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Reform of the international economic architecture

A Note by the Director (Ditchley 2010/01)

14-16 January 2010

Sponsored by
The canadian Ditchley Foundation

For our first conference of the New Year, under Canadian auspices, we took on a subject of huge importance and complexity, the causes of the 2007-08 financial crisis and the lessons to be learned for the global economy.  The cold winds blowing in from Siberia at that moment and the snow piled up on our doorsteps were apt symbols of the harshness of the climate when things are not going well.  There was wide and deep experience gathered at the table, with participants from seventeen different national backgrounds, but we could not cover the whole range of the subject matter in such a short period.  The main purpose of the conference was to identify the important things that went wrong and to try to suggest ways of tightening the defences against trouble in the future without constraining the opportunities for sustainable economic growth and dynamic business activity.  Participants agreed with Rahm Emanuel that no crisis should be wasted, though we all had our doubts that such a global, synchronised and rapid set of events could ever be efficiently managed by the international community, whatever the lessons learnt from recent experience.

We had a valuable discussion of the causes of the crisis.  Most participants agreed on the bare bones:  in the five years to mid-2007, a huge credit boom had built up, fuelling property purchases in the developed world.  In the summer of 2007 markets saw this as a structure built on sand and took fright.  But they did not realise the degree to which the scale had been amplified by massive new credit mechanisms and new forms of securitisation, with shadow banks financing short-term borrowing with long-term assets.  The opacity of the interconnections and liabilities created a loss of confidence and the dominoes began to fall.  At first, governments thought they were able to hold things together.  But the collapse of Lehman Brothers indicated how serious the underlying situation was, with almost every financial institution involved in the excesses.  Massive injections of funding had stopped the downward spiral, but it was not yet clear how quickly or how fully the financial and economic worlds would be able to recover.  The result had been a massive loss of global trading activity, even greater than the 1930s;  and the recognition that the problems had come this time from the core of the global economy and not from the periphery had seriously damaged confidence in economic and financial business models.  Nevertheless, the determination of governments to act had prevented a total catastrophe and our company was not wholly pessimistic about the capacity of the international system to learn lessons and establish more solid structures for the future.

In examining the component parts of the collapse, our discussion gradually brought clarity to the areas of greatest responsibility.  The banks and investment institutions could not escape blame for their bad judgement of the consequences of their actions.  Having fought for deregulation, they took unwise advantage of it.  Bankers knew they were taking risks, but did not understand what was hidden beneath conventional accounting practices and believed they could handle the volumes of credit through fast footwork.  Incentives were geared to short-term results and they failed to understand the true value of their assets.  One asset in particular was overrated and that was property:  the risk of allowing the ratio of house prices to income to rise from a multiple of 3.0 to a multiple of 6.5 was just not appreciated.  Since the pricing of debt had evidently not reflected the true vulnerabilities, lessons would need to be drawn for insurance and accounting criteria, in particular in respect of short-term and long-term values. 

The second important area, we decided, was regulation.  Having allowed the private sector a steadily increasing amount of freedom to act through self-governance, complacency set in;  and the regulatory agencies did not gather the resources, in terms either of quantity or of quality, to keep abreast of the fields for which they were responsible.  It was pointed out that the financial private sector runs on excellence:  regulation could not be successfully managed on a lower level of quality.  But we were also clear that other factors came into the picture.  Different financial centres competed for the best business and there were compelling reasons for financial regulation not to constrain the competitiveness or attractiveness of a national territory.  This “race to the bottom” made it difficult in practice to sustain a set of international standards at an adequate level.  Even central bankers with a strong reputation for prudence, such as the US Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan, were accustomed to have as their principle criterion the health of the working economy and the need to balance inflation and employment.  The advantages of a dynamic financial system for growth were given higher priority than the sustainability of the system itself. 

In the view of a number of participants, the crisis thus revealed a deficit in the governance of risk.  Systemic risk turned out to be no-one’s clear responsibility.  More worryingly still, the systemic risk quickly rose to the global level, without any agreed global governance mechanism to control it.  It was pointed out how long it had taken to establish clear minimum standards of health and safety in industrial societies, perhaps a full century from the time of the first public recognition of the dangers.  The Bretton Woods Institutions had been in existence for sixty years without any recognisable system of risk control being established.  In some people’s view, this was not just a matter of a lack of understanding.  It also indicated an excessive degree of opacity in the management of business, particularly in assessing counterparty risk.  As the world became more sophisticated in offsetting risk through hedging activity, the practitioners lost sight of the strength or weakness of counterparty balances.  This eventually caused funding markets to hesitate and then founder.

We examined other possible causes, but without giving them the emphasis of those mentioned so far.  With a number of first-class economists in the room, it was perhaps understandable that economic theory and modelling were well defended when the finger was pointed at them for lack of foresight.  Good reasons were given why economics should not be discarded just because financial practice had gone to pot.  There were those who thought, nevertheless, that economic models should be more robust. The other suspect to be released on bail was the state of global capital flow imbalances, which were regarded, though not unanimously, as more a symbol of the fragility of the financial system than a cause.  The situation between the United States and China in particular came up in this context.  But most participants felt surpluses, savings and cross-investment in the capital markets were too far removed from the prodigious generation of debt instruments to be regarded as a root cause.  They might well, however, have played a role in the magnification of the international effects of the crisis once it had begun.

Finally, on causes, we noted that certain countries had escaped the worst effects of the collapse.  Spain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, in certain respects also the countries of Eastern Europe, had avoided the consequences which were visited on the United States and the United Kingdom, for instance, amongst developed world economies.  Participants attributed this to prudent but, unfortunately, protectionist action by certain governments to ensure that their banks were sufficiently capitalised, in defiance of the requirements of international agreements and, in particular, the Basel Rules.  In the EU, for instance, the more successful countries had been those who had acted independently and with courage in contravention of the accounting conventions.  This would have to be recognised in common framework decisions in the future. The rules should be seen as a minimum baseline, not a mandatory common line, since it would damage the credibility of any global system if individual countries felt they had to act independently and non-compliantly to save their own systems. 

When we turned to the lessons to be drawn, we did so with a degree of modesty.  It would be best not to be too smart or too rigid in this exercise.  What had we learned, for instance, about the Asian financial crisis a decade ago?  Not enough to help us with one.  It was also fair to acknowledge that the world had not completely fallen apart.  We had so far done better in preventing global economic collapse than the response in the 1930s:  in some parts of the world, the recession was already coming to an end.  But it was too early to tell what the real implications were, with things likely to be tricky for many countries for a good while to come.  New players, and particularly China, still had to decide on their role in the world economy and this could have quite a bearing on future developments.  So we were suitably cautious. 

No-one was in any doubt, however, that financial regulation had to be redesigned.  “Balance” had now taken on a broader and more complex meaning.  The regulation of banks needed to re-establish market discipline, so that bad judgement in one place did not infect the whole system.  This would have to be done on an international basis, so that the inter-linked banking system would be subject to the same disciplines.  In particular, this probably meant the setting of minimum regulatory standards, not just to avoid a “race to the bottom”, but also to ensure that the right guidelines were set for both sustaining global dynamism in good times and avoiding catastrophes when the storm clouds were visible on the horizon.  This raised the question of implementation and enforcement of agreed standards, clearly a weak area hitherto.  A number of people thought that the European Union had established some good examples in this area, which it might be difficult for other regions to copy without the EU’s political discipline, but which contained some useful models, for instance, for resolving competitive rule-breaking and for acting in advance of real trouble.

One difficult area which we did not fully resolve was whether to prevent banks and similar institutions becoming “too big to fail”.  In a highly competitive global environment and with economic cycles still to be expected in the future, there would be periods where consolidation made perfectly good sense.  The trend in our discussion was to avoid trying to set maximum sizes for organisations and institutions, but to look for ways of ensuring that banks etc of whatever size had adequate capital funding and insurance arrangements to avoid being a danger at the macro level.  This should include proper accounting mechanisms, which would have to be adapted to take account of what had happened over the past three years and establish firmer levels of transparency than had so far been achievable.

We were in no doubt that compliance with sensible rules and standards lay at the heart of a healthy system into the future.  Even the writing of compliance standards tended to be a subjective business, with strong political overtones.  There were participants who, with some justification, called strongly for the return of government to the areas under discussion, to prevent the private sector having the independence which they had so badly misused in this crisis.  But the degree to which China, for instance, would establish its own national regulation systems, or subscribe to international ones, was still uncertain.  The IMF had a monitoring role, but it would need to be strengthened.  And the IMF had always had a problem in getting the big players to respond, when the United States and others were prone to regard IMF rules as being for the developing world and not for them.  In the present crisis, Washington and London were the sites of most of the complex institutions and markets that were the epicentre of the problem and were therefore even less likely to respond to disciplining from the IMF. Who would make decisions on insulating an emerging crisis in its own specific area, especially when action had to be urgent within a highly interlinked global system?  As for the private sector, how, one participant asked, could you get markets to care?  So far it had turned out to be very difficult. 

We were conscious that the title of the conference, proposing the reform of the international economic architecture, suggested that the Bretton Woods Institutions lay at the heart of everything we were talking about.  Yet what had happened had gone far beyond the reach of the institutions.  The governance structures we had created had, without our realising it at the time, been far too narrowly drawn to encompass the full range of activities which had combined to cause the trouble.  Capital flows, whether a cause or not, had evolved beyond the reach of the book-keeping and yet were very relevant to global economic health.  With gold having disappeared as a global standard in the 1970s, the system no longer had a lynchpin against which other actions could be judged.  That was perhaps one reason why property had become the new basis for measuring wealth;  and that had proved to be flawed.  Would it be possible to learn from this experience of history and to create a set of central criteria which would hold up the rest of the control system?  Most participants felt that some kind of international control would be necessary, covering capital flows a well as standards of accounting and transparency.  This seemed to be one area where hard, detailed work would be necessary. 

This took us into the area of global political coordination and we spent a good deal of time assessing the quality and potential of the G20, on the evidence so far.  Most people felt that international cooperation had always required a central group of powerful countries to provide authority in the cockpit.  The G20 had the advantage of offering a new strategic voice for what was clearly a new era.  It had the capacity to keep the institutions on their toes.  And it was in itself a rebalancing of the global political order, which was justified by the emergence of new economic powerhouses.  The G7, particularly through the meetings of their Finance Ministers, had not gone away;  and some participants thought that it would be useful if the G7 brought a coordinated view to the G20.  They could not blame other groups of countries if they did the same thing.  We needed to recognise, nevertheless, that there were risks in expecting the G20 to become an institution in its own right.  It did not yet have the structural solidity, the backup resources, the permanence or even the full legitimacy to do that on the world’s behalf.  But most of us thought that it was a body worth testing and investing in, to see whether it could evolve into something accepted and central. 

As for the substance handled by the G20, it was suggested that the three main tests were (a) bank regulation, where political coordination would be needed to set capital funding levels and leverage ratios, perhaps through the Financial Stability Board;  (b) enforcement measures, which could probably not be compulsory or under the threat of sanctions, but would need a strong consensus;  and (c) the placing of pressure on countries to rise above their narrow interests.  In this last area, some participants hoped that the G20 would promote compliance amongst their regional constituencies through peer review, though we could see a lot of work would be needed to make that effective.  In particular it would be necessary for China and India to play a stronger role in supporting a collective approach – proactively, and not just reacting to the G7’s proposals, which at present they were too likely to resist on the grounds that it was not them who had caused the crisis.  It would be a signal of much greater strength for the G20 if China and India participated on an initiating basis.

On the macro-economic policy front, we remained concerned that policy controls still lacked substance.  It was all too easy to imagine that governments might not be able to prevent a refocusing on economic growth and dynamic business activity which led to conditions for a repeat crisis.  Participants felt that governments had to take on board the fact that the banking world had changed enormously in recent years.  This had created an entirely new spread of risk, which an examination of the current crisis would at least allow to be better understood.  Guidelines for the provision of capital undoubtedly would have to change.  This suggested that a new compact was necessary between state and private sector financial institutions about their respective roles and about the right levels of capitalisation, preferably a compact which avoided placing the state as the inevitable provider of capital of last resort.

It did not make our debate any less complicated that we insisted on considering the interests of the developing countries, largely the innocent victims of a developed world crisis.  The unprecedented effect on poor people everywhere, and their response in demanding a voice before such a crisis happened again, marked a clear difference from previous global economic disturbances.  It was forcefully pointed out that banking and investment practice in the developed world had created not just an economic hazard for the world at large, but also a political and moral one.  The lessons we drew, and the changes in approach we devised as a result, had to take account of the consequences for the world’s population as a whole.  In this we were in a similar position to the climate change debate.  If a financial breakdown led to economic recession, unemployment, shrinking markets and the closing down of funding sources, it affected health, education and basic living in the developing world.  It would be reprehensible if our discussion proceeded in just an economic, rather than a human, vocabulary.  The G7 might have transformed into the G20, but the habit had not changed of looking at the mainstream parts of the global economy.  If we left the margins out, they would blow back on us.

To address this need for inclusiveness, it was suggested that we had to give priority, indeed urgency, to assistance for the developing world, rapidly improve their capacity to look after themselves, allow the World Bank and other donor institutions to take greater risks in providing this assistance and monitor carefully what impact development assistance was having on these countries.  It would be good to see China playing a new role in this respect:  for instance, China might invite the IMF to help them develop their new international relationships, eg in Africa.  And their banks should evolve to play a new global role.  But this did not absolve the traditional donors from taking on a new level of responsibility.

It would not have been a Ditchley conference if we did not attempt to assess the geopolitical implications of economic events.  In discussing the G20 and other forms of international response, it was natural to ask whether the United States would be capable of taking on the leadership necessary for any effective international coordination effort.  Indeed our conference began with early questions on the capacity of the US constitutional system, with its checks and balances constraining the ability of the US President to use his initiative, to adapt to twenty-first century circumstances.  If China, India and others were learning to be more decisive, with more real power at their finger tips than at any time in recent memory, what would it mean if the United States could not be so decisive?  We also had to take account of the fact that the United States had been at least a part cause of the financial collapse and this detracted from its legitimate claim to lead.  We might be facing a paradox where Congress would not allow the President to act collectively, while unilateral US action was not sufficient to remedy the problems.  It was too early to expect China to take up a leadership role, even if its claim to equal partnership was growing.  For most participants at this table, a G2 was not a real prospect or the real answer. 

This suggested to us that global answers would have to arise from national leaders in coordination, just as in the climate change field.  Recent experience indicated that we had a long way to go in both the economic and the environmental categories, with the risk of beggar-my-neighbour policies ever present.  The strongly competitive tone of current international discourse, and the swirl of different groupings acting as issues arose, made us think that the world had some way to go before we could be confident that there was a single architecture.  The European Union had set a good example in many respects, but did not have the impact, yet, to set a global example. 

What then must the architecture be designed to do?  We were clear that it must be capable of setting the rules, which probably meant the G20 and IMF taking lead responsibility;  that it must be instrumental in having those rules implemented, which would probably have to be the responsibility of nation states in their individual territories;  but it would also have to provide mechanisms for monitoring, evaluation and enforcement, which were very unlikely to be provided, without controversy, at the international level.  Over the coming period, the best we could probably hope for would be criteria and standards set by international agreement, responsive national implementation and peer review mechanisms to provide incentives for national compliance.  Beyond that, it would be very difficult to deal with recalcitrant behaviour.

Out of this general debate encapsulating our impressions from the experience of crisis, our concluding discussion – with no significant disagreement on the major items – suggested the following priorities, some of which already enjoy consensus and are already in train under the leadership of the FSB and the BIS:

·         A new compact was necessary between state and private sector financial institutions about their respective roles and about the right levels of capitalisation, preferably a compact which avoided placing the state as the inevitable provider of capital of last resort.

·         The financial world needed to acknowledge that certain smaller countries and the IMF did well because they broke the rules and conventions.

·         It would be unproductive to constrain private sector activity too forcefully, but transparency and revised accounting standards were absolutely essential, not least to cover activities that had been largely off the balance sheet up to now.

·         The regulatory agencies needed to establish the incentives to attract highly qualified practitioners who could match the excellence of the private sector.

·         Central banks and other regulatory institutions would need to take much more careful account of asset prices in assessing debt and financial stability.

·         Criteria needed to be internationally agreed which amounted to minimum standards of prudence, with incentives or disincentives encouraging all countries to comply, so as to avoid the tendency to regard the lowest barrier as the best. 

·         Enforcement needed a new approach, difficult in the geopolitical circumstances we painted, but not impossible within a certain range of options:

-         Focussing on national regulatory systems, of a strengthened kind, if international ones were seen to be too difficult; 

-            Strengthening incentives and aligning them internationally;

-            Translating the European model to the global level;

-            Using the models we already had, if new ones were felt to be too difficult, but deploying them more systematically to fill the gaps now identified; 

-            Finally, perhaps, pursuing the innovative idea of using agreed minimum standards to set a tariff on those countries which did not comply with them, the income from which could be employed to strengthen weak areas.

·         With the momentum currently with the G20 as a global coordinating mechanism, this body should be encouraged to evolve systematic processes, without being hijacked by the rest of the world’s concerns about legitimacy, but understanding the interests of the developing countries and to some extent acting in trusteeship for them. 

·         The lessons we drew, and the changes in approach we devised as a result, had to take account of the consequences for the world’s population as a whole.  If we left the developing world out, it would blow back on us.

·         The conference was not specific on BWI reform, but most people agreed that the institutions had to adapt to new circumstances, not least to avoid the situation where individual countries believed that the only recourse was to amass their own reserves.  This would need new approaches to board membership and governance. 

·         The Basel Rules had a value, but would need to be adapted as the basis for new minimum global standards, with enough flexibility to allow interpretation to suit both good and bad times.  This meant avoiding too great a precision in the drawing up of rules.  A capacity to react to the gathering of storm clouds had to be part of the system. 

·         Global imbalances might need more direct treatment in their own right, though they would be affected by some of the approaches suggested above.  One proposal was that control of capital flows could be aligned with WTO rules, with the setting of minimum standards which would help to get the developing countries on board.  Where possible, countries which did not have a large enough internal market to absorb their own surpluses needed to be encouraged to externalise their reserves under international coordination. 

·         The rating agencies should not be forgotten in the reactions to the crisis.  Accounting criteria should not allow such different mechanisms to apply in the private sector and the regulatory agencies that the two were completely out of step. 

·         Finally, we agreed to let economists off the hook to the extent that we recognised that economics was a vital discipline.  But the orthodox view of consumer inflation and spare economic capacity had been factors affecting attitudes to the growth of credit.  Conditions might arise again where sacrifices, for instance in levels of employment, might have to be made for the sake of a healthy global financial and economic structure overall.

This was a sober, wide-ranging and in many respects heartening discussion, even though we realised that the kind of reforms and approaches we were suggesting would be extremely difficult to implement in practice.  From Ditchley’s viewpoint, the depth of experience and perceptiveness of those gathered round the table produced a clarity of assessment of the priorities which we might not have expected at the start.  We had much to be grateful for from the wisdom, focus and discipline of our Chairman, who represented the generous Canadian Ditchley support for this whole event.  The issues we discussed will play out for a long time into the coming decade, but we hope that the approaches we suggested will encourage policy makers to focus on the right areas. 

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

 

PARTICIPANTS

Chair  :  The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Co-Chair, High Level Panel on the African Development Bank;  Co-Chair, Poverty Alleviation Fund for the Congo Rainforest Basin;  Board Member, Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (2009 ).  Formerly:  Member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard, Montreal (1988-2008);  Prime Minister of Canada (2003-06);  Finance Minister (1993-2002);  Inaugural Chair of the G-20 (1999);  Business Executive, Power Corporation of Canada, Montreal;  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Canada Steamship Lines. 

BELGIUM/FRANCE
Mr Nicolas Véron
Bruegel, Brussels (2002-);  Senior Fellow, Bruegel (2005-);  Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington DC (2009-);  Media Commentator;  Member, Corporate Disclosure Policy Council, CFA Institute;  Member, Accounting and Auditing Practices Committee, International Corporate Governance Network.  Author.

CANADA
Mr Michael Horgan

Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Canada.

CANADA/ARGENTINA
Mr Pablo Bréard

Vice-President, Head of International Research and Chief Latin American Economist, Scotiabank Group;  Member, Economic Advisory Committee, Institute of International Finance;  Board Member, Canadian Foundation for the Americas.

CHILE
Professor Vittorio Corbo

Senior Research Associate, Centro de Estudios Públicos, Santiago (2008-).  Formerly:  Governor, Central Bank of Chile (2003-07);  Professor of Economics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (1981-84, 1991-2003).

CHINA
Mr Zhang Jibing

Assistant Professor, Tsinghua University;  Deputy Editor in Chief, China Economic Diplomacy Yearbook.

COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT/INDIA
Mr Kamalesh Sharma

Commonwealth Secretary-General (2008-).   Formerly:  High Commissioner of India to the UK (2005-08);  Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to East Timor (2003-04).  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK/GERMANY
Dr Raymond Ritter

Economist, International Policy Analysis, European Central Bank;  Lecturer, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.  Formerly:  Member, G-20 Study Group on the History of the G-20 (2007).

EUROPEAN COMMISSION/ROMANIA
Mr Lucian Cernat

Chief Economist, Directorate-General for Trade, European Commission (2009-).  Formerly:  Economist, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD (2000-08);  Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1996-2000).

FRANCE
Ambassador François Bujon de L’Estang

Chairman, Citi France, Paris.  Formerly:  French Diplomatic Service;  Ambassador of France to the United States (1995-2002);  to Canada (1989-91).
Mr Philippe Lagayette
Vice Chairman, J P Morgan in EMEA, Paris (1990-);  Board Member;  Renault, PPR, Fimalac;  Chairman:  Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, French American Foundation, France;  Board Member, Fondation de France.
Professor Patrick Messerlin
Professor of Economics and Director, Groupe d’Economie Mondiale, Sciences Po, Paris (1997-);  Member, Global Trade Council of the World Economic Forum (2009-);  Co-Chair, Global Trade and Finance Architecture, World Bank (2008-).
Mr Jacques Mistral
Professor of Economics and Head of Economic Research, French Institute of Foreign Relations (IFRI), Paris (2007-).  Formerly:  Advisor to the Director General, Treasury and Political Economy, Ministry of Finance, Paris (2006-07).

FRANCE/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr Marc Uzan

Executive Director, Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee.

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND/POLAND
Mr Marek Belka

Director, European Department, International Monetary Fund (2008-).  Formerly:  Under Secretary General, United Nations, and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (2006-08);  Prime Minister of Poland (2004-05).

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr Sean Hagan

General Counsel and Director of the Legal Department, International Monetary Fund.

JAPAN
Mr Hideaki Tanaka

Associate Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi National University (2007-);  Research Fellow, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance, Japan (2007-).

OECD/UNITED KINGDOM
Mr Andrew Dean

Economist, OECD (1979-);  Director, Country Studies Branch, Economics Department, OECD, Paris.  Formerly:  National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London;  University of Bristol;  University of Oxford.

RUSSIA
Professor Alexander Dynkin

Director, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow;  Member, Presidential Council for Science, Technology and Education;  Full Member, Russian Academy of Science.

SOUTH AFRICA
Mr Daniel Mminele

South African Reserve Bank, Deputy Governor (2009-) and Member, Monetary Policy Committee;  Board Member:  Corporation for Public Deposits, South African Mint Company, South African Banknote Company.

UNITED KINGDOM
The Lord Aldington

Senior Advisor, Deutsche Bank London (2009-);  Member, Chairman’s Committee, London Investment Banking Association (2003-);  Deputy Chairman, Royal Academy Trust (2003-) and others.  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Sir Andrew Cahn KCMG
Chief Executive Officer, UK Trade and Investment, London (2006-).  Formerly:  Director, Government and Industry Affairs, British Airways (2000-06);  Chef de Cabinet to Vice President, European Commission (1997-2000).
Baroness Cohen
Chair, European Union Sub-Committee A (Economic and Financial Affairs),  House of Lords (2006-);  Member, European Union Select Committee, House of Lords
(2006-);  Member, Financial Markets and Services All-Party Parliamentary Group (2009-);  Non-Executive Director, London Stock Exchange.
Sir John Gieve KCB
Chairman, VocaLink (2009-).  Formerly:  Deputy Governor for Financial Stability, The Bank of England (2006-09);  Member, Monetary Policy Committee (2006-09);  Permanent Secretary, Home Office (2001-05).
Mr Jesse Griffiths
Coordinator, Bretton Woods Project.  Formerly:  Head, Development Finance Policy Group, ActionAid UK.
Dr Bill Robinson
Head of Economics, KPMG.  Formerly:  Special Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer;  Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Senior Research Fellow, London Business School.

UNITED KINGDOM/GERMANY
Professor Christof Rühl

BP plc (2005-);  Group Chief Economist (2007-) and Vice-President, BP plc;  Independent Director, Board of Halyk Bank, Kazakhstan.  Formerly:  World Bank (1998-2005).

UNITED KINGDOM/ITALY
Mr Mario Pisani

Speechwriter and Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Chancellor’s Office, HM Treasury.  Formerly:  Leader Writer, Financial Times.

UNITED KINGDOM/NEW ZEALAND
Professor Ngaire Woods
Professor, International Political Economy, University College, Oxford;  Director, Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford.  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
 
UNITED KINGDOM/SWEDEN
Professor Erik Berglof

Chief Economist, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

UNITED KINGDOM/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr Robert Conway

Senior Director, The Goldman Sachs Group Incorporated;  Board of Trustees, University of Notre Dame;  Member, The Council of the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago;  President, Harris Manchester College, Oxford.  A Governor and Member of the Council of Management, The Ditchley Foundation;  Member, Board of Directors and Treasurer, The American Ditchley Foundation.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dr Raymond Gilpin

Associate Vice President, Sustainable Economies Center of Innovation, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC.  Formerly:  Academic Chair for Defense Economics, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University (2003-07).
Dr Leonardo Martinez-Diaz
Director, High-Level Commission on the Modernization of World Bank Group Governance;  Fellow and Deputy Director, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution;  Consultant, Independent Evaluation Office, International Monetary Fund;  Luce Fellow in Indonesia.  Author.
Mr Edwin Truman
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics (2001-).  Formerly:  Counsellor to the Secretary of the Treasury (2009);  Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, US Treasury (1998 2001).  Author.
Mr Robert Wilmers
Chairman and CEO, M&T Bank Corporation, Buffalo, New York;  A Director, Allied Irish Banks (2003-);  Director, Business Council of New York State.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/CANADA
Dr Michel Maila

Vice President, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group, Washington (2006-).  Formerly:  President, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation, now member of Program Advisory Committee;  Executive Vice Present, Bank of Montreal (1995-2005).

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/UNITED KINGDOM
Mr Francis Finlay

Chairman, EastWest Institute, New York (2009-);  Trustee, British Museum (2005-);  Chairman, James Martin 21st Century Foundation (2005-);  Governor, London Business School (2003-);  Board Member, several international investment companies and university and endowment investment committees.  A Governor, Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and Member of the Council of Management, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Douglas Rediker
US Executive Director (Alternate), International Monetary Fund Board (nominated by President Obama, awaiting Senate confirmation);  Director, Global Strategic Finance Initiative, New America Foundation, Washington DC;  Member, Council on Foreign Relations, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION/SPAIN
Dr Patrick Low

Chief Economist (Director of Economic Research and Statistics), World Trade Organization (WTO) (2001-) (1997-1999).  Formerly:  WTO:  Chief of Staff to the Director-General (1999-2001);  Trade in Services Division (1995-97).