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Darla Moore School of Business

UofSC’s Folks Center hosting forum about biggest global financial risks for 2021

Nov. 5, 2020

The University of South Carolina’s Folks Center for International Business and Risk and Uncertainty Management Center are presenting an online forum Thursday, Nov. 12, with Preston Keat, head of political and country risk for UBS, one of the largest and most influential global financial services firms in the world. 

Keat will discuss the biggest global financial risks to include:

  • There is growing resistance to global trade and cross-border investment — how might this impact South Carolina, given the state's position as a major recipient of foreign investment and integration into global supply chains?
  • Countries are in the middle of a real-life stress scenario — COVID-19 pandemic shock — that is impacting health, the economy and markets - how quickly will countries be able to rebound, and what happens if parts of the economy are unable to?
  • Countries across the world have engaged in massive additional spending in the context of the pandemic — how sustainable are these new, inflated debt levels?
  • The U.S.-China relationship has materially worsened in recent years, and there are indications that tensions may continue regardless of the outcome of the U.S. elections — how might this impact trade, supply chains and the process of globalization more generally?

Based in London, Keat is a managing director and head of political and country risk at UBS where he oversees the bank’s political and country risk team. The political and country risk team analyzes a broad range of economic and macro/geopolitical themes and trends and manages country ratings and exposure limits. He also leads the firm’s internal “Economist Forum” and “Risk Think Tank.” Prior to joining UBS, Keat worked for 10 years at the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, where he was a research director, head of the Europe practice and a member of the management committee. He is the co-author of The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing published by the Oxford University Press in 2009. Keat has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master’s from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s from the College of William and Mary.

The event is sponsored by The Rachel and Jim Hodges Fund, generously given by the former South Carolina governor and his wife. The Folks Center forum will be held virtually on Zoom from 4-5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and is free and open to the public. Keat will also participate in a Q&A session following his talk. Register or learn more by visiting

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