Top Stories

January 19, 2017


HSBC, UBS to shift 1,000 jobs each from UK in Brexit blow to London

Two of Europe’s biggest banks warned on Wednesday that they could each move about 1,000 jobs out of London considering Britain’s exit from the European Union. UBS Chairman Axel Weber said that about 1,000 of the Swiss bank’s 5,000 employees in London could be affected by Brexit, while HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said his bank will relocate staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading revenue to Paris. Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper also reported that Goldman Sachs is considering halving its London workforce to 3,000 and moving key operations to New York and continental Europe, particularly Frankfurt, where it could move up to 1,000 staff. However a Goldman Sachs spokeperson said the bank has yet to make its decision. The shift of jobs will be a blow to the City of London, which has been lobbying since the Brexit vote for financial firms in Britain to retain the EU ‘passporting rights’ that allows them to sell their services across the bloc. (Reuters)


Black woman to portray Lady Liberty on U.S. Coin

The United States Mint unveiled designs for the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin, which will portray Lady Liberty as an African American woman. It is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coin designs that will “depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms, including designs representing Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Indian Americans among others — to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States,” according to the statement. “We boldly look to the future by casting Liberty in a new light … looking forward to ever brighter chapters in our nation’s history book,” Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson said. Abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman will be featured on the front of a new $20 bill. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in an open letter in April the decision to put Tubman on the new $20 “was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old. (DiversityInc)


Australia Day billboards with girls in hijabs to appear nationwide after campaign raises $130,000

A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $130,000 to get a photograph of two young girls wearing hijabs at an Australia Day event on billboards across the country, and surplus funds will now go to Indigenous X and non-profit organisation Children’s Ground.  The image had been posted to a far right group’s social media page and prompted hundreds of bigoted complaints. In response, a crowdfunding campaign by the Campaign Edge advertising agency called for the girls’ photograph to be reprinted on posters and in an Australia Day campaign. Dee Madigan, the creative director at Campaign Edge said this was just sort of a chance to fight back at racism. The campaign originally had a target of $20,000, with any leftover funds going to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the response has grown reaching a donation rate of about $100 a minute. (The Guardian)

Consumer Spending

Burberry returns to growth in key Asia-Pacific region

Burberry celebrated a return to growth in its crucial Asian markets. Sales at the fashion group increased 3 per cent in the last three months of 2016, helped by “exceptional” spending in the UK. Indeed, in China Burberry recorded “high single-digit comparable sales growth”. The firm is preparing to relinquish Christopher Bailey from his duties as chief executive and replace him with Marco Gobbetti, the former head of Céline.  Burberry shares closed up 3.4 per cent at £16.47 on Wednesday. The share price has increased by about a third since the announcement of the new chief executive. The Brexit vote, and the ensuing slide in sterling, has provided a windfall. Revenue increased by 22 per cent in sterling terms. “This third quarter improvement reflects early progress from our plans to drive Burberry’s performance for the long term,” said Mr Bailey in a statement. “We continue to take action to position the business for growth over time.” (Financial Times)


2016 hottest year ever recorded – and scientists say human activity to blame

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century. In 2016, global warming delivered scorching temperatures around the world. The resulting extreme weather means the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists. The natural El Niño climate phenomenon, which helped ramp up temperatures to “shocking” levels in early 2016, has now waned, but carbon emissions were the major factor and will continue to drive rising heat.  Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “Any politician who denies this evidence from world-class climate scientists will be wilfully turning a blind eye to rising risks that threaten the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.” (BusinessGreen)

Image source: Harriet Tubman on the Money by Mike Licht. Some rights reserved: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)