Lord Stephen Green – Britain’s trade challenges in a global world

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“Britain’s trade challenges in a global world”

We readily agreed with Lord Stephen Green that we would not talk about banking or the EU Referendum. Accordingly, we chose the topic:- “Britain’s trade challenges in a global world.”.  Ironically, we thought, this topic very probably lies at the heart of both banking and the EU. – if you see the generation of national wealth as the core of the Brexit debate and see banking as the financial machinery that makes it work. It would also position the serious thinking and the tone at a higher level – the sort of level that you will find through this following link –  http://www.capx.co/the-european-identity/.

Lord Green spoke mainly about the current account deficit. It used to be referred to as the balance of payments. In layman’s terms it is the profit and loss account of the UK – and which has been predominantly negative for several decades. It is the Dickensian Micawber principle which says that, as a nation, more money needs to come in than goes out. Even if they understand it, most politicians don’t talk about it because it’s boring and they don’t know what to do about. The nearest that this current Administration gets to it is to talk about the need to rebalance the Economy. Beyond this, not a lot.

Suffice it to say – and within the restrictions we place upon ourselves through the Chatham House Rule – eighty Devonshire House members and guests listened to and then debated the most eloquent and highly reasoned exposition of what the problem is, where it came from, how it compares with the other major trading nations in the world and how it might play out from now on – given varying and possible interventions from Government and from UK business. Nowhere nearly enough at the moment!

Stephen Green was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and at Oxford University where he graduated in 1969 with a BA (First Class Honours) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.  He also obtained a Masters Degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. He was created a Life Peer in 2010 and was appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment in January 2011.  He retired from this position in December 2013. Lord Green began his career in 1970 with the British Government’s Ministry of Overseas Development.  In 1977, he joined McKinsey & Co Inc, management consultants, with whom he undertook assignments in Europe, North America and the Middle East. He joined The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1982 with responsibility for corporate planning activities, and in 1985 was put in charge of the development of the bank’s global treasury operations.  In 1992, he became Group Treasurer of HSBC Holdings plc with responsibility for the HSBC Group’s treasury and capital markets businesses globally. In 1998, he was appointed to the Board of HSBC Holdings plc as an Executive Director.  He became Group Chief Executive in 2003 and Group Chairman 2006.  He retired from HSBC in December 2010. Lord Green was Chairman of the British Bankers’ Association from 2006 to 2010.  He also served as a Trustee of the British Museum.  He served as a non-executive director of BASF.se until 2010. He is Chairman of the Natural History Museum, Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the British Chambers of Commerce and is a member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee. He is an ordained priest in the Church of England. Stephen Green has written four books – Serving God? Serving Mammon? [1996]; Good Value, Choosing a Better Life in Business [2009];  Reluctant Meister – How Germany’s Past is Shaping its European Future [2014]; and The European Identity – Historical and Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny [2015]. Stephen Green is married with two daughters