Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from Funds Hub:

A “remote, silent whirlwind”?

We may have just lived through the biggest financial crisis in 80 years, but its impact may still not have been big enough for people to learn the right lessons for next time.

rtr1t6liPhilip Wood, special global counsel at Allen & Overy, told today's Reuters Restructuring Summit in London's Canary Wharf that the effects on the Western world's populace of the credit crisis, while large, have simply not reached the proportions of 80 years ago.

"Do people remember (the lessons from a crisis)? Sometimes they do."

It took 140 years for the British to get over the South Sea Bubble of 1720 and introduce the Companies Act in 1862, he said.

"German inflation of the 1920s still casts a shadow over the German folk memory," he added.

AUDIO – The costs of war

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Wars have numerous costs and most of those are unimaginable for most of us not in the middle of one.

But, aside from the tragic cost of death or injury, wars also cost a lot of money to finance and President-elect Barack Obama will be facing some of those costs (as well as a whole mess of other stuff) when he takes office in January.

AUDIO – Teddy Roosevelt had it right

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The world is a more dangerous place because of the global economic meltdown, according to Northrop Grumman Chief Executive Ronald Sugar, whose company provides specialized aircraft, radar and other electronics to meet that threat.

Sugar was the kick-off speaker at the annual Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Mr Prime Minister, you’re no President

The Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai was hit by the whirlwind visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown across the Gulf as he looked to drum up support for ailing British firms and convince Gulf investors the IMF’s bailout fund was a safe place to put their cash. After courting Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, it was a fleeting visit to the region’s commercial hub Dubai. As his motorcade flew passed the world’s tallest tower But hark…we have seen this before. President George Bush headed to the United Arab Emirates more than a year ago. But that’s where the similarities stop. For Mr Bush, Dubai ground to a halt. Chaos ensued. Streets were closed. Workers sent home. The President was in town, so that was that. Fast forward November 4, 2008. Mr Brown is here. Dubai is business as usual, although The Prime Minister’s motorcade did delay a speaker for the Reuters summit. Perhaps the credit crunch has meant random days off are no longer on the Dubai agenda……. unless you’re the President of course.

Will environment be forgotten in crisis? OMV says no.

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wolfgang_ruttenstorfer.jpgThere are some who say the economic downturn means ambitious plans to fight global warming should be put on ice.

But Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, the head of Austrian oil and gas group OMV, reckons cutting carbon emissions is inevitable in the long run, despite the financial crisis and its impact. 

The credit crisis is affecting us all…

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rtr1pjb9.jpgSpare a thought for the mega-rich.

While the man or woman on the street cuts back on non-essential spending as the value of their home falls and they worry more about whether or not they will keep their job, so too multi-millionaires are feeling the pinch.

Javier Arus Castillo, general manager of Santander Private Banking International, explains.

Hedge funds get that shrinking feeling

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rtr1yerw.jpgThere’s no shortage of commentators lining up to opine on how much the troubled hedge fund industry is likely to shrink as the credit crisis unfolds.

So when someone talks about the industry being in “meltdown”, it is good to see they are backing up their dramatic views with some dramatic actions.

A philosophical look at the habits of the super-rich

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rtx8vgi.jpgThe credit crisis may be hitting the man on the street hard, but spending by the “other half” on the latest super yacht or Damien Hirst work of art looks set to carry on relatively unaffected.

Super-wealthy individuals in commodity-rich areas such as Russia and the Middle East are reaping the benefits of a five-year boom in oil and other commodity prices.

Audio – The waiting is the hardest part

holliday1.jpgFor Marc Holliday, chief executive of SL Green Realty Group and Gramercy Capital Corp, the Tom Petty lyrics ring especially true.

Holliday, speaking at the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit, said on Tuesday that his company is waiting with bated breath to hear about which company has won the award to expand the gaming options at New York City’s borough of Queens-located Aqueduct Race Track.

Audio – Hope you like vanilla

vanilla.jpgPlain vanilla, in the box, straight financings are the future, or at least near future, of real estate deals, says Marathon Asset Managing Director Scott Schwartz.

“Either the Street kinda comes back and supplies leverage, or people have to get their returns without leverage. And right now we’re at a point where people have to get their returns without leverage. So that’s why there aren’t a lot of deals happening,” he said, speaking at the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit.

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