As I walk between the Conference Centre and along the Promenade, I’ve been reflecting on the meetings and conversations I’ve had. Understandably, there is much debate – and a slight tension – about the future of globalisation.
On the one hand, the rise of populism and an inward-facing, heavy domestic outlook is very real. A world and a focus on national issues seemingly superseding the path of international collaboration is a political and popular reality in some countries.
On the other hand, I’m astounded by the breadth of countries here. It’s clear the world is deeply and inextricably connected. The flow of capital has been cross-border for decades in the equities and bond markets. And over the last 20+ years real estate has followed suit. This trend was accelerated by the Global Financial Crisis – far from retrenching to domestic markets it reminded real estate investors to seek diversification. The capital invested in and tenants occupying property are extremely diverse and often international. Our pension funds, insurance funds and sovereign wealth funds all have international real estate portfolios either directly or indirectly. It’s an inescapable fact that real estate is physically local, but it’s now clearly global too.
Events I’ve attended here show that the world’s political, NGO and business leaders are discussing issues ranging from access to capital for developing economies, more diversity in the workplace, the future of work, the continuing environmental challenges facing the planet, the opportunities and challenges of digitisation, and the growth of Artificial Intelligence. There is a palpable sense that by working together we can solve far more than labouring alone.
Richard Bloxam is JLL’s Global CEO, Capital Markets.
For more on our presence at the World Economic Forum, please visit JLL’s Davos 2019 page.