Mohan De Alwis, Piyadasa Kudabalage | Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation

The insurance industry is being challenged by regulatory, political and economic factors. However, in contrast to the instability seen in the US and Europe, the insurance market in Asia has enjoyed growth. Mohan De Alwis and Piyadasa Kudabalage discuss Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd.’s position as the market leader in general insurance, its commitment to sustainability, and plans for global expansion.

Jeff Holland on banking | Brown Brothers Harriman | Video

Considerable regulatory and cost pressures have forced private banks to adopt new business models and distinguish clearly between their client segments. Brown Brothers Harriman has identified one emerging trend caused by this perfect storm: ‘multi-convergence’, where universal banks, private banks and asset managers are consolidating their businesses. Jeff Holland explains the changing landscape.

Seeing the light

In modern physics, one of the biggest conundrums is that most of the matter and energy that make up the universe is apparently undetectable. The amount that we can actually see equates to only four percent of the total. The rest of the cosmos is believed to be made up of so-called dark energy (74 percent) and dark matter (22 percent), whose presence we can deduce only through their gravity-like effects on other things, such as galaxies.

As so often in life, it seems that we only notice the small fraction of things that happen to be brightly lit, while the real action is going on somewhere else. A similar phenomenon occurs in economics. Economic models tend to focus on the relatively small part of the economy that is amenable to mathematical analysis – the rational, logical, utility-maximising part. But the economy is also driven by a number of factors which either create difficulties for our models, or elude them altogether.

Dark matter
The most obvious exception to rational behaviour, is of course irrational behaviour. The ancient Greeks may have defined man as a rational animal, but they were perhaps being generous. The financial markets continue to be driven in large part by emotions, such as fear or euphoria that are hard to quantify mathematically.

As I argue in my new book titled Truth and Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order, a number of other factors also contribute to the ‘dark’ content of the economy, and exert powerful forces that resist mathematical treatment. These include love, power, justice, money – and everything else.

Love: Much of our sense of wellbeing comes from social relationships, but this is not reflected in economic metrics of utility. Tasks such as looking after the young, old, and sick – which are still mostly performed by women – are often paid poorly or not at all, but are nonetheless vital to the health of society. They say that money makes the world (and the economy) go round, but love definitely plays a role as well.

Power: Neo-classical economics treats individuals and firms as more-or-less identical atoms. If people behave like rational economic man, that means they will all make the same rational decisions and have approximately the same advantages. As Norbert Häring and Niall Douglas observe in their book Economists and the Powerful, however, the economy is characterised by complex power relationships, such as, for example the power held by corporations, governments, rating agencies, financial institutions, and so on, which are downplayed or ignored by mainstream models.

Justice: As Czech economist Tomáš Sedláˇcek notes in his book Economics of Good and Evil, the invisible hand (usually attributed to Adam Smith, though the idea is much older) is assumed to provide a reasonably just distribution of wealth. As a result, “ethics has disappeared from mainstream economic thought.” Growing levels of inequality have become a global issue. Excessive concentration of wealth in the hands of a few violates our basic sense of fairness, with destabilising effects on society and the economy.

Money: One of the stranger features of mainstream economics is that money doesn’t seem to play much of a role. For example, most General Equilibrium Models – of the type used, for example, by the Bank of England – don’t include things like banks or hedge funds. This makes it hard for the models to understand, let alone predict, phenomena such as the subprime financial meltdown or the ongoing euro crisis.

Everything else: Finally, mainstream economic theory fails to pick up an even larger source of dark matter and dark energy, which is everything outside the monetary system, including the Earth. The environmental crisis is a byproduct of our economic system; but because it is hard to model things like resource depletion, environmental damage, or the beauty and diversity of nature, these barely even register in most economic models.

So how can economists come to grips with these various sources of dark matter or dark energy? Some progress has certainly been made, mostly in so-called ‘heterodox’ fields. Behavioural economists, for example, have helped to illucidate the effects that ‘bounded rationality’ has on markets. Feminist economists such as Lourdes Benería have explored the roles of power and gender in the economy. Hyman Minsky alerted us back in the 1970s to the inherent instability of the financial system. Ecological economists such as Herman Daly have long pointed out the absurdity of treating the economy as independent of the world system.

The human touch
One reason that these areas remain ‘heterodox’ is that they do not fit easily into the mathematical framework of mainstream economics. So perhaps to become more realistic and objective, economics must actually become less attached to abstract mathematical arguments. When economics was founded in the late nineteenth century, it was explicitly modelled after the ‘rational mechanics’ of Isaac Newton.

After losing much of his fortune in the South Sea bubble, though, Isaac Newton wrote in 1721 that: “I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” Today we are learning that in many respects, the economy behaves less like a deterministic, Newtonian machine, than like a kind of super-organism. In other words, it’s alive. So to understand it we need to use the right kind of mathematics – i.e. areas such as complexity and network theory that are adapted for living systems. And we also need to know and respect the bounds and limitations of mathematical models, and bring areas that are less amenable to mathematical treatment back into view.

In physics, it might not make much difference to our everyday lives if we ignore the effects of dark matter (it is unlikely to hit us on the head). But with the economy is being driven by forces that we cannot predict, control, or often even detect until it is too late, hard hats are advisable.

Oil & Gas Awards 2012

Best Fully-Integrated Company, North America

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Latin America

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Western Europe

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Eastern Europe

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Middle East
Petrixo Group

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Asia

Best Fully-Integrated Company, Africa


Best Independent Company, North America
Breitling Oil and Gas

Best Independent Company, Latin America
HRT Oil & Gas

Best Independent Company, Western Europe
Puma Energy

Best Independent Company, Eastern Europe
Irkutsk Oil Company | Yuriy Rubin accepts the award for Irkutsk Oil Company

Best Independent Company, Middle East
Crescent Petroleum

Best Independent Company, Asia
Phoenix Petroleum Philippines

Best Independent Company, Africa


Best Exploration & Production Company, Latin America
Pacific Rubiales Energy

Best Exploration & Production Company, Western Europe

Best Exploration & Production Company, Middle East

Best Exploration & Production Company, Asia


Best Downstream Company, North America
Exxon Mobil

Best Downstream Company, Latin America

Best Downstream Company, Western Europe

Best Downstream Company, Eastern Europe
Tatneft | Watch the award presentation

Best Downstream Company, Middle East

Best Downstream Company, Asia

Best Downstream Company, Africa
Puma Energy


Best Upstream Service & Solutions Company, North America
Baker Hughes

Best Upstream Service & Solutions Company, Latin America

Best Upstream Service & Solutions Company, Western Europe

Best Upstream Service & Solutions Company, Middle East

Best Upstream Service & Solutions Company, Asia
Kreuz Holdings


Best Downstream Service & Solutions Company, North America

Best Downstream Service & Solutions Company, Latin America

Best Downstream Service & Solutions Company, Western Europe

Best Downstream Service & Solutions Company, Middle East


Best Drilling Contractor, North America
Blake International

Best Drilling Contractor, Latin America
Saxon Energy Services

Best Drilling Contractor, Western Europe

Best Drilling Contractor, Eastern Europe
Eurasia Drilling Company

Best Drilling Contractor, Middle East
Arab Drilling and Workover Company (ADWOC) | Watch the award presentation

Best Drilling Contractor, Asia
PV Drilling (Petrovietnam Drilling and Well Services) | Watch the award presentation

Best Drilling Contractor, Africa


Best Investment Company, North America
Forbes & Manhattan

Best Investment Company, Latin America
Sete Brasil

Best Investment Company, Western Europe
Pareto Securities

Best Investment Company, Eastern Europe

Best Investment Company, Middle East
Al Rushaid Group

Best Investment Company, Africa
Diamond Bank | Dr Alex Otti accepts the award for Diamond Bank

Best Refining Company, North America
United Refining Company

Best Refining Company, Latin America

Best Refining Company, Western Europe

Best Refining Company, Eastern Europe

Best Refining Company, Middle East

Best Refining Company, Asia
Byco Industries


Best Oil Sands Company, North America

Best Oil Sands Company, Western Europe

Best Oil Sands Company, Asia
Sunshine Oilsands


Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, North America
Willbros Group

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Latin America

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Western Europe
Trouvay & Cauvin Group

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Eastern Europe
TMK Group

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Middle East
Kuwait Oil Company

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Asia
Canadoil Group

Best Piping Service & Solutions Company, Africa


Best Petrochemical Company, North America
Exxon Mobil

Best Petrochemical Company, Latin America

Best Petrochemical Company, Western Europe

Best Petrochemical Company, Eastern Europe

Best Petrochemical Company, Middle East

Best Petrochemical Company, Asia
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation

Best Petrochemical Company, Africa


Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, North America
National Oilwell Varco

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Latin America
Estrella SP

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Western Europe

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Eastern Europe

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Middle East
Saudi Aramco

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Asia
China National Petroleum Corporation

Best Innovation in Drilling Technology, Africa


Best Sustainable Company, North America

Best Sustainable Company, Latin America
Pacific Rubiales Energy

Best Sustainable Company, Western Europe

Best Sustainable Company, Eastern Europe

Best Sustainable Company, Middle East
EQUATE Petrochemical Company

Best Sustainable Company, Asia


Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, North America

Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, Latin America
Inelectra International

Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, Western Europe

Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, Eastern Europe
Aker Solutions

Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, Middle East
Al Hassan Group

Best EPC Service & Solutions Company, Africa
GE Oil & Gas


Best Logistics Service & Solutions Company, North America

Best Logistics Service & Solutions Company, Latin America
Integral de Sevicios Tecnicos

Best Logistics Service & Solutions Company, Western Europe

Best Logistics Service & Solutions Company, Middle East

Best Logistics Service & Solutions Company, Asia


Best Consultants, North America
Eurasia Group

Best Consultants, Latin America
ArceRojas Consultores & Cía

Best Consultants, Western Europe
Ernst & Young

Best Consultants, Eastern Europe
PWC Russia

Best Consultants, Middle East

Best Consultants, Africa
McKinsey & Company


Best CEO, North America
Trevor Rees Jones, Chief Oil & Gas

Best CEO, Latin America
Maria das Graças Silva Foster, Petrobras

Best CEO, Western Europe
Helge Lund, Statoil

Best CEO, Middle East
Sara Akbar, CEO Kuwait Energy

Best CEO, Asia
Zhou Jiping, PetroChina

Best CEO, Africa
Nosizwe Nocawe Nokwe, PetroSA

Telecoms Awards 2012

Best Telecoms CEO, North America 
Sandip Das, Maxis Berhad

Best Telecoms CEO, Latin America
Hector Slim Seade, Telmex

Best Telecoms CEO, Western Europe
Erkan Akdemir, Avea

Best Telecoms CEO, Eastern Europe
Milan Vasina, T-Mobile Czech Republic

Best Telecoms CEO, Middle East
Nasser Marafih, Qtel

Best Telecoms CEO, Asia
Ahmed Abou Doma, Orascom

Best Telecoms CEO, Africa
RS Dabengwa, MTN Group

Best Telecoms CEO, Australasia
David Thodey, Telstra


Best Telecoms CFO, North America 
Sunit Patel, Level 3

Best Telecoms CFO, Latin America
Luis Pacheco de Melo, Portugal Telecom

Best Telecoms CFO, Western Europe
Alexey Kornya, MTS

Best Telecoms CFO, Eastern Europe
Jacques de Galzain, Orange Poland

Best Telecoms CFO, Middle East
Antoine Castarede, Oger Telecom

Best Telecoms CFO, Asia Susanna

Best Telecoms CFO, Africa
Nazir Patel, MTN

Best Telecoms CFO, Australasia
Andrew Penn, Telstra


Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, North America
Sprint Nextel

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Latin America

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Western Europe

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Eastern Europe
T-Mobile Czech Republic

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Middle East
Saudi Telecom Company

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Asia
Maxis Berhad

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Africa

Best Wireless Telecoms Provider, Australasia
Virgin Mobile


Best Fixed Line Provider, North America

Best Fixed Line Provider, Latin America

Best Fixed Line Provider, Western Europe

Best Fixed Line Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Fixed Line Provider, Middle East

Best Fixed Line Provider, Asia
China Telecom

Best Fixed Line Provider, Africa
Uganda Telecom

Best Fixed Line Provider, Australasia


Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, North America

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Latin America
Telecom Argentina

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Western Europe

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Middle East

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Asia
KT Corporation

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Africa

Best Fully Integrated Telecoms Provider, Australasia Telecom
Corporation of New Zealand


Best Innovation, North America

Best Innovation, Latin America

Best Innovation, Western Europe
Nokia Siemens

Best Innovation, Eastern Europe

Best Innovation, Middle East
Qatar National Broadband Network | Watch the award presentation

Best Innovation, Asia

Best Innovation, Africa

Best Innovation, Australasia


Best Financial Services Application, North America
TD Ameritrade

Best Financial Services Application, Latin America

Best Financial Services Application, Western Europe
Saxo Bank

Best Financial Services Application, Eastern Europe

Best Financial Services Application, Middle East

Best Financial Services Application, Asia
Matsui Securities

Best Financial Services Application, Africa

Best Financial Services Application, Australasia
Bell Direct


Best Teleconferencing Provider, North America

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Latin America

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Western Europe

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Middle East

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Asia
BCS Global

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Africa
MW Group

Best Teleconferencing Provider, Australasia
Being There


Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, North America
Sutherland Global Services

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Latin America
Global BPO

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Western Europe

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Eastern Europe

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Middle East

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Asia

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Africa
HAC Outsourcing

Best Business Process Outsourcing Company, Australasia


Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, North America

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Latin America
Greenwich Consulting

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Western Europe

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Eastern Europe

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Middle East
Analysys Mason

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Asia

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Africa
Charles River

Best Telecoms Consultancy Company, Australasia


Best Broadband Provider, North America

Best Broadband Provider, Latin America

Best Broadband Provider, Western Europe

Best Broadband Provider, Eastern Europe
Crnogorski Telekom

Best Broadband Provider, Middle East

Best Broadband Provider, Asia
China Broadband

Best Broadband Provider, Africa

Best Broadband Provider, Australasia
Singtel Optus


Best Mobile Broadband Provider, North America 
Verizon Wireless

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Latin America

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Western Europe

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Eastern Europe
Vodafone Hungary

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Middle East

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Asia

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Africa

Best Mobile Broadband Provider, Australasia
Vodafone Australia


Best Cloud Service Provider, North America

Best Cloud Service Provider, Latin America
Level 3 Communications

Best Cloud Service Provider, Western Europe

Best Cloud Service Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Cloud Service Provider, Middle East

Best Cloud Service Provider, Asia

Best Cloud Service Provider, Africa
Business Connexion

Best Cloud Service Provider, Australasia



Best Mobile Security Provider, North America
Gold Line

Best Mobile Security Provider, Latin America

Best Mobile Security Provider, Western Europe

Best Mobile Security Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Mobile Security Provider, Middle East

Best Mobile Security Provider, Asia
Reutech Communications

Best Mobile Security Provider, Australasia
Pure Hacking


Best New Technology, North America
Bell Labs

Best New Technology, Latin America

Best New Technology, Western Europe

Best New Technology, Eastern Europe

Best New Technology, Middle East

Best New Technology, Asia

Best New Technology, Africa
Business Connexion

Best New Technology, Australasia
St George Banking Group


Best Green Telecoms Company, North America
Bell Labs

Best Green Telecoms Company, Latin America
America Movil

Best Green Telecoms Company, Western Europe
Nokia Siemens

Best Green Telecoms Company, Eastern Europe

Best Green Telecoms Company, Middle East

Best Green Telecoms Company, Asia

Best Green Telecoms Company, Africa
Uganda Telecom

Best Green Telecoms Company, Australasia

Treasury Management Awards 2012

Best Treasury Provider, North America
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Best Treasury Provider, Latin America
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Best Treasury Provider, Northern Europe

Best Treasury Provider, Southern Europe
TFI Markets

Best Treasury Provider, Western Europe
Deutsche Bank

Best Treasury Provider, Eastern Europe

Best Treasury Provider, Asia

Best Treasury Provider, Africa
Standard Bank

Best Treasury Provider, Middle East

Jean Paul Quiroz on insurance | Seguros Banreservas | Video

How do insurance companies maintain excellent performance in regions frequently assailed by natural disasters? Seguros Banreservas has maintained an A rating from Fitch Ratings for the last five years thanks to its excellent reinsurance programmes and good governance. Jean Paul Quiroz discusses the challenges of operating in a volatile environment, the importance of technology for growth, and the benefits of being a member of the Banreservas family.

Pham Tien Dung on oil and gas | PV Drilling | Video

Oil and gas production in Vietnam enjoyed compound annual growth of 3.7 percent in 2000-09, and is expected to grow 2.8 percent a year over the next two decades. Pham Tien Dung discusses PV Drilling’s origins as a domestic competitor in a multinational-dominated jurisdiction, the importance of using the latest, most efficient technology, and how giving something back to the nation is imperative for the company.

Antonio Giacomini Jr | Andrioli e Giacomini Advogados

With the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil is making huge investments in infrastructure. At the same time, the government is reforming many of its tax laws to attract more international investment partners. Antonio Giacomini explains the strategy behind these reforms, and the ways that Andrioli e Giacomini Advogados assists its international clients through Brazil’s complex system of tax and business legislation.

José Tudela on Peru insurance | Rimac Seguros | Video

Peru has changed enormously since 1990: opening up to foreign investment, controlling inflation, and maintaining a stable economic policy over the following 20 years. With the economy booming, the insurance market is predicted to grow 12 percent in 2012. José Tudela describes how Rimac Seguros is helping to drive this growth and overcome Peru’s lack of insurance culture, by developing a stronger market for personal insurance and expand beyond Lima into the provinces.

Moataz Al Rafie on Qatar banking | Ahli Bank Qatar | Video

Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and is pursuing reforms to improve the entrepreneurial environment and diversify its economy beyond oil and gas. Supporting this business growth are commercial banks like Ahli Bank; CEO Moataz Al Rafie explains how the company is leveraging the latest technology to provide top services to its clients.

Jeff Mack on playing consolidator | Guardian Holdings

The Guardian Holdings insurance group has been “Protecting the Caribbean” for more than 160 years. Today it is founded on three strategic pillars of life, health and pension; property and casualty; and asset management. Jeff Mack returns to World Finance to celebrate the company’s recent double-digit revenue growth and ratings upgrade; and discuss the possibility of regional consolidation in the insurance sector.