In association with the Institute of Economic Affairs

3 October – 21 November 2018 | Every Wednesday Evening

Institute of Directors, London

What are the Beesley Lectures?

Now in their twenty-seventh year, The Beesley Lectures were founded by Professor Michael Beesley, one of the most influential regulatory economists of his time. Held in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy at City, University of London, the series attracts the foremost thinkers in government, industry and academia.

The lectures cover the latest developments in energy, water, transport, telecoms and banking regulation as well as competition policy.  This year’s series comes at a time of a changing political climate, with the prospect of Brexit, a more interventionist Government and an opposition proposing a return to public ownership for many industries.

The series attracted over 1000 attendees in 2017, including economists working for regulators, competition authorities, companies in regulated sectors or in consulting, as well as policy makers, academics and lawyers.

Evenings will begin at 6.30pm and delegates are encouraged to network over refreshments until 7pm, when the lecture will commence. A leading economist or industry figure will speak for one hour and a specialist will provide a 20-minute response before handing over to the audience for further discussion. Each lecture will end at 8.45pm followed by drinks and canapés to continue the discussion.

LECTURE 1 | 3 October

Regulation and investment in telecoms: back to the future or brave new world?

Lecturer
Cathryn Ross, Group Director, Regulatory Affairs, BT Group

Respondent
Jonathan Oxley, Board Member and Group Director, Competition, Ofcom

LECTURE 2 | 10 October

Behavioural science in water and energy markets: lessons for evidence-based policy making

Lecturer
Robert Hahn, Visiting Professor, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

Respondent
Alex Plant, Regulation Director, Anglian Water

LECTURE 3 | 17 October

Regulation and the competition regime in an age of increased government intervention

Lecturer
Lord David Currie, Former Chairman, Competition and Markets Authority

Respondent
Bruce Lyons, Professor of Economics, University of East Anglia

LECTURE 4 | 24 October

How long will retail price caps last? Can they be replaced by Open APIs?

Lecturer
Martin Cave, Visiting Professor, London School of Economics

Respondent
Sam Bowman, Associate, Fingleton Associates

LECTURE 5 | 31 October

Supervising the tech giants in the digital age

Lecturer
Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, ICO

Lecturer
Tommaso Valletti, Chief Competition Economist, European Commission

LECTURE 6 | 7 November

New technology and new business models in energy: implications for electricity network regulation

Lecturer
Michael Pollitt, Assistant Director, Energy Policy Research Group, University of Cambridge

Respondent
Jonathan Brearley, Executive Director, Systems & Networks, Ofgem

LECTURE 7 | 14 November

Beyond nationalisation and privatisation to the democratic public enterprise

Lecturer
Andrew Cumbers, Professor in Regional Political Economy, University of Glasgow

Respondent
Scott Corfe, Chief Economist, Social Market Foundation

LECTURE 8 | 21 November

What are the prospects for digital currencies and what is the role of the state?

Lecturer
Dr Bob Swarup, Senior Visiting Fellow, Cass Business School
 
Respondent
Martin Etheridge, Head of Note Operations, Bank of England

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Beesley Lecture Series 2018 | 3 October - 21 November

Click between the tabs to view different Wednesday lectures

Lecture 1 | 3 October
Lecture 2 | 10 October
Lecture 3 | 17 October
Lecture 4 | 24 October
Lecture 5 | 31 October
Lecture 6 | 7 November
Lecture 7 | 14 November
Lecture 8 | 21 November
18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

Regulation and investment in telecoms: back to the future or brave new world?

The major challenge in telecommunications infrastructure today concerns the extent and pace of the roll out of ‘full fibre’ (or ‘full fibre-like connectivity). The NIC has said that the costs of such a roll out look likely to be c. £30bn over the next 15 years, yet the demand for these new technologies is currently uncertain, and infrastructure competition also increases the risk associated with cost recovery. All this means that achieving a large scale, fast paced, economically viable roll out is not straightforward. But investment ahead of need and investment in competitive markets are not problems unknown to regulators. Are there tried and tested approaches that could be used and what does experience in other sectors tell us about their suitability? Or do the particular features of telecommunications markets mean that new regulatory technology is required? And how do we deliver this massive new investment while retaining customer legitimacy?


Lecturer

Cathryn Ross, BT Group | Beesleey Lecture Series
Cathryn Ross

Group Director, Regulatory Affairs , BT Group

Respondent

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom | Beesley Lecture Series
Jonathan Oxley

Board Member and Group Director, Competition , Ofcom

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

Behavioural science in water and energy markets: lessons for evidence-based policy making

Recent years have seen a growing interest in the application of behavioural economics in regulated industries.  Demand side response in water and energy markets is seen as critical in facing supply constraints and meeting climate change targets. How does the evidence suggest that behavioural economics can best be utilised to meet these challenges? This lecture will review experience across the world from water, energy and other sectors.  It will also examine the connection between regulation and evidence-based policy research and make suggestions for how evidence-based policy making might be improved. 


Lecturer

Robert Hahn, University of Oxford | Beesley Lecture Series
Robert Hahn

Visiting Professor , Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

Respondent

Alex Plant, Anglian Water | Beesley Lecture Series
Alex Plant

Regulation Director , Anglian Water

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

Regulation and the competition regime in an age of increased government intervention

The 1980s and 1990s saw the development of sector regulation and a competition regime independent of Government.  The change in Government in 1997 reinforced that trend.  However it appears that we may now have reached the high water mark of that independence.  Recent years have seen regulators acquire an increasing number of statutory duties often to deliver societal benefits, such as those to meet climate change or protect the vulnerable, while the Government proposes intervention in hitherto free markets.  At the same time, Brexit may result in pressure for a return to wider public interest grounds in merger cases.  Reflecting on his time as Chairman of both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority and his new role as Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority, Lord Currie will review the development of sector regulation and the competition regime and consider how they might adapt to a changed political climate. 


Lecturer

David Currie, Capital and Markets Authority | Beesley Lecture Series
Lord David Currie

Former Chairman , Competition and Markets Authority

Respondent

Bruce Lyons UEA | Beesley Lecture Series
Bruce Lyons

Professor of Economics , University of East Anglia

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

How long will retail price caps last? Can they be replaced by Open APIs?

Price controls in multi-firm retail markets have become an increasing feature of the regulatory landscape, with prices already capped for pay-day loans and prepayment energy customers, and may be on the way for other services. They feed on concerns about price discrimination, particularly against vulnerable customers, and the uncertainties surrounding existing remedies to empower consumers. But alternative analogue or digital ways of promoting consumer engagement are increasingly available internationally. A subset of these is known as Open APIs, which enlist rival firms to make better offers on the basis of shared information about the household or small business customer, or otherwise open up markets. Open banking is the start; markets for energy, telecoms and mobility as a service are following. What potential do these innovations have? Do they work for vulnerable customers?  How should regulators respond to these and similar developments?


Lecturer

Martin Cave, LSE | Beesley Lecture Series
Martin Cave

Visiting Professor , London School of Economics

Respondent

Sam Bowman, Fingleton Associates | Beesley Lecture Series
Sam Bowman

Associate , Fingleton Associates

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

Supervising the tech giants in the digital age

Data is at the heart of everything we do in the digital age, with major firms in utilities, financial services and telecoms holding large amounts of consumer data.  The rise of e-commerce has given retailers a wealth of information about their customers.  Meanwhile the large technology firms acquire data through online search, e-commerce or use of social media.  Many offer services without charge to the consumer and have a business model reliant on the use or sale of the data they have acquired.  In this landscape how can the rights of the consumer to the privacy and security of their data be protected?  In this lecture UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will consider these tensions and how we can ensure that the data of the citizen is protected.

The European Commission has shown itself willing to intervene where large technology firms abuse their dominant position.  Google was fined 2.4 billion euros for anticompetitive practices in favouring its own online shopping service and is under a further investigation over its Android phone operating system.  With about half of digital advertising spend going to two tech giants in several European countries, the fear that the rise of big data concentrated in a small number of firms could be used to foreclose competition has led to competition investigations in France, Italy and Germany.  How can regulators and policy makers ensure fair competition in an online world dominated by a small number of tech giants?  Are there circumstances in which major companies should be treated as utilities and be required to make their data available to competitors?  In this lecture European Commission Chief Economist Tommaso Valletti will outline the Commission’s approach in this fast developing landscape. 


Lecturer

Elizabeth Denham, ICO | Beesley Lecture Series
Elizabeth Denham

Information Commissioner , ICO

Lecturer

Tommaso Valletti, European Commission | Beesley Lecture Series
Tommaso Valletti

Chief Competition Economist , European Commission

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

New technology and new business models in energy: implications for electricity network regulation

Solar PV, wind power, electrical energy storage and electric vehicles are significant new technologies on an electricity network traditionally designed around large central power plants and largely passive electricity demand. In addition innovations such as smart metering and blockchain offer the prospect of market participants with new business models playing an increasing role in the provision of electricity services. This lecture will seek to discuss how electricity regulators in Europe, the US and Australia are and should respond to the new electrical world that they are increasingly facing, while fulfilling their societal mandates.


Lecturer

Michael Pellitt, University of Cambridge | Beesley Lecture Series
Michael Pollitt

Assistant Director, Energy Policy Research Group , University of Cambridge

Respondent

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem | Beesley Lecture Series
Jonathan Brearley

Executive Director, Systems & Networks , Ofgem

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

Beyond nationalisation and privatisation to the democratic public enterprise

In its 2017 general election manifesto the Labour Party promised to return the water sector, rail, energy networks and Royal Mail to public ownership.  How might this work in each sector?  How will the new form of public ownership differ from past experiences and what new opportunities will it create in each sector? What is meant by democratic governance of the public sector?  How will democratic control interact with commercial objectives? What alternative values should be articulated alongside narrow commercial ones?  What opportunities would public ownership create in each sector?  What would be the cost and how would that cost and future investment be financed?  As economic regulation is brought under direct political control and integrated with other regulatory systems, how would each sector evolve?  This lecture will examine some of the potential scenarios of a new form of public ownership for many privatised businesses. 


Lecturer

Andrew Cumbers, University of Glasgow | Beesley Lecture Series
Andrew Cumbers

Professor in Regional Political Economy , University of Glasgow

Respondent

Scott Corfe - Social Market Foundation | Beesley Lecture Series
Scott Corfe

Chief Economist , Social Market Foundation

20:45

Drinks and canapés


18:30

Networking over refreshments


19:00

What are the prospects for digital currencies and what is the role of the state?

The growth of Bitcoin and other digital currencies enabled by blockchain technology has raised the prospect of alternative private currencies – a Hayekian ideal.  But given the volatility seen to date and the increasing mention of hack-heists, are they a practical and sustainable store of value?  What does the development of private currencies mean for governments and central banks? Could it threaten their ability to tax and control the money supply, or does it create opportunities for the same? Given their growth, does official sanction and regulation evolve and adapt or does it ignore and let the ‘bubble’ implode? In this lecture, Dr Bob Swarup, author of Money Mania, will examine the history of private currencies and consider what lessons they hold for the regulation and future of their latest digital incarnation.  


Lecturer

Bob Swarup, Cass Business School | Beesley Lecture Series
Dr Bob Swarup

Senior Visiting Fellow , Cass Business School

Respondent

Martin Etheridge, Head of Division at the Bank of England
Martin Etheridge

Head of Note Operations , Bank of England

20:45

Drinks and canapés


Speakers

Cathryn Ross, BT Group | Beesleey Lecture Series

Cathryn Ross

Group Director, Regulatory Affairs, BT Group

David Currie, Capital and Markets Authority | Beesley Lecture Series

Lord David Currie

Former Chairman, Competition and Markets Authority

Elizabeth Denham, ICO | Beesley Lecture Series

Elizabeth Denham

Information Commissioner, ICO

Tommaso Valletti, European Commission | Beesley Lecture Series

Tommaso Valletti

Chief Competition Economist, European Commission

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom | Beesley Lecture Series

Jonathan Oxley

Board Member and Group Director, Competition, Ofcom

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem | Beesley Lecture Series

Jonathan Brearley

Executive Director, Systems & Networks, Ofgem

Alex Plant, Anglian Water | Beesley Lecture Series

Alex Plant

Regulation Director, Anglian Water

Martin Cave, LSE | Beesley Lecture Series

Martin Cave

Visiting Professor, London School of Economics

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Institute of Directors, London

Institute of Directors, London

116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED

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