I spent today in Sydney. While this is something I generally try to avoid, it was for work and hence compulsory. Or something.
Got up at 5.30 this morning for a 7.30 flight. First meeting in Sydney at 10, which we only just make due to extended waits on the tarmac (at both ends) and a mile-long queue for taxis prompting us to catch the train from the airport.
Not a great deal was achieved in the morning, although there was a nice lunch at The Rocks, up close and personal with the Bridge and the Opera House.
The afternoon brought the real purpose of the expedition; a mini-conference (pretentiously referred to as a "Knowledge Fair") with a few different topical presentations to choose from.
I decided the one I'd chosen a few weeks ago looked boring, so went instead to one about climate change. Or more particularly, the opportunities that emissions trading schemes will offer the financial services industry.
K-Rudd has said Australia will have an emissions trading scheme in place by 2010, which will have a huge impact on the way heavily-emitting companies operate (in Australia, that's primarily the mining and coal power industries). Like any other commodity, carbon credits will fluctuate in value as they are traded between
(a)those that can cheaply cut their emissions and
(b)those that can't.
It'll be a complex and dynamic market, and buy/sell/hold decisions will be best left to the experts.
This'll all become second nature to us soon. In three years' time, the value of a carbon credit will be reported at the end of the news alongside the Aussie dollar and the price of a barrel of oil.
Anyway, this was followed by a plenary session about different attitudes to risk in different demographic segments, and how this affects the insurance market.
Much of it was yawnworthy, but I was interested by the observation that Generation Y, often accused of being blasé about risk, are in fact more aware of risk than any other generation. It was pointed out that Gen Y have lived with a war- and terrorism-laden worldview for most of their lives, have pretty much resigned themselves to never owning their own home, and place a low value on everything except their social network. The upshot is that transience is seen as the normal state of being, and there's just no value in traditional risk-avoidance strategies like insurance.
Sounds plausible. But Corey Worthington's still a dickhead.
At this point we left to get the plane home, which was again delayed on the tarmac for no apparent reason. What's up with QANTAS today? Drip trays giving them trouble again?
Arrived home just after 9. A long long day.