By Ellie Davy
On the 20th of June Haggie Partners hosted a group of communications and insurance professionals for lunch to discuss the future of the UK economy and its impact on the insurance and financial sectors.
It was an event that I, with no background in economics, thoroughly enjoyed and we were spoilt for expert knowledge and first-hand experience with our two speakers Grant Lewis and Neville Hill. Grant and Nev first met working at the UK Treasury before going on to work at Daiwa Securities and Credit Suisse for more than 20 years. During this time, they built reputations for accessible and insightful research, each eventually taking chief economist roles at their respective companies.
The state of our economy, be it inflation, the cost of living crisis, or the repercussions of Covid and Brexit, is a topic that is hard to ignore these days. But this does not make it easy to understand. While the importance of our economy and its future has always been apparent, I have often found much of the jargon surrounding this topic dense and inaccessible. Grant and Nev’s talk set out to change this, offering a clear and understandable overview of the state of our economy and its future. While their talk paid particular attention to the implications for the finance and insurance sectors, their insights were broad and widely applicable.
Grant began with a high-level overview of the UK economy; an accessible and highly informative debrief covering growth, inflation, changing wages and the possibility of recession. And of course, the high likelihood of a change in UK government before the end of 2024. He paid particular attention to the effects of Brexit on the state of the economy, emphasising the crucial role of the global markets in influencing our economic situation and its future. This led to an insightful debate around the evolving role and significance of the London financial markets. This was a particularly interesting topic of conversation given the importance of Lloyd’s to the insurance industry, sparking debate and discussion among those attending.
Taking over from Grant, Nev, who recently completed an MSc in environmental economics and climate change at the LSE, discussed the impact of climate change and what a green transition might mean for our economy. From mitigation strategies involving taxing carbon emissions, and the impact this might have on the financial sector, to a stand-back approach and the inevitable costs that global warming will incur, we were given a simple yet effective view of what a green economy might look like and the rocky road to get there.
With all this in mind the outlook for our economy seemed far from cheery. However, as Nev reminded us, the potential benefits of a green economy should not be overlooked, and it is to this slightly brighter future that we might turn our attention. Grant and Nev chose to leave us here, offering the hope that, though the state of our economy may seem bleak, there are also opportunities for change and growth.
For my part I left not only far wiser about the state of our economy and its future but also equipped with the tools to become more involved in this crucial area of our society that holds great sway in both our professional and personal lives.
About our speakers:
Neville Hill and Grant Lewis first met when they were working as economists in the UK Treasury. Having worked on the UK’s EU economic policy, Nev was poached by Credit Suisse to be their UK economist and he rapidly rose through the ranks to become Chief Economist in London. Grant stuck around at the Treasury for a bit longer, but soon followed Nev into finance, ultimately becoming Chief Economist at Daiwa Securities in Europe. They were at Credit Suisse and Daiwa for over 20 years, during which they built reputations for accessible and insightful research, travelling the world meeting some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors. They both moved on to new roles last year; Nev to study for an MSc in environmental economics and climate change at the LSE and Grant to take up a new role in higher education.