The head of Bloomberg Economics talks death, tax, Brexit and life at the FT with Emelia Hamilton-Russell – and says the rich should pay more tax
How much is an ounce of gold?
$1,400 – but I’m probably completely out. [It was $1,297 on the day.]
Where do you stand on cryptocurrencies? Got skin in the game?
I do not have skin in the game, and I’m amazed by the amount of people who do. I’m interested in it in a boring economist sort of way.
What does wealth mean to you?
Professionally, wealth represents the relatively small number of global citizens whose money dominates the international asset management industry. From a personal perspective, it means being able to do whatever I want to do with my family.
What has been your favourite job?
I’m supposed to say my current job. But truthfully, being BBC economics editor during the financial crisis is hard to beat.
What drives you?
What does success mean to you?
Having enough of a reputation to be able to pick my projects – whether that’s a cause, research, or a new job.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Taking my children abroad. They’ve been to Africa, the Maldives, all around the world, really. They’re quite spoilt by that.
What do you consider your proudest achievement?
Apart from my children, I feel a sense of achievement when I’m able to make a complicated thing intelligible.
And greatest failure?
I share in the collective failure of the Remain campaign, which, when people look back, I think will be a pretty large failure. I wouldn’t put myself very high on the list, though.
What is your biggest fear?
Death. Both my parents died young, so that’s definitely a fear of mine.
Who’s your favourite designer?
Etro for shirts, and probably Prada for other things.
What advice would you give a young person?
Get as close as you can to power, and watch what they do.
Favourite London restaurant?
Moro on Exmouth Market.
Should the rich pay more tax?
Yes. And we should have better ways of taxing wealth.
Your greatest influence?
Martin Wolf and Larry Summers, who I worked with at the FT. They set a very good example in terms of intellectual modesty, and following arguments where they lead. Also my A-level economics teacher, Anita Griggs. She’s a primary school headmistress now.
Where do you summer?
Wellfleet, Cape Cod.
What are you reading at the moment?
The War That Ended Peace, by Margaret MacMillan.
How did you earn your first pay slip?
Doing clerical work for the National Association of Funeral Directors. I was 17.
Are you a Brexit pessimist?
Yes. I don’t think it’s going to condemn Britain to penury. It’s a manageable cost, but a stupid and unnecessary one.
When will the next recession hit?
In about two years.
Stephanie Flanders will be speaking at the 2018 Spear’s Wealth Insight Forum on 27 September.
Illustration by Russ Tudor