Global Head, Citi Private Bank
September 18, 2020Posted InCiti
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Politics and geopolitics have become increasingly polarized in recent years. Effective post-pandemic regeneration will demand more cooperation and consensus.
For those of you who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you Shana Tova. While I realize that these High Holy Days will be very different from usual, we must all continue to hope that the coming year will be one of renewal and improving health.
Shared challenges demand collaborative solutions. That is surely one of the key lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic to date. Around the world, the national leaders, governors and mayors who have built consensus around their responses have frequently achieved better economic and public health outcomes. We believe that consensus and cooperation could be just as important in regenerating the economy and society once the virus is defeated.
Naturally, rebuilding consensus is easier said than done. Long before COVID-19 struck, divisions were rife, both within political systems and between nations worldwide. Particularly since the global financial crisis, politics almost everywhere have typically become angrier and more polarized. At the same time, the post-war spirit of multilateralism has wilted. If anything, today’s pandemic has intensified these tendencies.
How we might rebuild political and geopolitical consensus is one of the critical questions that we will be asking at Autumn Dialogues ’20, which starts next week. For our first session of this flagship annual event, we will be joined by William, Lord Hague of Richmond. Previously the UK’s Foreign Secretary and leader of its Conservative Party, Lord Hague will consider the potential for regenerating key global relationships, including those between the EU and UK, the US and China, and among US voters. Always an engaging and insightful speaker, Lord Hague’s appearance is not to be missed.
Following last year’s wonderful event in Miami, Autumn Dialogues ’20 was originally scheduled to take place in Beijing. While we are sad not to be hosting you in person, this year’s virtual format also enables us to welcome many more of you for this very special series of conversations. Among those taking part will be former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; Mervyn, Lord King, previously Governor of the Bank of England; and world record-breaking sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur. I warmly invite clients to join us weekly from Wednesday to explore the many facets of regeneration. Each session will also be subtitled in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, as well as simplified and traditional Chinese.
Of course, political polarization and geopolitical tensions have had a growing impact upon financial markets in recent years. That trend seems likely to persist for now. November’s US presidential elections and the ongoing EU-UK trade negotiations could certainly unsettle investors in the coming weeks. So, what might we do to prepare? David Bailin and Steven Wieting offer some perspectives in their latest report. While they see the likelihood of greater volatility, they also stress the potential opportunities that this turbulence might bring.
Amid unsettled times, investors have long sought out the perceived safety of real estate. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has not been a typical crisis. Indeed, it may have fundamentally changed the outlook for many real estate assets. To help you understand what the “new normal” may look like, we are therefore holding a series of four virtual sessions with some of the industry’s most prominent investors and thought leaders. I very much hope you will be able to attend the first installment on Monday, which will take a global perspective, followed by updates on London, New York and the West Coast of the US.
Over the last five weeks, it has been my privilege to bring you a second set of musical interludes in partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra. For today’s finale, I am pleased to share an excerpt from the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No.1. This music expresses the full range of human emotion, from the darkness to the light, and from despair to jubilation and everything in between. I hope this magnificent performance – one of the first the Philharmonia recorded after the lockdown – inspires you as we contemplate how to rebuild much-needed harmony and consensus.