Society of Business Economists

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The Society of Business Economists is the leading organisation serving business economists within the United Kingdom (UK). Its primary role is to offer its members scope to network through events, conferences, dinners and meetings. It also promotes enhanced professional development through masterclasses and an educational programme.[1]

The Society exists to help all those who use economics in a business environment, whether in industry, commerce, finance, consultancy or public service. The Society’s activities aim to advance the use of economic analysis as a tool to support business decision-making and to enhance the standing of the professional economist working outside academia. It provides a forum for its members to discuss and debate economic issues and helps them keep in touch with practical and theoretical developments within the discipline.

The membership of the Society is drawn from a broad spectrum of business life, spanning the City (London, UK), commerce and industry, public and private sectors, large and small businesses. Members have access to a wide network of professional economists, providing a means of establishing contact with other leading economists in the field as well as in other areas, for example, through links with similar associations in North America.

Note: The Society welcomes both established economists and younger members, including recent graduates and students intending to follow a career in economics. Most professional economists will join as full members; there is a reduced subscription rate for students undertaking an undergraduate or master’s degree with substantial economics content.


The Society organises a comprehensive and varied programme of meetings, seminars and conferences to enable members to keep updated on key developments in British and international economics.[2] The programme includes evening and lunchtime meetings at which guest speakers discuss and debate current economic issues. The Society also holds an annual dinner and conference.[3] There is an annual essay prize and members receive a yearbook with the contact details of all Society members.[4]

Monthly Meetings[edit]

The core of the SBE’s activities is a programme of monthly meetings from September to June. Distinguished guest speakers from the UK and abroad address the Society on a wide range of economic issues.


Conferences are periodically arranged for the consideration of the broader domestic and international issues affecting the business environment with the help of expert speakers.

Annual Dinner[edit]

The Annual Dinner is an opportunity to meet informally with other economists, and to hear leading after-dinner speakers addressing topical issues. Former speakers include: Sir Gus O’Donnell, Sir Howard Davies, Jean-Claude Trichet, Sir Edward George, Sir Peter Sutherland, Mario Draghi, Lucas Papademos, William C Dudley, Prof Axel Weber and Christian Noyer.

Educational Seminars[edit]

The Society regularly organises seminars on topical issues, new developments and techniques led by recognised experts in their own field.


A monthly newsletter keeps members informed of all the Society’s activities, with regular news of related groups. Recruitment advertisements are also circulated. Once a year the Society surveys members’ salaries. Book reviews and articles can also be found on the website (

The Society has a network of approximately 600 professional economists. To qualify as a member it is necessary to have a degree with substantial economics content or professional experience of economics.[5] SBE members represent a broad spectrum of industries including: banking, commerce, consultancies, the public sector, business schools and Universities.


The SBE has undergone a drive to include young economists such as recent graduates and students who intend to follow a career in economics. The Society offers a reduced subscription rate for students undertaking an undergraduate or master's degree with substantial economics content.

In addition, in 2014 SBE launched a new affiliate status membership category. Affiliate status is available for those who are not eligible for full membership but have an interest in applying business economics. SBE affiliates have access to all meetings, events and masterclasses. They do not have voting rights or access to the Society’s membership list.


The SBE is governed by a council of 12 elected members, with all full members and fellows eligible for election. The Chairman, President and Vice Presidents are elected by council members. The current President is Sir Dave Ramsden CBE. Vice Presidents are Sir Alan Budd, Dame DeAnne Julius and Andrew Sentance. The current Chairman is Dame Kate Barker.[6] The Society of Business Economists was initially established as The Business Economists Group in 1953. When Sir Campbell Fraser of the Economist Intelligence Unit, with the aid of three of his own colleagues as well as John Dixon of Dunlop and Clive Dalton of Esso, set up a meeting with a view to establishing a small group of economists working in business. [Reference: Donald Anderson challenge of change]. The group wanted to discuss professional challenges in responding to the UK’s relatively poor post-war economic recovery [Reference: Donald Anderson challenge of change].


The first Business Economists Group meeting took place in 1953, in the St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster, London. The attendance list shows there were thirty-three attendees: thirteen from industry, seven from consultancies and market research organisations, three from financial sectors, and one from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. The remaining six were from government organisations [Reference: Donald Anderson challenge of change]. Their aims were:

• Discuss the divergence between the real world challenges and economic theory. • Keep up-to-date with developments in economic theory. • Exchange views and analyse government policies, trends and current affairs. • Develop a ‘group’ that could facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences and so mitigate professional isolation. • Provide professional standards for business economists and promote the interests of the ‘groups’ members.

Meeting more regularly, the Business Economist Group was initially posed as a discussion group, operating without membership subscriptions. This was the forerunner to the official society known today as the Society of Business Economists (name adopted in 1969), whose aims remain broadly unchanged today.

Notable members include:

Past members include:


External links[edit]