“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to, and passionate about, what they do.” This quote, from Nelson Mandela, is something I look to often. I first heard it many years ago, when, as a US-based journalist, I had been asked to visit South Africa to report on the ending of the Apartheid regime. It was a time of upheaval and of people changing their circumstances and during which I was fortunate enough to meet Nelson Mandela himself.
The quote has stayed with me because there are two messages. There is the call to action, which was so apt at the time, and there is the universal truth in the value of holding principles which can change circumstance, through which, “everyone can rise”. Today, when we talk about Black History, I feel, we’re remembering the need for the first message and celebrating the constant power of the second.
The challenges Black and ethnic minority individuals face in today’s society, are different to the historical challenges in which they are rooted. But to address them, we need a clear recognition of the universal truth Mandela mentions. For me, working at Coutts, it was affirming to be able to reach out to our Chairman, Lord Waldegrave – who had also met Mandela – and share this recognition. I have been able to involve him in much of the work of the Black Professionals Network and the internal Multi-Cultural Network and ‘reverse mentor’ him on the experiences of minority ethnic individuals within the bank.
This has been so rewarding because it’s a clear win-win: it promotes diversity of experiences and knowledge within the bank and proves that we take the ethnic minority issues seriously. It shows that the work we do through Black History Month is sincere and never simply a badge to wear. We’re having a discussion. We’re putting our hand up.
Lilian Chovin, Head of Asset Allocation at Coutts, says, “We believe it’s best to stay focused on the future when investing – we recommend looking ahead five years or more. How do markets look over the longer term? How does that match with what you want from your money over time?”Stagflation became financially synonymous with the difficulties the UK and other economies faced in the 1970s. The oil producing organisation OPEC embargoed oil exports to many western nations, pushing up oil and energy prices dramatically. The rise in the cost of living, fuelled in part by wage price spirals, coincided with stagnant economic growth, and unemployment was high while things got more expensive. This resulted in stagflation.
Although we currently have an energy shock, especially in Europe, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the main driver of today’s inflation pressures was the pandemic. It led to a large demand for goods when strained and locked-down supply chains couldn’t cope.