Features
5 Dec 2012 09:22am

The Global Finance 50

You're seen the top ten, but what about the rest? Our top 50 influencers in the world of finance...

11. Ben Bernanke
Chairman, Federal Reserve

As the head of the world’s most influential central bank (over 90% of all global transactions are conducted in dollars), Bernanke’s influence on global finance is beyond question. With Treasury secretary Tim Geithner due to step down any day, Bernanke will try to offer stability, continuity and consistency at the top of the US financial system.

12. The Big Four

These are both the best of times and the worst of times for the major accountancy firms. In 2013 their global dominance of the major audit market is doubtless set to continue, not least because there is some merit in the argument that a complex global audit requires the resources only the Big Four can call on. They will also come under greater scrutiny, notably in the US and the EU. How they react to proposed changes, such as mandatory rotation, will impact clients and the profession.

13. Mario Draghi
President, ECB

It was not an obvious choice to put an Italian at the top of the ECB, with the Germans in particular needing convincing Draghi was the right man for the job. But he has played a solid hand in helping arrive at the current, temporary, fix for the eurozone crisis. The issuing of eurobonds was the decisive action that was needed. Throughout 2013 he will need to be on top of his game, as the consequences of the eurozone going wrong would be painful indeed.

14. Helena Morrissey
CEO, Newton

With £47m of assets under management and nine children, it’s amazing Morrissey has time for her tireless work on the 30% club (the campaign for boardroom equality). An inspirational figure for female professionals in all sectors, she is a City superwoman determined to make things better for others.

15. The CEOs of the top rating agencies

Whether it is major global economies or faltering banks, these ratings agencies seem to have been setting the market tone and either boosting or smashing market confidence. While some say their failure to anticipate and warn about the dangers of the financial crisis has weakened their position, they will continue to be one of the major influences on the cost of borrowing around the world.

16. Robin Freestone
CFO, Pearson

Freestone is influential for several reasons. For a start he’s CFO of Pearson, newly merged with Penguin Books and the publisher of the Financial Times. But he is also the incoming chairman of the low-key but extremely powerful lobbying group, the Hundred Group, taking over from Andy Halford. He is also recognised as a leading thinker on financial reporting.

17. Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain
Joint-CEOs, Deutsche Bank

Job sharing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it seems to have worked well for the leaders of the world’s largest bank. With the German economy at the heart of any recovery, all eyes will be on all the important German banks and Deutsche in particular.

18. Governor of the Bank of England

With a newly expanded remit, Sir Mervyn King’s successor will face an enormous task, with responsibility for banking supervision and macro prudential oversight on top of the MPC. He (for it will be a he) will oversee one hell of a change management project.

19. Zhou Xiaochuan
President, People’s Bank of China

China will soon be the world’s biggest economy. Even with growth slowing to 7%, that much is obvious. This will focus minds on the renminbi and in particular on China’s central bank. Early signs suggest the new leadership wants PBC to continue pursuing its aggressively expansionist policy.

20. Patrick Pichette 
SVP and CFO, Google

As the CFO of one of the world’s wealthiest tech firms, Pichette is sitting on a huge cash reserve. Unlike his counterpart at Apple, Google watchers expect at least some of this cash pile to be spent on high-tech acquisitions.

21. Jim O'Neill 
Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management

A rare mix of high-calibre thinker and extremely efficient doer, O’Neill is the man who coined the phrase BRICs to describe emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India and China. As chairman of one of the world’s leading asset management firms his pronouncements carry added weight in financial markets.

Sir Martin Sorrell22. Øystein Olsen 
Chairman, Norges Bank

People may not be surprised to hear Norway’s oil-based sovereign wealth fund is quiet, efficient and risk-averse. The fact it may be the world’s largest may surprise, though. Olsen runs it. Should he opt to invest for growth, it would have a huge impact.

23. Sir Martin Sorrell
CEO, WPP

Technically a marketing man, Sir Martin manages to straddle the great (or fake) divide and is somehow also one of the world’s consumate finance figures. His predictions for the economy also carry enormous weight and influence global confidence.

24. Pascal Lamy 
Director-General, WTO

Now into his second four-year term at the top of the World Trade Organisation, Lamy has major challenges ahead as recession continues to push world leaders toward more protectionist positions all across the world.

25. Paul Druckman
CEO, International Integrated Reporting Council

A key member of the small, but enlightened, group of people leading the charge to make financial reporting both more meaningful and useful to a more diverse group of stakeholders, Druckman is also a leading thinker on making sustainability (including carbon accounting) central to financial reporting.

26. Andrew Gould 
Chairman, BG Group

These are challenging times for BG Group, with output in 2013 likely to disappoint analysts’ expectations. Chartered accountant Gould will have his work cut out to keep the share price at the level investors will demand throughout 2013.

27. Gerrit Heyns
Partner, Osmosis Investment Management

He proclaims to be an “accidental investor”, but Heyns is a significant player in the emerging world of sustainable investing, and the success of Osmosis has certainly been no accident.

28. Warren Buffett
Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway

Perhaps not the force he once was, Buffett is nevertheless an active investor and a source of inspiration. He is close to President Obama and his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to resonate and encourage philanthropy.

29. Brian Gilvary
CFO, BP

Having endured a torrid few years after the Deep Water Horizon disaster and its now concluded difficult Russian venture, BP is finally settling down and will be able to focus once again on its future development. The new deal with Gazprom will open up significant possibilities in Russia and the coming year will be a big one for Gilvary and indeed for all his fellow directors. The longer term pressure will be to develop a meaningful sustainability strategy that resonates.

30. Ray Dalio
President & CIO, Bridgewater Associates

The man who runs the world’s largest hedge fund has some $170bn of assets under management. He is best known for creating his now famous “alpha and beta” strategy. This may have been widely emulated elsewhere, but it has never really been done quite as successfully anywhere else.

31. Vernon Hill
Founder, Metro Bank

Hill has a reputation as a high-octane entrepreneur who disrupted retail banking in the US, starting a small community bank in New Jersey and building it into an $8bn business. Now he is doing the same in the UK with his consumer-centric, retail focused business model. Metro boasts pet-friendy branches that are open seven days a week. What next? Serious lending to SMEs? Metro Bank will continue to be crazy and will become increasingly influential. 

32. George Roberts and Henry Kravis
Co-Chairmen & CEOs, KKR

Legends in the world of private equity and corporate finance, the KKR founders, joint CEOs and chairmen cast a big shadow across the industry, as many others look to them for inspiration. After a few relatively quiet years, the firm recently announced it was moving into the retail investment market, allowing smaller investors the chance to share in their success.

33. Keki Mistry
Vice-chairman and CEO, HDFC

A pioneer in the provision of mortgage finance to India’s middle classes, HDFC was founded by HT Parekh, a visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist. After his death it was run by his chartered accountant son Deepak (still honorary chairman) and is now overseen by Mistry.

34. Abigail Johnson 
President, Fidelity Investments

A regular on various Forbes power and wealth lists, Johnson is the latest family member to have a senior role at Fidelity and is tipped to succeed her father at the top. As president of Fidelity, Johnson oversees some $3.6trn of assets under management.

35. Paul Krugman
Professor, Princeton University

As well as his Princeton University role, this influential Nobel-prize winning liberal economist is also an op-ed writer for The New York Times. As a result he seems to have a louder voice than many of his contemporaries, just as the debates on economics is at the front of many people’s minds.

36. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hamed Bin
President, UAE

The man in charge of the richest of the Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, is getting ever more active and will play an increasing role in global business deals.

37. Dambisa Moyo 
Economist

She may not yet be a household name yet but Moyo’s work, and in particular her book Dead Aid, which argues eloquently that the economics of the current model of international aid need rethinking, will resonate across the world. At a time when six out of 10 of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa, the shake-up could happen sooner than some expect.

38. Vinod Khosla 
Founder, Khosla Ventures

Khosla is one of those relentlessly impressive Stanford graduate entrepreneurs who starts an influential tech business and then goes on to do it again and again. In his case he helped set-up computer-aided design firm Daisy Systems and then Sun Microsystems. He founded Khosla Ventures in 2004 with the aim of boosting entrepreneurship, innovation and social business, not least back home in India. He is also a founding board member of the Indian School of Business.

39. Wolfgang Schäuble 
Federal Minister of Finance, Germany

With a reputation for strict budget discipline, Schäuble recently named the Financial Times EU Finance Minister of the Year. He has played an enormous part in guiding the German economy and the eurozone through difficult times, and yet maintains a cheery disposition.

40. Sheik Khalida
Al Thani Chair, Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund

Having set itself the objective of minimising the country’s reliance on oil revenues, the Qatari sovereign wealth fund has been a particularly active strategic investor in recent years. It played a significant role in the merger deal between Glencore and Xstrata, successfully pressuring Glencore to increase its all-share offer. HBJ, as he’s known, is prime minister. According to some commentators there is a local saying that “all roads and sea lanes lead to HBJ.”

41. Lou Jiwei
Chairman, CIC

Another extremely active sovereign wealth fund, and certainly one of the most politically strategic, is China’s. It was to the China Investment Corporation that European leaders turned to help get the bailout fund in place. And CIC has also been busy carefully building significant strategic investments across Africa and throughout other developing economies. Serving China’s booming middle-class consumers means the country is resource hungry and CIC is particularly active in mineral and mining operations.

42. The Tax Justice Network

Few governments are unaffected by austerity. Deficit reduction requires more active tax collection. The increasingly global focus on getting everyone to pay the right amount of tax in the right place at the right time, has lent moral force to the TJN, which seems capable of annoying and delighting in equal measure.

43. Angel Gurria 
Secretary-general, OECD

Representing 34 advanced and developing economies, the OECD is clearly a major force in international finance. Gurría has taken an intelligent approach to dealing with the aftermath of the financial crisis. Its secretary-general is a bookish and intelligent economist who rarely grabs the limelight, but manages to exert a quiet authority just the same.

44. Hans Hoogervorst
Chairman, IASB

If there’s one issue that continues to divide the accountancy profession it’s the desire for convergence in international standards. Hoogervorst has been a standard bearer for uniform international standards, in the form of IFRS. While some think IFRS to be unworkable, others think it undesirable. Achieving some sort of global consensus and certainty of future direction would be a major coup.

45. Nouriel Roubini
Economist

The leading economist and heavy Twitter user (he topped the economia Twitter Finance 100) is also a professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has a reputation as being one of the few who accurately predicted the financial crisis.

46. Alexandre Antonio Tombini
Chair, Banco Central Do Brasil

The world order is changing, with the south and east overtaking the north and west. Thus the head of the central bank in one of the fastest-emerging economies in the world is someone to watch. Brazil is also hosting major sporting events in coming years, so plenty of eyes will be looking this way.

47. Joaquin Almunia 
Vice President, European Commission

As one of the key men in Europe responsible for competition policy, the single market and the euro, Mr Almunia will have a full in-tray during 2013.

48. Ann Marie Petach
CFO, Blackrock

She regularly tops lists in the US as one of the most powerful women in finance. Petach is a formidable presence in the world of investing and asset management. As CFO and managing director of Blackrock she is effectively in charge of over $3.5trn of assets. Where Blackrock leads, others tend to follow and Petach remains an influential figure.

49. Janusz Lewandowski
Member of the EC responsible for financial programming and budget

It’s perhaps not surprising at a time of great austerity, but there has rarely been more focus on the EU budget. Spending on bureaucracy hasn’t got any more popular and there’s a long way to go before we reach a settlement on the budget. It appears Mr Lewandowski has much to do.

50. Daniel Kahneman 
Economist

There has been a major shift in thinking in recent years as researchers discovered that human behaviour is rarely as rational as traditional economic theory would have us believe. Out of this came the idea of behavioural economics. Kahneman has applied this idea specifically to the world of finance and his thinking and writing remains influential.

 

 

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