Received from a member.
Black Sea to Baltic: Investment to and from Europe's 'New Near Abroad' – Friday 19th May, 2006 National Liberal Club
First Draft, 2nd November, 2005 Jeff Roberts, 7284 3937 [removed]
1. The idea of this conference follows naturally from one for Emerging Markets fund managers on the Baltic States/Kaliningrad in October, 2004 and one on Frontier Russian Resources last April. This was the first attempt to present Murmansk enterprises and officials in London, highlighting an unknown area in the West. I will send you the Programmes for both events.
2. I attach a draft Budget for a meeting in early May 2006 which would combine the interests of Portfolio managers in the natural extension of this 'borderland' concept down to the Black Sea. As I have run two meetings at the National Liberal Club www.nlc.org.uk I have a very clear idea of the costs and how to tailor income to expenditure.
3. We had more than half the serious emerging markets fund managers at our Baltics meeting, and would expect good support for this larger event covering the Ukraine after the March elections and April government forming. The idea is to present existing EU member states such as Lithuania and Latvia as helpful guides to new countries on the way to the EU (Bulgaria) and the Ukraine which is now in a critical position. However, you have to recognize that the Stock Market is not so important in economic development as some might imagine and target the right audience.
4. It seems to me that there is a serious problem of presenting opportunities in this 'New Near Abroad' because it is just not familiar to a UK audience. Against that, as our Frontier Russian Resources conference showed, there is great interest in coming to London to learn about investment here, such as getting admitted to AIM trading, or just getting away from it all. The commercial scope for the 'stock market' is actually broader than it looks, as some companies from this region should be looking directly at London rather than being lost on regional exchanges as is presently the case. Lawyers, accountants and other providers of services please note!
5. There are a host of governmental and local organizations such as chambers of commerce which are often isolated from each other, or think only in single country to single country terms. We would try to pull together the regional dimension of investment and escape this narrow view. Each country, even each city, and each company is of course competing for attention, but collaboration offers better scope than mere advertisement of your own individual merits.
6. I see the Day catering for two quite different groups of people: the City, looking for shares to buy or sell; and Companies looking for direct investment at home or abroad. My intention would be to cater for the City, with its short attention span, in the morning with all the listed or likely to be listed companies presenting themselves (with the chance to book 1:1 meetings in the afternoon). And then cover broader issues and companies with no interest in stock markets in the afternoon.
7. As we are obviously entering an economic slowdown in the West, the charm of the East for outsourcing and pure opportunity is likely to come more and more into focus as deflationary forces squeeze profits. Not everybody wants to shift widget production from Wigan to Wing Ho: Europe remains a pretty big market for production and consumption that will survive 'globalisation' fashions of the lighter kind. But you need partners you can trust, and who better to understand the XSU than our intended guests? How many UK companies have any command of Russian language and culture? Here are huge opportunities for the Baltic States to act as honest brokers.
8. In my draft budget please note that basic costs are remarkably low for such a prestigious location. We must establish a core of sponsors, but we only really need about £5-6,000 to go ahead confidently. I look forward to your comments, and suggest we meet at NLC to consider matters.
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