On April 27th, 2022, INESS hosted a travelling conference known across Europe as the Free Market Road Show. The conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bratislava. The panel discussion was titled Investing in a Time of War. Nine Slovak and international speakers addressed an audience of over 80 people.
INESS Director Richard Ďurana, began the conference by introducing the main theme of the event and thanking the partners who made the event possible. The EPH Foundation, Advance Investments Foundation, Students for Liberty and media partner Aktuality.sk were all involved.
The first speaker on the panel was Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute in the United States. He talked about how government decisions can be detrimental to society. This is reflected in all areas of society – from health to energy. The second speaker on the panel was Matt Kibbe from Free the People in the US. He dedicated his talk to the relationship between power and peace. The third speaker was Jozefína Žáková, Director General of the Slovak Association of Insurance Companies. In her speech, she discussed state regulation and taxes. These government controls are gradually causing insurance companies to leave the Slovak market. She explained how the state is hurt when insurance companies leave Slovakia and become branches of foreign insurance carriers. The panel was concluded by Daniel Bytčánek, Director of the Debt and Liquidity Management Agency ARDAL. He talked about the strategy of issuing bonds and building cash reserves of sovereign debt.
After a brief intermission, the second panel commenced. Terry Kibbe from Free the People USA began. She addressed the issue of state interventions, and how dangerous they can be, due to their ability to harm the lives of all citizens. She ended her speech by saying, “Freedom, not government, creates the path to progress.” She was followed by Miroslav Kotov, CEO of the Allianz Pension Fund. He spoke about the negative impact of government regulations on the management of savings in the second pillar. The third speaker of the second panel was Juraj Karpiš from INESS, who explained the causes of inflation. He pointed out that most economists have not identified a trend of rising inflation in the previous two years. He then shared his prediction for the future, saying, “The inflation rate will fall this year,” adding that, “There are fewer reasons for inflation today than in 2021.” Next, David Stancel, investment director at Fumbi, gave an overview of decentralized banking. He also talked about the benefits and risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies. The last speaker of the second pane was Richard Zundritsch. He is from the Austrian company Added Value. Zundritsch highlighted the importance of the free market, reminiscing about his past trips to the Slovak capital, and stating that “Bratislava is a living testimony that capitalism works.” He cited the Covid-19 pandemic as an example of how governments have a stronger, more concentrated power and are now trying to retain that power, because of powers gained during the pandemic. He states that this can only result in “serfdom”.
Both panels facilitated a very lively discussion, that was met with very positive feedback from the audience. This excitement was reflected through the continuation of discussion, even after the program had ended.
FMRS Bratislava – Program
First the COVID19 pandemic, followed by the highest inflation in the last decade, and then the military conflict east of the Slovak border. Global economic uncertainty. Slowly rising interest rates on both credit and government bonds. An economy facing the highest energy prices today and threatened with a shock in the form of gas shortages. The risk of price controls combined with high deficit budgets that promise to raise taxes. A combo that is bound to shake the confidence of even the most confident investor or entrepreneur. How to invest in times of war?