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  • Inaugural OMFIF Expert Seminar at Harvard University - 8 Oct 2015

    On 7 Oct OMFIF held its inaugural expert seminar at Harvard university, focusing on the role of the US in the world economy.

  • Desai calls for open selection of next IMF head - 7 Oct 2015

    In a letter to the Financial Times today, Lord Desai and members of the OMFIF advisory board call for a structural change in IMF selection procedure.

  • The OMFIF Bulletin: Yellen's wavering - 6 Oct 2015

    By postponing the interest rate rise in September, even by a modest 25 basis points, the Fed has enhanced the dangers of another crash.

Inaugural OMFIF expert seminar at Harvard University

On 7 Oct OMFIF held its inaugural expert seminar at Harvard university, entitled  'economic developments in the US and the US role in the world economy'. The OMFIF seminar brought together Harvard professors, senior US Treasury officials, economists, private sector bank chiefs and asset managers.

Among the issues under discussion were the links between US fiscal and monetary policies and the international economic outlook, the future of international financial institutions, the effects of an interest rate 'lift-off', and the state of the US economic recovery. 

Desai calls for open selection of next IMF head

The following letter was sent to the Financial Times on 7 October by Prof. Lord (Meghnad) Desai, chairman of the OMFIF advisory board, and others connected to OMFIF.


In coming months, governments will choose the leader of the International Monetary Fund for the next five years. The mandate given to Christine Lagarde, managing director since 2011, expires in July 2016. She may choose to stand again and the signatories below in no way criticise her stewardship of the IMF, to which she has provided vigorous leadership during a period of great monetary, economic and financial challenge. However a European has presided over the Fund since it was established more than 70 years ago. A structural change in the appointment process for the managing directorship is overdue.

We advocate a transparent and timely search process aimed at finding the best qualified person. If this were to culminate in an appointee from Asia, Africa or Latin America, then we would applaud such a result, which would be consistent with global economic shifts in the past 15 years.

Whoever is in charge after next July should combine a proven economics background with appropriate political and diplomatic expertise and capacity to engineer thoughtful policies to counter possible new shocks. The optimal nominee will need broad understanding of diverse approaches for promoting global financial reforms benefiting the entirety of the Fund's membership. The best candidate may not (in contrast to recent practice) be a mainstream politician who has built relationships and alliances with other international political personalities. Instead, he or she may be an independent-minded, more technically-orientated person.

Globalisation of money and finance is unlikely to go into reverse. An interconnected world will continue to need a strong IMF as an important component of efforts to promote financial stability and growth, and as a lender of last resort for countries with balance of payments problems. We need a rigorous and meritocratic selection process offering a constructive outcome for advanced and developing economies. By choosing the right leader, the international community can strengthen the Fund at a sensitive time of both opportunity and risk for the world economy.

Yours etc.

Lord (Meghnad) Desai, emeritus professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Franco Bassanini, former chairman, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
Mark Burgess, former managing director, Future Fund, Australia
Hans Eichel, former finance minister, Germany
Brigitte Granville, professor, Queen Mary, University of London
Charles Goodhart, emeritus professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Akinari Horii, special advisor and member of the board, Canon Institute for Global Studies
David Kihangire, regional financial policy advisor, East African Community
Oscar Lewisohn, chairman, Soditic Limited, London
Ruud Lubbers, former prime minister, Netherlands
Gerard Lyons, chief economic advisor to mayor of London, Greater London Authority
Kishore Mahbubani, professor and dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
David Marsh, managing director, OMFIF
Boyd McCleary, former governor, British Virgin Islands
Marcello Messori, professor, LUISS Guido Carli university
Marcello Minenna, professor, Bocconi university
Athanasios Orphanides, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vicky Pryce, former joint head, UK government economic service
Edoardo Reviglio, professor, International University College, Turin
Paul van Seters, professor, Tilburg university
Ben Shenglin, professor, Zhejiang university
Lord (Robert) Skidelsky, emeritus professor, Warwick university
Michael Stürmer, chief correspondent, Die Welt
Duvvuri Subbarao, former governor, Reserve Bank of India
Shumpei Takemori, professor, Keio university
Niels Thygesen, emeritus professor, Copenhagen university
Lord (Christopher) Tugendhat, former vice president, European Commission
Marsha Vande Berg, former chief executive officer, Pacific Pension Institute
Ernst Welteke, former president, Deutsche Bundesbank
Jack Wigglesworth, former chairman, London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange
Songzuo Xiang, professor, Renmin university

[The opinion expressed is that of the signatories and is not necessarily shared by the organisations they may represent]

  • To view on the FT website, click here
  • The OMFIF Bulletin: Yellen's wavering

    The Fed’s hesitation over interest rate ‘lift-off’ may have been justified on monetary grounds; from a psychological point of view, postponing a rate increase may have been a flawed decision, since the Fed’s fears (now on full view) can be much more readily transmitted to others.

  • Click here for more information about The Bulletin
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    • Brighter spots on world economy

      by David Marsh in Lima | Mon 12 Oct 2015

      Smaller countries have shown the way in spurring economic reforms and laying down the groundwork for steady growth. In assembling a future road map, we might do worse than focusing on the P Group of emerging market economies such as Peru, Paraguay, Poland and the Philippines – the subject of an OMFIF seminar in Lima on Saturday.

      MARKET: Latin America

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    • Why Greece deserves debt relief now

      by Ruud Lubbers and Paul van Seters | Fri 9 Oct 2015

      The Greek parliament's vote of confidence in Tsipras this week will strengthen the government's programme of economic reform, which is necessary for unlocking a €86bn bail-out package. European finance ministers should respond by initiating debt cancellation and restructuring.

      MARKET: Europe

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    • How to choose next IMF leader

      by Peter Doyle | Fri 9 Oct 2015

      A strong IMF with competent and legitimate leadership is central to addressing immediate global challenges. The IMF's board of governors, meeting in Lima this week, should push ahead with reforms to the selection process.

      MARKET: Latin America

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    • The host can boast, maybe

      by David Smith in Buenos Aires | Thu 8 Oct 2015

      This weekend the world’s finance ministers and central bankers gather in Lima for the autumn meetings of the World Bank and IMF. Compared to other regional countries, Peru stands out as an economic success.

      MARKET: Latin America

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    Chinese stock market fall sends worldwide ripples

    by William Baunton

    Bear market now gripping Hong Kong stock market too

    Chinese stock market fall sends worldwide ripples

    History repeating itself

    by William Baunton

    Bear market grips Chinese stocks with echoes of 2007

    History repeating itself

    The mystery behind poor first quarter growth in the US

    by William Baunton

    Since 2010 the US has achieved steady growth of around 2% per annum despite poor, and arguably inconsistent, first quarter figures

    The mystery behind poor first quarter growth in the US

    Greece's difficult road ahead

    by William Baunton

    If Greece were to fail to make payments to the IMF, it would become the first advanced economy in history to default on an IMF loan

    Greece's forthcoming debt repayments
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    Advisory Board Poll

    OMFIF Advisory Board expect Chinese currency to join SDR

    The composition of the Special Drawing Right, the IMF's reserve asset, is under review. Over half the Advisory Board expect the renminbi to be included. Many remained sceptical, with 42% expecting the renminbi to be passed over this year but included in 2020, and 4% expecting it not to meet the criteria for inclusion.

    Advisory Board expect renminbi to join SDR
    View All Polls