Jim Kaitz, President and Chief Executive Officer, AFP
As I suspect many people did, I thoroughly enjoyed Ken Burns' fascinating epic documentary on the Roosevelt family. After a particular episode, I suddenly had this feeling of history repeating itself as I reflected on the similarity to today’s economy and global upheaval. The episode ended in 1938, as Europe was girding for war, Hitler had annexed France and Austria, and it was clear he wasn't stopping there; America was digging out of the worst financial crisis in history and showed little to no interest in becoming entangled in Europe’s troubles.
Today, economic uncertainty and global risk are all but constant realities. The most glaring difference between 2014 and 1938 is our deeper awareness of upheaval (and the speed of our awareness), whether it’s in Syria, Liberia or Ukraine. This puts an even bigger responsibility on treasury and finance professionals to manage these risks. External factors stemming from geopolitical uncertainty and cyber risk are inherent—and critical—elements of any global risk strategy.
I can think of no better time for finance and treasury professionals to take advantage of a rare opportunity to hear some of the leading experts on geopolitics, economics and security in one place. The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is very pleased to offer this perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at our Annual Conference, November 2-5 in Washington, D.C. There is still time to attend; the standard registration deadline is this Friday, Sept. 26.
Among other luminaries, we will be welcoming Dr. Ben S. Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, noted New York Times columnist and distinguished author Tom Friedman, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and former NSA Director Gen. (Ret.) Keith B. Alexander. We are truly privileged to have each of these renowned experts in their respective areas offer their candid insights into the most pressing issues in the world today.
Despite its recent decision to leave interest rates at current levels, the Fed is under constant, vigilant watch to see what its next move will be. This is a chance to get an insider’s view into the Fed’s thinking. Dr. Bernanke, who led the central bank through the worst economic downturn and banking crisis since the Great Depression, will share his thoughts on leading through a crisis as well as the most current pressing economic issues.
Tom Friedman has shown us that the world is flat—an event that takes place in some seemingly remote part of the world will likely have an impact on your business, no matter where you are. If the Great Depression has taught us anything, it is that the U.S. has proved to be fairly resilient. Mr. Friedman will offer his incisive thoughts on the unprecedented global challenges that directly affect the U.S.'s role as the world’s unchallenged economic, cultural and military power since the 1930s.
Arguably, there is no bigger issue facing businesses today than cybersecurity. It affects everything from a company’s brand risk to its finance risk. There is perhaps no greater authority on the subject than Gen. (Ret.) Keith B. Alexander, who, in addition to leading the NSA, also led the U.S. Cyber Command. He will share his thoughts on the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, our Internet-dependent economy and the importance of the private sector's role in protecting the infrastructure.
Joining Gen. Alexander in a discussion of cybersecurity will be former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. As one of the most important figures in shaping post-9/11 domestic policies, Mr. Mueller will discuss national security, global risk and today’s most pressing business issues. Having served two administrations as head of the most important law enforcement agency in the country, his insights are sure to be enlightening.
Even though the Great Depression is now a part of our history and legacy, the U.S. and the women and men who operate its financial machinery face more challenges than ever. Come to the most powerful city in the world to hear the most powerful speakers in the world on how to face these challenges. In addition to gaining a first-hand perspective on global threats, cybersecurity, foreign policy and other topics from 14 world-class speakers, you’ll have the unprecedented opportunity to network with more than 6,500 of your peers across more than 20 industries. We welcome you to join us.