Remarks to: IoD India (Institute of Directors), 2022 London Global Convention on Corporate Governance & Sustainability, The Montcalm, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7TN, 11:00-12:00, Thursday, 10 November 2022.
Boardroom Challenges In A New World Order
Emerging Challenges for Board Leadership in the New Economy
Building high performance Boards in uncertain times: Balancing Strategy, Operations & Compliance
Board’s oversight for fundamental Seismic Shifts in Global Geopolitics & guide to a disrupted world
Board’s Human Capital Strategy – Rising to the Challenges of the Future Work Place
Board Leadership and Strategy for leveraging corporate culture and value chainContinue reading
The Guild of Investment Managers at Farmers’ & Fletchers’ Hall, City of London, Thursday, 17 October 2019
My fellow Alderman and your Master, Robert Hughes-Penney, kindly asked me to provide some opening remarks. I do wish I could stay longer, but as fellow Livery folk, you’ll understand that an Immediate Past Master of the World Traders needs to attend our Installation Dinner at 19:00 to become an Immediate Past Past Master or an Immediate Immediate Past Master, or some such.
The comedian Jay Leno once quipped, “According to a new UN report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” Sadly, that quip was from 2007.Continue reading
Worshipful Company of Insurers
Friday, 28 June 2019, GuildhallContinue reading
Institute Of Export
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli
23 May 2018, Mansion House
“You Never Stop Trading”
Minister, Aldermen, Fellow Masters, Ladies, and Gentlemen.
The City of London, what better place to graduate in trade and export. The Inspector of Ancient Monuments assures me that London’s archaeological evidence proves over 100,000 years of trading. Bloomberg across the road sits above two millennia of Londinium. We convene for this graduation ceremony over a millennium old stocks market. You are at one end of Cheapside, ‘cheap’ being Anglo-Saxon for ‘market’. One New Change at the other end by St Paul’s is its modern shopping mall. Gresham’s Royal Exchange opposite is over 450 years old.
The word ‘monger’ is old Saxon-German for trader or trafficker. Think, ‘drugmonger’. This trading City is therefore full of Ironmongers, Fishmongers, Lightmongers, Costermongers, Cheesemongers, and even Fearmongers. What am I as Master of the World Traders? Perhaps I should be a WorldMonger or GlobeMonger. Pssst, hey buddy, want to buy a planet?
From Adam Smith onwards, thinkers have increasingly recognised that commerce is about much more than just making money. Commerce is about exchange between people. Commerce is about social interactions where people trade ideas, opinions, or merchandise. Good commerce is a positive sum game. Trade reaps economic benefits from specialisation and comparative advantage, creates prosperity, distributes success and wealth, and collectively enriches all of our societies and communities. Trade is a force for good.
This year’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman, promotes the Business of Trust. His research sets out five principles for trust – five good principles for new graduates. Remember the mnemonic C-I-V-I-C:
• Competence and skills – doing what you do well;
• Integrity – being honest, straightforward, and reliable;
• Value to society – recognising and meeting wider societal needs;
• Interests of others – respecting the interests of customers, employees, and investors;
• Clear communication – being transparent, responsive, and accountable.
Trust underpins all trade and investment, firmly based on the City of London’s motto, “Meum Fidem, Meum Pactum” (“my word is my bond”). Trade should be win-win with other people. As the UK increasingly focuses on trade, remember that no-one should ‘export to’, everyone should ‘trade with’.
So CIVIC, I repeat:
• Value to society
• Interests of others
• Clear communication
What I admire about you is that by starting, and finishing, your studies with the Institute of Export you exemplify all five CIVIC principles. You have studied to increase your Competence. Your Integrity in enshrined in your learning. Your Value is inherent in your increased professionalism. You couldn’t trade ethically without taking the interests of others to heart. You have worked hard on communicating your thinking and ideas. You deserve today’s awards.
The Jesuit scholar, Timothy Radcliffe, talks about universities and further education as places where we “learn to talk to strangers.” As you trade with strangers, they become colleagues, and later colleagues become friends.
But education and trade don’t stop here. All of life is learning and trade. In fact, I’ve improved a bit of Shakespeare to get that point across. Indulge me:
All the world’s exchange,
And all the men and women merely traders;
They have their wares and their merchandises,
And one man in his time plies much commerce,
His acts being short changes. [Jacques: As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7, lines 139-143]
I run a technology and finance research firm that is about 90% exports, so this year, the World Traders, young and old, Journeymen your age to ancient Liverymen like me, have focused on “Technology & Trade” as our theme. We are studying how technology transforms trade through debates, workshops, and even research into blockchains, published at the House of Commons last month as “The Economic Impact Of Smart Ledgers On World Trade”. You too will continue to learn through life, or stop living. An old quip goes, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Or as Seneca the Younger stated, “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
So, as graduates, should you be optimistic or pessimistic? A number of nationalities walk into a bar and are asked, “are you optimistic or pessimistic?”:
• the Englishman says, “pessimistic, Brexit & Remain”;
• the Scotsman says, “pessimistic, Brexit & Referendum”;
• the Irishman says, “pessimistic, Brexit & Border”;
• the American says, “pessimistic, Trump”;
• the Italian says, “pessimistic, elections”;
• the German says, “pessimistic, Euro”;
• the Australian says, “pessimistic, North Korea”;
BUT the World Trader says, “optimistic, pessimism is for better times.”
And you have such great opportunities. The world is changing as never before, socially, technologically, economically, and politically. It may be a bit crowded now, seven billion people is over double the world I was born into, but even that will change as we are looking to demographic numbers reversing direction about 2050. You will have outstanding chances to use your learning. You will never stop learning and trading.
May I ask you, the graduates, to go forth inspired by the motto our Worshipful Company of World Traders traded with Thomas Jefferson from 1801, “COMMERCE AND HONEST FRIENDSHIP WITH ALL.”
May I wish all of you the success you will earn.
I had a wonderful time at the City Debate last night, Tuesday, 6 March. Here’s a photo of all of us at the start:
CSFI & CISI City Debate:
- Antony Jenkins (10x)
- Nikhil Rathi (London Stock Exchange)
- Michael Mainelli (Z/Yen)
- Ruth Wandhöfer (Citi)
You can spot Ruth on the left, with Angela Knight in the centre who chaired proceedings, and Alderman Alan Yarrow both as Chairman of CISI and as Lord Mayor Locum Tenens. The pre-debate vote was neck-and-neck, 51% “no” (Antony and my side) and 49% “yes” (Ruth and Nikhil’s side).
From the questions it appeared a hostile audience to Antony and me. I had that queasy feeling you don’t like when you’ve volunteered for a competition just for the fun of it, then suddenly realise you could lose in front of all your friends. How can one’s self-esteem ever recover?
Now you can see me in full ‘must win’ mode, or as my friend George Littlejohn would have it – “Michael could be up for playing Churchill come the next biopic.”
Thus it was a genuine surprise, and relief, to find that we moved the audience significantly to our side, 73% to 27%. Whew.
In case my position had anything to do with swaying opinion, I set out the case against, below:
“This House Believes That Fintech Will Save The City” (NOT)
Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Your Excellencies, Fellow Aldermen, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
You heard Antony’s compelling words. My argument balances his. If Fintech doesn’t destroy you, then … Fintech will remain, a small comfortable parasite on the technology and trade centre that is our global City. So what is the City, what is Fintech, what needs saving?
Yesterday, the Inspector of Ancient Monuments assured me that London’s archaeological evidence proves over 100,000 years of trading. I ask you, many of you too also ancient monuments before me, to join together and take a long-term perspective. Bloomberg across the road sits above two millennia of Londinium. We convene over a millennium old stocks market. Gresham’s Royal Exchange opposite is over 450 years old.
With the tragic exception of Edward I’s expulsion of the Jews in 1290, what distinguishes London is that, by comparison, it has treated all comers from outside the walls fairly, so long as they adhere to “meum fidem, meum pactum”. Lombards, Huguenots, Rothschilds, Warburgs … Mainellis.
We are an SME City. 24,000 businesses provide 483,000 jobs in the square mile, with 1,200 more each year. Yes, 250 firms provide 50% of the jobs, but they work with 23,750 deal-making SMEs. Large and small produce 3% of UK GVA from less than 1.5% of the workforce, three quarters of the UK’s services trade surplus, some £68bn.
Urban legends mislead us. The City was a deal centre before and after WWI, but was a feeble financial centre from 1939. The finance legend was kept alive by Italians and Americans, Autostrade in 1963 creating Eurobond markets on neutral territory. When Thatcher lifted exchange controls in 1979 and Big Bang broke cartels, financial services boomed. Most of today’s behemoths were SMEs 30 years ago. Bloomberg dates to just 1981.
You’ve heard of a Baker’s Dozen, 13? I recently learned that a Banker’s Dozen is 11. Just seven banks, not even 11, gets you to over 95% UK market share. Cartels remain. Domestic banks pursue a decades old, yet rational, strategy of hampering account switching. If you want to be a success in retail Fintech, go to a country with over a thousand banks, Germany, or over six thousand banks, America. Make some marketing director’s career rather than annoy a UK bank strategist.
Our retail fintech story is government lies for children, baubles with no Christmas tree:
- M-Pesa in Kenya dates to 2007, eight years before the UK notices Fintech.
- Retail Fintech kids unable to afford desks sit in Level 39 beside the compliance & admin battery hens of Canary Wharf, while Berlin, a quarter our size and not a global financial centre, raises more Fintech finance than we do.
- China has 13 Fintech unicorns to our four. Even that requires forward-dating things like WorldPay, 1995, just to fake our numbers up.
Then we put our regulator in charge of a sandbox, letting government bottlenecks choose our winners. Any country whose regulator is in charge of innovation has deep problems. The wider City is lawyers, accountants, maritime, insurers, not a fintech pimple.
Google Trends awards the term ‘Fintech’ around 100 points. In January 2015 it was an insignificant six points. Our government claims creation of a sector it didn’t even notice four years ago, putting some mobile app lipstick on the antiquated systems of some oligopolistic banks.
I came to the City in 1984 to put computer technology into Messels, then Shearson-Lehman-Amex. We old-timers should celebrate the progress of automating wholesale finance. We’ve been doing real Fintech long before this insulting term was mashed up. It’s as facile as saying your heartbeat keeps you from dying.
London is a science & tech city. From Tudor ‘New Learning’ to Gresham College, Francis Bacon, the Royal Society, Industrial Revolution, Wheatstone telegraph, or DNA (the work was done at Kings, not Cambridge), London has been at least as much about science & tech trade as it has been about finance. Technology-Media-Telecomms is a significantly larger percentage of firms under 100 employees than finance, insurance, or professional services. Our centuries of tech drive regtech, instech, arttech, filmtech, songtech, medtech, edtech, traveltech.
Finance moves with technology too, from cuneiform to papyri to tally sticks to spreadsheets to databases and now databases-plus, smart or distributed ledgers, blockchains. But smart ledgers are ‘wide tech’ for identity, documentation, and agreement exchanges, not just payments. Tech is for all sectors and the City of London is the most intense place on the planet to do tech deals.
So does the City need saving from Brexit, the wider UK, perhaps AI? To paraphrase Streisand, “people who need to trade with people, make London the luckiest City in the world”. As long as we focus on face-to-face, commercial, global deal-making that AI and telecoms can’t replace, deal support will thrive, from financial and professional services to hotels, culture, healthcare, or entertainment.
With or without Brexit, we need quality education and training, health, infrastructure, broadband; airports (plural); an in-visa-ble as possible access to people; a functioning housing market; a simple tax system. If Britain is open for business, try opening a bank account. What always needs saving is the rule of law, innovation, and open deal-making. We are deficient, but not desperate; in danger of having our Emperor’s clothes disrobed, but with time to knit some new garments.
In conclusion, profound changes would be needed to even start to be a standalone Fintech centre. Silicon Valley, in total, is still only half the size of London. Fintech propaganda hides three decades of wholesale finance automation. Our real strength is over 500 years of wider technology and open trade. Sell Trade in Tech not Fintech.
So, do you vote for deep tech or mobile gimmicks, do you vote for City deals or for Canary Wharf turkeys, do you vote for people or machines? Our centuries of success are built on growing SMEs in open, global trade, not some three year old government mashup. Please vote for yourselves, the deal-makers of London, not this facile motion.
The Financial Services Group of Livery Companies asked me to provide an inaugural FSG Lecture in memory of its Founding Convenor, Jeremy Goford, Past Master Actuary“London Forever! Reality or Rhetoric?” I was pleased to deliver it on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at
Mercers’ Hall, London.Though I met him late in life through the livery movement, Jeremy and I enjoyed many conversations and disputations on the auditing, accounting, and actuarial professions, especially their use of numbers. Jeremy’s love of our City was palpable. I was delighted that the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies chose to honour his memory with this inaugural lecture, While you can read the full transcript, with slides – Jeremy Goford Memorial Lecture – London Forever – Reality or Rhetoric 2017.09.20 v1.3
a summary was published in Fintech Finance on 25 September, reproduced below:
This month, Z/Yen Group, published the 22nd edition of the Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI 22 showed almost all major financial centres following the downward lurch of London and New York in GFCI 21. In the top 20, only Frankfurt rose, quite significantly due to many London bank announcements of headquarter moves.
Finance only exists to support the ‘real economy’ of commerce and trade. This telling tumble among financial centres is due to fears over trade, not finance. ‘America First’, isolationist rhetoric damages perceptions of future US trade, while Brexit rhetoric harms perceptions of UK and European trade.
With so much changing, it is right to ask whether London will forever be the premier global centre for professional, business, and financial services. Financial centres do rise and fall, from Amsterdam to Izmir to Zanzibar. The 1375 Catalan Atlas of the known world by Abraham Cresques of Mallorca has an inscription: “This lord is Musa Mali .., so abundant is the gold which is found in his country that he is the richest and most noble king in all the land.” Musa hailed from Timbuktu in today’s Mali.
London’s five centuries of success are due to a sustained confluence of several factors, the ‘accidental’ ones being maritime location, early infrastructure, Continental wars, and the rise of the USA over the past century. Our index comprises well over 100 ‘intentional’ factors, but I would emphasise the business environment, a trading culture, and the rule of law. However, people like simple answers, not statistics. So just two things, structural intensity and fair treatment.
All cities are intense, but structural intensity is special to the City of London. With only 9,000 residents and 450,000 commuting workers, it’s a 98% chance anyone you meet on the street is working. And Crossrail’s success will raise that chance to 99%. A temperate climate, twisting alleyways, and numerous drinking places ensured that from the time of the Tudors financial workers met each other frequently. From pubs to coffee shops to Americano & Cappucino networking centres, supplemented by air transport and IT.
While the UK’s £61 billion trade surplus from financial services is exported via electronic pipes, deals need face-to-face trust to start, and often to complete. We need to keep raising that intensity of contact as the City of London Corporation is doing by planning for significantly more pedestrians. Video-conferencing supplements deals, but we still need to meet, often unplanned.
The belief that all comers will be treated fairly has been a London success factor since the 1290 mistake of expelling the Jews. London’s subsequent welcoming history needs no recounting, from Lombards of old to welcoming back the Jews in 1655 to today’s Syrians. All were increasingly treated with the same commercial rights as Englishmen. Rule of law is crucial, but long before anyone goes near a court, any nation that wishes to prosper must trade from an open and competitive environment. Competition needs a well-educated populace with a state sector preventing cartels, barriers-to-entry, information asymmetries, and agency problems, while not crowding-out markets.
If we get our own house in order, trade will come. Brexit doesn’t change the basics. You can’t be an international centre without international people. Successful people want to live in successful places. Successful places are cosmopolitan. Reputation is vital: 20 years to build and five minutes to ruin. We have problems certainly. If Britain is open for business, try opening a bank account.
We have problems certainly. If Britain is open for business, try opening a bank account. With or without Brexit, we need to stimulate investment in quality education and training, health, infrastructure, broadband; sort out the airports (plural), make the nation as ‘visa less’ to get to as possible, make financial account-opening a one minute process, create a competitive housing market, simplify the tax system, and so on. Brexit adds the complexity of ‘transition’ being woefully unclear, ‘trade’ structures breaking down, and welcoming ‘talent’ uncertain. So we need swift decisions on timing, on terms-of-trade, and talent, for example stop prevaricating on EU nationals’ and students’ status.
Our reality must rise to meet our rhetoric, but it was ever thus. In the history of London we see the truth of Aldous Huxley’s comment, “The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” Making London a great place to live solves most problems. We need to be honest about our faults and not let false rhetoric impede fixing them. We are deficient in some areas, but not desperate; in danger of having our Emperor’s clothes disrobed, but with time to knit some new garments.
We’ve been being told for well over a year what we supposedly voted for in a non-binding referendum. Whatever, the vote was certainly a vote for change. Quality guru W Edwards Deming sets a low bar for the lazy: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” I am sceptical about claims that we businesspeople will find fabulous fortunes hitherto overlooked in far-flung foreign lands, but I am very positive the closest opportunity is change for the better at home, toward improved structural intensity and fair competition. Londoners are certainly not lazy.
Trade reaps economic benefits from specialisation and comparative advantage. Trade creates prosperity, shares success, and enriches our environment. Trust holds all trade relationships together. The clearest sign of trust is that people want to live and work in London and the UK. If we keep that, we keep everything, including the top spot a century from now in Global Financial Centres Index 222.
Ten years ago I gave a lecture on liquidity at Gresham College – “Liquidity: Finance In Motion Or Evaporation?” – London, England (5 September 2007). I recommend the transcript as easiest to read with the slides. The lecture was actually scheduled back in February 2005 (yes) as I looked ahead ujneasily towards a liquidity crisis. The timing turned out to be too good as I came back from summer break after BNP Paribas started the financial crises news and things lurched onwards to Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, RBS, etc.
In these days of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this lecture seems to be coming back in popularity and I wonder about a reprise. Meanwhile, I couldn’t resist ending the lecture with a little ditty of my own, based on Jonathan Swift’s construction around a flea, The Siphonaptera, that seems worth sharing again:
Big pools have little pools
which suck out their liquidity,
and little pools still lesser pools
and so on to aridity.
So, financiers observe, small pools
suck larger pools liquidity,
yet tinier pools drain other drops,
and so on to aridity.
EU Referendum – Strategy Thoughts
À La Recherche Du Temps Trouvé
For many months we have been discussing the EU Referendum. Since 24 June we have been discussing even more fervently the result, to “Leave”. To get the obvious question out of the way, yes I voted “Remain”, though recognising the need for EU reform, which still stands. Now, our old positions so obviously need to be put behind us. We all recognise the need to work together with others, going forward to create our common wealth rather than dwell on pre-Referendum days. Personally, I turn to the question, “What Did You Do In The Brexit Daddy (or Granddaddy)?”
Since 24 June, the magnitude of change that the result may have unleashed is only beginning to dawn upon us. The EU Referendum appeared to hinge around three core issues – sovereignty, economics, and immigration. The ramifications of the result have destabilised the established UK political parties and perhaps the system, caused financial turmoil worldwide, and encouraged further changes across Europe. But where there is change there is opportunity.
The opportunity to make major realignments in sovereignty, economics, and inclusion are real and potentially very positive. We have the opportunity to consider significant improvements in the structure of government, taxation, regulation, immigration and visas, infrastructure, international relations, and much more. It is heady, and perhaps dangerous, and an opportunity to improve things that rarely passes by.
This letter to The Economist on 9 July is funny, and I’m sure self-aware:
A new entry for the Oxford English Dictionary:
Plebicide n. the self-inflicted ruin of a nation’s prospects or interests via a reckless act of direct democracy.
St Helier, Jersey
‘Unity and Trade’
The City of London may have an important role in helping to unite the nation, and unite the nation with the world. If we want to take bolder steps, we could create a more prosperous future for all. We also need to replenish our reserves of goodwill. I might emphasise two points for us, ‘unity’ and ‘trade’. The nation needs to be seen abroad as open, tolerant, and tolerably united. That unity may mean pointing harder to the City of London’s millennium-old role in forming new businesses and trade, rather than its recent (and in my opinion, inaccurate and unfair) association with a UK bank oligopoly. Any nation that wishes to prosper must trade from an open and competitive environment. Competition means that the state sector needs to be modest (taxation under control), that education is paramount, and that cartels, barriers-to-entry, information asymmetries, and agency problems are avoided. Trade is the gateway to reaping the economic benefits of specialisation and comparative advantage. What would constitute some bold steps? I thought I might note a few below.
It has been disappointing to see how slowly so-called ‘leaders’ have come forward to recognise that EU nationals are valued members of the national community. There have been some honourable exceptions, most notably the Mayor of London. It has been heart-breaking to see the scale of hate-crimes the result has encouraged. Things we could consider doing:
- provide a clear statement of how much we value the EU nationals who are members of our community. We could back that up by being more public about encouraging them to apply for the Freedom of the City, noting how welcome they are. We could encourage the government to make a clear ‘for life’ visa statement on resident EU nationals;
- provide a clear statement to firms of our (City) goals in any negotiations;
- work hard to get a pan-party delegation to negotiate – http://www.theirishstory.com/2011/12/06/today-in-irish-history-6-december-1921-the-anglo-irish-treaty-is-signed/#.V3jVL7grLGg – so that the end of negotiations is the end and not the beginning of a rejection of any compromises;
- work hard to assemble a business delegation supporting the pan-party delegation.
The Guildhall Heritage Gallery currently displays a letter from John Hancock to John Wilkes, Lord Mayor from 1774-1775, that reminds us that the City of London has traditionally played a role in using its sovereignty to advance wider causes, often to the great long-term benefit of all. Things we could consider doing:
- connect harder and faster with the Commonwealth using our connections with the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council and Alderman Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth – should the UK make a more material contribution to the Commonwealth budget (reminder, circa just £46 million annually for the entire budget not the UK’s contribution – less than the not-so-faithfully represented £50 million per day to the EU) – make the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018, and the run-up ahead of time, ten times the scale of the one in Malta last autumn;
- work harder and faster with the UN on things such as the Sustainable Development Goals via the Business & Sustainable Development Commission;
- connect with the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
- connect with the forgotten – Alderney, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Sark, the Overseas Territories who are truly confused by Brexit and what it means for them;
- use our convening powers – perhaps banquets for some of the segments above, or special dinners for world trade, or European financial services;
- perhaps we could even be assertive and play a direct role in the re-regulation of financial services, supporting the return of voluntary standards markets. Could the City sponsor a new financial services regulator for global voluntary standards markets in areas like KYC/AML/Sanction or professionalism working alongside the prudential and compliance arms?
It’s not scare-mongering, it’s real – we will lose some significant financial services business to other European centres. Our core problem is now how we’re going to attract new business. As Z/Yen compiles the Global Financial Centres Index, from our relationships with other financial centres I know that several to many have been in London selling their jurisdiction to firms who need to leave – “just too many moving parts” one US firm said to me. Things we could consider doing:
- picking a European financial centre that we think is City of London friendly (Dublin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg, Milan?) and working with it for the smooth transition of businesses, assisting them with ‘brass plating’ (perhaps using Crown Dependency access too) so that only HQs need move, and at some point some smooth transitions back, mostly from one or two places;
- tax – our Achilles heel going forward as it is the basis of the money-laundering allegations and increases the complexity of current regulations. A radical move towards a UK land value tax (a GLA interest as well) and a consumption tax (now possible as the VAT regime is moving to a UK VAT regime) could mean the abolition of corporation tax (more realistically setting it at 0%), the removal of income tax, a streamlining of the benefits system (see identity below), perhaps even with immigration control the introduction of a universal minimum income that could work. Bold statements on tariffs, i.e. zero, could establish London as the global trade centre (interestingly, in 1960 Hong Kong’s GDP/capita was US$429, equal to Jamaica and below Turkey, Greece, Israel, and many others – with effectively a nil corporation tax);
- to prevent further losses of information and finance businesses, sign up to be the gold standard General Data Protection Regulation despite being outside the EU – analogous to the Maltese strategy of being the first on compliance with EU financial regulation;
- implement the ‘Open Data’ policies forcefully to create business and a more open trade culture;
- consider a ‘financial services free trade zone’ for London or parts of London and the UK;
- develop further the City of London’s UK SME work even wider in sectors such as media, film, shipping, health, or biotech;
- perhaps be bold and reach out with suggestions (though some months hence) of recreating the Common Market afresh alongside EEA;
- perhaps be bold and reach out to join other regional trade bodies directly, TTIP, TTP, Mercosur with some unilateral guarantees, e.g. “no tariffs, ever”, etc.;
- consider tactical moves such as encouraging the old P&I Mutuals (Protection & Indemnity) to return to the UK by reversing the early 1990’s capital regulations;
- on being ‘green’, issue Environmental Policy Performance Bonds;
- on financial stability, implement Confidence Accounting;
- on infrastructure, sure Heathrow, now why not Gatwick too, and any other private entity that wants to take risks on infrastructure for future reward;
- turn the Intellectual Property Office into one with teeth:
|We Need To Reinvent The Patent Process
|Wired, Condé Nast Publications (October 2014), pages 74-75.
As an immigrant myself several times over, I feel this is the hardest area. The spirit of the 2012 Olympics was that London was the world’s city, the heart of the global community. Our focus here should be on simplicity and speed. Things we could consider doing:
- become the global centre for work on the global identity problem;
- encourage the government to be bolder and go visa-less where possible, go electronic everywhere – a global financial centres needs global cosmopolitan people – and consider a ‘London Financial Services’ visa;
- encourage the government to emulate immediately leading jurisdictions with proper electronic identity systems, Estonia being foremost, i.e. based on mutual distributed ledger (aka blockchain) technology (if you wish to see such a system on my mobile, built with PwC, just ask). Such a system could be more aggressive programme for Gov.UK Verify and:
- help ‘prove’ that immigration and visa targets are under control;
- cut $3bn to $5bn from know-your-customer, anti-money-laundering, and ultimate-beneficial-ownership processes in banking, insurance, and investment management, thus making London more competitive rapidly in financial services;
- having our regulators take the KYC/AML suggestions further, i.e. surcharge those who are non-digital and use paper;
- setting a stiff national KYC/AML target, e.g. an account opened within three days or a valid reason given;
- create new global identity businesses in London;
- establish a tradable route to immigration, i.e. a firm can swap one national for a UK national elsewhere in the world;
- get a clear message on university students coming to the UK out quickly – perhaps reverse the decision of a while back and allow students to stay for up to two years after a ‘proper’ graduation;
- guarantee university places to overseas students with an insurance guarantee to cover courses being pulled or visa problems, thus enhancing the UK higher education brand.
The idea of listing the above ideas is not to bring chaos into disorder. I would hope that some of the above thoughts spark further thinking. I recognise that it is a long walk from a set of thoughts, to good ideas, to implementing just a few well. But we do have a heck of an opportunity to implement perhaps some special few and perhaps explain to our children and grandchildren that we did do something for City and Country in the great EU transformation. Anyway, “let’s be optimistic, pessimism is for better times”.
 About 2.4 billion people worldwide lack official identification, about 1.5 billion over the age of 14. While they certainly know who they are, they are excluded from market economy property ownership, and frequently free movement, social protection, and empowerment. They cannot ‘prove’ their existence to the satisfaction of society’s registries. Lack of official identification increases remittance costs, corruption, and crime. Insightfully, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice And Strong Institutions” contains target 16.9 to “provide legal identity to all, including birth registration, by 2030”. See also Z/Yen’s work on IDchainZ.