we are beginning to see interest in growth stocks and we have just listed our first home-growth tech unicorn.

TBG: Our value proposition as a futures exchange is that we offer the entire range of Asian contracts.

Tokyo has a different financial mode from Singapore and Hong Kong

HN: Hong Kong is very competitive as a gateway to Mainland China. Singapore is an important international financial hub. Japan has a different financial centre model and this has become clearer during the COVID crisis. We aim to attract not only foreign IPOs, but we also offer global investors and asset managers plenty of untapped business opportunities that reflect Japan’s specific demands. We have the industry base and we have the money.

HN: The corporate governance code and the stewardship code have strengthened transparency and governance among listed companies in a significant manner. They have been warmly embraced by both domestic and foreign financial institutions and investors.

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6:00 – 6:45 GMT

India: Can the government execute vital structural reform to rebuild the economy?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Economist, Former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India

Naveen Jindal, Chairman, Jindal Steel & Power

Ameera Shah, Managing Director, Metropolis Healthcare

Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall

Moderator: Amy Kazmin, South Asia Bureau Chief, Financial Times

In March, India’s prime minister imposed one of world’s most stringent coronavirus lockdowns at short notice. Within four hours 1.4bn people were ordered not to leave their homes except for food and medical care, and this has hit the economy hard

MSA: We are battling the coronavirus pandemic and a negative set of developments on the economic front. The economy is inching back, but for the year as a whole (2020) it looks to me we are set for a negative growth rate of between 9 and 10 per cent of GDP.

NF: The economic slowdown before the pandemic was a reflection of an investment slowdown. We have seen relatively low investment over the last eight years.

The government passed some important economic reforms in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

NF: Both reforms were welcome. The labour reform was worked on between industry, government and unions over the last three or four years and was put together with a lot of thought and deliberation. The agricultural reforms were to some extent rushed through parliament without as much discussion across the political spectrum as one would have liked to have seen. Both reforms depend a lot on what each state will do.

NJ: As far as the labour reforms go, they are mostly for the welfare of the workers. That’s a welcome step, if we are going to be paying them higher minimum wages and better maternity benefits for women.

India is a good place for business start ups, with huge pent-up demand

AS: There is a lot of capital swishing around the world and a lot of it is coming to India. The reason it is coming to India is because we have a young population that has the ability to consume and grow.

AS: In the start-up ecosystem there are a lot of younger people who aspire to set up businesses. The spirit of innovation is increasing. That’s an exciting thing.

AS: As far as ease of doing business, some things have got easier and some continue to remain hard.

NJ: India has produced millions of entrepreneurs. Indian people are extremely entrepreneurial. But I feel that we don’t really nurture the entrepreneurial spirit. We have 1.4 bn people with huge unmet needs, so there is huge potential.

Political tensions between India and China remain following this year’s Himalayan border clash and there could be serious economic consequences

MSA: The border tensions are clearly a major deterioration in political relations between the countries. Whenever that happens it always spills over into other areas. I would hope that some way is found to minimise this tension so we don’t enter into a clash on the economic side.

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8:00 – 8:25 GMT

Keynote Interview

Andrew Bailey, Governor, Bank of England

Moderator: Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times

The latest GDP figures for Q3 in the UK show there was growth of 15.5 per cent, but the economy is still nearly 10 per cent smaller than it was at the end of last year

AB: That 10 per cent figure is in line where we thought it would be. That’s a huge gap. The recovery has been very uneven, and that’s no great surprise.

The announcement by Pfizer and BioNTech of a COVID-19 vaccine is a boost for public confidence

AB: It’s encouraging news for individuals, businesses and the economy. We have to be cautious because there is a question about production and distribution of the vaccine.

The Bank of England in its last meeting agreed to another £150bn of quantitative easing to support the economy in 2021

AB: What we are actually doing is buying one set of assets which are less liquid, less immediately usable, and substituting them for cash, which is more easily usable in consumption and investment in the economy. So, we are creating liquidity in the economy through the injection of central bank reserves, in return for us taking what is mainly government debt out of the stock of assets in the economy and putting them on our balance sheet.

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8:30 – 8:55 GMT

Extra Time

Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times

Patrick Jenkins, Deputy Editor, Financial Times

The UK’s latest GDP figures were published today, showing the economy grew by 15.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year, a record rise – but the economy is still nearly 10 per cent smaller than at the end of last year

PJ: The GDP numbers out today are mildly disappointing but the Bank of England governor was more upbeat about the economic outlook, especially in light of a potential vaccine.

CG: Yes, he was more upbeat than he might have been for a central banker. He said it was encouraging news but was cautious about it in the short term.

The Bank of England takes a different approach to quantitative easing than the ECB and the Fed

CG: Unlike other central banks, such as the ECB and the Fed, which talk about how much money they are going to print on a monthly basis, on a rolling programme, the Bank of England has always liked to do it in “stop” terms – and then another dollop every half year or so.

Negative interest rates in the UK are unlikely

PJ: The governor was “buttoned up” about the prospect of negative interest rates.

CG: The BoE made a big communications error in September when it gave the impression interest rates might go negative. In the minutes of the September meeting there was a paragraph which said it was carrying out a technical consultation with banks and other financial institutions to see if they could implement negative rates, if ever there was a case for them. Everyone took it as a signal that they were going to impose them in the new year after the review was completed. That was never the intention.

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9:00 – 9:45 GMT

Africa after Lockdown: Turning crisis into new momentum

Aubrey Hruby, Co-Founder of Insider, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Donald Kaberuka, African Union Special Envoy on COVID-19, and Chair, The Global Fund

Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

Moderator: David Pilling, Africa Editor, Financial Times

Ethiopia, Africa’s most promising economic success story, is descending into a major civil crisis

DK: In such a crisis, it’s a major setback. I hope that peace can be given a chance, Ethiopia was one of the fastest growing countries in Africa. It was starting to be in the process of not just economic growth but economic transformation.

AH: The economic consequences would be great for the African growth story; it's a situation that is rapidly unfolding. It's got the concern of the continent and major players who are looking to try and find a way to de-escalate. African growth is neither linear nor smooth.

SZ: Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the continent. We know that they all want the same thing for their people but they are looking at it from different lenses. What is important is we have real challenges in the content, a growing population in need of new jobs. I think they will come to terms and reach some sort of agreement to try and see it from the same perspective.

The prospect of a new US administration could create new opportunities for trade

SZ: For us as Africans, we have our development agenda, we have our challenges and we are looking for partners all over the world to deal with these challenges. We have skewed relationships in trade with the rest of the world and we are hoping that will change. We are expecting our first recession this year. We think it is important to use this opportunity to change our trade with the rest of the world.

SZ: We hope the Biden administration will consider a more comprehensive plan around the challenges of the continent. We need growth and Africa could be that engine of growth. We have to make the continent attractive for investment.

DK: We as Africans are prepared with whoever the Americans elect as their leader. I do hope going forward, we learn that Africa is probably part of what the global economy needs to recover from this.

DK: Democracy is nationally driven, it is grown from the culture and the history of the country, I supposed the Americans are going through this challenge.

AH: The view is a Biden presidency would be a return of normalcy; we’ve had four years of waking up to tweets, not really knowing about policy. It seems to be a final exhale from Washington.

AH: Africa has a choice to make. Multilateralism will spill into a change of tone for Africa policy — that change of tone hopefully to something of respect and dignity. Africa policy is one of those rare areas of bipartisanship.

Many years of exceptional growth is being threatened by the pandemic

SZ: Africa is 54 countries, so every country will have to look at what works for it. We are fortunate we have not seen as much infection as the rest of the world. People here have not been as severely impacted. Most of Africa has opened up to some extent. Most institutions have continued to work from home, but have allowed people to go to the office. Africa has a large informal economy; it is the informal economy that works from home.

DK: The last 30 years have been exceptional in African economic history. Economic growth exceeded the demographic growth. What we are living through now is a major setback. Beyond that, it is a threat to the ambitions of the future. People keep saying Africa has not been affected, but they probably overlook things. Governments took very radical measures, stopping international travel, stopping intercity travel, and lockdowns. That kind of radical solution delivered a better outcome in the pandemic.

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10:00 – 10:45 GMT

Europe after the Pandemic: Is greater EU integration inevitable?

Nadia Calviño, Vice President and Minister for Economy and Digitalisation, Spain

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, European Commission

Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance, Luxembourg

Dario Scannapieco, Vice President, European Investment Bank

Moderator: Ben Hall, Europe Editor, Financial Times

Although fears of a second wave still loom, Europe is optimistic that it is better prepared than in March

PGe: It is deeply affected, but I still think we are able to work and to fight at European level and in the member states to avoid a real double-dip recession, so for sure the recovery was interrupted somewhere between September and October. We will have near to zero fourth quarter on average after a very good third quarter in most European countries, but I have to say the impact of this second wave could be slightly less terrible in economic terms.

PG: Is deeper integration inevitable? Well, we have proven once again, like has been the case a lot in European history, that when it comes to dire straits and to very difficult situations, Europe can find an answer. Very astonishingly, this time the answer came from finance ministers. It is good if we have more solidarity in Europe. I deeply believe more integration will help us more and benefit us all.

NC: We had a very strong rebound in the third quarter, and this quarter was by no means normal in Spain. We had no international tourism, and nevertheless we had very strong growth in the third quarter. So far, the labour market is still in a dynamic situation, so actually our unemployment is going to be much below our worst worries when the pandemic hit us. I think the example of Spain can give some ground that we are able to control the pandemic. The situation is quite stable on the health front, and we have been able to control it without having a lockdown in the spring.

DS: Europe was created around the founding concept of solidarity. We should always remember that solidarity is derived from the Latin word “solidus”, and solidus means strong. Every time the European Union refers to solidarity it becomes a stronger Europe.

As the chosen instrument, the recovery fund needs to be spent well to ensure European growth

DS: There is now a change in the mindset of European leaders. If you look at that, it is quite that European economy was losing in terms of productivity and competitiveness compared to the US and China, therefore we need to invest more. Investment is what is needed to create long-term competitiveness of the European Union. The big challenge that is now posed by European resilience recovery time is to spend this money. We need to support member states where the ability to plan and implement projects is not possible. In order to restore growth, we need to support the growth of GDP.

PGe: The commission is responsible to guarantee the coherence of these programmes with our priorities — the green transition, the digital transition, the reform and investment that are more crucial for the resilience and competitiveness of each country. It is of essence to have a common repayment. We will have to repay €14-15 billion per year. This will be done with new, owned resources.

NC: Beyond 2021, it is important to focus on the twin transitions — the funds will be directed to green transition, green investment and around one third will go to digitalisation.

PG: Now we’ve had two crises — the one of 2008 and the current one — that show if we do not coordinate more, we will have enormous problems. Now we can make progress and the key is investment. In 2008, the biggest mistake we made was not looking for investment — making investment the first casualty.

The recovery fund’s permanency can only be evaluated when the crisis is less urgent

NC: We have to move step by step. First of all, let’s get the deal done on the legal text, let’s get the plan adopted, let’s get the money to flow, let’s get the investment plan developed — then we can decide if this should be a permanent instrument.

PG: We need to act step by step so that public opinion can follow, and by asking the question “what is going to happen in the future?” We always have a tendency to downplay what we have already achieved.

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11:00 – 11:45 GMT

The Middle East after the Pandemic: Surviving the economic shockwaves

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates

Nasser Saidi, Former Minister of Economy and Trade, Lebanon

Ahmed Youssef, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Moderator: David Gardner, International Affairs Editor, Financial Times

The coronavirus pandemic has damaged the economy of the Middle East and it will take time to recover

RAH: 2020 has been catastrophic here in the Middle East. The pandemic has raged, knowing no borders and knowing no industries. But the UAE has been able to cope quickly and has followed the science, doing some aggressive mass testing of the population to try to keep the pandemic in check. There will be long-term damage if we cannot quickly adapt and regenerate economic growth.

NS: If you look at the size of the impact of the great lockdown, you are talking about a 6.7 per cent GDP decline for the GCC. This is unprecedented. We haven’t had a recession of this scale in the region since the second world war.

AY: This is a region of young countries and it has seen many crisis, with wars and falling oil prices. If you look at the situation now, from a glass half empty perspective, oil prices are down and industries are shattered. But if you look at it from an optimistic point of view, the region has remained resilient and consumer sentiment is high, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The hydro-carbon producing countries of the Middle East have been diversifying away from oil and gas into other industries and this is accelerating

NS: Diversification creates employment opportunities. Sixty per cent of our population is under 30 years of age, so we need to invest in activities that create jobs for them. Where will the new jobs be created? Previously we created them in government in most countries of the region. That is not where we will create them in the future. They have to be in the private sector.

RAH: One of the core strengths of the United Arab Emirates has been its ability to continuously stay ahead of the game and reinvent and re-adapt. The reason I am optimistic about an overall economic recovery is because we have diversified away from oil significantly – more than 70 per cent of our economy is currently non-hydrocarbon.

The election of Joe Biden as the new US president will have a positive impact on the region

NS: Biden is very much a multilateralist, as opposed to the unilateralism that Trump advanced. The Biden approach to the region will be to discuss policy with the region. It will not be Twitter-based.

AY: I will be looking at the new policies the new president brings, and the ones I’ll be specially watching out for are his climate and energy policies. They will have immediate implications for the Middle East.

RAH: We live in a really difficult neighbourhood and we want to have a peaceful co-existence with our neighbours, we do not want confrontation. We want peace deals to be made. We are looking forward to talking with the Biden administration on what a peace deal with Iran would look like.

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12:00 – 12:25 GMT

Keynote Interview

William Hague, Former UK Foreign Secretary

Moderator: George Parker, Political Editor, Financial Times

Joe Biden’s election as president will be positive for the global order

WH: While the British government has to studiously stay out of the politics of another country, those of us who have left government are able to argue that it is clearly in Britain’s national interest and in the global interest for Biden to have won this election.

As the US starts to rebuild relations with the EU, difficulties could emerge for Britain which has left the EU

WH: If there is no free trade agreement between us and the EU in the next couple of weeks, and relations deteriorate, that would complicate relations with the United States.

Trump’s defeat could herald a movement away from populism in western countries

WH: I hope the pandemic is a sufficient shock that it shows people we have to be globalist, not nationalist, and that we learn to live in better balance with nature. But it is not necessarily the end of populism, because if we don’t get people back into work quickly there could be a new wave of populism to go with it in the 2020s.

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13:00 – 13:45 GMT

The Future of Global Tourism: What shape will the recovery take?

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises

John Pagano, Chief Executive Officer, The Red Sea Development Company

Gillian Tans, Chairwoman,

Moderator: Pilita Clark, Associate Editor and Business Columnist, Financial Times

Tourism will return, but there is disagreement as to how long it will take to return to pre-pandemic levels

LLP: There is a tremendous amount of pent up demand, which you can see in future bookings.

GT: It’ll take years, not quarters, for travel to return to pre-pandemic levels. Seventy per cent of new bookings were domestic over 2020.

JP: If we look at history: SARS, MERS and the financial crash, travel picked up very sharply. During the period where lockdowns weren’t necessary, European travel exploded.

GT: I don’t think business travel is dead. But it will take time to recover. There could be the rise of the workation — where customers take longer trips and add a week of working in a location. is showing properties with good work locations.

Sustainability will be increasingly important for tourists in the future

GT: Customers want to see their travel spend go back into local economies.

JP: Sustainability isn’t enough, as it maintains the status quo. We’re actively trying to reduce climate impact.

Will the financial consequences of the pandemic hit luxury travel particularly hard?

GT: Governments in some parts of the world are taking action, thinking about incentives to encourage tourism. Australia, Thailand and Japan are currently developing schemes.

JP: Luxury travel will continue to grow, as the wealthy are still getting wealthier. They will want to travel to areas that are less crowded.

LLP: Pricing remains consistent. We believe it’s important not to panic and go for a fire sale.

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14:00 – 14:45 GMT

Beyond Box Ticking: Who passes the ESG test in the new world order?

Jean-Jacques Barbéris, Head of Institutional and Corporate Clients Division, Amundi

Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

Guido Fürer, Group Chief Investment Officer, Swiss Re

Angela Miller-May, Chief Investment Officer, Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund

Moderator: Katie Martin, Markets Editor, Financial Times

The series of shocking events this year have influenced how portfolios are being built

GF: Managing assets in line with ESGs pays out in the long term, especially during a global crisis, such as the one we are going through right now.

AB: We had seen investors concerned primarily with gender, but with the events of 2020 there is much greater focus on racial inclusion.

JJB: Our total global emissions will drop 25 per cent in 2020. But that has awoken us to the reality that we would need to do this every year to meet the Paris goals.

New strategies are being developed to prioritise fair, ethical business practices

AB: Addressing climate change is part of addressing inequality, as the consequences of climate change will be felt more immediately by those with less.

AMM: You can measure how effective diversity is. It is a strategy, just like other ESG factors.

JJB: We assess the difference between what a company is supposed to pay in tax against what it actually pays.

Measurements — does it matter if we’re not following the same guidelines

AB: Different methods don’t stifle innovation. We’re less concerned with compliance than performance.

GF: We have to join up with the public sector to figure out what are the right parameters for successful investing.

AB: We have seen very limited access to broader retail customers. Part of that is due to distribution platforms, but it is one of the areas we really need to unlock if we are going to reach Paris goals.

AMM: Our stakeholders stress to us what is happening at the companies we invest in. They want to see their money invested in people that are reflective of them.

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15:00 – 15:45 GMT

Moral Money Live: Putting employees at the core of business

Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard University

Rod Little, President and CEO, Edgewell Personal Care

Bruce Simpson, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Moderator: Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, US Business Editor, Financial Times

Companies need to pay employees more

BS: Frontline pay has to go up. It has not gone up in real terms in the US for 40 years. It’s not a cost, it’s an investment. Workers who are treated fairly are much more productive.

BS: Where companies have increased investments in the frontline — through pay, investment, training — there is a return on that over time, so there is a business case.

Employee wellbeing has come to the forefront

RH: If you’re going to treat people better, it needs to be by redesign of work. You will only reap the benefits if you have given them the freedom to be more innovative.

RL: Make people feel like they can make a difference and have a voice. Bad news just doesn’t flow up to the top — and it’s the bad news that’s really going to have a negative outcome for the company. [We tell employees], listen and speak up — if you have something to say, say it.

BS: Employees will now go to social media if they don’t have an avenue to raise concerns internally.

RL: If you have one amazing employee who is engaged and brings their best every day, they are worth more than two or three average employees. If you have everybody showing up highly motivated, feeling valued … there is a productivity gain.

RL: People told us they wanted less screen time. We introduced “take a break Fridays”, and that evolved into a rule not to schedule meetings on Fridays.

Investing in people links to shareholder returns

RL: When you have a workforce of highly engaged people, they’re building better plans, better products and the results follow.

RH: Measurement is so important. As we get better measures, investors will reinforce these kinds of behaviours. And employees want to know that they are making a difference.

BS: The trade-off is not between profit and purpose, but between short-termism and long-termism.

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16:00 – 16:45 GMT

Tackling the Crisis: What can policy-makers do to accelerate a recovery and ensure the global economy emerges stronger?

Laurence Boone, Chief Economist, OECD

William Dudley, Senior Research Scholar, Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies, Princeton University

Carmen Reinhart, Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank Group

Markus Schomer, Chief Economist, PineBridge Investments

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

Sustained stimulus is needed, but the capacity in emerging markets is limited

LB: There has been huge policy support – both monetary and fiscal – but when we look ahead we will still need that for at least another year.

CR: [In emerging markets] it’s pretty devastating in many dimensions, economic and social as well. Rebound is not to be confused with recovery. A recovery – getting back to your pre-crisis level of per capita income – is going to be a multi-year process.

CR: Apart from the economic downturns, there is the issue of poverty spikes. There are new entrants into poverty, women and children being particularly hard-hit. It is a very stark picture.

CR: We have seen record amounts of lending coming out of the World Bank, the IMF, multilaterals … fairly fast disbursement. But it’s not sustainable.

CR: We have to get on the ball of debt restructuring, of debt reduction. With creditors, we know from history it’s pulling teeth. So getting there rapidly would be a giant step towards faster re-establishment of capital market access, growth finance.

MS: What we need to do is utilise institutions like the IMF to buy up as much debt as possible and finance it at very low interest rates. Use financial infrastructure to support the poorest countries.

The US economy bounced back quicker than expected – but we are about to see a sharp slowdown

WD: The pandemic is surging and this is going to lead to more social distancing, more shutdowns. We are at the end of meaningful policy stimulus for the time being. Monetary policy has done a tremendous job.

MS: The Fed doesn’t have a lot of tools left that could provide a significant jolt to the economy. It’s a fiscal policy story not a monetary policy story, but why are we not doing what can be done?

MW: My assumption is that if the Senate remains in Republican hands it will be determined to give Mr Biden nothing – and therefore there will be no further fiscal stimulus.

WD: The prospect of further fiscal stimulation ahead of Biden’s inauguration has dropped. I wouldn’t rule out a double dip if the economy continues to worsen.

WD: We are still in exponential acceleration of COVID in the US. Given the reluctance to shut down again and of some people to social distance, it’s not clear what breaks that dynamic in the near term.

Target fiscal support is required in Europe

MW: There is a colossal second wave across Europe. There are lockdowns… the economic implications look pretty bad.

LB: The only thing we know to do is physical distancing and isolating, but every European country is different in their capacity. The European Commissioner has called for more fiscal support, and we need it to be very targeted. We are going to see a slowdown in activity, by no means the same size as what we saw before, but it’s happening on a weaker economy.

LB: I don’t think the question is whether monetary policy has ammunition or not. Monetary policy is what is enabling fiscal policy.

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17:00 – 17:45 GMT

Due Diligence Live: Will the resurgence in M&A activity continue?

Joseph Baratta, Global Head of Private Equity, Blackstone

Pier Luigi Colizzi, Head of M&A, EMEA, Barclays

Andrea Kramer, Managing Director, Head of Fund Investment Team, Hamilton Lane

Moderator: James Fontanella-Khan, US Corporate Finance and Deals Editor, Financial Times

After the abrupt halt of activity in March, the M&A landscape is looking much more optimistic

AK: There’s always a conversation around how much capital is left in the market and there is still a lot of capital burning a hole in people’s pockets.

JB: Corporate M&A, the very low cost of capital is driving M&A.

PLC: I am positive about the outlook for the M&A market. Secular trends back in the market, whether it is ESG, which impacts the natural resources industry and many others, [or] technology, which is the biggest sector for M&A. We are also hopefully on the verge of a lot of uncertainty going away, whether it is the US election, or whether it is Brexit or COVID — all of that would provide stability for the M&A market. M&A is one way for corporates to announce growth to their investors.

Resilient sectors are seeing the biggest surges in M&A.

AK: Everyone is talking about the popular sectors — tech software healthcare are the obvious darlings in the market environment. There are certain sectors that are more resilient and enduring. The consumer space is somewhat divided and a little less clear. I think many of these businesses have ridden that wave of challenges, learnt from experiences and adjusted accordingly. Many of these sectors will have to adjust meaningfully during this environment.

JB: Everybody likes to talk about dry powder, burning holes in people’s pockets, but the reality is the industry is always capitalised — we’ve never been in a moment where we couldn't make the next investment. To us, the dry powder isn’t what is driving markets and evaluations.

JB: I don’t think we are completely out of the woods with the directly affected industries. There’s no screaming buying opportunities that may have existed in that brief moment in May and June.

ESG, Brexit and the US election remain at the top of the agenda for dealmakers

PLC: It has become a mainstream event, starting from the sectors that were impacted first, every conversation with oil and gas companies, utility, mining. Starting from 24 months ago, people considered what could be done to improve our portfolio from a climate perspective. Now every sector is permeated with it. It is a topic dealt with in every conversation. Corporate organisations and investors will be judged against their ESG targets.

AK: Our takeaway from the US election: M&A and private markets have been through this before, these groups know how to adjust throughout these different government regimes. We will see fundamental adjustments. Don’t expect that to materially impact M&A and the private markets.

JB: Honestly, how we approach investing doesn’t change from administration to administration, we’ve been doing this for 35 years. The economy is this giant organism in the US that rolls on irrespective of who is in white house.

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18:00 – 18:25 GMT

Keynote Interview

Wilbur Ross, 39th US Secretary of Commerce

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

Trump will ensure that every vote is counted correctly

WR: I think the President has made clear his view, his intention is to make sure that he uses every means possible to make sure every legitimate vote is counted and every non-legitimate is not counted. He is confident he will be re-elected and we will know soon enough.

WR: Everybody in the national scene is hoping for the best for the economy and will ultimately cooperate, but it’s not unusual for close elections to take a while to resolve.

The US economy has taken a hit, but employment levels have risen since March

WR: Well, the economy before the pandemic was obviously very, very strong and had been led by the consumer. Consumer spending typically is very close to 70 per cent of our total economy and all the elements of consumer spending have remained very much intact. We had only 6m unemployed, 7.5m jobs unfilled and that’s why Trump convened the workforce initiative.

WR: We have already recouped 55 per cent of the jobs that we lost in March’s shutdown, partly due to structural changes that resulted in this recession, and the President correctly targeted the money to go directly to the consumer.

WR: The President correctly, in the immediate wake of the problem, wasn’t so worried about balancing budgets. He was worried about getting the money where it needed to go. However, as we roll into next year, we are going to be having a deficit approaching $3.5tn and likely there will be a tendency for that to continue, especially if you have Democratic control.

US trade relations with China make up a minor fraction of the US economy

WR: Our total purchases from China are only a few percentage points of the whole economy, while it is certainly true that some low-priced goods are coming in from there. A big factor in restraining inflation year after year is oil and gas, those prices have not been quite as strong. A lot will have to do with what happens there and that turns back to the economy. The big reason oil and natural gas prices are low is because of economic reasons. There are a lot of variables that go into that.

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18:30 – 18:55 GMT

Extra Time

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

Megan Greene, Columnist, Financial Times

Things are not as optimistic as Trump and his supporters would like to believe

GT: The Trump administration wants to claim, and has claimed, that everything was fantastic before COVID hit, which we know was simply not the case.

GT: There’s a lot of signs that there are problems bubbling in terms of what consumers are doing, or not doing, and also small businesses. There’s a case to be made that we actually have not seen the pain come through yet, because many companies have been propped up.

MG: Listening to Secretary Ross, what reigned truest was his comments on the labour market, although I think the Whitehouse’s approach to labour policy has really focused on deregulation and tax cuts, rather than engaging in buybacks and dividends.

MG: One thing we do know about the labour market that’s not great, is employment for high-income people has actually recovered to where it was before, but employment for low-income people is still about 20 per cent down from what it was at the beginning of the year.

GT: Whoever is in the Whitehouse is going to have a really tough challenge on their hands come January. Firstly, even if these vaccines turn out to be as good as they seem to be, it’s going to be logistically pretty tough to distribute across the entire American economy, never mind actually manufacturing it.

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19:00 – 19:45 GMT

US Financial Markets: Assessing post-election policy scenarios and the impact for investors

Edwin Denson, Managing Director, Asset and Risk Allocation, State of Wisconsin Investment Board

Michelle Seitz, Chairman and CEO, Russell Investments

Jae Yoon, Chief Investment Officer, New York Life Investment Management

Moderator: Colby Smith, Markets Reporter, Financial Times

The news about a vaccine is great news, but caution is required which is why volatility will persist

MS: Biology will drive the economy. We don’t need good news, just improvement.

MS: There are definitely dislocations in the market that investors can take advantage of, but there will continue to be volatility as news develops.

JY: It will be a while before the vaccine gets through to the wider population.

The potential loss of the Senate will temper drastic changes under a Biden administration

ED: If stimulus does make its way through the process, and it falls short, it would be politically disastrous to avoid doing more.

ED: Narrow Democratic control in the Senate would require complete legislative discipline.

JY: We may see long term economic damage that may take longer to heal. We are going to see inflation get higher when Fed funds get pulled forward.

ED: Biden will do whatever he can to undo what Trump was able to do via Executive Order, but it’s tough to push through any real change without control of the legislative process.

The effects of the trade war with China won’t be reversed by a Biden administration because they can’t be

ED: The electorate has turned against free trade. Biden does possess some protectionist instincts. We’re not going to return to the state of affairs on trade with China before Trump.

MS: You’ve got to place your bets where you can have some impact.

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20:00 – 20:45 GMT

Global Food Systems: Harnessing the pandemic impact to accelerate transformation from seed to plate

Marco Bertacca, CEO, Quorn Foods

Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit

Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners

Focusing on the solutions, rather than the problems, can power crucial innovation

MB: Meat isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the scale of it.

NP: Forty per cent of produce rots before it reaches the consumer, but we can fix that. Food waste is 30 per cent of carbon.

NP: Twenty years ago, we thought cars could only run on gas. We are just in the early stages of doing this in agriculture. Farmers today can reduce their carbon footprint in half.

MB: The biggest challenge we face is that we continue to focus on the problems without focusing enough on the solutions.

NP: We have got to get carbon out of our crops. We have the tools to do this.

Carbon contributions are being shown to consumers; it will be their responsibility to support less polluting producers

MB: Quorn puts on every label what our carbon footprint is per product.

MB: We calculate the cost in carbon even for the retailer to get it to your house, and further to the cost of preparation to disposal.

NP: You’re not going to be able to paper over how much carbon it took to get your product to the customer.

NP: We have the opportunity to turn upside down the notion that producing food must burn up the planet.

Agreeing to action without taking action will not be enough to solve the food crisis

MB: We are running the risk not of destroying nature, so much as destroying ourselves before nature corrects itself.

AK: Let’s not be tempted to shorten supply chains at any cost.

AK: We agree on action, but we don’t take it fast enough. We agreed on the SDGs, but we’re behind on the SDGs.

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21:00 – 21:45 GMT

The Future of Silicon Valley: Can technology help build resilience and lead economies out of recession?

Fei-Fei Li, Co-Director, Institute for Human-Centered AI, Stanford University

Alfred Lin, Partner, Sequoia Capital

Michael Chui, Partner, McKinsey Global Institute

Moderator: Richard Waters, West Coast Editor, Financial Times

The pandemic highlighted the value of technology

AL: Imagine having to do this [remote work] without Zoom or the cloud infrastructure that runs a lot of the things that we do today.

MC: A lot of management teams are saying, how can I bottle this agility, this capability that we have discovered at scale, and use that going forward?

MC: With SARS, it took months between identification of the disease and its sequencing. Researchers were able to sequence the virus that causes COVID in a matter of weeks – all of that would not have happened, the basic biology doesn’t happen, without IT supporting it.

FL: I am very excited. The potential of AI helping people’s productivity and wellbeing is truly boundless. Every industry can be accelerated because of the help of big data and machine learning. This pandemic enabled us to see some of the possibility.

AI can enhance the humanity of healthcare, while aiding efficiency, productivity and safety

FL: Telemedicine is taking off in a way we have never seen before.The pandemic underscored the importance of human care in healthcare, but also how many points that technology can be helpful with: big data analysis, extra pairs of eyes as sensors or microphones to help clinicians monitor patients … all the way to robotics.

FL: With contract-tracing, a multi-stakeholder approach is a must. Every community, every country has its own challenges and culture.

Tech provides answers but a multi-stakeholder approach is needed

RW: The tech solutionism that dominated Silicon Valley for many years – the idea that tech could provide the answer – has given way to a more realistic sense that technology can help but it causes problems all the way.

AL: Not everybody has the same access to bandwidth – that’s a big separation. We don’t know yet whether the decisions we make in this virtual world are as good as, or better than, what we made in the physical world. There is a missing element of collaboration that we used to have.

MC: For any technology that we study, the time between commercial availability and its eventual plateau and adoption usually is between one to two decades. It will still take years, because people don’t change that quickly.

FL: I don’t think technology itself will just barge through this and make all the changes. I hope that what can be accelerated is the will and recognition by multi-stakeholders that the opportunity is here and it is vast.

FL: We do have to be careful: are we taking care of privacy issues, are we being fair, are we introducing human bias? We have the opportunity and responsibility to do this right.

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21:45 – 21:55 GMT

Closing Remarks Day Two

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The remaining sessions from Day Two will be added here tomorrow morning

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