Capital Markets Corporate

June 1, 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.

Money Fears Kick In Early For Brits

Young Brits typically start worrying about money when they are just 26 years old, according to research by digital banking service B. The report found the main trigger for worrying about money is the experience of starting a first job, followed by either buying or renting a property. (From Mortgage Introducer, 30 May 2018)

Ethical Funds Through The Roof

The number of passive funds prioritising green and socially responsible companies has shot to a record high in a sign that investors are increasingly seeking to put their money into ethically sound businesses. More ETFs with environmental or social goals, so called ESGs, have entered the market in May 2018 than in any other month before. (From Financial Times, 24 May 2018)

Who Is Cashing In On The $9bn GDPR Shakedown?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was all praise for the GDPR this week when he admitted that “it is certainly worth discussing whether we should have something similar in the U.S.” but at what cost? A report in Forbes suggest that GDPR could have cost UK and US-listed companies as much as $9bn to implement. (From Forbes, 2 May 2018) 

Bank of England Could Go Crypto

A central bank-run digital currency to rival cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin could make monetary policy changes much more effective, according to research by the Bank of England. While Sweden’s Riksbank has already suggested issuing its own digital currency, the Bank of England is not going as far as that, but it remains a significant sign of the direction of the central bank’s future thinking. (From City AM, 30 May 2018) 

FOS Reveals Nation’s Fintech Gripes

According to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), consumers are increasingly complaining about issues relating to cryptocurrencies and “black box” car insurance products. The FOS’ annual report also strikingly shows that the number of complaints received has increased by 20,000 on the previous year. How financial services deal with these complaints will be vital to their reputation. (From Daily Telegraph, 30 May 2018)

Appalling Excuses

This week, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), announced the results of a review it commissioned, looking at the “appalling” excuses for gender imbalance given by companies.

According to the report, sentences such as “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment,” “there aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex,” or “most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board” were used to justify why women were not part of boards’ make-up in significant numbers. The BEIS also recently found that just a handful of the businesses it partners with are led by women.

Overall, the report’s findings paint a bleak picture of the UK’s male dominated corporate culture, showing a strong contrast between genders’ representation. Admittedly, there has been some improvement over the past half-decade or so, as the number of all-male FTSE 350 company boards fell from 152 in 2011 to just 10 in 2017.

Media were quick to pick-up the story and senior female business figures were equally prepared to add fuel to the fire.

Since the publication of the Gender Pay Gap, the media has been on red alert to highlight any sort of gender inequality issue at corporate level, or anywhere else in business and commerce for that matter. It did not take long for keen-eyed reporters to note that the Bank of England appointed the one man of its five potential candidates to fill the latest position on the Monetary Policy Committee this week, despite the remaining four candidates being women. It has also been quick to highlight the negative consequences of packing boardrooms with men.

All UK businesses need to be ready to address this issue, which is unlikely to go away. The tone of the conversation has been set and any issue of inequality will be pounced upon by newsrooms with a very clear agenda.

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