About clarityeconomics

Phil Thornton is lead consultant at Clarity Economics, a consultancy and freelance writing service he set up after a 15-year career as a newspaper journalist. Clarity Economics (www.clarityeconomics.com) looks at all areas of business and economics including macroeconomics, world trade, financial markets fiscal policy, and tax and regulation. He has written for a range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, Independent on Sunday, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Director, Emerging Markets, City AM and PM-Select. He writes a regular economics column for Procurement Leaders. Recent projects include a series of report looking at the position of ethnic minority groups within the UK workforce for Business in the Community; drawing up proposals for reform of the EU Budget for Business for a New Europe; and an examination of lessons learned 20 years after Big Bang for The Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation. In 2010 he won the Feature Journalist of the Year award in the WorkWorld Media Awards. In 2007 he won the title of Print Journalist of the Year in the same awards. Until 2007 he was Economics Correspondent at The Independent newspaper of London, a post he held for eight years.

Interview with Ziad Hayek

Phil secured an interview with Ziad Hayek, the prospectice candidate for the presidency of the World Bank in Global Capital magazine. The interview took place while Hayek was in Washington DC to lobby bank executive directors after Lebanon decided to pull his candidacy. He was very explicit in his critisisms of the proces, his hopes or being nominated and his agenda for the bank if he were to win. He is determined to focus on climate change, migration and maximising finance for development. The article is here.

Phil also write two other stories for that edition: one of the creation of a new post to coordinate media communications for the World Bank in Europshareholderlder countries (here) and another on a report on the dangers of gender imbalance on the boards of private equity and hedge funds (here).

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Coverage of IMF meetings for EMEA Finance

Phil wrote two features for EMEA Finance magazine following the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Indonesia in October 2018. The first looked at how it was small open-economy states that were taking the brunt of the US/China trade and diplomatic disputes.Leading economists talked about how the impact on second tier supply chains and a contraction in demand could harm those economies most vulnerable to sudden shocks. The feature is here.

The second feature was a profile of Tarek Amer, Governor of the Central of Egypt who gave a keynote talk at the IMF meetings. Egypt has become the poster child of IMF interventions as the $12 billion bail-out offered by the Fund has helped turn the economy around, reducing inflation, boosting growth and reducing the country’s external and budget deficits. He talks about his experience of driving through tough policy reforms and of working with the IMF. The profile is here.

Coverage of World Bank for Global Capital

Phil wrote a number of stories about the World Bank for the London financial magazine Global Capital during a tumultuous week that saw the president of the world’s largest development lender quit in a shock move. Jim Yong Kim announced he would step down as bank head on 1 February, three years ahead of schedule, to take a role as partner of a private infrastructure firm.

Global Capital ran an instant reaction story on the day he quit which was followed by a longer analysis of the reasons why he might have left, controversry over taking a private sector job in the same area as the bank, and speculation over whether Donald Trump would be able to impose his choice of replecemernt. Phil also covered a report by the Center for Global Development highlighting strong lending to China despite US pressure to issue more targetted loans

The business of asset transfers

Phil looked at the issue of asset re-registrations – what happens for example when someone switches pension provider. The ability of financial services firms to transfer or re-register customer assets to another organisation is a little known, but vital part of how modern consumer finance should work. Since the surge in demand for independent savings accounts (ISAs), the creation of self-investedpersonal pensionn plans and the launch of the government-backed workplace pensions, the need for efficient transfers has become key.

The article in The Review magazine of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment spoke to regulators and pension fund managers about how asset transfers are going to be speeded up and the challenges and opportunities that presents. The article is here.

Focusing on the REITS sector

Phil wrote and researched an article for The Review, the magazine of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, on real estate investment trust (REIT) industry. It was primarily an educational article explaining: the technical details of how REITs work; the pros and cons of investing in them; why, when and for who REITs are an appropriate asset to invest in and the concept of NAV and how it works in relation to REITs. He spoke to a number of people including senior accountants, market players and financial advisers. The full article is here

Looking at Vienna, 1.0, 2.0 … and 3.0?

Phil spoke to a number of senior figures who were, or are close to the issues involved in seting up the Vienna Initiative. This was the collaboration betwen international institutions and banks to ensure that the 2009 global financial crisis did not spill over into central and eastern Europe. It tackled fears that EU-based banking groups would rush to reduce their debts by selling assets in emerging European countries.

He spoke with senior officials and bankers at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International, and the  Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies. One issue was whether the tensions created out of the Russia/Ukraine situation could unnerve and banks and require a Vienna 3.0. The consensus was not, bgutone should watch this space. The story is here

Leading reporting of IMF/World Bank meetings

Phil helped drive the coverage by the magazine GlobalMarkets of the annual meetings of the IMF and World bank that were held in October 2018 in Bali Indonesia. GlobalMarkets is the new name for the magazine Emerging Markets that has covered the meetings of all the multilateral banks for a quarter of a century.

He wrote a number of features analysing key issues that came up at the meetings of the finance ministers and central bankers of the 187 member countries. Three of the features looking at the outlook for the two institutions: the first examined the new strategy of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim regarding fragile states (here); the second looked at the role that the IMF should play in revitalising multilateralism here. and the challenge of closing the iinfrastructure gap here.

He also wrote a number of news stories including: a warning by Professor Barry Eichengreen on the impact on the from a trade war; concern among leading experts that the IMF is losing relevance; an interview with World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva; criticism of the Bank’s Human Capital Index; and concerns over a rollback on regulation.

He was also heavily engaged in news planning, copy sub-editing and headline writing.