Security Forward-Risk and Intelligence Forum's quarterly meeting was held on 10 October at Farmers’ and Fletchers’ Hall in the City. Our first speaker was our own ‘Speaker in Residence’ and Senior Adviser, Lt Col Crispin Black MBE MPhil, and the title of his presentation was "The Millennial Generation-Risky Or Reliable? Security Implications for Employers." Crispin was deeply concerned about the prevailing opinions of future generations, particularly about capitalism. Despite the proven track record of the market economy in lifting billions of human beings out of poverty and misery, many young people feel that this system was largely discredited by the financial crash of 2008. The popular phrase goes ‘Profits are privatized; Losses are socialised’, though the notion of privatizing profits and socializing losses dates at least to 1834 and Andrew Jackson's closing of the Second Bank of the United States. A prescient and pithy summing up of what happened in 2008. Other disturbing developments include the incubation of strange ideas on Western university campuses, the relentless primacy of the individual, and an increasing intolerance of different political views as a result of a growing sense of self-righteousness. Crispin argued that, although in his view wrongheaded, many of these radical notions feed off a sense that the people in charge are neither listening to their electorates nor setting any kind of example themselves. A lively discussion followed.
Our second speaker was Jan-Peter Onstwedder, Managing Director, Risk Management Institutional Clients Group, at Citi. He gave a fascinating talk on ‘Risk’ and also discussed the effect that Corporate Culture has on attitudes to risk. Jan-Peter encouraged questions throughout his presentation, which allowed for a very interactive conversation without spoiling the thread of his talk. There was much discussion about the City and Financial Institutions and their attitude to risk and we were privileged to have such a senior and well respected expert on risk and risk management to address us all. As we limit the number of attendees, everybody had the chance to be involved in the conversation, which was only stopped due to time constraints.
We then moved on to our regular ‘sharing your current in-tray’ session in which participants introduced themselves and highlighted any key issues and concerns that were at the top of their In-tray. At the conclusion of this session we transferred to the bar, where we had our usual cocktail openers, in this case a stiff gin&tonic, followed by dinner.
Our dinner speaker was Professor Christopher Andrew who spoke about his book "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence", and gave a very incisive and informative talk which was both witty and amusing. As we operate under the Chatham House Rule and many of those present had an intelligence and security background, the Professor was able to talk off the record and there were many questions from the floor. A copy of the book was given to all those present.
Next meeting 10 January 2019.