GoldFinger, 10 February 2010
Much of the blame for the financial crisis has been laid at the door of short-termism and financial institutions chasing gains with little regard for the long-term consequences of their actions. Long-term thinking and responsibility have then become something of a hot topic and so it was with great interest that GoldFinger went along to the latest “Musing Dinner” hosted by Culliford Edmunds, the London-based private banking and wealth management search firm.
The inaugural Musing Dinner of the year focused on the theme of “Long Finance” and drew luminaries from all corners of the wealth management industry, prominent academics, politicians and broadcasters. Among the topics up for discussion was the concept of how we can devise a better long-term store of value that could supersede fiat currencies; how capitalism could move more towards preserving value than extracting it; and how best the present generation should provide for the next.
Chairing the debate was Professor Michael Mainelli, the co-founder of Z/Yen, the London-based think tank, with other guests including Faisal Islam, Economics correspondent at Channel 4 News; Clive Bannister, group managing director, insurance and asset management, HSBC Group; Jeremy Smilg, Merrill Lynch’s head of product and wealth solutions; Kate Leppard, executive director, Schroders Charities; Richard Howarth, director of private banking at The Standard Chartered Private Bank; and David Gauke, MP for Southwest Hertfordshire and Shadow Treasury frontbencher.
The guest of honour however was Stewart Brand, president of The Long Now Foundation and an award-winning author who is credited with being the first to use the term “personal computer” in print. Mr Brand’s observations were as wide-ranging as they were challenging and many fascinating projects came to light, not least The Long Now’s creation of a 10,000 year clock and its Rosetta Project, which has seen 15,000 languages etched on a nickel disc and launched into space.
Amid such fascinating insights the evening flew by for the 30 plus attendees, aided by the superb fare which is the trademark of the Farmers Club in Whitehall. And while the aim of the night was to get everyone thinking more about the fullness of time, for GoldFinger the next Musing Dinner can’t come soon enough.