A new survey from PwC claims that although CEOs around the world feel they have plenty to worry about in the year ahead, their confidence is rising. However, Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader stressed that more competition means that Bermuda must fight to keep its place.
Wightman said: “PwC’s CEO Survey shows globalisation continues to have a marked impact on financial services and the competitive landscape is fiercer than ever. This means that Bermuda must fight harder to secure its relevance in the global capital markets for years to come. Given the significant positive impact that international business has on the local economy and the dependency Bermuda has on it, leaders in the private and public sector must galvanise behind this objective. Technology businesses are also beginning to disrupt financial services. Over time it is expected that blockchain will transform distribution channels and the role that machines versus people play in this sector. CEOs in Bermuda 2 of 5 will need to advance strategies to embrace technologies that challenge their organisational DNA. Technologies pose both threats as well as opportunities to Bermuda.”
PwC’s 20th CEO survey said that 38 percent of CEOs ( up slightly from 35 percent in 2016) are very confident about their company’s growth prospects in the next 12 months while 29 percent (2016: 27 percent) believe global economic growth will pick up in 2017. The findings released at the World Economic Forum in Davos show that while business leaders are more positive in their outlook, their levels of concern about economic uncertainty (82 percent), over-regulation (80 percent) availability of key skills (77 percent) remain very high. In addition worries about protectionism are growing, with 59 percent of CEO concerned about this issue, increasing to 64 percent for CEOs in the United States and Mexico.
While positive on the benefits of globalisation in building the free movement of capital, goods, and people, CEOs question whether globalisation has done anything to close the gap between rich and poor or mitigated the issue of climate change. This is in contrast to the first PwC CEO survey in 1998 when CEOs were positive about the drivers of globalisation.
Bob Moritz, global chairman, PwC, comments: “Despite a tumultuous 2016, CEO confidence is moving back up – albeit slowly and still a long way from the levels we saw back in 2007. But there are signs of optimism right across the globe, including in the UK and US, where despite predictions of a Trump slump and a Brexit exit, CEOs confidence in their company’s growth are up from 2016. And that mood is reflected elsewhere, with more CEOs across the world targeting the US and UK for investment than a year ago.”
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PwC Bermuda, Arthur Wightman, Survey