Jim O'Neill (economist)

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Jim O'Neill
World Debate - Jim O'Neill.png
Born Terence James O'Neill
(1957-03-17) 17 March 1957 (age 58)[1]
Manchester, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Sheffield
University of Surrey
Employer Goldman Sachs
Known for BRIC economic theory
Spouse(s) Married
Children 2

Terence James "Jim" O'Neill (born 17 March 1957),[1] retiring chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is a British economist best known for coining BRIC, the acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the four rapidly developing countries that have come to symbolise the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies.[2] As of January 2014, he is an Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester.[3]


After earning his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Surrey with a thesis titled An empirical investigation into the OPEC surplus and its disposal under the supervision of David Hawdon, Jim O'Neill began his career in finance working at Bank of America in 1982. From 1988 to 1991, he was in charge of the fixed income research group at Swiss Bank Corporation, and he served as SBC's chief of global research.[4] He joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 and he was appointed as the head of global economics research in 2001, which is also when he published the seminal BRIC paper. No candidate has ever been named to replace him as Chief Economist.[5]

In 2010, he was named Chairman of Goldman Sachs's Division of Asset Management, a newly created position in which O'Neill manages over $800 billion in assets by "leverag[ing]" his "global perspective on world markets".[6] He continues to publish research regarding the global economy, in addition to coming up with innovative investment strategies for clients. His new appointment was regarded as a symbol of Goldman's "efforts to reposition itself for Wall Street's post-crisis era",[5] one in which Goldman Sachs is "bullish" about the fact that emerging markets are "the future".[6] In 2011, he was included in the 50 Most Influential ranking of Bloomberg Markets magazine.

In February 2013, the firm announced O'Neill's impending retirement,[7] which took place two months later, in April 2013.[8] He is a currently on the International Advisory Board of the Centre for Rising Powers at the University of Cambridge.[9] O'Neill sits on the QFINANCE Strategic Advisory Board. He is also a member of the board of Bruegel, the European think tank for international economics.[10] O'Neill is chairman of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Advisory Board, which advises on the growth of the Greater Manchester economy.[11] On 2 July 2014 he was appointed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to head an international commission to investigate global antimicrobial resistance.[12]

Economic views[edit]

O'Neill claims not to commit to a specific financial ideology; instead, he is known for his "pragmatic, long-term" vision of currency markets. He improves upon traditional models of data analysis by incorporating elements that ultimately make them more accurate.[13]


O'Neill coined the term "BRIC" in 2001 in "The World Needs Better Economic BRICs", a paper written for Goldman Sachs's "Global Economic Paper" series.[14]

Foreign exchange markets[edit]

O'Neill has been called a "currency guru"; he has been hailed as "the top foreign-exchange economist anywhere in the world in the past decade". For example, in 2004 he accurately predicted that the euro would rise from $1.25 to $1.30 a year later; he was also right about the yen's rise in the mid-1990s.[13] He was previously head of global economic research and commodities and strategy research at Goldman Sachs.[15]


O'Neill coined the term MIKT for the countries of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey.


He has also coined the term MINTMexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey—in order to differentiate among the variety of emerging economies. He plans to group this quartet as "growth markets" within the overall BRIC nations.[16][17][18][19]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill grew up in Gatley and attended Burnage Comprehensive and Sheffield University, where he studied economics.[20] He is a lifelong fan of Manchester United F.C. and served as a non-executive director from 2004 to 2005, before the club was returned to private ownership.[21] On 2 March 2010, the Red Knights, a group of wealthy Manchester United fans believed to include O'Neill, confirmed interest in a possible takeover of the club.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Jim O'Neill, Esq". Debrett's. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Kowitt, Beth (17 June 2009). "For Mr. BRIC, nations meeting a milestone". CNNMoney.com. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  3. ^ http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=11377
  4. ^ "Bio: Who Is Jim O'Neill?". Bloomberg Businessweek. 7 March 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Miles; Justin Baer (11 September 2011). "O’Neill heads Goldman division". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Noble, Josh (10 September 2010). "Bric Godfather O’Neill gets keys to Goldman’s fund chest". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Blankfein, Lloyd C.; Cohn, Gary D. (5 February 2013). "Jim O'Neill to retire from Goldman Sachs" (Press release). Goldman Sachs. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.ibanet.org/Article/Detail.aspx?ArticleUid=b8a1e2e0-292b-49d5-8b7b-306ecc432b98
  9. ^ http://www.crp.polis.cam.ac.uk/people.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  10. ^ "Jim O‘Neill: Member of the board". Bruegel. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Biography – Jim O'Neill". Goldman Sachs. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2014/WTP056762.htm. Retrieved 3 July 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ a b Cohn, Laura (7 March 2005). "Meet Goldman's Rock Star". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  14. ^ O'Neill, Jim (30 November 2001). "Building Better Global Economic BRICs". Global Economics Paper No. 66 (66). Goldman Sachs & Co. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Outlook for Emerging Markets: From BRICs to the N-11". The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  16. ^ "'Bric' creator adds newcomers to list". Financial Times. 
  17. ^ Robinson, Gwen (17 January 2011). "Brics, MIKTs and O'Neill's 'lucrative lexicon'". FT Alphaville. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  18. ^ Thompson, Darryl, (producer), Edward Hadas and John Authers (panellists) (17 January 2011). Another Bric in the wall (Podcast). London: Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Goldman Sachs’s MIST Topping BRICs as Smaller Markets Outperform - Bloomberg". Bloomberg. 
  20. ^ Fletcher, Richard (2 March 2010). "Jim O'Neill: Profile of Manchester United's Red Knight". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Jim O'Neill's CV". European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Retrieved 16 March 2009. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Red Knights confirm United takeover plan". RTÉ News. 2 March 2010.