We sit in on the recent Future of Finance Conference at London Wembley, from the expert people at IQPC, and congratulate them on a great bringing together of like minded people.
I push open the revolving doors at the Hilton and walk across the soft carpet. It is quite silent, very few people. There is no signage of the conference but it’s obvious the way to go is upstairs. I follow the escalators up two floors and there we are. The girls at the Conference Reception smile, hand me my badge – “sorry, what was your name.. BLOSS?”…. And suddenly, dressed in a royal blue suit and smiling broadly, Richard Walls, Event Director, strides across.
“Richard, great to see you! How was the journey?”
We have never met before in our life. But that does not matter. We are among friends now. IQPC may not have been the first, in these post Covid days – but they were the first that mattered. And if there were some misconceptions, some blind alleys, this Conference was everything that a meeting of minds should be. Groups of varied and disparate financial business leaders mixed with vendors of solutions who had seen all this before, were experienced, who knew the game, knew what to say.
There was a feeling of relief, that we could finally share experience together in a way that was never possible in the far more blunt Zoom and Teams environments. It was not a large event – some 50 or so delegates, and a dozen vendors, but there was never a sales or pushy environment, this was almost Scandinavian in the focus on simple discussion leading to business discussion.
The programme was mixed – but focussed on technical as opposed to commercial.- And even when two of the speakers had to cancel last-minute – there was such goodwill in the audience and protagonists, for others to step up and join the debate.
It was very well organised and structured; the Day One afternoon revolving Group sessions allowed us all to cherry pick the areas of knowledge that we wished to look at. This was a meeting point of shared knowledge. I particularly liked the practical points that Kevin from Siemens Gamesa alluded to, and David Myers’s from Brewin was equally practical in his comments.
Typical was the early morning round table on Day Two, which looked principally at ESG – a concept that few of us had ever considered. It was tough start to the day. After an hour, Richard Walls leant forward from the back and said “we are covering a lot of questions that we had not thought of; we need to plan additional days like this”.
Yes, they do. People nodded their head in agreement at this comment. There was little mention of the impact of people and personnel in the financial changes that were being discussed, the cultural differences that “looking into the future” that cultural differences will bring.
But that again, did not matter.
I got the distinct view that, given enough time – we could have solved the worlds problems. It was a throwaway but so relevant thought on my part.
A Text arrived on my iPhone. I walked away from the huddle taking coffee. My co-Director, Irina, messages me she had just arrived at the Ukraine/Moldova border, from her home in Kiev. Safe at last. Among friends.