Global Finance | 5 June 2023

The 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture: sponsoring a key event in the City of London

Coutts was a proud sponsor of the Worshipful Company of World Traders' 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture, with speaker Rory Stewart OBE. Hosted on Wednesday, 17 May 2023 at the Guildhall.

Believed to be one of the largest annual events of its kind, the Tacitus Lecture is a highly popular event held in the City of London's Guildhall.

It provides senior business leaders, members of organisations and institutions, students and educational professionals with the opportunity to share their views and ideas on some of the most pressing matters in world trade today. It also gives this community the chance to support the efforts of business and trade towards furthering education, charity, and climate action.

This year, Coutts proudly sponsored the event, featuring academic, writer, diplomat and former Foreign Office Minister for the UK, Rory Stewart OBE. His speech, Populism, Poverty and Hope in the 21st Century was heard by over 750 individuals in attendance, and live streamed around the world.

Introductions from the Lord Mayor

Among the guests filling the Guildhall were the 694th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Nicholas Lyons and Mayoress Felicity Lyons.

Since his assumption into office in November 2022, the Lord Mayor's priorities have centred on Financing our Future, promoting a resilient, resourceful and responsible City.

The incentive focuses on driving growth and investment, particularly in areas of long-term infrastructure lending and sustainable finance. Underpinning these Mayoral priorities is a commitment to greater financial inclusion across the UK - themes that took precedent during the Lord Mayor's introductory speech.

"The complexities of poverty resist a one-size-fits-all solution."

The Lord Mayor's recent Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Summit aimed to combat the impact of poverty in the UK, providing individuals with a greater understanding of the financial support available to them, and urging the banking sector to take greater action.

Realising the potential to end poverty

Entitled Populism, Poverty and Hope in the 21st Century, Rory Stewart's keystone lecture offered a detailed and expansive look at how the world has changed over the past 40 years, centring on one crucial question: why have we forgotten about global poverty?

From optimism and action, to disruption and fallout, to where we are today, Stewart insightfully explored the impact the modern age has had on our ability to solve extreme poverty worldwide.

During his 40-minute address, the speaker discussed the impact of political, economic and social events, and argued that these combined to reduce not only action, but belief in a resolution.

Yet, according to Rory, reigniting hope and optimism is key. That through greater global education, technology and finance, we can drive meaningful change for the 750 million individuals still living in extreme poverty worldwide.

"We can end extreme poverty in our lifetime. We know how to do it. We have the resources to do it. All we have to do is get our chequebooks out."

Rory Stewart is the President of non-profit, GiveDirectly, an organisation that enables donors to give funds directly to individuals living in the world's poorest households. GiveDirectly operates with the fundamental belief that people living in poverty deserve the dignity to choose for themselves how best to improve their lives - finance enables that choice.

Since 2009, GiveDirectly has delivered over $650 million to over 1.4 million people living in poverty (source: GiveDirectly, May 2023).

Doing well by doing good

Following the Lecture, our own Ben Allen, Head of Financial Sponsors & Executives Proposition and guests attending by Coutts invitation, had a few moments to speak with Rory, discussing the insights shared during his speech and how the financial sector can help drive efforts to tackle poverty.

Combatting local and global challenges of poverty is something we believe in. We recognise the challenge and know we have a responsibility.

In 2021, we became one of the 800 certified B Corps in the UK. Balancing key priorities across governance, colleague welfare, community, sustainability, and clients, the certification means we consciously work towards providing responsible wealth management in line with exceptional levels of service. You can find out more about our B Corp certification, and what it means for you here.

We would like to thank the Worshipful Company of World Traders for their partnership. If you would like to watch the 36th Annual Tacitus Lecture in full, you can do so on the World Traders' website here.


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