Global Markets’ seventh annual conference:  New fractures, New futures

The BNP Paribas Global Markets Conference gathered leaders and experts in London to speak on the challenges and opportunities shaping markets.

Leaders and experts drawn from across politics, sustainability, financial services and technology gathered for the seventh annual BNP Paribas Global Markets Conference in London on November 16th. This year’s conference was themed ‘New Fractures, New Futures’, to reflect the fragmenting geopolitical outlook, and the challenges and opportunities ahead for markets.

Olivier Osty, Head of Global Markets, BNP Paribas addresses the 7th BNP Paribas Global Markets Conference in London
Olivier Osty, Head of Global Markets, BNP Paribas addresses the 7th BNP Paribas Global Markets Conference in London

New fractures

At this year’s conference, the tone on geopolitics and security was remarkably downbeat. The war in Ukraine continues, while some speakers were concerned the conflict in the Middle East has the potential to spiral into a regional war. Other speakers noted US China relations remain challenging, raising concerns for the global economic outlook.

While fears that the Middle East conflict would spark a global economic downturn have not materialised, a speaker noted oil prices are only staying steady because the crisis has so far been contained. Should the hostilities morph into a regional conflict, then the price of oil will rise, resulting in a jump in inflation and higher interest rates, they continued.


Although inflation is currently trending downwards, experts at the conference were divided about whether the worst is behind us or not.

One asset manager said supply has not just caught up with demand, but there is currently over-supply, which is causing disinflation. However, others warn that deglobalisation, rising wage costs, and the green premium, associated with achieving net zero, will add to longer-term inflationary pressures.

On the idea of inflation returning to normal levels, an investment manager said that the decade leading up to the pandemic was anything but normal in economic terms, as it was dominated by Central Bank bond buying programmes and negative interest rates.

Calls in some quarters for the European Central Bank (ECB) to increase its inflation target from 2% were rejected outright by a speaker, who argued such arbitrary changes would risk undermining the ECB’s credibility.

New futures: Innovation

Ever since the release of Chat GPT, generative AI has taken the world by storm. According to one speaker, Large Language Models (LLMs) aside, AI simulation is expected to have a seismic impact on corporate R&D.

Simulation is when AI is used to comb through vast data troves, thereby expediting the discovery process, enabling companies to manufacture and release products more quickly and efficiently. A leading expert in AI said that computational power, facilitated by advances in chip design and technology, is now so great that an aerospace company could potentially calculate and create – at scale and in good time – a new metal alloy to develop a plane that can be flown at supersonic speed. Despite these advances, the technologist said many large companies are not yet fully capitalising on AI’s capabilities.

Although AI could be transformative for many industries, the technology is not without its risks. Just as AI could discover revolutionary medical drugs, some warn it could pose a dramatic threat to humanity, especially if it was used by bad actors.

The AI experts at the conference said such fears are hyperbole, but conceded the technology is not risk free, and could be exploited for example by cyber-criminals to write better quality spear-phishing emails, identify patterns in password files or even imitate people’s voices.

Another key innovation theme was around sustainability, where inroads are being made, the conference heard. One politician noted the UK currently gets 40% of its electricity from renewables, and now has the third largest renewables industry in Europe, after Germany and Norway.

Some fossil-dependent nations have also started to embrace sustainability, according to speakers. Massive investments are being made to prepare a low carbon future by developing the non-oil economy.

Transitioning to net zero is fraught with complications, especially as some markets are going at a slower rate than others. Whereas the EU is committed to achieving net zero, transitioning while remaining competitive will be a major challenge in European countries, a speaker argued.

In the US, while the Inflation Reduction Act has attracted investors to support the acceleration of clean energy and transportation, one speaker commented there are limited incentives for other industries to reduce their carbon emissions.

Attended in person by over 650 of the bank’s institutional and corporate clients, BNP Paribas’ Global Markets Conference was an excellent opportunity for colleagues and clients to both re-connect and gain invaluable insights into some of the main dynamics influencing geopolitics and capital markets today.

Related solutions

Cash Equities

BNP Paribas’ best-in-class Cash Equities platform offers award-winning equity research and a premier, customisable execution experience. BNP Paribas Exane research is renowned for its depth and quality, reinforced by experienced, top-ranked sales and specialist teams as well as a dedicated corporate access service. This, combined with our market-leading global execution services including Cortex Equities, a state-of-the-art electronic trading platform, high-touch trading, portfolio trading, quant research and execution consulting deliver an unparalleled Cash Equities offering.

Commodity Derivatives

With a global footprint and over 30 years of expertise in the commodities market, we are one of the few banks in the world with a long term commitment to the growth of our commodity derivatives franchise bringing innovative and ground breaking solutions to clients worldwide.

Equity Derivatives

BNP Paribas has over 30 years of track record in developing innovative equity derivatives strategies and is an established global leader in structured products. Our comprehensive range of solutions across flow and structured products is designed to meet all our clients’ needs.

Foreign Exchange

Our Forex business is designed to respond to the complex and constantly evolving market. Discover our truly global network boasting broad market access across both developed and emerging markets.

Foreign Exchange Prime Brokerage

As a leading Foreign Exchange Prime Broker (FXPB), BNP Paribas serves a diversified institutional client base, including multi-strategy and macro hedge funds, asset managers, banks, large non-bank liquidity providers and agency brokers across regions.

Global Credit

Our combined Primary and Credit business enables us to realise synergies while maintaining strict boundaries between the public and private sides. We provide solutions to clients throughout the entire credit continuum from origination through execution to secondary market trading and post trade services.

Global Equities

Building on our long-established world-class Equity Derivatives business, BNP Paribas continues to diversify and scale our Equities offering. Clients can now access the combined strengths of our market-leading Prime Services and Cash Equities platforms.

Global Macro

Global Macro offers the full spectrum of products across FX, Rates and Commodities in both developed and emerging markets, from millisecond electronic trading supported by the most advanced AI platforms, through to long dated, high touch solutions.

Global Rates

We aim to be a top 3 house across both developed and emerging market rates. Our business has grown substantially and we operate a culture of “shared purpose”. Our focus is aligned around the social and economic outcomes of supporting our broad client base across Corporates and Institutional Investors.

Markets 360

A radical new approach to strategy and economics to provide you with top quality views, focusing on evidence-based research and thought leadership. We bring economics and strategy together in thematic notes across asset classes, delivering what you need when you need it and continuously adapting to your needs.

Prime Services

As a leading European bank with a prominent global presence, BNP Paribas is one of the few banks globally with a comprehensive suite of investor services. Our multi-asset Prime Services offering provides clients with access to one of the broadest product capabilities across prime brokerage, clearing, and FX prime brokerage.