Global Head, Citi Private Bank
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Drawing upon the successes of various nations, our tactics are becoming more targeted and more timely.
I hope this message finds you well and enjoying some much-deserved freedom. After many long weeks of separation and confinement, resuming at least some of our everyday activities feels very good indeed. Of course, the present easing of restrictions is far from a declaration of victory over COVID-19. This week’s upsurge in new infections across multiple US states, Germany, Mexico, and India highlights the daunting challenge that we continue to face. What has changed, however, is our response. The world is now fighting a smarter war.
This smarter war reflects our steadily improving understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing upon the successes of various nations, our tactics are becoming more targeted and more timely. This week saw the State of Texas pause its well-advanced economic reopening and South Korea temporarily close bars and restaurants. Such precision strikes – rather than complete shutdowns – can enable containment of the virus while also helping us sustain many vital areas of activity.
A highly targeted approach is also what we are advocating in portfolios. Both the global economy and markets are demonstrating an unusual pattern, as David Bailin and Steven Wieting emphasized this week. We think this requires close attention, particularly in relation to the regions, countries, and sectors that have become especially undervalued.
With this in mind, Jorge Amato, our Latin America Strategist, and Lisandro Chanlatte, Head of Investments for Latin America, this week highlighted their region’s bounce-back prospects at our virtual Mid-Year Outlook event. We believe that focusing upon opportunities such as these offers a way to build smart exposure to the new economic cycle.
It was extremely gratifying that so many of you attended our latest Family Office Leadership Program virtual summit this week. In our session on family healthcare innovations, we heard some very topical insights into how family offices are increasingly assuming responsibility for strategies to protect families’ health as well as their wealth. With growing calls for a “green new deal” to regenerate the economy after COVID-19, our session on the future of energy then explored some of the key drivers of the “unstoppable trend” towards renewables.
I very much hope that you can join us for this coming week’s compelling sessions. Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, will be giving his cutting-edge insights into some of the most pressing geopolitical issues. These include November’s US elections, China’s overseas relationships, and the possible upheaval within global supply chains resulting from the pandemic.
In recent weeks, you have generously shared many stories with us about your tireless work to serve your communities worldwide amid the pandemic. Your commitment to driving positive societal change through your businesses, your investments, and your philanthropy is the embodiment of global citizenship.
The Private Bank and the wider Citi proudly share your values. Harlin Singh – our Head of Sustainable Investing – has highlighted a few of the ways our organization is helping to serve the greater good. They include providing more than $160bn of financing towards reducing the impact of climate change, promoting diverse talent, and empowering our people to contribute more than one million hours of volunteer time on community projects in 2019.
Earlier this year, Citi also launched a $150m venture capital fund, the financial sector’s largest standalone fund of its kind. The Citi Impact Fund will prioritize companies that are led or owned by women or minorities and that are using technology and innovation to help address key societal challenges. We believe such initiatives will become even more critical as we seek to build back better after the pandemic.
In the spirit of building back better, I wanted to leave you with this Global Citizen film. Sir Terry Farrell’s pioneering architecture and urban planning have helped to transform some of the world’s foremost cities including Beijing, London, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. The creativity, vision, and drive that he has shown throughout his career stand as an inspiration as we prepare for life after the pandemic. Rather than trying to predict the future when planning and creating, Sir Terry stresses that “what you can do right now is to build well, build robustly, and build flexibly.” His advice seems particularly pertinent to today’s world.