Conference focuses on global recession

Wall Street, White House policies, financial meltdown and the global recession are the primary topics at this year’s upcoming Cayman Business Outlook conference, a reminder that the US troubled economy continues to expand well beyond its borders.

conference recession

The Cayman Business Outlook conference will once again focus on the global crisis. Corporate sponsors include, from left, Alistair Walker, Campbells; Tom Gammage, Fildelity; Brett Hill, Fidelity; Susanna de Saram, Dart Cayman; Frederick McTaggart, Consolidated Water Company; Bill Messer, Five Continents; Frazer Lindsay, PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Anthony Ritch, LIME. Photo: Submitted

At the most recent conference in January, renowned economist Nouriel Roubini said the economy was in bad shape and was going to spiral downward, predictions that turned out to be spot on. The 2009 Cayman Business Outlook is just part two of the same conference, which will focus on the economic downturn said Fidelity CEO Brett Hill.

‘Roubini had been predicting a big recession and a credit crisis since 2005 and he was proved right,’ said Hill. ‘Now he is being interviewed by MSNBC, CNN and all the big news networks.

‘This conference is going to address what happened, why it happened and how it is going to roll forward. Its impact hasn’t hit Cayman yet, but it is going to in a very big way.’

Now in its sixth year, the theme for this conference is Global Crisis: From Disaster to Painful Recovery. The line up of speakers promises to continue the event’s reputation for provocative and compelling topics.

‘This year we hope to focus more on the prospects of global economic recovery, answering questions such as: How will President Obama and the new democratic Congress govern?,’ says Tom Gammage of Fidelity. ‘Will the crisis change the US consumer behaviour and what are the implications to the global economy?’

Fidelity, which established its business operation in Cayman just five years ago, has hosted the Cayman Business Outlook since its inception in 2004. The conference has been so well received by the community that it has grown from a few speakers over a half day into a full day comprising of international experts over a range of topics.

Barry Ritholtz, financial expert and author, will be speaking on the topic of his book, how easy money corrupted Wall Street and shook the world economy. The former director of economic policy at the White House, Todd Buchholz, will discuss the economic consequences of US consumer behaviour.

The keynote speaker Charles Calomiris will address the steps the US should take to go from disaster to recovery.

This conference will also feature a debate between Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts and Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush.

The debate will be moderated by Gary Linford, a former regulator with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

‘We are in the midst of a disaster,’ says Bill Messer of Five Continents. ‘This is not just the US economy; it is also Cayman’s economy.

‘We need to understand how this stimulus package is going to impact the US economy and all the questions surrounding it.

‘By the time this conference kicks off on 22 January, we will probably start seeing commercial lending problems and credit cards debt problems emerging that will be part of the next phase in the financial crisis. I am convinced we have not seen the worst of it yet.’

The all day conference will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman followed by a cocktail reception onsite.

In addition to Fidelity, sponsors of the event include Campbells, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Dart, Five Continents, Admiral Administration, LIME and Royal Star Assurance.