A Top Line Up Of Speakers At The Aberdeen Asset Management Uk Investment Conference

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP gave the opening address at the biannual Aberdeen Asset Management UK Investment Conference at Ardoe House Hotel by Aberdeen today (31 August 2012).

Darling, author of 'Back From The Brink: 1000 days at Number 11', talked about austerity, the banking crisis and his views on whether the measures currently being implemented are working not only in the UK but further afield.

The event is the third in a series of three international investment conferences Aberdeen has hosted this year with the first two taking place in Singapore (February) and New York (June).

During his address Alistair Darling said: "The eurozone is a black cloud hanging over the global economy. Politicians and policy makers need to take coordinated and swift action addressing three key issues. Austerity alone will not work so there must also be a credible plan for growth. The banking system across Europe needs to be supported to instil confidence. Finally, the settlement for Greece has to be re-examined as a solution leaving a country more indebted and worse off cannot work. The alternative of a Greece exit would result in significant contagion and should be ruled out.

"The UK also faces the challenge of reducing its debt burden at the same time as fostering growth which could be done for example through infrastructure projects. Quantitative easing worked initially but now money does not seem to be flowing down to businesses and into the economy."

More than 200 international delegates flew into Aberdeen for the event. They included investors, company executives and non-executive fund directors from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, Germany and Spain. The conference's keynote speaker was Professor Stéphane Garelli of the International Institute of Management Development and the University of Lausanne who examined the global economy, looking in particular at the competitiveness outlook for 2012 and beyond.

Conference Chairman Anthony Hilton, former City Editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, interviewed two of Aberdeen's most respected portfolio managers, Hugh Young and Devan Kaloo during the conference. Investor behaviour and the factors that influence whether investors are 'risk on' or 'risk off' were explored in a presentation by Daniel Enskat of US research firm Strategic Insight.

The conference rounded off with an Economics Debate chaired by broadcaster Andrew Neil who was joined by Douglas McWilliams from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR); Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post; Dr Eamonn Butler of The Adam Smith Institute and Bob Janjuah of Nomura International Plc.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, who welcomed delegates to Aberdeen, home of the company's global headquarters, comments: "It's been two years since our last Aberdeen-based International Investment Conference and much has happened in global finance since then. I am sure our delegates will have found our world class speakers insightful and thought provoking."