This is going to be brilliant or dull, I thought as I walked through a chilly Canary Wharf towards HSBC’s towering HQ. Fortunately for me and 50 or so other Marketing Society members and guests it turned out to be the former.
Mark Berrisford-Smith is Head of Economics for HSBC and, as it happens, a captivating and entertaining big-thinker and public speaker.
The hour flew by as we moved from the politics and legacy of Brexit (should it happen) through the future of globalisation, the US/China trade war, the inversion of the yield curve (oh yes), fiscal policy, risk and regulation, the underlying health of the UK economy, the spectre of recession, integrated global supply chains, the future of the Union and even the politics of the housing market. All (seemingly) delivered without prejudice.
There was so much ground covered I’m sure different members of the audience will have latched on to different points, but these are the ones that floated to the top for me:
The issue of our relationship with Europe won’t go away when we leave – it will be front and centre of our politics for a generation
The casualties of the US/China trade dispute won’t be these 2 countries but the trade hubs connected to them (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Germany)
The Central Banks are “looking busy” but can’t cut rates much lower to stimulate growth - and even if they do, how much more impact can this have and when will government spending kick in?
The UK economy is faring ok and is really being hampered by confidence issues down to Brexit – recession is to be expected but not a deep one
It’s the manufacturers and companies with integrated global supply chains that will find it hardest to navigate the protectionist landscape
The marketing industry always “dances to the economic tune”
For banks, how they operate in the context of regulation is now as big a concern as credit risk – is data regulation the marketing industry’s PPI waiting to happen?
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all, though, is that we should all try and take a big step back from our day to day and look at what we do through a macro lens. Even though the world may seem to be pulling apart, everything is connected.