Lord Chadlington: They think it's all over - it's not yet

Is that it? Is that the end of what we were told would be the worst global economic catastrophe since the 1930s?

Lord Chadlington, CEO, Huntsworth
Lord Chadlington, CEO, Huntsworth

Suddenly everyone has stopped discussing our financial woes and has turned to the shape and speed of our recovery. Can the worst really be behind us?

Certainly, recent financial results suggest the PR industry has weathered the storm particularly well.

Maybe it was just a phenomenon that damaged a few bankers but left the rest of us comparatively unscathed.

Isn't that what the global stock markets are telling us, with some 50 per cent increases in six months?

I am (thankfully) no economist. I would like to believe we are through the worst but my clients tell me something different.

Financial clients say 'beware'.

This stock market boom is fuelled by 'quantitative easing', and when the Government stops, the markets will find their own level.

Consumer clients say 'beware'.

First, consumers currently enjoy low interest rates, but interest rates will soon rise as inflation threatens. Second, we have to pay the interest on the capital we have borrowed to save the banks. That will cost every taxpayer £2,000 - just to pay back the interest.

Corporate clients say 'beware'.

Without a strong stock market and an active consumer, some communications programmes will be cut, postponed or cancelled.

Public affairs clients say 'beware'.

We are now in the run up to the election. Who knows what to believe? It is all positioning for next May or June.

So, as a PR chief executive, who do I believe? What do I do? I prepare for the worst.

In people terms, I would rather be under-resourced than over-resourced; have more cash than I need; exceed my forecasts rather than miss them; be pleasantly surprised by my results rather than wishing I had been more prudent.

I also believe my clients are closer to the real world than all the economists, politicians and professional forecasters rolled into one.

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