Our Weekly Newsletter
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.
Stripe valuation soars to $95bn after latest fundraising
Stripe, America’s most valuable start-up worth $95bn (£68bn), is plotting a major expansion in Europe. The payments provider plans to add 1,000 jobs in Ireland alone over the next five years after raising $600m from investors, and intends to launch in Brazil, Indonesia and India later this year. Launched in the US by two Irish brothers in 2011, Stripe processes payments for tech giants and large retailers, with more than 200,000 new companies in Europe signing up to the platform since the start of the pandemic. (From Financial Times, 14 March 2021)
Bank of England governor defends self over scandal
Bank of England governor and former Chief Executive of the FCA Andrew Bailey has defended himself after a former appeal court judge, Dame Elizabeth Gloster, criticised his evidence surrounding the FCA’s failure to supervise and regulate London Capital & Finance. The collapse of LCF in 2019 saw thousands lose their life savings, and the report highlights that Bailey had made legal representations to prevent responsibility for the FCA’s failings being attributed to him by name. Bailey said it was “not correct” to say he did not want his name mentioned in the context of personal responsibility and that his apology for the failure had been misrepresented. (From BBC, 16 March 2021)
UK economy shrinks 2.9%
The UK economy shrank 2.9% over the last month, exceeding the expectations of experts. The fall in output was triggered by the reintroduction of strict restrictions on economic activity to curb the spread of coroanvirus. Figures from the ONS also reveal imports and exports to the EU experienced intense volatility, driven by disruption to trade caused by firms getting to grips with new post-Brexit regulation and Covid-related travel restrictions. (From Reuters, 12 March 2021)
ONS shakes up inflation basket to reflect new buying habits
The ONS has changed the list of goods and services it uses to measure inflation in the UK economy. Hand sanitiser and dumbbells have been added, while white chocolate and ground coffee have been removed. The changes are in part an effort to reflect the change in consumers’ buying habits triggered by the pandemic. (From The Guardian, 15 March 2021)
DB transfer market dominated by small number of firms
Activity in the pension transfer market is attributable to a small number of providers, according to a report published by LCP. Less than a fifth (17%) of the revenues from Defined Benefit (DB) transfers went to St. James Place and 13% to the investment platform AJ Bell, despite over 2,000 firms having authorisation to conduct DB pension transfers. Consolidation in the market could intensify due to the rising cost of warranty and indemnity insurance pushing smaller firms out of the market. (From The Times, 13 March 2021).