A sideways look at economics
This is a job advert, as well as a blog.
During the COVID crisis, Fathom (like many other organisations and individuals) has made a conscious effort to help in the ways that we can, by providing free, regular coverage of the pandemic and its impact on the global economy to clients and non-clients alike. It felt to us that this was a moment to stop worrying quite so much about the bottom line, and to focus on doing what we can to help. To offer our help in a small way in a spirit of fellowship. We’ve benefited enormously from other expertise freely offered in the same spirit.
Now that we’re emerging from the worst of the crisis, we would like to retain that collegiate spirit, that fellowship.
Fathom already has a collegiate feel to it: our aim is for that to increase. We would like Fathom to become a place where we work hard for our clients and make use of world-leading expertise in doing so. To that end, we want to build a network of experts around the world who are loosely or formally associated with the company.
We already make regular use of three people whom I would describe in this way: Niki Anderson, an expert in understanding the risks in the banking sector and financial services more generally; Ben Shepherd, an expert in geopolitics specifically relating to Africa; and Tony Yates, a leading authority on macroeconomics and econometrics.
We would like to expand this network.
Starting this autumn, Fathom will be seeking Fellows and Friends. We are looking for people with a high level of expertise in subjects tangentially related to the work that we do as a company (Fellows); and in fields that on the face of might be completely unrelated (Friends). Our expertise is in macroeconomics, geopolitics and finance. Our strong view is that our expertise can be improved within those fields and can be cross-fertilised by expertise from other fields; to our own benefit and to the benefit of our clients, too.
We would like to connect with experts in fields like psychology, behavioural science, sociology, behavioural finance, big data, political science, mathematics, game theory, climate science, epidemiology, systematic trading and microeconomics, among others. We don’t pretend to understand these fields in any depth; but we believe that our service to our clients would be improved by exposure to people who do understand them.
As an independent consultancy, Fathom’s comparative advantage is that we can think freely; unconstrained by the need to sell a particular set of financial assets, the need to conform to a particular political agenda, the need to hug the consensus, or the need to provide advocacy on behalf of our clients. Our intention is to maximise that advantage. We need help to do that.
It’s one thing to ask people to think freely; it’s another to do so at a level that will be helpful to our clients. Our aim is to create a fertile culture for good ideas at Fathom; not just for any ideas. Outside our own field, we need help in sorting the wheat from the chaff. That’s the aim of Fathom Fellows and Friends — to help us navigate to the good stuff quickly.
Our intention is also to open up access. The expertise embedded in the network of Fellows and Friends will be accessible not only to Fathom staff, but to our clients, to the rest of the network, and to the rest of the community too, via open conferences and seminars that we will arrange.
What’s in it for the Fellows and Friends? Well, money for one thing: a small consideration. But, more than that, the opportunity to be part of a network of intellectually curious, open-minded people, all experts in their fields. A fellowship. In such an environment, good ideas can be contagious, and that’s what we want. Who could resist such a thing?