Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The phrase that launched a thousand acronyms

As we mentioned in the Weekly Wrap up last Friday, Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and coiner of the ubiquitous ‘BRIC’ acronym has announced that he will retire this year.

In 2001, Mr O’Neill’s paper ‘Building Better Global Economic BRICs’ outlined the huge growth potential of the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China and their rivalry to the West’s economic dominance.

“Jim’s BRIC thesis has challenged conventional thinking about emerging markets and, as a result, has had a significant economic and social impact.” Goldman Sach’s: Chief Executive: Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn.

It was an acronym that launched a thousand acronyms, with others including: the ‘CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa)’ and the less than complimentary ‘PIGS’ (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain).

Jim’s persistent interest in emerging markets is further evident in his final note this week to investors, “Are things that good?” In which he urged investors amongst other things to focus on the “quite cheap” markets of Turkey, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea and Russia.

Hailing from Gately in Manchester, Jim studied Geography and Economics at Sheffield University. He started his banking career with brief stints at Swiss Bank and Bank of America, before joining Goldman in 1995 as a Partner. His rise within Goldman Sachs mirrored that of the countries he championed. He was appointed head of global economics, commodities and strategy research in 2001becoming chief economist before being made Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in 2010, a role created specifically for him.

Jim is also known for his avid love of Manchester United football club and in 2010 he led a consortium of fellow supporters, the Red Knights, in a failed bid to take over the club.

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