This autumn brought a raft of 10-year anniversaries, of the personal, political and professional variety. All three, though of wildly different natures and magnitudes, coalesce for me around this time each year, but the decennial factor lent itself to more reflection than usual. I hope readers will indulge me a glance backwards.
In September 2001, I was living in Washington, DC, but preparing to relocate to the UK. As it happens, the day I had chosen for my big departure was September 11. So, instead of setting off for my new life abroad, I sat amongst my packed-up bags, in an apartment on Capitol Hill, watching terrified people stream out into the streets and keeping an eye on the sky for errant planes. It was ten days later that I arrived in the UK amid what felt like a seismic change to the structure of the world.
Around that time, Financial Times Business was busy preparing to launch a new magazine, which it promised would “take a hard-hitting and in-depth look at foreign direct investment at a time when the global economy is facing some of its toughest challenges”, “tackle the challenges of FDI at the highest level”, and “provide executives with the toolkit they need to guide their investments”. The magazine, which published its launch issue in November 2001, was designed to fill the gap between the general reporting found in newspapers and the business press, and the highly specific, more academic studies produced by consultants and advisers.
Ten years on, fDiMagazine continues to meet those needs and fill those gaps first identified in the inaugural ‘Inside fDi’ page. While the basic mission remains the same, our informational offering has evolved enormously over the decade, most notably with our transition into a full-range data provider through the fDiIntelligence product portfolio. The need for relevant, digestible yet detailed analysis of the world’s investment destinations and corporate expansion strategies is as stark as ever, especially as we now face the prospect of more global economic upheaval.
Flipping through the first-ever fDihard copy, it is striking how much has changed since then (the boom in privatisation activity worldwide was still presenting opportunities to snap up state enterprises in markets far and wide, according to one article – whereas we discontinued a privatisation alert on our news pages this year because there were not enough deals to fill the space anymore), and yet, how much remains the same. One feature article said that stable FDI flows to developing countries could prove a lifeline in rocky economic times; another said that political risk had reappeared as a key driver of investment decisions due to the unexpected geopolitical turbulences. We could have written both headlines today.
What will the headlines in autumn 2021 say? Stick with us to find out – but I would be interested in the meantime to hear from readers as to how they see the next ten years.
Courtney Fingar is editor of fDi Magazine. Email: Courtney.Fingar@FT.com