Jim Aiello, Peter Tesei and Ned Lamont Deliver Opening Remarks at Greenwich Economic Forum
Jim Aiello, Peter Tesei, and Ned Lamont deliver Opening Ceremony at Greenwich Economic Forum (Greenwich, CT)
- $18 trillion of assets under management in this room
- Opening remarks from the 89th Governor of Connecticut
- Stamford will soon be the largest digital production studio in the world with WWE
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Jim Aiello, Co-Founder of Greenwich Economic Forum, Peter Tesei, First Selectman of Town of Greenwich, and Ned Lamont, Governor for State of Connecticut
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:00:00
Greenwich Economic Forum, you know, this was just an idea two years ago. And here we are today with this wonderful set of speakers and attendees here. We are thrilled to have everybody here, but I want to in particular thank the leadership of Jay Madia of Axis Capital and his institutional investor community. We have 102 investment professionals from 85 distinct firms and approximately 7 trillion in AUM, 7 trillion of investor assets here. It’s firms like TIAA, CPPI, IB CDPQ, and China Investment Corporation or CIC. And when you add in at the asset management firms that total AUM, and admittedly it’s double counted, but until AUM with asset managers is $18 trillion. So $18 trillion of assets in this room, which is nothing short of exceptional. And where is Jay Madia? Where is that guy? I see his partner Andy right here. Hi Andy, where is Jay? Jay. Thank you. Pretty exceptional.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:01:02
This is 50% higher than last year, you know, and kind of creating this ecosystem of GP’s and LP’s is really what we’re trying to do here today. And, and Jay has been instrumental in being able to do that. So we have a packed agenda. I’m going to keep the opening remarks very, very brief. We have an amazing day set up ahead of you. Here we have the thought leaders of the alternative investment industry here, people who are actively involved in the leading deals that shape where the markets are headed, as well as the recognized strategic thinkers and visionaries that we all hear about and talk to on a daily basis that relates to, that we see in social media and in the press, the Greenwich Economic Forum or GEF is really our idea is to make this as much of like a Davos or Milken event as we can.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum: 01:49
So we’re not creating anything brand new, but we’re trying to be, you know, Davos is Davos, but if we can be the Davos of the alternative investment industry, that’s our dream. And we’ve given ourselves five to seven years to be able to do that. So give us a few more years and hopefully we’ll be able to achieve that. We’re bringing together the top minds experts, innovators and influencers, as in finance and related industries and generally from different backgrounds and different viewpoints. We’re connecting people, organizations and resources in order to start to catalyze solutions to some of the major global challenges, intentions that we all know exist today. And we hear about them in the news all the time. And our idea is to sort of cut through all the noise and the headliners and get into the real substantive issues. We have a multi-day event in an Oasis setting here in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:02:37
At this fabulous hotel that Del Mar is one of my favorite places in Greenwich. I spent too much time here I think, but it’s a fabulous place and you can take in the calm, the beauty the high service orientation and the friendliness that is distinctive from Greenwich relative to other communities in this area. We have representation at GEF from all the major alternative investment industries. So that’s hedge funds, private equity and venture capital as well as institutional investors that we’ve, that I mentioned before as well as business executives, government leaders in a small but top group of service providers. We have 29 corporate sponsors and the quality of those corporate sponsors is really exceptional industry leaders like Bridgewater, Grammercy, Churchill Nuveen, RockCreek, B of A, Titan Adviser is the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Aires, UBS, Standard Chartered General Atlantic. And that’s just a few.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:03:34
We, if you go outside, you’ll see on our seven repeat all the sponsors and it’s really breathtaking and we’re so privileged to have all of you here. We also have a limited number of service providers that are leaders and innovators in their field firms like Ropes and Gray for law technology from RFA, PR firms, Prosac and ASC advisors recruiting from CRG and S&P for data analytics. We have a real peer-to-peer conference because of the financial support that we get from these, from the fund industry and the service provider firms. So just a quick hand to all of our sponsors.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum: 04:20
We will speak on some of the most relevant topics that pertain to the, to the global alternative industry today include including perspectives from institutional investors, both domestic and global. We have a significant global representation, especially from China today. We actually had a wonderful dinner last night with a number of people that made their way from Shanghai and Beijing and Shen Chan and Hung Jo. And we’re thrilled to have that significant contingent here. So the us China relations, healthcare trends, private equity, private credit, venture capital, and the evolution of media and entertainment. So we’ve got quite a field that we’re covering. And then we’re also really privileged today and delighted to have sitting here at my left is Julia La Roche, who will act as our master of ceremonies. And as many of you know, Julia is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the C-suite and focusing specifically on wall street and retail firms. And her on-camera interviews have included just about every major household name and if financial services CEO. And so we’re just, we’re, we’re thrilled to have Julia joining us.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:05:26
So without further ado, we’re going to start the conference. I’m pleased to introduce the Mayor, our First Selectman in New England, we call them the First Selectman because we’re New England. And we have Peter Tesei and I’m honored to have served as chairman of the economic advisory committee. It’s a volunteer group and I’ve been his chairman for the past eight years. And so I want to thank you for that opportunity. And Peter who is leaving office next month and not to embarrass him too much, but I’ll embarrass him a little bit. He has been the longest serving full time in the history of Greenwich and Greenwich is not a young town. It’s a town that’s 380 years old. He’s about to 1640 before the founding of our country. And Peter has been the governor or the mayor, sorry, the governor is over there, the mayor here for six terms or 12 years.
Jim Aiello – Co-Founder, Greenwich Economic Forum:06:15
And that’s no small feat in a town of really big egos. We have a lot of big egos in this town. It’s, I think it must be hard to be the First Selectman of town of these sorts of egos, but it’s a Testament to his well-rounded leadership skills. And among his many accomplishments, both big and small, I would give two examples of what he’s done. One is you’ve really maintained the fiscal responsibility of the town of Greenwich in an unprecedented way. So thank you for that is also had a number of highly successful public private partnerships have been really successful. So that further ado, I want to introduce Peter. And thank you so much for coming.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Greenwich Connecticut: 06:52
Thank you. Good morning everyone. It’s a real honor and pleasure to welcome you here to the town of Greenwich, Connecticut. Once again, we are really honored this year to have with us our 89th governor, Ned Lamont, who is a Greenwich resident, as well as the Commissioner of DCD David Layman, who is also a Greenwich resident. So, two chairs. And most notably and exciting to tell you again, is that we have our first lady of Connecticut, Annie Lamont, who’s a rock star on our panel again this year. So Annie, thank you. We’re glad that you could bring your husband this year.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Greenwich Connecticut:07:35
We have several of our state officials, Libby, in one of our representatives in some of our local officials who are here to really experience what the conference is all about and how it’s going to have an impact on our town region in state. It’s our hope that this two day program will give you a better perspective of global economic risks in the opportunity to learn more about the latest tools and techniques to deal with them. As we approach the third decade of the 21st century. I’d like to reflect on the immense changes that technology has brought over the past decade. 10 years ago, the world, especially the financial services community, was still recovering from the global financial meltdown of 2008. It was a crisis that many economists described as probably the worst since the 1929 stock market crash. Despite predictions that the capitalist world was doing skillful and timely intervention by governments, central banks and major players in the financial community help to prevent that worst case scenario. The post-crisis recovery has not been smooth. There have been some aftershocks such as the European debt crisis, as well as the rise of populists called anti-establishment movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite these problems, the global economy forges ahead and continues to grow.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Greenwich Connecticut:09:09
Sure. Critics may say this, development in prosperity is uneven. Indeed, the lion’s share of development is registered in major urban areas across the globe. Well, less populated in progressive regions may stagnate or even decline. Nevertheless, no matter what stumbling blocks we encounter, we can confidently say that global economic development will continue to achieve new Heights in the years and decades to come. What gives me this confidence? Technology. Today’s electronic technology permeates nearly every aspect of our lives. Just think for a second. What was your life like a decade ago or even five years ago? We are now empowered in ways that were previously unimaginable. Technology has its benefits and its negatives, but those benefits far outweigh the negatives. Recently, I was amazed when I saw a news report about how 3-D printing is revolutionizing the medical device industry with developing artificial limbs.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Greenwich Connecticut:09:55
Most of us believe technological innovation will remain the key to our future success and will open up new horizons and opportunities that we never thought possible. These new opportunities are possible because of the financial strategies and commitments developed by investors and their advisors. The people in this room are responsible for managing as much as $4 trillion and we’re all probably asking ourselves, how will technology impact the financial services sector in my livelihood? We are here today precisely because we don’t want to be counted among those who are intimidated and paralyzed by the rapidly accelerating pace of technological change. Rather, we should count ourselves among those who are courageous enough to want to lead and harness those changes. I want to thank everyone who has helped make this forum possible. Our economic advisory committee, Jim Aiello and Bruce Mcguire, co-chairs of the Greenwich business Institute to our esteem resonant. Ray Dalio who has strongly supported this forum from its inception and most of all to all of you who have chosen to spend the next two days with us. We do hope that over the course of these days you have a chance to experience a little bit about Greenwich, its beauty, its resources and culture as well as enjoy each other. So thank you so much and wishing you all the best for a successful forum.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Greenwich Connecticut:11:28
And now it’s my high honor and pleasure to introduce Connecticut’s 89th Governor, our Greenwich resident and a longtime friend of mine, Ned Lamont.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut: 11:41
Hey everybody. Hey, let’s hear it for Peter Tesei. He has been a first selectman here for a long time. Let me, everybody has a point of view in local government, they let you know what every day you live it and it’s testament to his temperament and being able to work with people that he’s been doing this for that many years.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:11:54
Jim, here at the Davos of America. I’m happy to be here. I did grow up here in Greenwich. I started my telecommunications company in Greenwich. I’m now up in Hartford. I’m a known as “governor” here in Greenwich. I’m known as the “Annie Lamont trailing spouse” and I know my place but it does give you a certain perspective on what’s going on. Having started a business here in Greenwich and living up in Hartford now as your governor, a democratic governor. And I’ll just leverage off of what Peter said. I mean this is a state that you know, we’re somewhat divided and a distrust of elites is not just true in Connecticut, but it’s, I think true across the board.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:12:43
And one of the things I’ve got to do as a governor is trying to make sure that people are together and make sure they know that we’re, I’m in this together and we’re all rowing in the same direction. And let me just, you heard a little bit, you know, we dwell on our bad news here in the state is a, as Peter was talking about, you go right down the road here to say Stamford and yep. We had a contraction of the financial services business. So what used to be the enormous UBS building was empty and there was a lot of woe was us. Tell us about the future of Connecticut. Well, let me tell you what was once the largest trading floor in the world was once the UBS trading floor will soon be the largest digital production studio in the world with WWE.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:13:26
And I’ve just got to remind people every day not to be scared of change, but to embrace change and talk about what we’re doing. We’ve got the indeed is growing in charter communications and synchrony and the wind is to our back when it comes to what’s happening in Stamford. Look right down the road is you know, town of Fairfield and probably what a lot of you know about Fairfield is that’s where GE used to be. And then GE left and last one out. Turn out the lights. Well, change the location. Didn’t turn around GE, but I can tell you that. Well I’ll tell you in that former location, the GE headquarters is now a major center for computer science and beauty engineering and we got folks coming from around the world as we bring our economy here in Connecticut into the 21st century, you know, and right down the road from there is New Haven.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:14:18
Okay. What was us, maybe we missed the computer science revolution here. You know, the internet revolution, social media, let me tell you, in Yale and Yale, new Haven and Jackson labs, we have the window are back in enormous new neuroscience center. And the basic research is propelling us where we want to go. Immunology, quantum physics. Here we have the window to our back here. You’ll see dozens of amazing new startups all in and around the greater new Haven area going, going down the coast. They want to be there because we have the basic research, we have the partnerships and we’re about half the price of Boston and New York with an amazing quality of life. You know, further afield. Woe was us. We have all these old manufacturing companies, you know, that’s nonsense. That’s a nonsense. We maybe don’t have Silicon Valley, but we’ve had the Silicon Valley of manufacturing and that is reborn right now.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:15:10
We build the most sophisticated submarines in the world, the most sophisticated jet engines. We do the most sophisticated heal. Those things that are complicated to build are built right here. And we have thousands and thousands of jobs that we can’t fill right now. Shame on us because we’re not training the people with the skills they need to be able to get that done. And I’m not going to let that happen. And finally, you know, the elephant in the room is Hartford, you know, the state Capital. And we have some work to do there. We have to get our fiscal house in order. It took a long time to get into this situation and we’re going to get our way out of this situation. And we made a start. You know, we, we inherited enormous deficit and we balance the budget without raising taxes.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:15:54
No governor has done that. And 30 plus years that sent a signal anyway that we can begin to live within our means. The Wall Street Journal, not exactly a great cheerleader for a state of Connecticut, but they said, look, Lamont inherited a big hole and at least he stopped digging. Okay, I’ll take it. You know, that’s progress for me. And a couple of the rating agencies took us from a neutral deposit of just sending a signal that we’re turning things around, you know, and Woe was us, they all point out we’re going to have say 10,000 state employees retiring over the next three or four years. Oh, how are we going to replace all these people. Who said anything about replacing all these people? I mean, this is an incredible opportunity for us to realign government. You know, Peter talking about we, you know, government miss the it revolution.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:16:44
We don’t use carrier pigeons, but we do. About 99% of what we got to do is still on paper. We turn that around. We go from Sears Roebuck to an Amazon type of government portal experience. I think you can see a real turnaround. What we got to do is demonstrate what we can do in state government. And I got to give people confidence that over time we’re making that difference. And we know what it means to be a taxpayer in this state. We know what it means to have the workforce you need. I know what it means to have transportation. You know, my God, we’re coming up to a vote in the legislature in the next couple of weeks. I can take rail service from a Stamford or Greenwich down to New York. I can take a 15 minutes off of that, 20 minutes off of that. I could do that pretty quickly get 5g service so it’s not a wasted commute.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut: 17:27
We got to invest in that. These are the type of things we got to do. And I’ll just tell you one last thing. A lot of folks in this state don’t quite know what you all do and they don’t know what a hedge fund is and what private equity is. And I can talk about your investing, our pensions and our state pensions and making sure people a secure what we’re doing for the environment, what private equity does for startup. But what I can do is I can tell what each and every one of you do, you know, for your state. And that’s so important. You know, Cliff Asness from AQR, you know what he’s doing in terms of workforce development for the state of Connecticut and helping us take the lead there and making sure our job skills are aligned with the kids that need it.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:18:19
Steve Mandell, Loan Pine, what he’s doing in terms of education investment. You heard the ingenuity, former head of Pepsi, she was retired from an hour before. I said, Hey, look, the state of Connecticut needs you. We need you as a champion for the state. No one is better able to recruit businesses here to the state than fellow business people understand what they’ve got to do. And you mentioned a Ray Dalio. Let me just tell you, Ray and Barbara, his wife, made the biggest investment in the state of Connecticut and the history of this state. And okay, you can give money and have your name on a wall of a nice museum down in New York city. But they invested in $100 million matched by the state of Connecticut, matched by other private investors for disadvantaged and disconnected kids. They drop out at ninth grade. There’s no, it’s tough to get them back.
Ned Lamont – Governor, State of Connecticut:19:06
Incredibly expensive to get them back. And we need each and every one of these kids. This is a really unique time to lift people up, given the tens of thousands of jobs that were having a hard time filling, given the a silver tsunami of people retiring in a state like ours that doesn’t have a big growing population. We need each and every one of those kids and what they’re doing. So I mentioned some of these folks just to tell you, this is how I tell the story. This is why I’m proud that a Greenwich is the hedge fund capital of America, this is why these are the people and this is what they’re doing, you know, for their state is great citizens. And I’ll just leave with the fact that look, I got married in the state, we raised our kids, started our family. So, you know, I’m not leaving, I’m sticking. I love the state of Connecticut. I love to convince each and every one of you are here. Get involved in the state. We need you. Those of you who aren’t here. Come on over. The water’s feeling pretty good. Thanks everybody.