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Wednesday, 13 March 2013, 2:15PM
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Centre

Financial Innovation: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Professor Thorsten Beck, John Authers, Barbara Ridpath, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli

Professor Thorsten Beck is joined by John Authers and Barbara Ridpath for a panel discussion on Financial Innovation. The panellists first share their thoughts on financial innovation (such as human behaviour and the role of structured investment vehicles in the crash), before moving on to answer questions from the floor. Topics covered included payday lenders, the sources of demand for financial innovation, and the role of central banks in innovation.

 

The discussion is chaired by Professor Michael Mainelli.

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Professor of economics and chair of the European Banking Center at Tilburg University. He is also a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).  Previously he worked in the research department of the World Bank and has also worked as consultant for – among others - the IMF, the European Commission, and the German Development Corporation. His research, academic publications and operational work have focused on two major questions: What is the relationship between finance and economic development? What policies are needed to build a sound and effective financial system? Recently, he has concentrated on access to financial services, including SME finance, as well as in incentive-compatible design of financial safety nets. In addition to numerous academic publications, he has co-authored several policy reports on access to finance, financial systems in Africa and cross-border banking.  His country experience, both in operational and research work, includes Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia and several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia and an MA from the University of Tübingen in Germany.

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John Authers was the global editor of the Finan­cial Times’ “Lex” column, which many consider to be the most influential business and finance column in the world. For years he was the FT’s principal commentator on markets and invest­ments. Until recently the author of its influential “Short View” column, he now writes the weekly “Long View” column. A 20-year FT career also included four years running the Mexico City bureau, ten years in New York, and stints in the UK covering education and local government. 

 
John is the author of The Fearful Rise of Markets. His newest book is Europe’s Financial Crisis: A Short Guide to How the Euro Fell Into Crisis, and the Conse­quences for the World. John explains where we are headed in the financial crisis and why a strong recovery remains far away.He offers ideas for what policy­makers must do now to restore the long-term health of the global markets. He is also co-author with Richard Wolffe of The Victim’s Fortune: Inside the Epic Battle Over the Debts of the Holocaust
 
He speaks around the world, and appears frequently on television and radio, including the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS. He is a major presence on the internet, where he writes for ft.com, and appears in numerous videos on YouTube and elsewhere discussing the financial issues of the day. 
 
John is the recipient of many journalistic awards honoring his reporting and writing on financial and business matters. Most recently, he was named the senior journalist of the year by the Wincott Foundation, the premier award for UK financial journalists. In the US his videos have twice been honoured at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ Best in Business awards.
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Barbara Ridpath is a non-executive Director of the National Australia Group Europe Ltd. She was Chief Executive of the International Centre for Financial Regulation from its creation in 2008 until the end of 2012 and is the author of numerous articles on the regulation of the financial sector after the global financial crisis. From 2004-2008, Barbara was Executive Managing Director and Head of Ratings Services, Europe, for Standard & Poor’s (S&P), responsible for Standard & Poor’s rating activities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Barbara joined S&P in 1983 after three years as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She worked in S&P's European network from 1986, holding a broad range of positions. From 1993 to 1998 Barbara was a Senior Credit Officer at JPMorgan Europe, rejoining S&P in 1998.

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Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli is Emeritus Mercers' School Memorial Professor of Commerce at Gresham College, having held the chair from 2005 to 2009. His first degree was in Government from Harvard, followed by mathematics and engineering studies at Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the London School of Economics in chaotic systems, where he was also a Visiting Professor.

Professor Mainelli is Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, which he co-founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. A qualified accountant (FCCA), securities professional (FCSI), computer specialist (FBCS) and management consultant (FIC), Michael began his career as a research scientist in aerospace (rockets) and computing (architecture & mapping). He later became a senior partner with accountants BDO Binder Hamlyn directing global consulting projects. During the 1990s he worked for the UK Ministry of Defence as Corporate Development Director for Europe’s then largest R&D firm, the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency leading to two privatisations. Career highlights include directing Z/Yen’s Long Finance initiative with Gresham College and the City of London Corporation asking “when would we know our financial system is working?” as well as creating the Global Financial Centres Index, Global Intellectual Property Index, London Accord and Farsight Award. Michael also conceived and produced the first complete digital map of the world in 1983, Mundocart (a 1980’s Google Earth), and the $20 million Geodat consortium cartography project.

Michael is non-executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UK’s national body for standards and laboratories), AIM-listed Sirius Minerals plc (potash mining), AIM-listed Wishbone Gold Plc; Alderman for Broad Street Ward (elected) at the City of London Corporation; Almoner for Christ’s Hospital School; Trustee of International Fund for Animal Welfare. Michael has held numerous advisory posts, for example with Hitachi UK, City University and HM Treasury. Michael won a 1996 UK Foresight Challenge award for the Financial Laboratory, 2003 UK Smart Award for prediction software, 2005 British Computer Society Director of the Year, 2011 Technology Strategy Board Challenge Award for financial avatars, and was awarded Gentiluomo of the Associazione Cavalieri di San Silvestro in 2011. Michael is a Liveryman, Worshipful Company of World Traders, Freeman, Watermen & Lightermen, and represents the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies.

Michael has published over 40 journal articles, 150 commercial articles and four books. Michael’s humorous risk/reward management novel, Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen, written with Ian Harris, was a Sunday Times Book of the Week in 2000; Accountancy Age described it as “surprisingly funny considering it is written by a couple of accountants”. Their third co-authored book, The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions, based on his Gresham lectures, won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Finance, Investment & Economics Gold Prize. Michael plays bagpipes, loves skiing and sailing and, with his wife, Elisabeth, he races and restores the 1923 Thames Sailing Barge Lady Daphne and sits on the world’s oldest sailing racing body, the Thames Match Committee. With an international family, Michael speaks English, German, French and Italian poorly, but even worse Spanish and Chinese.

To access all of Professor Mainelli's previous Gresham College lectures, please click here.

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