Presented by Monocle

The Monocle Banking Podcast

 ·20 Mar 2024

On Thursday the 26th of October 2023, Monocle Solutions officially launched the inaugural, and much anticipated, first episode of The Monocle Banking Podcast.

Listen and subscribe to The Monocle Banking Podcast on:

The groundbreaking podcast delves into the dynamic realm of banking and attempts to provide unique insights into this complex industry, especially as it pertains to larger economic, social and political developments.

With a special focus on South Africa, the podcast also highlights how the financial system underpins and exerts a significant influence on the country’s position in the global world order, both financially and geopolitically.

The weekly podcast is hosted by esteemed financial journalist and broadcaster Michael Avery, whose experience in the media industry spans almost two decades.

Avery is currently the anchor of the Classic Business show on FMR 101.3fm, the host of Business Watch on BDTV as well as the host of Business Talk on BusinessTech. His expertise in all things finance provides a critical backbone to the discussions featured in The Monocle Banking Podcast, where a wide range of specialist guests, from financial thought leaders and authors to CEOs and government stakeholders, are invited to share their expertise and industry insights.

“In this series we will be exploring the ever-evolving world of banking, here at home and around the world,” explains Avery.

“We will be tracing the roots of fractional reserve banking, we will talk about the rise of the all-powerful central bankers, from the booms and the busts, from bank loans to bank runs, from old school vaults to virtual wallets, and the ever-increasing rise of bank regulation and its impact on local South African financial institutions.”

The first episode of the podcast featured David Buckham, Monocle’s CEO and a pivotal contributor to the podcast’s genesis.

Buckham is not only a financial expert and business leader, but also a bestselling author, whose books include The End of Money: The Great Erosion of Trust in Banking, China’s Minsky Moment and the Fallacy of Cryptocurrency (2021), The Age of Menace: Capitalism, Inequality & the Battle for Dignity (2022) and Why Banks Fail: Unrelenting Bank Runs, The Conundrum of Central Banking & South Africa’s Place in the Global Order (2023).

As a leading expert within the realms of banking and finance, Buckham has written extensively about the inherent importance of the financial system as well as the underlying and systemic risks that threaten to destabilise it.

Bringing these issues to light was of heightened importance in his most recent book, which speaks directly to the relevance of the podcast.

“It’s about time that we have a voice and create a platform where we can discuss these issues,” said Buckham in his first podcast interview with Avery.

Since the release of the first episode, the podcast series has continued to grow successfully, amassing a growing and dedicated audience.

As of today, sixteen episodes have been released, covering a broad range of compelling issues.

Topics discussed have included the rise of cryptocurrency, bank inclusivity, the idea of ‘just’ energy transition and decarbonisation in South Africa, the role of digital cash and the future trajectory of payments, the banking industry’s acquisition strategies and the impact of bad actors on the wider banking ecosystem.

The expansive scope of these topics speaks to the expertise and savvy of the guests who engage in thought-provoking conversations with Avery each week.

The esteemed guests have included Hendrik du Toit, founder and CEO of Ninety One, Prof Brian Kantor, ex-Chief Investment Strategist of Investec Wealth & Investment, Anbann Chetti, Group CFO of African Bank, Dipak Patel, one of the lead authors of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Implementation Plan, and Dr Roy Havemann, the ex- Chief Director of Financial Markets and Stability at the SA Treasury. Gordon Little, the CEO of FNB Commercial, was also among these experts, joining Avery for an informative conversation during Episode 12.  

Amongst various other themes, Avery and Little discussed the fact that the South African banking system is one of the core institutional pillars that uphold the values embedded in our country’s constitution.

The discussion also focused on the role of banks in driving small business growth by potentially lending more freely, though it was acknowledged that this could be a difficult balancing act.

According to Little, “You must never forget this anchor of your responsibility to the depositors… People forget that it’s your money, and my money, and your mom’s money – extended families have trusted us with their deposit base and there is a level of prudence required in how you manage the placement of those deposit funds. Banks are famous for their ability to transform… but it’s a delicate balance.” 

Most recently, on the one-year anniversary of SVB’s collapse, Buckham returned to the podcast to discuss systemic fragility in the US banking industry and the pervasive risk of continued bank failures. Staggeringly, Buckham revealed that “80% of the risk to the US banking system is not accounted for in the official Federal Reserve’s annual stress test.”

Buckham then made the declarative statement that the US Fed’s 2023 stress test was “highly disingenuous”.

Listen to Episode 16 to find out why and to access more of Buckham’s insights and predictions for the year.  

From climate pledges and funding to inequality and inflation, this podcast series explores topics that shape the very fabric of our society and have widespread appeal.

In the words of Avery, “Whether you are a banking professional or a financial enthusiast or just someone who wants to stay informed about the world of finance, you’re in the right place.”

Listen and subscribe to The Monocle Banking Podcast on:

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