Cryptocurrency and blockchain, along with building a greener world and improving healthcare, were among the main topics discussed at this year’s Greenwich Economic Forum.
But the GEF ended with a conversation with former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, now a senior advisor at RockCreek Global Investment Management, who was interviewed via Zoom by that firm’s founder and CEO, Anshula Kant. She noted that the 95-year-old scholar comes into the company’s DC office regularly and “is not a hybrid worker.”
Greenspan mentioned that the work-from-home model at the height of the pandemic has succeeded well beyond many widely held assumptions. He added, however, that another assumption – that “we are all vaccinated, reopened and everyone is back in the office” – has also been refuted.
In many cases, âworkers are in no rush to get back to the office,â he said. âWorking from home will just be part of the new normal. The continuation of this trend will continue to benefit the technology sector, he added, while continuing to pose challenges to the commercial real estate sector.
Greenspan has expressed concern over the inequality in the way Covid vaccines have been distributed, with those in developed countries indisputably receiving more doses than those in underdeveloped countries. While the US and UK had full vaccination rates of around 54% and 65% respectively on September 23, less than 4% of Africa’s population had reached the same milestone.
Such a disparity will have “serious economic consequences,” he warned, helping to cost the global economy $ 2.3 trillion over the period 2022 to 2025, roughly the equivalent of GDP. annual from France. Asia would be the hardest hit, losing a total of $ 1.7 trillion in those years, “but Africa will suffer the greatest losses” in terms of health and per capita.
Greenspan – who served as Federal Reserve chairman for 19 years under four US presidents (three Republicans and one Democrat) – was asked whether such longevity was a benefit to the overall economic situation, given that President Joe Biden is reportedly considering asking the current president, Jerome. Powell – who was appointed by Donald Trump in 2018 – to stay.
“The most important attribute of the chairman of the Fed and the Federal Reserve … is political independence,” he replied. “Any change should take place without political pressure,” said Greenspan, also denouncing “continuity for the sake of continuity.”
Continuity is hardly the watchword for the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries, as opinions continue to differ as to the direction these markets are heading, especially among regulators.
Prior to the WEF, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told the Senate Banking Committee that the commission was working on stricter regulations on digital assets and coins such as stablecoins, the digital currency whose performance is tied to underlying assets such as a national currency or gold.
Gensler has estimated that there are around 6,000 of these digital assets.
âCurrently, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading or lending,â Gensler said in prepared remarks. “Frankly right now it’s more like the Wild West or the old world of ‘buyer beware’ that existed before securities laws were passed.”
During a GEF panel, Michelle Seitz, CEO of Russell Investments, said that while digital assets have been “easy to dismiss”, “real investors are coming.” Fellow panellist Anastasia Amoroso, chief investment strategist at iCapital, went further by predicting that it will be “a pivotal year for crypto, not just in terms of performance but adoption.”
Amoroso said businesses small and large are adding more crypto as a form of payment, and predicted that this will eventually disrupt the consumer payments market. ResearchAndMarkets.com estimated in June that the value of transactions for the global digital payments market was $ 5.4 trillion last year, and predicted it will reach nearly $ 11.3 trillion by 2026.
In a separate session, Grayscale Investments CEO Michael Sonnenshein said that despite the lack of regulatory clarity around digital investments, the market “has really arrived and is really here to stay.”
Sonnenshein said that ultimately an act of Congress will be needed to codify the regulation of digital assets, “and it’s not an overnight development.”
Meanwhile, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investments have rapidly shifted from being a âfun thing to doâ to âmust doâ for a growing number of companies. With climate change becoming increasingly evident to more people, companies can no longer afford to ignore these concerns, said Bennett Goodman, executive chairman of Hunter Point Capital.
He noted, however, that while state-owned companies have already made progress in green efforts, “private markets have been slower to embrace various ESG initiatives.”
Add national governments to the list of those going greener. John Glen, Economic Secretary to the UK Treasury, was on hand to praise the immediate success of this government’s first round of green bonds: Â£ 10bn ($ 13.7bn) was raised when it was issued. first morning of sales on September 21, with orders placed for an additional Â£ 90bn ($ 123bn) – a record for a UK government bond sale. âWe are significantly oversubscribed,â said Glen.
“We are sending a signal to the market which we believe will further stimulate” interest in green bonds, he added. “The appetite is there to find these kinds of instruments.”
The bonds are expected to mature in June 2032 and July 2033. Another round of Â£ 5 billion ($ 6.8 billion) is expected later this year.
Additionally, Annie Lamont – the governor’s wife, and co-founder and managing partner at Oak HC / FT Partners in Greenwich – was on hand for a panel discussion on the evolution of healthcare systems.
âTechnology is not the problem,â she said. âIt’s about exchange and payments reform.
Covid-19 has been “an accelerator in terms of collaboration and innovation,” Lamont said, with the move towards home care and telehealth continuing to gain momentum. â80% of health care can actually be delivered at home,â she said.
Giving personal care physicians more control over, and therefore committing to, an individual’s health regime will result in a shift from the current “hospital-centric system to a more patient-centric system.” care, âshe added.