Global Head, Citi Private Bank
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Well-grounded optimism and focusing upon factors within our control are integral to strengthen our resilience and enable us to thrive amid adversity.
Seventy-five years ago today, peace and liberty were finally restored in Europe after the most devastating conflict in the history of mankind. Alas, we cannot honor the veterans and the dead with the originally planned ceremonies and parades. We can, however, recall their sacrifice with profound gratitude and look ahead to the day when we can belatedly mark this auspicious anniversary in the traditional manner. There are surely few more appropriate words for today than this powerful verse from the commemorative poem “For the Fallen”:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
Could the tide be turning in our present struggle against COVID-19? In many nations, we are witnessing a further slowing of growth in newly reported cases. This includes the US, still the epicenter of the global pandemic. At the same time, tracking and testing efforts are ramping up. Two separate early-stage antibody development studies in Israel and the Netherlands have this week revealed promising results. Such progress could enable the further gradual easing of restrictions. In recent days, Italy’s restaurants have reopened their doors for takeaway service, while more than 85 million Chinese have been able to enjoy domestic tourism. Germany is poised to restart much of its economy, including resuming professional soccer games, albeit in empty stadiums. The tide may indeed be turning for the better.
Of course, the tide is unlikely to retreat anything like as rapidly as it came in. We will be challenged by setbacks and renewed restrictions along the way. For now, working from home may remain a reality for many of us. Indeed, it may become a permanent feature of our professional lives after the pandemic ends. However, there is a world of difference between having the freedom to work from home and being made to do so. Close domestic confinement is placing an enormous strain on people’s spirits, compounding health and business worries. Coping with anxiety has become the hidden battle in our struggle against COVID-19.
I therefore wanted to share with you some timely insights from Dr Martyn Newman, a clinical and corporate psychologist. Some of you will know Martyn from his appearances at our Empowering Leaders program, the client event we hold at Cambridge University to help tomorrow’s family business leaders develop vital personal characteristics including emotional intelligence. In this short video, Martyn outlines some key emotional skills that we can work on so as to strengthen our resilience and enable us to thrive amid adversity.
Well-grounded optimism and focusing upon factors within our control are integral to the approach that Martyn recommends. In our view, this should always begin with a thorough analysis of the situation. That is what David Bailin and Steven Wieting provide in their latest weekly report, which addresses the partial economic recovery they expect to get underway in the third quarter of this year. They also stress positive actions that you should consider taking right now in your portfolios.
With our thoughts increasingly focused upon rebuilding after COVID-19, I was reminded this week of our Global Citizen film profiling the transformational philanthropic work of Andreas Dracopoulos and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. To date, this life-changing organization has committed more than $3bn in grants to good causes globally. That includes the remarkable gift to the Greek nation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center – featured in our film – as well as pandemic relief initiatives today. The Foundation’s approach to solving deep-seated problems worldwide – especially its emphasis on public-private collaboration – provides much-needed inspiration as we look to the future.
As we enter the weekend, I am pleased to offer you the last in our series of musical interludes. The beginning of Haydn’s Sixth Symphony, “Le Matin” describes a sunrise by way of an ascending theme over sustained chords. It is full of positive energy and celebrates everything that is good and sweet in life. Please do enjoy this magnificent performance from the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom Citi has proudly partnered to bring you this series. Moreover, I very much hope you will take the chance to hear them live in concert, once we have decisively turned the tide.