Business Leaders Summit 2016 - Helping Britain prosper globally

 

António Horta-Osório brought the fourth Business Leaders Summit to a close with a speech in which he emphasised the importance of maintaining an optimistic outlook in the face of global uncertainty.

António Horta-Osório

Group Chief Executive,
Lloyds Banking Group

Mr Horta-Osório expressed his delight at seeing so many leading UK business figures had given up their time to attend the Summit, which he said has become “an important annual fixture” in the corporate diary. “I trust it provided an opportunity to obtain new insights, to debate the issues of the day and to share your experiences,” he told the audience. He also gave special thanks to Clare Francis “for bringing us together and setting the agenda”.

Mr Horta-Osório reflected that while turbulence remains, there are also many opportunities to be seized. He said it is undoubtedly difficult to navigate a world in which conflicts have grown more fractious, China’s economy is slowing, oil prices are falling and monetary policies are diverging. But Mr Horta-Osório said challenges are also opportunities and quoted Winston Churchill: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

MAINTAINING OUR OPTIMISM

“We must not forget that the UK economy is the second strongest of the G7.”

While there is a great deal of global uncertainty, Mr Horta-Osório said we must not forget that the UK economy is the second strongest of the G7, unemployment has fallen to a 10-year low of 5.1%, and business and consumer confidence remain above long-run averages. To maintain our optimism, he said we must confront longstanding challenges: productivity growth remains low and housing affordability is deteriorating. “We need to improve our infrastructure and ensure our workforce has the skills required for the digital economy”. We must also seek to stay a step ahead in areas we cannot control, such as market volatility or geopolitics, and build a responsible corporate culture, Mr Horta-Osório urged.

He said understanding when to embrace change and when to focus on cost discipline was also key, along with managing risks – including those no one has thought of yet.

Video: Helping Britain Prosper Globally

SUPPORTING BUSINESS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

For over 250 years, Lloyds Bank has been helping British businesses face challenges that allow them to grow and prosper, Mr Horta-Osório noted. Lloyds Bank recognises that supporting businesses of all sizes at home and abroad is critical to the UK’s long-term success.

Mr. Horto-Osório explained that the Helping Britain Prosper Plan is not all about business: it is a commitment to social responsibility, which is an absolute requirement for doing business today.

He finished by saying that a focus on supporting customers, colleagues, local communities and other stakeholders, helps Lloyds Bank to make a real difference. "Together with you we can all help Britain prosper in the global economy," Mr Horta-Osório concluded.

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