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Leading Lights from Financial World Debate Prospects for UK Growth and Highlight Training an

Leading figures from across the global financial sector gathered earlier this week for the Securities and Investments Institute (SII) Annual Conference to debate the future development prospects for the UK economy.

The brilliant May sunshine did not prevent hundreds of delegates packing into the conference suites at the Tower Hotel on St. Katherine’s Way to listen to prestigious individuals present their views and findings, hopes and fears for the road ahead for the UK. The coffee flowed freely in the morning as delegates geared up for a long and dedicated day of debate and learning.

The Sound of Silence

Amongst the speakers were the Chief Economic Adviser for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) who presented his views on the global market situation and pointed to certain misconceptions of the strength of markets and growth in other countries. Also featured were the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) John Tiner citing being a Leeds United Football Club fan as an example of being an oxymoron, and the Vice Governor of the Banque du Liban, Alain Balian.

M. Balian suffered one moment of embarrassment in the main conference hall when a reporter posed a question concerning public utilities and investment in privatised industries in Lebanon. Opining that this was a matter for the Ministerial staff in Lebanon rather than for the Vice Governor of a bank, a sudden silence hung over the room before the next and more directly relevant question was asked.

DWP Absence

Originally, the SII conference was intended to be addressed by Stephen Timms MP, who was Pensions Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, following his move to the Treasury in the recent Cabinet stacking of the deck, the DWP chose not to send a replacement. Their absence was scarcely noticed as the delegates listened to statements on over ““ regulation and the importance of training and development from individuals such as Alison Scott ““ Bishop, the Head of CIBM Central Compliance at HSBC Bank.

The conference also encouraged participation from the audience, with regular votes on questions posed by the panel chairing the discussions. Once asked to key in their vote on electronic pads, the tallying process featured the now ““ famous Countdown music, bringing a note of levity to proceedings. The conference room also featured that almost constant of decorating decisions in hotel function rooms, with the gentle wall lights glowing warmly on the vertical stripes of dull gold and warm yellow. Whether this is to create the impression of a barley field at harvest time, or indeed represents a personal challenge for each delegate at any conference to remember it is daylight outside, has yet to be elaborated upon!

Simon Culhane, Chief Executive of SII, spoke of the conference, sating: “Our inaugural Annual Conference has provided a forum for some important and thought provoking issues related to the area of optimising UK competitiveness within global financial markets.” With the economic challenges ahead, the work of the SII in guaranteeing a wider access to better training for staff and for those wishing to work in the financial sector is key to Britain’s hoped ““ for position of continuing excellence.

Jethro Marsh

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