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April 13, 2018

Our Weekly Newsletter

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Across Instinctif Partners’ Financial Services team, we are always keeping an eye on the key developments taking place across the sector to evaluate their impact on the many businesses we work with. Here we share our picks of the week’s most interesting news, and our expert views.

MiFID II Showdown Looms

UK banks and brokers are getting ready for a second round of tense negotiations with fund managers over the cost of investment research. As a grace period for the implementation of MiFID II comes to an end, the true impact of the legislation will soon be known. Many analysts are already weighing up their next move, with some opting to become independent boutique providers offering more specialist insights. (From the Financial Times, 18 April 2018)

Cyber Security Pressure Grows

The head of Britain’s specialist cyber-surveillance body said this week that investors should demand more information from companies about their strategies for fighting cybercrime. Given the huge potential risks it presents to the business world, the real question here is whether investors and taking a gamble for not being serious about the underlying risks. (From The Times, 10 April 2018)

Retracting Becomes a Facebook Reality

Facebook is set to launch a new feature to its messaging service that will allow users to ‘unsend’ and permanently delete messages. The news comes after it emerged that messages from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives were removed, a feature that is unavailable to regular users. Will this mean people will gain control of their social media data? (From City AM, 8 April 2018)

Techies Loved More Than Bankers?

Many have argued that polishing the image of bankers is still a work in progress. Consider the dinner party test – a decade after the financial crisis, is it socially safe to admit to working for a bank? Or is it still better for finance professionals to pretend to be traffic wardens or estate agents to avoid the cold shoulder? (From The Evening Standard, 9 April 2018)

Bankers Weigh in on Climate Risk

Central bank governors from the UK, France and the Netherlands are considering increasing regulatory oversight to address climate-related risks to the financial system. The move would include carbon stress testing for banks, in an effort to be in the front foot when it comes to the economic impact of climate change. The BoE’s Mark Carney warned that “once climate change becomes a clear and present danger to financial stability, it may already be too late”. (From the Financial Times, 9 April 2018)

Social(ly) Does It

Social media is a curious phenomenon. Between citizen’s ‘journalism’, #fakenews and 24/7 public customer servicing, social communication channels are known for presenting unique challenges to personal and corporate reputations and for having the ability to damage or boost public profiles in equal measure, depending on the skills (and aim!) of who is posting updates.

It is unsurprising that the world’s number one social media outlet, Facebook, excelled at this game earlier in the week.

It took only a few minutes after Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in the US Senate for the notes he prepared to use during the hearing to ‘leak’ online.

The image, which seems to have been taken with a smartphone camera, shows a clear and detailed document summarising all potential topics that could be covered during the meeting. Zuckerberg’s prep also offered him an outline on how to react in case of pressure on a specific topic, and how to word details on subjects he was not able to comment on. Simply, it was a well put together document with salient and coherent arguments and rebuttals.

Given the structured and clear look of the briefing document, many have speculated whether its leak was an intentional move. Making the notes public reinforced the positive messages it contained, and showed (perhaps ironically) that Facebook has nothing to hide.

But then again, this might have been a genuine leak and that preparing detailed notes that look to protect a brand’s reputation and that of its leader is the only way forward – particularly considering the number of media outlets present at the hearing.

Regardless of which instance might have been the case, the leak confirms one unquestionable fact: that the number one lesson when communicating a message to media, politicians and the public is that being fully prepared always pays off. Just ask Mr. Zuckerberg, whose week could have been a whole lot worse.

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