Day three: Jeremy Hunt defends UK financial services reforms

Plus, Australia’s energy transition, the refugee crisis and Japan’s economy

Day three: Jeremy Hunt defends UK financial services reforms

On the final day of the Global Boardroom, UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt defended his overhaul of UK financial services rules, which relaxes some of the measures introduced after the financial crisis of 2008.

He rejected suggestions that the government was abandoning lessons learnt more than a decade ago: “We have to make sure we don’t unlearn the lessons of 2008,” but added that it was also important to recognise that banks were stronger. He also praised the City’s resilience after Brexit and argued that the UK would have a “tremendous future” outside the European Union.

Luxembourg’s finance minister Yuriko Backes commented on US green technology legislation, which he said was “quite problematic” for the EU’s economy. But he warned the EU to “avoid going down a deglobalisation road” and instead nurture EU-US relations.

Also on the agenda today was Australia’s energy transition and the challenge of shifting the fossil fuel-dependent economy towards renewables. “We need to go from our energy system being 20 per cent renewables to 200 per cent by 2050 to decarbonise the broader economy,” said Angela Karl, a partner at the Queensland Investment Corporation.

Elsewhere, panellists discussed the successes and limitations of Abenomics for today’s Japan. The economic policy had created momentum, they said, but not gone far enough with strategies for growth.

We assessed the complexities of the global refugee crisis, including the importance of partnerships with the private sector and the need to involve communities: “Bringing the host community to the centre of the conversation is as important as taking care of the refugee camp. Actually, if you don’t do that you might be aggravating the conflict,” said Makhtar Diop, managing director of the International Finance Corporation.

And a panel on electric vehicles warned of a squeeze in supplies of minerals needed for batteries. “From a raw material standpoint, we’re not in good shape,” said Rohitesh Dhawan, chief executive of the International Council on Mining and Metals, but speakers agreed recycling could help meet some of the demand.

In case you missed it, on Thursday IBM chief executive Arvind Krishna said the UK’s semiconductor industry had been held back by a lack of public and private investment. He also predicted quantum computing could be in play by the end of the decade, at which point, “we will begin to see use cases that will give a massive advantage to some companies”.

Published December 10 2022