OCs – Back in Business

On a beautiful evening on April 28th, London’s Soho Square bore witness to the renaissance of OC Business Forum (formerly OC City Society) as over 60 OCs from across the generations and business disciplines piled into the House of Barnabas for drinks and canapés. No OC event, in our opinion, is complete without the indomitable presence of Mike Payne, who set us on our way before an extremely high-calibre panel of OC business leaders debated the impact of economic and geopolitical events on the financial markets.

The Telegraph‘s Ben Wright (2 North 1995) quizzed the panellists with the customary panache of a seasoned journalist. He set a sombre tone by spelling out a multitude of investment concerns, including the ghastly war in Ukraine, high inflation, rising interest rates, further supply chain concerns emanating from China and the possibility of policy mistakes by central banks. Ben’s exam question for the panel: how can investors navigate such uncertainties while remaining mindful of ESG concerns?

Dan Mannix (2 North 1994) provided insightful context, through the lens of an investment management chief executive, on how business leaders attempt to frame such issues. Legal eagle Ali Bence (née Crosthwaite, East 1995) described how the real estate world was reacting to a post-Covid world in which more people are working from home and shopping online. Portfolio manager Charlie Anniss (2&3 South 1996) gave a superb overview of how equity markets are reacting to the end of quantitative easing after a huge bull run.

All the panellists agreed that, while investors need to react to the immediate issues of the day – such as the re-emergence from the naughty step of “sin stocks” such as fossil fuels and defence companies, a longer-term horizon is needed in order to achieve lasting economic, environmental and societal benefits.

We plan to hold more frequent, smaller events and continue with the annual large event. However, we would be delighted to hear the thoughts of members and non-members alike. We continue to broaden the Forum’s scope to appeal to a wider audience. With over 400 OCs signed up to the OC Business Forum LinkedIn page, we may need to start hiring larger venues!

More details to follow on the next event. In the meantime, do get in touch if you’d like to be included.

Jonathan Anayi (1 North 1995) and Dom Hammond (Cubitt 2001)