ACT Annual Conference, May 2019 – Day 1
Our day kicked off with ACT CEO Caroline Stockmann welcoming delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers alike. Caroline also gave us the fun statistic that more than 4,000 coffees will be served over the 2 days of the conference. I wonder who’s been counting?! Or is that just the ACT team?
Caroline was followed by broadcaster and journalist Jon Snow, bringing some early dazzle with one of his trademark colourful striped ties. Alongside his well known views on UK politics, Jon also gave us an insight into his earlier career as a journalist and recounted hairy meetings with Idi Amin in Uganda and the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years on Robben Island. Powerful stuff.
A high powered economics panel was a fascinating run through of the global trade spat between the US and China, the impact of technology on the world of work and the difficult economic choices over Brexit. One intriguing observation made by the panel was the link between demographics and growth with China, Russia seeing rapidly ageing populations contrasted with the US and India who both have more dynamic and youthful ones.
Our bigger-than-ever exhibition hall was soon humming along as old friends reunited and new relationships made. There wasn’t much time for networking early on though as hard-working delegates packed out sessions on virtual banking, sustainable finance, fx risk and credit ratings. Afternoon sessions – 13 of ‘em – made up the Treasury Fringe running through lots (more) digital treasury issues, payments, fraud (well, how to combat fraud to be precise!) and the soon-to-be changes to LIBOR.
Your correspondent was struck by the volume and detail of much of the questioning from delegates especially in any session involving the words, ‘digital, tech, transformation, innovation…’. A healthy dose of scepticism was served in many cases, but the challenge is clear – treasurers must get on board the digital train!
The evening reception and Gala dinner is always a great opportunity to decompress and process the day’s work over a glass or two. No different this year with the added spice of the ACT’s 40th birthday and the award of both some well deserved Honorary and conventional ACT Fellowships. Your correspondent was especially pleased at the award to Clare Francis who has been a huge supporter of the ACT for many years.
Oh and it was Gary Slawther’s birthday too. What more could one ask?
— caroline stockmann (@carolinesSCI) May 21, 2019
— Helen Slinger (@HelenSlinger) May 21, 2019
— Deb Parkins NatWest (@debparkins) May 21, 2019