Jim O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of Gatley

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The Right Honourable
The Lord O'Neill of Gatley
Jim O’Neill 2016.jpg
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
14 May 2015 – 23 September 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Chancellor George Osborne
Philip Hammond
Preceded by The Lord Deighton
Succeeded by The Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Personal details
Born Terence James O'Neill
(1957-03-17) 17 March 1957 (age 60)[1]
Manchester, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Unaffiliated (Crossbencher)
Other political
Spouse(s) Married
Children 2
Alma mater University of Sheffield
University of Surrey
Known for BRIC economic theory

Terence James O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of Gatley (born 17 March 1957),[1] former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and former Conservative government minister, 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] He was appointed Commercial Secretary to the Treasury in the Second Cameron Ministry, a position he held until his resignation on 23 September 2016. Since 2008, he has written monthly columns for international media organization Project Syndicate[4].


O'Neill obtained a B.A. degree in 1977 and an M.A. degree in economics from Sheffield University in 1978.[5][6] He subsequently earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Surrey in 1982, with a thesis titled An empirical investigation into the OPEC surplus and its disposal. O'Neill began his career in finance working at Bank of America in 1982. In 1985 he joined Marine Midland Bank as Economist for their International Treasury Management Division. After Marine Midland was purchased by HSBC he joined Swiss Bank Corporation in 1988 where he was in charge of the fixed income research group , and he served as SBC's chief of global research.[7] 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 yet has been named to replace him as Chief Economist.[8]

In 2010, he was named chairman of Goldman Sachs's Division of Asset Management, a newly created position in which O'Neill managed over $800 billion in assets by "leverag[ing]" his "global perspective on world markets".[9] 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",[8] one in which Goldman Sachs is "bullish" about the fact that emerging markets are "the future".[9] 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,[10] which took place two months later, in April 2013.[11] He is a currently on the International Advisory Board of the Centre for Rising Powers at the University of Cambridge.[12] 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.[13] O'Neill is chairman of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Advisory Board, which advises on the growth of the Greater Manchester economy.[14] On 2 July 2014 he was appointed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to head an international commission to investigate global antimicrobial resistance.[15] On 21 July 2014 O'Neill was awarded an Honorary Litt.D. degree by the University of Sheffield in recognition of his contribution to international economics.[16] He furthermore has honorary degrees from the Institute of Education of the University of London, for his educational philanthropy, and from City University London for his services to banking and finance.[5]

On 28 May 2015 he was created a Life Peer as Baron O'Neill of Gatley, of Gatley in the County of Greater Manchester[17] and took up an unpaid post in HM Government as the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury.[18][19] In this role O'Neill's primary role was to work on the 'Northern Powerhouse' project and to help reinvigorate trade with China. Following the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister his successor, Theresa May, kept O'Neill in post. On 23 September 2016, O'Neill resigned over concerns that May was not committed to the 'Northern Powerhouse' project making him the first member of May's ministry to resign.[20]

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.[21]


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.[22]

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.[21] He was previously head of global economic research and commodities and strategy research at Goldman Sachs.[23]


In 2011, O'Neill coined the term MIKT, also known as MIST, for the countries of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey.[24][25][26][27][28] The term has largely fallen out of use, having been replaced by MINT (see below).


In 2013, O'Neill also coined the term MINTMexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey—in order to differentiate among the variety of emerging economies.[29] He plans to group this quartet as "growth markets" within the overall BRIC nations. In January 2014, O'Neill presented a four-part documentary series on this subject for BBC Radio entitled MINT: The Next Economic Giants.[30]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill grew up in Gatley and attended Burnage Comprehensive and Sheffield University, where he studied economics.[31] O'Neill is a huge football fan and played for the Bank of America's first team in London. 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.[32] 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.[33]

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. ^ "Jim O'Neill - Project Syndicate". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
  5. ^ a b Lord O’Neill of Gatley - website gov.uk
  6. ^ Jim O'Neill Bio - website of Goldman Sachs
  7. ^ "Bio: Who Is Jim O'Neill?". Bloomberg Businessweek. 7 March 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Miles; Justin Baer (11 September 2011). "O'Neill heads Goldman division". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Noble, Josh (10 September 2010). "Bric Godfather O'Neill gets keys to Goldman's fund chest". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Blankfein, Lloyd C.; Cohn, Gary D. (5 February 2013). "Jim O'Neill to retire from Goldman Sachs" (Press release). Goldman Sachs. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  11. ^ http://www.ibanet.org/Article/Detail.aspx?ArticleUid=b8a1e2e0-292b-49d5-8b7b-306ecc432b98
  12. ^ "International Advisory Board". cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  13. ^ "Jim O'Neill: Member of the board". Bruegel. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Biography – Jim O'Neill". Goldman Sachs. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "Internationally focused commission on antimicrobial resistance announced by PM". wellcome.ac.uk. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  16. ^ World-renowned economist among University's honorary degree recipients – website of the University of Sheffield
  17. ^ "No. 61246". The London Gazette. 3 June 2015. p. 10180. 
  18. ^ "Jim O'Neill gains peerage and ministerial role in treasury team". Retrieved 8 Feb 2016. 
  19. ^ "Her Majesty's Government". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Rob Merrick (23 September 2016). "Treasury minister quits over Northern Powerhouse and China ties". Retrieved 25 September 2016. 
  21. ^ a b Cohn, Laura (7 March 2005). "Meet Goldman's Rock Star". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  22. ^ O'Neill, Jim (30 November 2001). "Building Better Global Economic BRICs" (PDF). Global Economics Paper No. 66 (66). Goldman Sachs & Co. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "The Outlook for Emerging Markets: From BRICs to the N-11". The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  24. ^ "'Bric' creator adds newcomers to list". Financial Times. 
  25. ^ Robinson, Gwen (17 January 2011). "Brics, MIKTs and O'Neill's 'lucrative lexicon'". Financial Times. FT Alphaville. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "Goldman Sachs's MIST Topping BRICs as Smaller Markets Outperform - Bloomberg". Bloomberg. 
  28. ^ Ernesto Gallo; Giovanni Biava (3 April 2013). "After the BRICS, is now time for the MIKT?". Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  29. ^ Matthew Boesler (13 November 2013). "The Economist Who Invented The BRICs Just Invented A Whole New Group Of Countries: The MINTs". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  30. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01pfcrw
  31. ^ Fletcher, Richard (2 March 2010). "Jim O'Neill: Profile of Manchester United's Red Knight". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  32. ^ "Jim O'Neill's CV". European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  33. ^ "Red Knights confirm United takeover plan". RTÉ News. 2 March 2010. 

External links[edit]