Dr Rebecca Harding- CEO of Coriolis Technologies

11.02.2019 Lisa McAuley

Dr. Rebecca Harding is an independent economist specialising in trade and trade finance and is CEO of Coriolis Technologies, providing data as a service to the trade finance and banking sectors. She frequently appears on The Ian King Show, Sky News, BBC World and BBC Radio 5 live, Newsnight and Radio 4. She is frequently cited in the Broadsheet press, including recent articles in the Financial Times, Telegraph and CityAM. She advises the Council of the Society of Professional Economists and until February 2017 was the Chief Economist of the British Bankers’ Association.

Her senior roles in business an academic institutions include Founder and CEO of Delta Economics, CEO of Equant Analytics, Senior Fellow at London Business School, Global CEO of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Head of Corporate Research at Deloitte, Chief Economist at the Work Foundation, Senior Lecturer at the Science Policy Research Unit and currently a Fellow at Offenburg Institute for Trade and Innovation. She was a Specialist Advisor to the Treasury Select Committee and Chief Economic Advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship.


What is your background working in international trade?

I have been working in international trade and trade finance for 10 years as an independent economist and data provider to the sector. I have advised many of the major banks on trade finance, trade flows and trade policy and spoken at many of the major international events for banks with large trade finance functions. Most recently, I wrote a book called “The Weaponisation of Trade: the Great Unbalancing of Policy and Economics” which US EXIM now cite as defining the political and economic context within which export credit agencies operate.

What inspired you to enter into a career in international trade?

I had been working in an academic environment for many years looking at entrepreneurship, innovation and business growth. I left my job as an academic because I felt I needed to have practical experience of entrepreneurship myself to have any credibility in the sector and set up a consultancy business. It quickly became very clear that there was very little data that married international business growth with the data that was available and over the years I have had as my primary goal the desire to close that data gap. As time has gone by, that gap has become more evident and banks and businesses alike are as keen now as I was then to work with me to address this challenge.

If you were to go back in time and invite any three leaders to dinner who would they be?

Mikhail Gorbachev, Konrad Adenauer and Henry Kissinger

What are the top 3 challenges of working in international trade?

1. Helping banks and businesses to understand how the increasingly political nature of trade impacts their investment decisions and opportunities.
2. Explaining the complexity of global trade to those who like to keep things simple.
3. Making trade opportunities accessible to the SMEs who are currently excluded from the world of trade because they cannot access finance.  

What are the top 4 opportunities for anyone looking to work in international trade?

This is the most exciting area of business and economics to be involved in at present:
1. There is a huge appetite out there for understanding the nature of trade and trade finance and why it matters for economic development and social inclusion globally. Many entrepreneurs and small businesses in emerging economies are run by women so, by promoting trade and trade finance, we have the opportunity to empower women in their communities around the world.
2. Technology is shifting the way in which trade and trade finance work and it means that there is an excitement around what we don’t know about trade as well as what we do know.
3. The role of trade in economic development, particularly amongst SMEs and emerging economies is being under-played at the moment because of concerns around compliance and regulation. This means that there is a purpose behind promoting trade that hasn’t existed to the same extent in the past.
4. There are very few women at the top, particularly in trade finance, but a real sense that this gender gap needs to be closed so the opportunities for young women to make their mark on the trade landscape and really make a difference is fantastic.

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