Barclays hosted its annual client lunch on Tuesday, December 12, and welcomed 120 guests at the Salle Eiffel at the Hotel Hermitage. With the theme “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” Henk Potts, Director of Global Research Barclays Private Bank, moderated the two and a half hour event that focused on Artificial Intelligence’s influence in the Fintech and Finance industry.
Francesco Grosoli, CEO, Private Bank EMEA & Monaco Branch, Barclays Private Bank, delivered the official welcome to the investment conference and told the audience that Barclays works across the whole of the Barclays network and beyond, bringing together the right people, ideas and opportunities to connect clients with new possibilities. Mr Grosoli also commented on the launch of the Barclays Private Bank advertising campaign saying that big challenges suddenly seem small when able to exploit the power of collaboration.
Philippe Gudin, Chief EMEA Economist, Barclays Investment Bank, provided an in-depth economic outlook outlining how global growth was on its way to 4 percent. For the first time since the great recession following the financial crisis, growth is totally synchronised across the world, and this is creating a virtuous circle, with strong global demand and accelerating global trade boosting inventories and investment, especially in developed countries.
Nevertheless, and despite the labour market tightening in the wake of economic expansion, global inflation is picking up only very gradually, owing to temporary factors such as technological changes and globalisation, which are holding up wage inflation. Consequently, central banks are embarking into a gradual normalisation of their monetary policies, although the ECB and the Bank of Japan are still lagging behind, with still negative interest rates and large provision of liquidity, which could, if maintained too long, affect financial stability.
One of the main risks ahead is related to the uncertainty around Brexit, which has not disappeared after the agreement on the divorce settlement. Our economic scenario is based on the assumption of a hard but orderly Brexit, with a transition period that would avoid the UK economy falling off a cliff on March 29, 2019, but we may know only late in 2018 whether an agreement is reached.
Dr Mike Lynch, Founder of Invoke Capital, discussed with guests Artificial Intelligence (AI) opportunities and its impact on investing. He said that computers in many areas are becoming more accurate than humans, a process that could dramatically alter corporate business models and have a profound effect on society. While not an investor in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, he did say that Blockchain technology offers some attractive investment opportunities.
Jean Castellini, Monaco Minister of Finance and Economy, spoke on the subject of “MonacoTech and the Principality’s Financial Ecosystem”. He presented the MonacoTech startup program launched early November. The main goal of the incubator is to bring consultancy expertise by various differing methods and allow young CEOs to get tips about managing and developing a company.
The Minister of Finance and Economy concluded his speech with an update on the latest developments in the area of tax transparency, with a focus on the recent publication by the European Commission of its black and grey lists. He noted with satisfaction that the efforts of the Principality, as far as exchange of information and international cooperation are concerned, were now fully conformed by entities such as the European Union (indeed Monaco is not on the lists recently published).
The last speaker of the event was Dr Kohei Ogawa, Robotics and AI researcher from the University of Osaka who covered the topic of “Human, Android, and Connecting Technology” and was helped by a Geminoid android that entertained the audience.
A geminoid is a special type of android that doesn’t just broadly resemble a human; it is meant to look like a specific person and in this case it was the twin of its creator Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University.
In closing the Global Outlook 2018, Mr Potts commented that the outlook for the global economy is strong and corporate earnings should continue to thrive in 2018 which should be positive for equity market investors particularly in the US and Europe. Mr Pots wished everyone a happy and prosperous New Year from the Barclays Private Bank team.