The Think.ING website has looked at how central baks have changed how they communicate with the public, drawing from behavioural science to simplify their message and reach more people. Phil looked at how central banks must also ensure their messages are heard in an increasingly noisy media environment where there are many new suppliers of news thanks to the growth of the internet and use of mobile apps.
The article looks at research into how central banks have fine-tuned their messaging and used different channels with different versions of the same message to appeal to a wider range of people.
The premier example was Jamaica where the central bank has issued a series of videos on Twitter and other social media in recent months featuring reggae singers and musicians telling viewers that if inflation is too high “the people have a cry” and “if it’s too low the country nah grow”.
The lesson is that as populism threatens the established order and digital and social media expand their reach, it is only a matter of time before other central banks recognise the need for plain talking. The blog post is here.
The need for people to have digital skills to do their job is becoming more urgent as the fourth industrial revolution sweeps through industries such as financial services. The Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment is looking at the threat of digital skills shortages, how ity will affect firms and what they and other organisations are doing about.
The first stage was a review of the landscape that Phil carried out, drawing on the large volume of research out there and filtering it to draw out the key messages. The article is here. It includes a poll that will provide material for future articles. The CISI will publish a longer article later in the year that Phil is currently researching.
Phil had three articles published in the latest edition of EMEA Finance magazine in May 2019. They looked at three diverse issues – the rules governing investments by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the success of fintech in Bahrain and the strategy of Ghana’s finance minister
The article on the reform of the governance rules that apply to loans made by the EBRD was based on a conversation with Alistair Clark, Managing Director for Environment and Sustainability. It looked at the bank’s ambition for the reform and how the various consultations with stakeholders had gone. It also highlighted concerns raised by NGOs who believe that the EBRD is failing to be as transparent as other IFIs. The article is here.
A longer feature looked at how Bahrain had moved swiftly to establish itself as one of the world’s centres for financial technology (fintech). It looked at how the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) launched the first in a series of initiatives that aimed to make the kingdom the Middle East’s centre for international innovation and finance. Phil spoke with a number of major players in the kingdom. The article is here.
A profile of Ghana’s minister of finance Ken Ofori-Atta looked at how the former Wall Street investment banker has taken firm action to steady the economy by resolving seven troubled banks and overseeing Ghana’s successful exit from a $185m four-year loan from the International Monetary Fund. The article is here.
We are delighted to be contributing again to the tremendous output of eZonomics, the behavioural economics-based website run by ING after a few years’ gap.
The first article by Phil looked at the implications for consumers of the near-pemanent sales now seen on high streets across Europe. It highlights the benefits that highly rational shoppers can gain by buying early for Christmas, waiting for sales, and storing wanted items in wishlists on e-commerce platforms.
But it also flagged up dangers such as shoppers falling victim to retailers ‘framing’ their products against theoretical list prices, and low levels of financial literacy enabling retailers to confuse people with complicated offers and multi-buys. The article is here.
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).
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.
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