The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts
At this point in 2019, those in the UK who voted to leave the EU should have been cheering as they finally threw off the shackles of EU membership, whilst those who voted remain would be ruing the day former Prime Minister Cameron decided to play political games with the country’s future. It has not happened yet. It might not. The truth is that nobody knows.
The whole Brexit experience for the business community has been characterised by an expanding series of unknowns (both known and unknown, as former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld would say), playing out at length. The uncertainty that this has foisted upon many sectors across the UK, Europe and beyond has been challenging, to say the least. It is one that many treasurers will have had to manage, despite the lack of hard facts.
In ‘The Gumball Rally’, a 1970s comedy film about an illegal US coast-to-coast road race, the Ferrari Daytona-driving Italian, Franco Bertollini, rips off his rear-view mirror exclaiming “what’s behind doesn’t matter”.
Was it by accident or design that this issue has more than a few articles geared to helping treasurers prepare for and overcome adverse situations? The world has been gearing up over the past year with some interesting challenges, so perhaps for the final publication of the year such an editorial schedule was inevitable, however it came about.
There may be many contenders for “the project of the century”. The worlds of computing, healthcare, automotive and aeronautics for example may all lay claim to the most important missions for the benefit of humanity. And let’s not forget the ‘project’ to save the planet itself from mankind’s best efforts to make it uninhabitable through pollutants.
When President Trump took to the stage to deliver his 16-minute speech on the closing day of the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, was there a feeling that his hitherto hard-boiled “America First” manifesto had softened?
So, farewell then bank branch; the end is nigh. Is that a problem? When NatWest in the UK recently announced the closure of 197 branches as part of a major cost-saver by its parent company, RBS (along with 62 of RBS’s own branches), the hue and cry from those who still see value in bank branches was loud and clear.