Cloudy, With Patches Of Light

SEPTEMBER 2017 | VOL. 31  NO. 8

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What is the economic climate worldwide at the end of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer break? Don Rissmiller, chief research officer at Strategas in New York, describes what is happening in Europe, the US, Japan and China as “still a collective global Goldilocks picture.”

Clouds of varying darkness and scope are still visible. So are geopolitical tensions and a persistent global threat of terrorism, but the overall picture seems better than just a year ago.

Let’s focus for a minute on a development of real interest for our corporate readers: the strong signs that the US is entering a season of new activism—not of shareholders or investors, but of prominent CEOs. In the last few weeks, some of them have taken a stand rarely taken before, expressing disappointment with the policies and statements of current US president Donald Trump. Notably, so many resigned from the Manufacturing and Jobs Initiative group and the Strategic and Policy Forum that the president had to shut these advisory committees down.

It is new and worthy of mention that these corporate leaders chose to take a stand that could backfire against the companies they lead. They acted not so much because of pressure from board members or shareholders, but rather with an eye to a broader swathe of stakeholders—employees, clients, customers and maybe even suppliers. Some of them simply followed their conscience.

Closeness to political leaders and the opportunity to influence decisions that will directly affect their companies became less important than repudiating statements from the White House. It is an unusual step for American CEOs, who typically keep the interests of shareholders first and foremost on their minds.

Meanwhile, business continues. This issue of the magazine features our annual digital banks awards and a cover story on the prospects of metadata as the new phase in data management for banks, together with our annual supplement on treasury and cash management.

Andrea Fiano | Editor