Anna is PwC’s Political Relations Director, a role which sees her helping our people and our clients understand the current uncertain political environment and how they should plan around this.
She talks about how the US election, the EU Referendum and the snap election in the UK have propelled political matters up the business agenda and how business is now - more than ever - focused on political risk.
I’m Anna Wallace, Political Relations Director working at PwC in our Corporate Affairs team, and that involves helping our business and our clients understand the political environment and how therefore they should plan.
For me, I’ve always been interested in politics, but I’ve never really been very sort of tribal, or dogmatic. So after I left university it was a bit of a challenge about well what do I do around politics without being a politician. And I landed on this world of public affairs, which is kind of like PR but talking to politicians instead of journalists. And I get to be in and around the political world without being sort of capital “P”, Political myself.
I think that since the EU referendum and Trump’s election, political matters have definitely escalated up the business agenda. People are far more focused on political risk now than they were before. Before the referendum, we were talking to clients about things like devolution, but really those are sort of longer to medium term issues. But now Brexit, Trump’s election, the snap election in 2017 have all escalated and intensified our clients’ interests in political matters.
There’s been a range of ways we’ve been working with clients and our client teams on Brexit. So I guess the most visible way is through our webcasts and our podcasts that are available to download, and we’ve done a number of those since the referendum. But also we’ve been going out and talking to clients personally to talk about the impact of Brexit on things like their customs policy or their talent strategies.
I think the main thing that differentiates us from some of our competitors is that we’re really helping clients cut through what can be a very noisy political environment. A lot of businesses are engaging with politics for the first time after the EU referendum and it can be quite difficult for them to get past the posturing and the rhetoric, and often the emotion, to really understand what the core issues are for their business and therefore how they should be responding.
I think the thing I am most excited about in my role is educating all of our people to be more informed about politics and enable them to have better conversations with our clients about political matters, to allow us to respond to the client interest in this area.
I guess my vision is that all of our people can go out and talk about politics in the same way that they can do economic or technical matters.