Young Economists - Sir Howard Davies

Held on Monday, May 16, 2016

With support from Eversheds


  • Sir Howard Davies



We haven’t had a meeting of our Young Economists’ dining group for some time (indeed, since November, when David Davis was our guest).  So it’s about time.

Fortunately, our next guest (in a long line that includes Nigel Farage, Luke Johnson, Minouche Shafik, Win Bischoff, Douglas Flint and Martin Wolf) is worth the wait: Sir Howard Davies is clearly not one to shy away from difficult (indeed, impossible) tasks. He took on the chairmanship of the Royal Bank of Scotland last year, with its post-crisis reformation still incomplete. That came in the wake of presiding over one of the UK’s more sensitive planning issues: how to expand London’s airport capacity, as chairman of the UK Airports Commission. An earlier role (1997-2003) as the head of the then newly-formed Financial Services Authority was also far from a walk in the park.

In a recent column for our own Financial World, he argued that the priority for the finance industry and its regulators should now be to embed “the changes already in train”, rather than “thinking up new layers of reform”. Good. He also warned FinTech businesses that if they “are to succeed, they will need to make sure they maintain their customers’ trust, and part of that trust will lie in appropriate use of data”. Also good.

With academia providing another string to Howard’s bow – he is a professor at Sciences Po in Paris, and a former Director of the LSE – he has direct (and, I hope, positive) experience of “young economists”. And beyond Europe, he now advises China’s banking and securities regulators.

So the subjects over which our dinner with him might roam include public policy and financial regulation, the practical business of running a bank and the burning economic and financial question of China’s soft/hard landing. (That is assuming, of course, that he has got over Man City’s loss to Real Madrid; Howard was a regular at Maine Road, before footie got social.)

I realise this is quite short notice, but I hope you can join us for what I am sure will be a stimulating and wide-ranging evening.  The only qualification in our Young Economists’ group is that you should be “under 40” – and that is a bit flexible.