Globalization: Increasing Income Divide + Powerless Politicians = Poor Policy Outcomes, Unintended Consequences and Greater Business Risk (An Interchange Example)

November 21, 2013
Hosted by Té Revesz

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Episode Description

We’ve been doing shows on globalization, governance, leadership, stakeholders, income inequalities, the future of capitalism and democracy—and the impact of all these factors on international business and markets. Well this show brings all these themes together. My guest, UK-based Roy Stephenson advises banking, payment cards, airlines and retail clients from around the world, on best practices in customer marketing, loyalty and relationship management. A 20+ year veteran of the industry, he works with consumer facing companies in dozens of countries, he can’t help note the parallel trends of increasing globalization and the stagnation (or decline) of incomes among 80-90% of the population of the mature economies. The public is increasingly (and potentially frighteningly) aware of this, but, with global companies, national governments and increasing wealth of the1% he says, politicians are powerless. And when they do act, they take actions that predictably lead to wrong outcomes. Symptomatic of the problem is the unremitting political pressure in multiple countries over Interchange: the fees charged by card issuers (banks) and paid by merchants (and ultimately consumers) that cover the cost of credit or debit card transactions. Why should your business care about interchange? “It’s hard to know how to judge the EU’s proposal to slash interchange. But here are a few adjectives to start with: naïve, wilfully ignorant, showboating. Trouble is, the EU isn’t alone.”  Because these fees total tens of billions (dollars, euros etc.).  Because banks, merchants and politicians around the world are fighting over them.  Because US and Australian laws slashing interchange fees have already had many unintended consequence: mega-litigation, market distortion, wealth transfer, loyalty program damage, and pain for the intended beneficiaries: consumers. • Because now the EU is ramping up. Together with Sonny McKinney, another 20+ year industry veteran with a global perspective, Sonny McKinney of GlobalCollect we will look at Interchange reform in the context global trends, governance leadership and risk. How does globalization figure in? Do U.S., EU and Australian politicians and regulators have a hidden agenda? • Is someone blowing smoke?

Global Reach

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We are all operating in a dynamic global marketplace, whether we reach across borders to find new customers and fresh ideas or face overseas competitors in our home market.

Global Reach embraces the opportunities and challenges we encounter when operating in multiple countries and cultures. We talk with entrepreneurs and executives about their strategies for winning in fast changing world markets: cross-cultural communication, global branding, media and marketing, transportation and manufacturing, the future of finance, alternative investment strategies, innovation and IP protection.

Global Reach interviews thought leaders about 21st century megatrends that impact international entities: trends like the business and politics of sustainability, the morphing nature of competitiveness, globalization, global companies vs national governments, worldview and growth prescriptions, emerging markets issues, and the corporate impact on society (governance, ethics and leadership).

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Té Revesz

Té Revesz

Té Revesz is known for her ability to conduct strategic research on a global basis and for her creativity in handling complex business challenges.

As principal of GlobalReach-SBI, a research and consulting firm with a network spanning over 60 countries, Té provides clients with strategic intelligence on market opportunities and threats. She covers such diverse areas as global branding, new product development, payment cards, clinical trials, and political risk. An expert in primary research, Té has interviewed business, government and labor leaders, doctors and technical experts—and managed focus groups—around the world. She was profiled in Super Searchers Go to the Source as one of the top US interviewers.

Prior to founding her own firm, Té headed the Industrial & Healthcare Practices of FIND's Strategic Consulting & Research Group and taught at the Zicklin School of Business (Baruch/CUNY). She was the Editor of Business International’s flagship newsletter and helped create its country risk service.

An NYC native, Té is active with Citizen Action, the URJ’s Commission on Social Action, and NY Neighbors for American Values (defending religious freedom, diversity and equality). She holds a Masters from Columbia’s School of International & Public Affairs and a BA from Goucher College. She’s an avid bike rider, theater buff and farmers market supporter—and the bemused owner of 2 demanding felines.

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