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Biography: Liam Halligan - Read interview

Liam Halligan


Others say

"Liam was asked to lead a challenging conference agenda and encourage delegate participation, which he did with good humour, aplomb and a rare insight into the political and economic drivers facing the industry. His engagement and ability to draw stimulating contributions from conference panellists and audience members was particularly well received. Panellists did not escape lightly, and delegates left the event well satisfied by the quality and rigour of debate."
Association of British Insurers Conference

"Thank you very much for your participation. You went down a storm - I really participate all the time and effort you put in to the event. I hope that we can work together in the future"
Infusion Event Management

"We were delighted you could attend. Everyone enjoyed listening to you and it is a shame that the Q&A couldnt have gone on for a little longer"
Star Reefers Event

"The feedback about your address has been really great. I think that the group really enjoyed the opportunity to debate the issues."
Financial Services Networking Event

Liam Halligan is Chief Economist at Prosperity Capital Management – he is a proficient and esteemed keynote speaker and conference speaker who astutely and concisely clarifies the state of the world's finance and where it is heading. 

Founded in 1996, PCM has consistently topped performance charts for emerging market funds, winning numerous awards from MarHedge, Lipper and Standard and Poor's. The firm has built a stellar reputation for its thorough research and "active" investment approach – and is now a major shareholder in some of the leading companies in Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia.

Along with his role at PCM, Halligan is also one of the UK’s leading economics commentators. For the last six years, he has written his highly respected “Economics Agenda” column in The Sunday Telegraph – which recently won him recognition as “Workworld Columnist of the Year” and “Business and Finance Journalist of the Year” at the British Press Awards.

Halligan’s interest in the Former Soviet Union dates back to the early 1990s, when he moved to Moscow and co-founded Russian Economic Trends – a widely respected source of independent data and commentary. During that period, he wrote an influential column in The Moscow Times and was heavily involved in the Russian government’s attempts to stabilize the country’s nascent post-Communist economy. He went on to cover Russia for The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit.

"Liam did everything we asked of him - a thought-provoking, well-argued and controversial presentation pitched at the right level and which held the audience throughout. In the Q/A session he was particularly impressive. Most importantly he left the guests wanting more."
Star Reefers

In 1996, Halligan returned to the UK to become a Political Correspondent at The Financial Times, based at the House of Commons – where he proved himself to a shrewd observer of the Westminster scene and a robust, independent thinker. Singled out by the Downing Street Press office as “impervious to spin”, he developed a reputation for courageous, nonpartisan reporting – as detailed in political memoirs written by, among others, Michael Brunson, Peter Oborne and Alastair Campbell.

Halligan’s FT coverage won him a job at Channel Four News – where, until 2006, he was the programme’s Economics Correspondent. During this period, he received a string of broadcast awards – including the World Leadership Forum's "Business Journalist of the Year" award (twice), the coveted "Wincott Award” (three times), the Workworld "TV Programme of the Year" award (four times), and the Bradford and Bingley "Personal Finance Programme of the Year" award.

He also wrote dozens of articles on economics, politics and international relations for, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The Business, The New Statesman, Prospect, House Magazine and The Parliamentary Monitor, as well as presenting Wake up to Money on BBC Radio Five Live and researching, writing and presenting a number of hard-hitting Dispatches and 30 Minutes documentaries for Channel Four.

Having joined Prosperity Capital Management last year, Halligan continues to write his weekly Sunday Telegraph column – as well as a regular column on economics and business trends for GQ magazine – while appearing on television and radio to comment on economic issues in the UK and across the rest of the world.

Speaking Topics

Liam Halligan is Chief Economist at Prosperity Capital Management and a proficient and esteemed keynote speaker and conference speaker.

  • Business
  • Finance and Economics

For further information or to book Liam Halligan, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

Interview with Liam Halligan


Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the economic prospects?


I guess it depends which end of the telescope you are looking through. In 1998, a systemic financial crisis in the emerging markets caused “contagion” in the West. Just ten years on, the same process has happened, but entirely in reverse. A crisis made in the West has now “infected” the entire global economy. That’s a symbol of how much the world has changed. The G7 countries between them now have less than 20% of the world’s currency reserves – and less than 6% if you exclude Japan. The BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – have 40%. Again, that shows the extent to which economic power has shifted. It’s almost a cliché, now, to say the future belongs to the emerging markets. Actually, I’m not sure it’s entirely true. While many of the Western economies have deep-rooted economic problems – not least massive indebtedness, related demographic pressures and diminishing skills – those countries that adapt well, and approach globalisation in the correct manner, will remain well-off societies – with low, but reasonably steady, economic growth. Having said that, more and more, emerging markets will come to the fore. During 2007, the EM world accounted for half of global growth. By 2009, with the West on its knees, they accounted for practically all of global growth, remaining the world's economic locomotive in 2010 as well. It won’t be long before the “new new world” accounts for half of overall global GDP – as the emerging giants of the east continue to drive forward the fastest industrial revolution the world has ever seen. The credit crunch has taken its toll on these economies, of course. But the relative growth rate of the strongest emerging markets rose sharply in both 2009 and 2010. Western portfolio investors currently have less than 15% of their assets in EM countries – a proportion that will steadily increase over the coming decade, as the economies of these countries out-perform, even if their nascent asset markets remain quite volatile. These inevitable, historic trends – the decline of the Western hegemony, the rise of alternative centres of economic and commercial power and the eventual toppling of the United States from its position as the world’s biggest economy – were already playing-out quite fast. But this sub-prime crisis, in my view, has speeded-up this process even more. As a Westerner, I’m somewhat alarmed at the pace of our relative decline, the fact many Americans and Europeans will have to endure falling living standards – and the inevitable political fall-out that will bring. But as an investor, it seems to me that emerging markets are where the action is – and where the bulk of one’s capital should be. That’s still not a mainstream view. But I predict it soon will be.


How did the corporate speaking start?


I started out in journalism on The Economist and then The Financial Times. I lived and worked in Russia during the mid-1990s, then moved back to the UK. It was only when I started at Channel Four News in 1999, though, that I came into the "public eye" if you like. I was at Channel Four News for 7 years, covering economics and business, during which period I also made quite a few "Dispatches" documentaries and began writing my "Economics Agenda" column in The Sunday Telegraph. I guess the demand for me to engage in public speaking stemmed from the on-screen TV career, but was bolstered by the fact that I developed a reputation as an independent-minded commentator on economic affairs - and somebody who could make economics "come to life". I left full-time journalism in 2006 and joined Prosperity Capital Management - an extremely interesting asset management company focused on Russia/CIS. I carried on writing my Telegraph column, though, which means I am still regularly asked to appear on TV/radio and to fulfil public speaking engagements.


Can you remember your first speaking engagement?


Wow! That's some time ago. I remember when I started at the FT, I was asked to go on a late-night panel show discussing New Labour (who were then still in opposition), and their relationship with the City of London. I really enjoyed it as the discussion was on the cusp of economics, politics and business - which is where I feel most at home, bridging these three subject areas. It was the first time I had been on national UK television, I think, but I instantly felt comfortable in a live studio, despite the tension and the bright lights.


And your last event?


I recently had the honour of hosting the main economics panel at the OECD's 50th anniversary summit in Paris. The panel line-up was superb - including some of the world's leading policy makers, from Europe, the US, India, Russia and Brazil. Panel discussions at international summits are often dull, with participants just going through the motions and very little audience participation. I have to say that this was one of the most stimulating panels I have ever been involved with - not least because it took place at a very important time for the global economy.


Which event has been your favourite and why?


I have only ever accepted public speaking engagements that I think I will enjoy, facing an audience I will learn from. This is particularly the case today - seeing as I have a very busy schedule and currently spend most of my time outside the UK. One of the most rewarding engagements I ever had was to speak to to the West Midlands branch of the Confederation of British Industry. I ended up hearing a great deal about the experiences of genuine entrepreneurs, engaged in a wide range of activities and employing dozens, in some cases hundreds of people. I made contacts that I retain and value to this day. In my view, good economics commentators have to keep their feet on the ground, and stay in touch with the "real economy", not just spend their time talking with Treasury officials or studying rows of statistics.

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