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Michelle Mone launches Richmond Forums


May 2016
 

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This month’s RE News comes to you from the P&O Cruises’ ship Arcadia, currently anchored off Guernsey and hosting three Richmond Events: PIMS, IT Directors’ Forum & The Richmond Human Resources Forum.
 
Michelle addressed all three audiences with her personal story of a rise from an utterly unprivileged background to multi-million success and the enormous ups and downs she experienced on her journey.
 
Delegates were hugely impressed with the story and Michelle personally and she set the scene for two days of conference, learning and doing business.
 
As is the case with this May newsletter, the British referendum on continued EU membership is a hot topic of discussion and a straw poll at the opening session saw a show of hands from delegates indicating roughly 80:20 in favour of remaining in the EU.
 
This sample of Richmond delegate opinion compares with betting odds of about 3:1 for exit, 3:1 on to remain, and pollsters responses showing opinion as too close to call.
 
It promises to be an interesting 6 weeks till the referendum and as ever, a very interesting 2 days on board Arcadia.
 

UK Business Panel research on the EU Referendum


May 2016
 

report-cover-2.pngIf the referendum were held tomorrow 57% of the panel believes the result would be to remain in, 14% out, whilst 29% are undecided.  Meaning (if you remove those undecided), four times as many people believe the vote will be to remain rather than to leave.

56% of the panel consider, on the whole, the EU to be a successful organisation, whilst a further 1.6% are definite that they are.  25% feel the EU is ‘not really’ successful whilst 11% believe it’s ‘not at all’ successful.

Asked what would happen next if Britain were to leave the EU, the highest proportion of the panel believes not a great deal as both parties would adapt quickly.
Lord Rose claims that staying in is the patriotic course; 57% of the panel disagree with him whilst a further 23% say such a claim is an irrelevance.

Asked if the PM has been honest with the UK public in his presentation of his re-negotiation, 9% say he has (totally).  A further 66% think he has, but with a little embellishment, whilst 25% feel he has not been honest.

In terms of his re-negotiation, 35% feel David Cameron got nothing of any genuine value whilst 33% feel he achieved ‘the best he could have got’.

Britain’s net contribution to the EU is £10.4bn.  48% of the panel believe this is poor value for money, double the amount, 24%, who believe it is good value for money.

Asked if the £8.6bn Britain receives from the EU each year is spent wisely, 52% of the panel feel it’s mixed (some good, some bad).  Of those not on the fence, opinion is split virtually down the middle; 15% believing the money is spent well and 14% believing it’s not.

52% of the panel feel its citizens are slightly or much better off thanks to the EU’s existence (as opposed to 10% who feel they’re worse off).  The highest proportion (34%) believe it’s dependent on country.

Immigration - the statement with the highest agreement level is that Britain should use a points-based system to control immigration, with 71% of the panel indicating some level of agreement as opposed to 13% disagreeing.

 


Countdown to an uncertain referendum, David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times


May 2016
 

 

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I am guessing that, if you asked people about the big European event this summer, a significant minority of British voters would think you were talking about the Euro 2016 football tournament, to be held in France, rather than the June 23 referendum. That does not apply, of course, to readers of this newsletter – who know this is a big decision for themselves and their organisations - but it is not a trivial point. Whether people decide to vote or not - turnout - will be an important factor in the EU referendum, and it is also one of the great imponderables. Will it be closer to the norm for European Parliament elections, which in 2014 was 34%, or nearer the Scottish referendum, a huge 85%?

 

A low turnout referendum, it is generally agreed, will increase the chances of Brexit. Those who wish to leave are more committed to their cause than, in general, are the “Remainers”. Voting for the status quo is always less exciting than voting for change. Older voters, who are more likely to be Brexiteers, tend to vote while younger ones take more persuasion or, because they move around more, may not be registered to do so. High turnout will tend to favour a Remain vote; low turnout Brexit.

This is also a useful way to think about the opinion polls. Two opinion polling methods are commonly used. Online polling, which tends to show Leave and Remain neck and neck, is thought to attract the politically engaged, which in this context are more likely to be in the Brexit camp. Telephone polls, which tend to show a lead of a few points for Remain are more likely to be random in nature but also suffer from methodological issues, notably the challenge of securing a representative sample when many people’s response to a pollster on the line is to politely ring off.

The bookmakers, it should be said, offer more comfort to the Remain camp. They have consistently put staying in as the hot favourite in this race, with leaving the EU an also-ran, trotting in a few lengths behind. Their odds translate into a 70%-plus probability of a Remain vote. Bookmakers are not, however, infallible, as their 5,000-1 odds at the start of the season on Leicester City winning the Premier League demonstrated.

Whether or not it is because of this, business is not taking anything for granted. The economy has slowed, to 0.4% quarterly growth in the first quarter (from 0.6% in the previous quarter) and, according to surveys, perhaps just 0.1% so far in the current period. Referendum uncertainty is not the only factor in this but it is certainly a factor. Markit, which produces the monthly purchasing managers’ surveys – measuring business-to-business activity – reported that all three of its surveys, covering manufacturing, construction and services, slumped to three-year lows in April.

 


Why attend a Richmond event? The view of the delegates at the Richmond Digital Marketing Forum 2016 at The Grove


May 2016
 

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Delegates were prompted to attend the forum primarily by the conference programme and to a lesser extent by the chance to investigate potential digital agencies that they might use in future.

Whilst interest in potential service providers is considered of secondary importance when delegates accept our invitation to attend, it is rated as of equal importance once delegates have experienced the event.  In terms of what delegates find particularly worthwhile from their attendance, meetings with potential suppliers is rated just as highly as interacting with fellow delegates and with the “New Thinking” that delegates value, which itself comes from both conference sessions and meetings with suppliers.

Perhaps the relative importance of supplier meetings at Richmond Events can be explained by looking at how our delegates say that they interact with their suppliers. 

On average, digital marketing directors are using 8.6 suppliers at any one time.  During a working year they will talk to 9.1 new prospective suppliers and will appoint 3.5 of those companies as a supplier, a little over a third of the companies that they talk to.

A Richmond event allows them to choose and schedule meetings with all those companies in a single day. Delegates can complete a full appraisal of the market for new suppliers in one day in addition to attending conference sessions and meeting fellow industry professionals.


Brussels or London - which is the lesser of two evils? Philip Booth, Academic & Research Director, Institute of Economic Affairs


May 2016
 

KM_IEA_Portraits_2012_078.pngAn assumption seems to have passed into all discourse about financial regulation that, over the last 20 years, countries have deregulated finance, that we do not regulate it enough and this was a major cause of the financial crash. The reality is very different.

Worldwide, in 2011, there were 14,200 new financial regulations. Within the UK, one of the two main bodies responsible for financial regulation – the Financial Conduct Authority – has, it has been suggested, 4,000,000 words of financial regulation.

And this is not a trend that began with the financial crisis. Bank of England Chief Economist Andrew Haldane has noted: “In 1980, there was one UK regulator for roughly every 11,000 people employed in the UK financial sector. By 2011, there was one regulator for every 300 people employed in finance.”

Indeed, if the number of people working in finance and the number of financial regulators in the UK is projected forward from 2011 for another 60 years, by then there will be more financial regulators than people working in finance – and this excludes compliance officers and others working on regulatory issues within financial firms themselves.

If you look at the Basel Accord, which is the international agreement on bank capital, the first Accord of 1988 was just 30 pages long. Its successor, Basel II, was 347 pages. This longer, more complex set of regulations clearly did not avert the financial crisis; indeed, they probably contributed to it. Basel III was agreed in 2010 following the crisis and weighed in at 616 pages – twenty times the length of Basel I.


Moving on or staying put? Nick Turner


May 2016
 

Britain Eu - In or Out?

Stress is sometimes measured in lifetime milestones. Births, marriages and divorces feature high up there on the Richter scale of traumatic episodes but the house move can not be far behind.

We live in a fast-paced world, many of us running high-octane businesses, making critical decisions on a day to day basis but even that doesn’t compare to the massive upheaval a change of home heaps upon the soul.

This is an area that women have considerably more aptitude than men generally, with the gradual appearance of more and more cardboard boxes and packing cases, suddenly you start to realise just how much “stuff” we have.

Suddenly it seems like I am the villain. I am the secret hoarder. Books by the hundred, CDs, DVDs, sporting equipment seem to account for huge amounts of space…and they are all “unnecessary”
“Why do you need all these CDs and all those albums?”
“I do!”
“Your music is on iTunes”

The answer is irrefutable, but in real form, it’s MY  music, it’s MY history. The LP is making a huge comeback..not because people think vinyl sounds any better, because, in fact 65% of albums purchased will never be played. I am not alone. We want something physical to treasure and collect.

“You don’t need all these DVDs, you must have watched some of these films hundreds of times”
“Yes I have”….and that is the point. These films are who I am. They define me as a person. They are part of my list. We all have lists. I am not about to send my copy of “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, or “The Third Man” to the refuse tip.

Golf clubs, mountaineering equipment, ski stuff…and the associated footwear…enough shoes to fill a small size van..it’s all got a place.

Then come the bits of paper, a menu from a special restaurant, ticket stubs from a Rolling Stones concert, football programmes, golf cards, and on it goes.

But it is only now, when we are moving, I really get to see all this “stuff”. Stuff that has to be packed, and then unpacked and then found a place to stay until next time we move or I pass away.

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