Arguing over which city is the world’s premier financial hub is so pre-crisis. For years now the debate has been Who is the Most To Blame For This Godawful Mess? And how? But that got boring and no-one went to jail.
So now it’s time for Who’s Got the Worst Regulators? Read more
Last week, FTSE Group launched a consultation on the free float rules for its various indices. That followed an outcry from investors concerned about the wave of overseas companies seeking to list on the main market while keeping control out of public hands. Read more
Britain is to sue the European Central Bank for setting rules that allegedly handicap the City of London and would force one of the world’s largest clearing houses to decamp operations to the euro area, the FT reports. An ECB policy paper, released in the summer, requires clearing houses to be based in the eurozone if they handle more than 5 per cent of the market in a euro-denominated financial product. The unprecedented legal action underlines the depth of ministerial concern over the ECB policy, which comes as the UK engages in a turf war with France and Germany over Europe’s financial markets infrastructure.
UBS threatened to scale back its presence in London if the government followed advice from a heritage body that effectively blocked the redevelopment of its City of London headquarters, the FT reports. In a confidential letter sent to Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Carsten Kengeter, chief executive of UBS’ investment bank, described the “serious consequences” for UBS and the City of a decision to list the 1980s Broadgate office complex as of special architectural interest. “If the proposed development of 5 Broadgate has to be abandoned because 4 and 6 Broadgate . . . are listed, we will have to find alternative future accommodation that we can occupy by 2016,” he wrote. “We do not consider this to be feasible given the scale and nature of the space required. Such a decision would force us to fundamentally reconsider our occupation strategy in London.”
Vince Cable, UK business secretary, will launch an assault on the “murky world of corporate behaviour” and City excess, as he unveils plans for another probe into governance, executive pay and takeovers, reports the FT. Cable’s harsh description of capitalism as “short-term” and greedy is likely to appeal to many at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference in Liverpool but the planned speech was already drawing reactions on Tuesday night. Richard Lambert, director-general of CBI, the employers’ organisation, said Cable might like to set out to his conference his alternative vision to capitalism, adding: “It’s odd that he thinks it sensible to use such emotional language.”
London’s competitiveness in the market for initial public offerings risks “severe” damage if plans proceed to merge the authority overseeing listing rules into a beefed-up companies regulator, warned the London Stock Exchange, reports the FT . The LSE expressed concern about Treasury proposals for the UK Listing Authority, issued in July. The UKLA, part of the Financial Services Authority watchdog, vets prospectuses of companies seeking stock market listings and monitors FTSE-listed companies’ disclosures to the markets. The Treasury has recommended it be merged into the Financial Reporting Council, the corporate reporting regulator.
Whether you’re an increasingly impecunious chief executive at a mid-ranked UK company, or one of the City’s increasingly flush “AVPs” (assistance vice-presidents), some – interestingly timed – reports on Monday are telling us a few things.
First, Reuters reports that the average pay of junior executives in London’s financial sector rose sharply over the summer. Read more
The average number of qualified candidates for each new City job vacancy has more than halved from 5.7 a year ago to 2.7 in March, according to research by financial services recruitment company Astbury Marsden, the FT reports. The jump in demand could prompt a return to the aggressive poaching of talented personnel rife in the pre-credit-crunch era, the company said.
George Osborne, the prospective Tory chancellor, has failed to win over the City’s top bankers, with the vast majority of senior financial services executives preferring the incumbent, Alistair Darling, an FT survey says. The FT poll of more than two dozen senior bankers revealed deep misgivings about Mr Osborne amid an election campaign that has seen all three main parties attacking big City bonuses.
Gordon Brown on Monday launched Labour’s manifesto claiming it was “rooted in the day to day concerns of the British people” and would produce “a fairer, greener, more accountable and more prosperous” country once the recovery was secured, the FT says. Key policies for the recovery include the promised new high-speed rail link, a green investment bank, broadband for all, a “new culture” in the City and moves to ensure that the banks pay their fair share to society through an international banking tax.
Niche financial groups, particularly those focused on emerging markets, are fuelling a recruitment spree in the City, say headhunters and bankers, the FT reports. Leading the charge are groups such as Renaissance Capital of Russia and Religare of India that see enormous potential in markets such as Africa, eastern Europe and India.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne has promised the City that a Eurosceptic Conservative government would not become isolated in Europe and that it would be “prepared to trade” with other member states to defend Britain’s financial services sector. “We’re prepared to trade some other things in order to secure Britain’s vital national interests on financial services,” he told the FT in an interview.
Companies from Kazakhstan plan to move part of their fundraising away from London, according to the country’s central bank governor, because UK investors failed to stand by the central Asian state during the financial crisis. “Over-relying on London was a mistake because too many people ran away in the crisis and proved to be our fair-weather friends,” Grigory Marchenko said in an FT interview.