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07 October 2008

A thorough briefing from John Cridland, Deputy Director General of the CBI drew a standing ovation at the FMA AGM. It followed a review of the year's activities by FMA Chairman, Richard Sykes, who announced a 28% increase in membership.

Held at Member Company KPMG’s Salisbury Square office this AGM attracted more than forty senior representatives from the FMA’s fast growing membership. Chairman Richard Sykes took members and guests through the year’s activities and covered the Associations usual business activities and was delighted to report on a significant number of achievements not least the 28% increase in membership.

He further indicated that the relationship with CBI was expanding member’s information on such topics as the National Minimum Wage, The Services Directive, Innovation, Science and Technology and Public Service Reform.

The event’s highlight came from a most thorough briefing from John Cridland Deputy Director General of the CBI who, at his second appearance at an FMA AGM, covered the current economic crisis comprehensively and emphasised the importance of the collaboration between the CBI and Trade bodies.

He said that CBI has tried to stay at the optimistic end of a pessimistic scene – but conceded that that was increasingly difficult. What he described as the 'double whammy' of tightening credit conditions and rising costs in key areas including energy and food products was beginning to effect companies even in sectors that had been doing comparatively well.

He also warned that the delay in remedial action in the US could soon begin to have repercussions in the UK. Despite that, Cridland harbours some optimism for the UK economy. If the problems in the financial sector can be brought under control, he expects the downturn here to be short and shallow. Indeed, he said, if the pressure on business is alleviated, opportunities should begin to emerge in 2009. "The first half of the year will be pretty grim," he predicted, "but the second half should be considerably better in comparison.”

A clear message then to FMA members that their representation at CBI provides an intelligence base whose commercial acumen is a potential winner for all members who care to ask the relevant questions when developing their future strategy.

Clearly Members present thought so as John became the first of a long line of very competent speakers at FMS AGM’s to gain a standing ovation.

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