- Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, Australia
Now in its third year, The Bellwether Series 2012 once again will return to these markets to examine critical opportunities and challenges in Asia-Pacific’s four key financial markets, including Australia on July 12th 2012.
The global financial crisis is still hobbling America and Europe. But it left a different legacy in Asia-Pacific. It was a blow to the region’s economies, but a boost to the region’s pride. Asia’s financial systems proved remarkably robust; its economic recovery admirably swift. Australia was no exception. Although its housing and credit boom mirrored Western excesses, its resilience during the crisis resembled its Asian neighbours'.
Many of Asia’s leaders, businesspeople and investors are now newly confident of an “Asian century” ahead. That confidence is reflected in bold economic projections about Asia's future weight in the world. It is also manifest in the strength of commodity prices--and the dramatic improvement in Australia's terms of trade.
But there is a danger in triumphalism. Asia-Pacific has its own vulnerabilities and challenges to overcome. Its diverse economies are variously threatened by middle-income traps and liquidity traps; the perils of inflation and deflation. In Australia, mining success has undermined manufacturing competitiveness. Like every other, it must constantly re-examine its place in a more elaborate international division of labour.
In many Asian countries, the economy has raced ahead of the financial system. The region’s share of global financial assets lags far behind its economic weight in the world, and its financial institutions sometimes struggle to keep up with more demanding savers and more ambitious firms.
Australia's financial system is highly sophisticated, but it is not without vulnerabilities of its own, including high household debt, secured against properties that may be overvalued. The recent slowdown in credit growth will help to preserve financial stability, but it will also hurt bank profitability. Some banks may venture overseas in search of richer pickings.
The Australia edition of the Bellwether Series will examine the state of the financial system at home and abroad. For Australia’s financial-services industry, what opportunities and risks does the shifting global landscape present? Are the woes of Europe's banks a threat to international liquidity or an opportunity for others to fill the gaps they leave behind? Will new international regulations on capital, and especially liquidity, hamper Australia's banks or clip the wings of their competitors? And what can the rest of the world learn from Australia's financial resilience? The Australia edition will offer a rigorous and global perspective on the country’s fascinating and evolving financial-services industry.
Dates of each Bellwether Series 2012 event:
Tokyo, Japan – May 16th 2012
Sydney, Australia – July 12th 2012
Seoul, South Korea – September 4th 2012
Beijing, China – November 16th 2012
The chairperson will give scene-setting remarks for the day’s discussions.
The global financial landscape
The euro area is teetering on the edge of a precipice. Meanwhile America's recovery is threatened by a so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts. Deeper shifts are also taking place in the financial landscape, as new regulations roll out, and some overstretched financial institutions pull back. This session will examine the implications of these developments for the world, Asia Pacific and Australia.
The report from Europe
Implications for Asia-Pacific?
Implications for Australia?
The retreat of the euro-zone…
Central bank perspective: How will the euro crisis affect Asia’s financial markets and economic prospects?
Since the financial crisis, the world has shifted from an era of deregulation to a new era of reregulation. The role of the monetary and financial authorities has become more expansive, more intrusive—in many ways, more Asian. In dealing with credit booms, asset bubbles and currency volatility, is there a distinctively Asian regulatory philosophy? If so, what can the rest of the world learn from it? And how does Australia's regulatory system compare? Can it find a happy medium between the hands-off approach that got the world into trouble, and heavy-handed regulation that might stifle growth?
China is projected to become the world’s biggest economy within a decade, if it manages to avoid a few stumbles along the way. Australia has benefited more than most from China’s progress. But has that left Australia dangerously dependent on China's continued success? This session discusses the many links between Australia and its biggest trade partner.
Government and markets
With an election due in just over a year, Australia’s minority federal government faces a big test of its political survival. Will another global downturn force financial regulation back on the agenda? If so, what will the impact be on Australia’s banks and financial institutions?
This session will set aside conventional wisdom and cosy, consensus forecasts to ask some "what ifs". It will examine some low-probability, high-impact scenarios, both good and bad. The question for the panellists is not "Will this scenario happen?" It is: "What would be the consequences if it did?" These are not outcomes anyone necessarily expects, but they are things for which people should nonetheless prepare. The kinds of scenarios that may be considered include:
In conversation with:
Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Government of Australia
Chairperson’s closing remarks
Simon Cox, Asia Economics Correspondent, The Economist
Charles Goddard, Editorial Director, Asia Pacific, Economist Intelligence Unit
Robert Milliken, Australia Correspondent, The Economist
Hon Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Government of Australia
Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Government of Australia
Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Federal Opposition, Australia
Philip Lowe, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia
John Laker, Chairman, Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority
Greg Medcraft, Chairman, Australian Securities and Investment Commission
Dave Poddar, Partner, Allen & Overy
Paul Howes, National Secretary, The Australian Workers' Union
Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Bankers’ Association
Saugata Bhattacharya, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Axis Bank, India
Cao Yuanzheng, Chief Economist, Bank of China
Art Certosimo, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Markets, BNY Mellon
Paul Schulte, Former Global Head of Financial Strategy and Asia Banks Research Division, CCB International Securities
Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist, Australia, HSBC
Lee White, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
Stuart Fuller, Global Managing Partner, King & Wood Mallesons
Brian Redican, Division Director and Senior Economist, Macquarie Bank
Joseph Healy, Group Executive Business Banking, National Australia Bank
Adrian Blundell-Wignall, Deputy Director, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Financial Markets, OECD
Michael Johnson, Former Member, Australian Parliament, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Vitamins International
Brinda Jagirdar, Head, Economic Research, State Bank of India
Daniel Gros, Director, The Centre for European Policy Studies
Justin O’Brien, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales
Bill Evans, Chief Economist, Westpac
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