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Upbeat on developing recovery in world

TOP bankers and business executives gathered in London were upbeat yesterday about a developing recovery in the global economy, but cautioned against any slowdown in reforming regulatory and financial systems to prevent a repeat of the crisis.

Deutsche Bank head of global markets Anshu Jain said he expects the banking system to end the year in a far better position, while General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said the period of crisis management is "behind us."

John Kingman, the CEO of UK Financial Investments Ltd, the group created by the British government to run the bank stakes picked up in an industry bailout last year, said he was confident of beginning the process of "gradual exit" from those positions.

"I would say we have almost a fully functioning capital market," Immelt said at the event, which was held at the London Business School. "In some way, shape or form, 2010 and beyond will see economic growth. How positive it is remains to be seen."

Jain said major progress was being made on unwinding banks' heavily leveraged positions, which were part of the cause of the crisis.

"We will finish the year with a much lower level of risk and leverage," he said.

Asked about the prospects for the next 12 months, Kingman said he was confident that "confidence will build in the UK," allowing the government to start unwinding its stakes in private companies, like its 70 percent holding in the Royal Bank of Scotland.

While the tone of the annual "Global Leadership Summit" was broadly positive, there were warnings that the start of an economic recovery could bring complacency about tackling long-term changes.

RBS chief Stephen Hester said both the public and business worlds needed to acknowledge the excesses enjoyed by many were no longer viable.


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