More than 200 people attended Equilibrium Asset Management’s second annual Equinox Live conference, which played host to exciting speakers including BBC’s Judith Hann and economist Roger Bootle.
Kicking off the conference, Equilibrium founder Colin Lawson – whose Wilmslow-based company manages over £850 million of assets for over 1,000 families – told the crowd that Equinox Live aimed to ‘inform, educate and entertain’.
Held at Alderley Park for the second year running, attendees also heard from “futurologist” and corporate sustainability expert Ed Gillespie – who compellingly described the world’s economic future in relation to the health of the planet.
Gillespie, who is the director of Greenpeace UK and founded sustainable communications agency Futerra, revealed to attendees a number of shocking facts – including that the world’s 26 richest people own as much as 3.8 billion individuals combined, and that currently, humans are buying and disposing of one million plastic bottles per minute.
He also described how humans are consuming 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day and dubbed data “the new oil”.
A panel discussion was also chaired by Dr. John Ashcroft, former Chief Executive of pro-manchester who now acts as a consultant for Equilibrium.
He was joined by Melanie Baker, Senior Economist at Royal London; Richard Buxton, Head of UK Equities at Merian Global Investors; and Andrew Jackson, Head of UK Value Opportunities fund at Miton Group.
The team of top economists held a positive view on the UK’s economic future, despite uncertainty and market fluctuation caused by Brexit.
In particular, they each lauded the ‘jobs boom’ the UK is currently experiencing, as Baker told attendees that “we have never had so many people employed”.
She said: “Things have been bumpy; businesses have been scrambling to prepare for Brexit and safeguard themselves, which has actually helped the economy – but this will dip again.
“However, we have seen around a 0.5% economic growth quarter on quarter thus far, thanks in part to the growth in the labour market.
“There are currently 800,000 job vacancies, and what is particularly good is the quality of them – for example, they’re full-time, not part-time roles.”
Interestingly, though, the panel also noted that despite this growth in jobs, productivity across the UK is down – describing it as “a puzzle”.
Andrew Jackson was optimistic about the building sector, materials and media industries, a sentiment echoed by the rest of the panel.
The audience also enjoyed insight from Judith Hann, who spoke about the science of ageing; Roger Bootle, who discussed the future of the economy in relation to the current political landscape; and Equilibrium’s own Mike Deverell – who described the wealth management firm’s approach to managing risk and meeting expectations.
Headquartered in Wilmslow, with an additional office in Chester, Equilibrium specialises in all areas of wealth management, investing, pensions, tax planning and estate planning.
Headcount now stands at 81, an increase of 14 during the financial year to September 2018.
Equinox Live comes after Equilibrium recently launched its “Vivid Vision”, describing its ambition to boost its headcount to a record 110 and have £1.4bn in assets under management by 2021.
The company turned over close to £9m at the end of its last fiscal year in 2018 and was also named in the top 10 best small companies to work for in the UK by The Sunday Times for the third consecutive year.
Speaking after Equinox Live, Equilibrium founder Colin Lawson said he was delighted to have brought the event to life.
“It was great to see another fully booked Equinox Live and to deliver such a dynamic line-up of speakers and discussions to our guests on the day.
“We had a great cross-section of opinions and personalities, and some fascinating insight came out of it.
“We’re always striving to give our clients something a little bit different and ensure that we’re constantly innovating, and I feel that Equinox Live is a perfect example of that in action.
“Planning is already underway for next year, and we’re looking forward to making 2020’s event the best one yet.”