20 June 2018

JM Finn conference: change is the new norm

An investment manager’s job is to keep on top of the companies in which they invest on behalf of their clients


JM Finn Global Conference from Oliver Tregoning on Vimeo.

To give our clients some insight into the kind of research that our investment managers and research analysts do on a daily basis, we gathered a range of speakers to share this type of knowledge with the aim of giving our clients the additional comfort that, not only do we provide a top quality service, but our investment knowledge is second to none.

Change is taking place all around us; a lot as a result of new technologies as discussed by our expert speakers at our last investment conference. Following the hugely positive feedback from that event in November 2017, we followed this with another conference focusing on the change that is taking place across the world.

The five speakers are all experts in their fields, which are all undergoing fundamental structural change. The first speaker is an expert on 'The Donald'. As deputy editor of the Spectator magazine since 2014, and editor of Spectator USA, Freddy Gray followed Donald Trump on his campaign trail and suggests that those tacky Make America great baseball caps he sports are a PR masterstroke and that he’s the greatest political entrepreneur of our time.

Freddy gave a fascinating insight into reasons why Trump will likely serve another term, as long as exhaustion doesn’t get the better of him, and reasons why this might be a concern. He suggested that Trump has the same dirty dog appeal that Clinton did and discussed how vital rolling news, or social media, was to his presidency.

Natalie Berg then moved on to discuss the retail sector. With the death knell of the high street seemingly being sounded in the UK, with some large well-known names recently going into administration, Natalie used her deep industry expertise to reassure the audience that the high street will survive as long as retailers start thinking like consumers.

This was followed by Tom Slater who discussed the broadening impact of the exponential technological progress we are witnessing today, focusing on the media, China, healthcare and beyond.

As the joint manager of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which, founded in 1909 is one of the oldest Investment trusts, Tom’s focus is on high growth companies both in listed equity markets and as an investor in private companies.

The penultimate slot was a Parkinson style discussion between one of our own staff and Ed Butler CBE, DSO. Ed has extensive counter terrorism, intelligence and security expertise, most of which was gained during a 24-year career in front line service in the British Army. He commanded the SAS during the period in which 9/11 happened and was commander of the British forces in Afghanistan in 2006 before retiring in 2008. He currently heads up risk analysis at Pool Re, the government backed terrorism reinsurance scheme, sits on the board at EDF energy, the operating company for the UK’s nuclear industry and is a trustee of the Airey Neave trust.

Ed was in conversation with Mike Mount who is Director of Intermediary Solutions at JM Finn. Mike was himself a former officer with the Ghurkhas, where he commanded a reconnaissance unit of Ghurkha paratroopers for two years and served mostly in Asia.

Finally, we introduced Dr Morgaine Gaye, a food futurologist who uses science and art to forecast lifestyle trends based around food.

The five speakers are all experts in their fields, fields which are all undergoing fundamental structural change.

She discussed the seismic shift that we are to expect as we move towards 2020, as the pace of change quickens and we move away from decades of looking at our values system based on the economy and we see it being based on knowledge. Dr Gaye enlightened the audience on four key trends:

  • Texture: the ability to offer crunchy avocados for example
  • Back to the land: connecting to something more meaningful
  • Skin: using it as a digital interface
  • Pause: addressing the growing need for sanctuaries of peace and tranquillity
  • Disruption: imperfect is the new beautiful

Judging from the enthusiastic questions and applause, the audience of over 250 enjoyed the day, with most commenting on the quality and range of topics covered by our five speakers. We will look to emulate this event again in 2019.


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