Lessons in Leadership: John D. Bassett III

John D. Bassett III has worked in the US furniture industry for almost 60 years and serves as chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company, one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the United States. Mr. Bassett led the battle defending his century-old family business in its fight against Chinese manufacturers by making his company more competitive and by filing anti-dumping charges with the US International Trade Commission, a case in which his firm prevailed. His effort to save hundreds of jobs through grit and tact is the subject of the New York Times bestseller Factory Man by Beth Macy, and is discussed in Mr. Bassett’s own book, Making It in America.

Moderated by Pierre Yared (Professor of Business, Columbia Business School), this public lecture will focus on leadership through challenging times, as well as the role of business and government in promoting a level playing field in international trade.

April 17, 2019 | Uris Hall, Room 140 | 6:30 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

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Fintech Startups and Financial Health

  • Jeff Kaiser—COO, Propel
  • Majd Maksad—Founder and CEO, Status Money
  • Ariana Poursartip—VP of Product, Petal
  • Asesh Sarkar—Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Salary Finance

What is "consumer financial health," and how can fintech startups help make it a reality? Join a panel of founders and leaders from financial health–focused companies as they discuss using technology to help people improve their financial lives, in a session moderated by Richman Center Senior Fellow Todd H. Baker.

March 5, 2019 | Uris Hall, Room 142 | 6:30 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

The Rise of Chinese Fintech: Lessons for the United States

  • John Mahoney—Co-Chair of Global FIG, Goldman Sachs
  • Todd H. Baker—Senior Fellow, Richman Center
  • Professor Bo Cowgill—Columbia Business School

China has the largest fintech ecosystem in the world today, dominated by giants like Ant, Alipay, Baidu, and Ping An but also with a host of startups penetrating underserved markets within the country and beyond. The volume of fintech payments in China grew 74 times between 2010 and 2016, online loan balances grew more than 36 times between 2013 and 2016, and according to KPMG and H2, five of the world’s top ten fintech firms in 2017 were Chinese. China’s open regulatory environment has supported this growth largely outside of the traditional—and heavily regulated—banking sector, although this trend may be showing signs of change. Moreover, fintech innovation has benefited from government and consumer support for personal and financial data sharing, as well as limited personal privacy.

John Mahoney, Co-Chair of Goldman Sachs’s Financial Institutions Group (FIG) and previously head of Goldman’s Asian FIG practice, had a front-row seat to these remarkable developments from his former office in Hong Kong. Joining Todd H. Baker (Senior Fellow, Richman Center) and Bo Cowgill (Assistant Professor, Columbia Business School), Mahoney will discuss the rise of Chinese fintech and the lessons it holds for the United States.

February 25, 2019 | Uris Hall, Room 142 | 6:30 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

Business, Investing Strategy, and Geopolitics in the Middle East: Profit and Growth Amid Headwinds?

  • John Balouziyeh—Senior Legal Consultant, Dentons
  • Jason Bordoff—Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs, SIPA
  • Aamir A. Rehman—Senior Fellow, Richard Paul Richman Center, and Partner, Hoopoe Capital

Moderated by Dr. Alexis Crow, Senior Fellow, Richard Paul Richman Center, & Geopolitical Investing Lead, PwC

The Middle East is a region that is often considered to be synonymous with geopolitics. Investors and corporate executives alike have been “spooked” or skittish when looking at the region as a place to invest. Sentiment and capital flows are often directly linked to the price of oil, and with the Paris climate accords as well as calls for a post-carbon future, some question the lifeblood of many of the energy exporters in the region. And yet, even amid a sustained downturn in the price of crude oil in recent years—and civil wars in several Middle Eastern countries—some of the world’s largest corporations have promised to allocate billions of dollars to the region, in sectors ranging from healthcare to IT and data centers. Added to that, the Saudi Tadawul continues to be one of the best performing equity markets in 2018.

In this public event, presented by the Richman Center and ABANA, our distinguished panelists—representing academia, business, energy, investing, and NGOs—will paint a picture of the current macroeconomic, geopolitical, and sector-specific environment across the Middle East. We will tackle the following topics:

  • The macroeconomic environment and energy markets: improving balance sheets, but what about income statements?
  • Capital markets and FDI flows: the potential for medium- and long-term profit
  • The Middle East’s geostrategic position: the demographic dividend and the link to emerging Africa and south Asia
  • The sector-specific landscape: the outlook for tech, telecoms, logistics, real estate, ESG
  • Innovation and human capital: what’s the future of MENA’s “new economy?”

In covering these topics, we seek to address the ways in which investors and corporate executives can navigate challenges in order to inform their transactions, portfolio, and business decisions.

November 13, 2018 | Uris Hall, Room 141 | 6:30 p.m.–7:45 p.m.


ESG and Public Funds: Risks and Opportunities in Investment Practices

  • Ronald J. Gilson—Marc and Eva Stern Professor of Law and Business, Columbia Law School
  • Carol Jeppesen—Senior US Network Manager, UN Principles for Responsible Investment

Moderated by Aamir A. Rehman, Senior Fellow at the Richard Paul Richman Center, with remarks by Kathleen Rithisorn, Director of the Richard Paul Richman Center, and Lisa Sachs, Director of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.

Investing with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria is growing in popularity and visibility, whether it be “socially responsible” with negative screens or “impact investing” with positive screens. As the movement gains momentum, so do questions about its role in the public sector.

In this public lecture, panelists will discuss whether institutions with a public mandate (e.g. state pension funds, university endowments) should incorporate ESG criteria into their investment practices. Is doing so consistent with their public service mandates, financially sound, and good for society? Or does it muddle objectives, hurt financial returns, and leave society worse off?

November 7, 2018 | Uris Hall, Room 141 | 6:30 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

Trade Under Trump

  • Merit Janow—Dean, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
  • Petros C. Mavroidis—Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia Law School
  • Damien Neven—Professor of International Economics, Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva), and Visiting Professor, SIPA
  • David Weinstein—Carl Sumner Shoup Professor of Japanese Economics, Columbia University

President Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States. A staggering $200 billon of imports from China have been added to goods subject to tariffs. As a result, trading partners are responding with duties on US goods. China has threatened to react aggressively. NAFTA is being renegotiated. How did we get to this point? What is the strategy of the United States? Where is all of this headed, and what are the economic consequences?

Moderated by Jesse J. Greene, Executive in Residence at Columbia Business School

October 25, 2018 | Uris Hall, Room 307 | 6:15 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

Book Talk with Paul Tucker, Author of Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State

Paul Tucker is a Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government as well as Chair of the Systemic Risk Council. He served as deputy governor of the Bank of England from 2009 to 2013. His book, Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State, posits principles to ensure that central bankers and state regulators remain stewards of the common good.

The evening will feature Paul Tucker in discussion with Sharyn O’Halloran (George Blumenthal Professor of Political Economy and Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University). The discussion is open to the public and on the record.

October 18, 2018 | International Affairs Building, Room 1501 | 5:00 p.m.–7:45 p.m.

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