With the budget or autumn statement just out, the Socratic club met (both Junior and Senior) for our speaker session of the term - on finance. We were privileged to have Tom Starkie provide an exceptional talk and Q&A on banking, accountancy, and what it is like to work in finance and the steps to get there.
Tom Starkie is a Private Banker at Lombard Odier where he looks after the financial affairs of High Net Worth and Ultra High Net worth individuals. Tom started his career in accountancy, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant before specialising in tax at Ernst Young. He moved into private banking with Barclays in 2014 where he further qualified as a Chartered Wealth Manager before joining his current firm in 2018. He was named in the Private Asset Manager directory as one of the Top 40 under 40 in 2020 and 2021. He was also listed in the Spears Directory as an Ultra High Net Worth Rising Star.
Questions from the group were outstanding - from the gold standard, to how cash was measured and trusted, to why one could have confidence in gold to interest rates, crypto-currencies, finance, accountancy, economics, gilts and taxation. What was most telling was Tom's view that Maths was crucial but the importance of public speaking and client relations mattered more to success in his field.
83% of the group would like or are considering going into banking or finance when they are older.
17% rejected the idea altogether.
When we turned and debated the Government's recent actions:
33% said they thought they were doing a good job.
67% voted against.
This was probably in response to higher taxes under Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt.
33% thought we should tax more, whilst 67% rejected the motion.
It was very intriguing and most impressive to hear ideas such as elective taxation and transitory taxes. Questions and ideas were of a very high standard, and this from all ages of the group - whether those with a mathematics background or those considering economics at university.
Finally, we turned to a philosophical debate on the motion:
'Money makes you happy?'
Overall the group voted 60%/40% in favour of the motion after the second telling and our breakout rooms. The main point being, particularly in a cost of living crisis, that the absence of money tended to create more problems - the nuances of ideas and speeches and the use of rhetorical devices shone through.
Well done all on a tremendous session!