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Financial experts talk venture capital, emerging markets, Brexit, trends, tariffs and more with Puge

On Thursday, March 15 a panel of financial experts addressed business professionals representing a broad range of industries from across the greater Puget Sound region, sharing insights and perspectives on the regional, national and global economies. Hosted by British-American Business Connections (BABC-PNW and formerly the British-American Business Council – PNW) the event was presented by Verus in partnership with GCI and held at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Expert speakers included:

  • Ross Allen, Director North America, UK Department for International Trade

  • Aya Hamilton, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

  • Len Jordan, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group

  • Ian Toner, Chief Investment Officer, Verus

The broad-ranging discussion included a focus on venture capital, emerging markets, Brexit, economic trends now and into 2019, and tariffs. Experts agreed that the greater Seattle area has the right ingredients to nurture successful companies noting regional benefits including excellence of research from the University of Washington, solid anchor tenant technology companies such as Microsoft and Amazon – with Google, Facebook and Cisco also now having a presence in the area – and accessibility to capital. On balance, speakers also highlighted the importance of evolving infrastructure to meet growth including access to education and effective transportation to support continual attraction of talent.

On the national front, experts agreed that while the U.S. could potentially see the normal ebbs and flows of a typical capital market downturn, these happen and are normal. A cautiously optimistic outlook continues based on the current fundamentals such as inflation, interest rate, unemployment, equity and credit markets. However, risks such as geopolitical issues, the potential for multidimensional trade wars (though this was noted as being highly unlikely), and the future actions of central banks could act as counter-balances to this optimism.

Across the pond, Brexit continues as the leading issue. Having concluded phase one of the ‘divorce,’ the next steps will include a transitional period, which is expected to last two years. Many key issues will be discussed during this time, including balanced migration to ensure attraction of both skilled and unskilled labor. The UK remains committed to trade and a continued excellent relationship with the U.S. and their European trading partners. As of the date of the breakfast, Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, was on visit to the U.S. discussing the growing U.S./UK trade relationship.

The morning’s discussion also highlighted:

  • The disappearing middle class;

  • Tech industry’s reach and expansion beyond the west and east coasts;

  • Employment/unemployment and female employment;

  • Building better and broader angel capital;

  • Access to late stage capital;

  • Long-term investing trends; and

  • Tariffs

The panel concluded the discussion with an engaging audience Q&A session. Photos from the event are available on the BABC Economic Breakfast online event page.



The Pacific Northwest chapter of British-American Business Connections (BABC-PNW) fosters a robust and collaborative business network. The chapter has been successfully connecting people, companies and organizations engaged in business, trade and transatlantic interests for more than 20 years. As a premiere forum for British and American companies and professionals, BABC-PNW fosters relationships, helps build networks and engages a regional and international community exchange. BABC-PNW is part of the global network of the British-American Business Council (BABC), the largest transatlantic business network, with 22 chapters and 2,000-member companies, including many of the world’s largest multinationals, based in major business centers throughout North America and the UK.

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