LSBF Blog - Global Matters

Japan PM Abe calls for greater female participation in workforce

September 15 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to get more women into work to boost the nation’s economy.

Japan’s working environment is known for many things, but flexibility and work-life balance are not among them. Punishing working hours and a culture of unpaid overtime have ensured that the country has a reputation for being tough on working parents.

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Bank switching rises with 7-day service

September 12 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

More and more people are switching bank accounts since a seven-day switching system was introduced.

Last September, moves were finally made to simplify the process of switching bank accounts. As part of a move to increase competition and make life easier for consumers, the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) was launched to ensure that customers could switch their accounts within seven days.

Direct debits and credits would also be changed over for them without any extra charges. According to new Payments Council figures published today, the scheme has been fairly successful so far.

This two-year project will see a total of £750 million invested in the design, building, testing and launch of the service by the time it ends. However, it is already being well used – in fact, the data shows that in just under a year since the launch, over 1.1 million switches have been made.

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Amazon to double number of UK employees with new London office

September 12 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Amazon’s new office opening in London in 2017 will see the company more than double its UK workforce to 5,000 employees.

Amazon is increasing its corporate presence in the UK after it was confirmed that the company has made an agreement to open a huge new office, right next to the heart of the capital’s tech industry.

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Hong Kong raises $1 billion through Islamic bonds

September 11 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Hong Kong has reported a highly successful first foray into Islamic ‘sukuk’ bond sales by raising $1 billion in sales.

Since Islamic nations around the world have begun emerging as powerful economic forces, it is hardly surprising that so many authorities and institutions have started looking into the world of Islamic finance. Not to be outdone, Hong Kong has just announced its first successful attempt at an Islamic bond sale.

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has published the details of its first sukuk – bonds that are structured to comply with Islamic law and investment principles.

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Kingfisher fifth FTSE 100 firm with female CEO after Véronique Laury appointment

September 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Kingfisher will become one of just five companies in the FTSE 100 with a female chief executive when Véronique Laury takes the helm.

Recent moves to improve female representation in the business world have focused heavily on getting women into the boardroom. That’s where the targets are and that’s where the world is watching. In contrast, the top job of chief executive has received far less attention – but DIY retailer Kingfisher has bucked a trend today by appointing Véronique Laury as its new chief executive.

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Germany and France to kick-start €300 billion European investment push

September 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

In line with plan outlined by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Germany and France are joining forces to push towards a European investment programme.

The eurozone’s struggles have been well-documented over the past few years since the financial crisis, but a new push from France and Germany could see a renewed period of investment across the European Union.

Bloomberg reports that government officials have confirmed that France and Germany are working together on proposals to involve the European Investment Bank (EIB) in granting loans to businesses. Apparently, the initiative is due to be presented to a meeting of finance ministers from across the bloc’s member states on Friday, 12 September.

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UK emerging as a ‘graduate economy’, claims OECD

September 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The UK is turning into a “graduate economy”, OECD says, but skills shortage needs to be addressed

More and more people in the UK are obtaining degrees, transforming the economy – but basic skills are not rising at the same rate.

These are the findings of the latest Education at a Glance report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which shows the UK is increasingly developing into a “graduate economy”.

More people are now likely to have a degree than to have achieved only school-level qualifications, the report finds – a significant milestone on the road towards a true graduate economy.

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iPhone 6 and watch launch a new era for Apple

September 10 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Two new phones, a payment system and wearable tech: Apple pulled out all the stops on 9 September.

Brand fans and tech lovers have never stopped looking forward to Apple product announcements. But the past few years have seen the tech giant accused of losing some of its innovative streak, especially since the death of co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs in 2011. Yesterday’s new announcements, live-streamed online, were not necessarily aimed at the critics, but went a long way towards trying to prove them wrong.

Two new iPhones, a payments service and a smartwatch later, everyone’s talking about the new ideas at Apple. So what’s involved and where could it lead?

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Interest rates in the UK will rise in Q1 2015, says CBI

September 09 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The Confederation of British Industry has said that it now expects interest rates to go up as early as the beginning of 2015 in Q1.

Last week (September 5th) saw the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) surprise nobody with the news that interest rates would remain flat for another month.

After more than five years at the record low of 0.5 per cent as the central bank has attempted to promote and then safeguard economic growth, it is going to take compelling evidence to encourage MPC to increase the cost of borrowing.

But the attitudes of policymakers have been shifting in the past few months, and minutes from last month’s meeting indicated that for the first time in three years the decision was not unanimous. Two members of the committee had actually voted to increase interest rates, although nine consented to keep the rate flat.

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UK challenges EU over bonus cap for bankers

September 08 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The UK is mounting a legal challenge to new rules that limit the bonuses bankers can be awarded.

The UK government is due to present a legal challenge today (September 8th) to new EU legislation that limits the bonuses that can be paid to bankers.

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Why are tech startups moving to the megacities?

September 08 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Silicon Valley might be the global hub of the tech world, but more and more new firms are looking to big cities elsewhere.

When you think of technology hotspots, the chances are that Silicon Valley springs to mind. It’s been the world leader for decades and still sees more investment than virtually anywhere else in the tech world. But the next generation of tech startups don’t seem as interested in isolation as the Apples and Facebooks – instead of famously remote locations, they’re looking more often towards big cities elsewhere.

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Bank of England keeps interest rates at 0.5%

September 05 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has announced that it is to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5 per cent for another month, despite the fact that the UK’s economy is in robust shape.

In making the announcement, the BoE also revealed that it would be maintaining the size of its economic stimulus programme at £375 million.

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Barclays introduces finger vein technology

September 05 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Barclays has launched a pioneering service that may transform the way people access banking and usher in a new age of state-of-the-art security.

Currently, the usual practice involves users having to type in a number of passwords and numbers, which can be a somewhat laborious process.

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UK construction sector experiences 7-month high

September 04 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The UK construction sector continues to deliver outstanding results, with the latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The construction boom in Britain is substantial, with the rise in output between August and July – from 62.4 to 64.0 – the largest monthly increase one of the biggest ever recorded during the survey’s 17-year history.

It is also the largest monthly rise since January of this year. Attributing to these successes include another marked rise in house building, and upsurges in commercial activity and civil engineering.

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Ecuador to launch national digital currency similar to Bitcoin

September 04 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Ecuador intends to launch its own national digital currency similar to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Ecuador has revealed more details about its intentions to create what it has described as the world’s first digital currency to ever be issued by a country’s central bank.

According to President Rafael Correa, the aim of the digital currency, which has yet to be given an official name, is to help people in Ecuador who cannot afford traditional banking.

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Competition: Win 1 FREE year of ACCA study at LSBF!

September 03 ,2014 | by LSBF Blog Staff

Challenge yourself and enter our ACCA for School Leavers competition for the chance to win 1 year of study for free!

This is a great opportunity if you are interested in studying accountancy at a professional level and improve your career prospects.

Plus: we’ll put your CV in front of the right people!

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TTIP can add £10bn to UK economy

September 03 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Lord Livingston has claimed that the negotiations between the UK and the US over a European Union trade deal could add £10 billion a year to Britain’s coffers.

UK trade minister Lord Livingston said that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has the potential to transform Britain’s economy, by adding as much as £10 billion to it annually.

Although opponents of the yet to be finalised agreement believe that it would have a detrimental effect, Lord Livingston, who was chief executive of British Telecom until last year, brushed aside such arguments, saying the opposite in most cases is true.

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Top 3 reasons for SME owners to take a vacation

September 03 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

The latest SME Risk Index from Zurich reports that one in seven business owners will, in effect, take no time off work this year. In short, holidays, be it a staycation or an overseas break, is off the cards.

One of the chief reasons for a lack of ‘holiday time’ for SME owners is to do with trust. Annual leave is forsaken because many SME leaders feel uncomfortable about delegating responsibilities to anyone else but themselves.

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Google follows Amazon by testing drone deliveries

September 02 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Amazon isn’t the only firm investigating the use of drones for package delivery, since it has emerged that Google is following suit.

Amazon raised eyebrows when it emerged in November that the e-commerce giant was trialling a system that used drones to deliver packages. Not to be outdone, Google is testing a new system of its own.

Project Wing has been in the works for two years, and is being tested by Google’s X division in the Darling Downs in Queensland, Australia. Earlier this month, the remote location became the testing ground for the first trials that included personnel from outside Google, and it seems that tough terrain might be one of its core focuses.

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Apple iPhone 6 to revolutionise mobile payments

September 02 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Apple’s latest smartphone – iPhone 6 – looks set to revolutionise mobile payments by transforming the device into a portable wallet.

Apple has been playing up to the hype surrounding the supposedly imminent launch of its new sixth generation iPhone by saying very little on the matter. The only thing the tech giant has contributed by way of comment is the following succinct message: “9.9. 2014 – Wish we could say more.”

An event has been booked on this day. It is to take place at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, the very establishment where Steve Jobs introduced the Mac computer 30 years ago. It is reasonable to deduce this is where the latest iPhone will be officially unveiled to the world.

There is a lot riding on this device and needless to say, given the success of all the previous models and the way in which they have constantly set the bar in the field of smartphones and portable devices higher and higher, Apple cannot fail in delivering another landmark product.

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Video: ‘Great Minds’ series – Brompton Bicycle MD Will Butler-Adams discusses how to run a successful business

September 01 ,2014 | by LSBF Blog Staff

Visibility is the most essential element of a successful business. This is the mantra of Will Butler-Adams, the managing director of Brompton Bicycle, the world-famous British folding bike-maker. According to him, profit, revenue and other variables play an important role, but “what you need in order to run a business is visibility.”

An extremely successful business and a prominent example of the new generation of UK manufacturers, Brompton has gained worldwide acclaim due to the quality, resistance and flexibility of its bicycles.

 

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From the world of business: August 2014 highlights

September 01 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Welcome to our business news round-up for August 2014.

In this round-up of the most important business news stories from around the world, we point you to some of the biggest news stories that have had people talking during the past month.

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BCC ups UK growth forecast for 2014 and 2015

September 01 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The British Chambers of Commerce has once again upgraded its economic forecast for the UK in 2014 and 2015.

It’s almost a cliché now to talk about the success of the UK’s economic recovery. But more encouraging data has been revealed last week that indicates Britain is doing even better than expected.

The latest Economic Forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows that the business organisation has upgraded its growth forecasts for this year and next year. In fact, the 2014 prediction has been revised from 3.1 to 3.2 per cent – the fastest growth rate since 2007.

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Is Snapchat really worth $10 billion?

September 01 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Snapchat has virtually no revenue – so how has a recent round of funding valued the company as high as $10 billion?

Snapchat has had a remarkable journey over its short lifespan. Just two years after the company was founded, chief executive Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook – all at the tender age of 23. It seems like he might have been right to do so, since it appears the social messaging app firm is now worth nearly $10 billion.

That’s the valuation accepted by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, anyway. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting that the company has agreed to invest in Snapchat as part of the social messaging service’s ongoing bid to gain investment from external sources.

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Global equities hit record high value of $66 trillion

August 29 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Global equities hit a new high this week as the S&P 500 closed above 2,000 for the first time.

Global financial markets made history this week, after a record-breaking performance from the S&P 500 Index contributed to the highest value ever recorded for international equities. Bloomberg reports that global shares had added more than $2.2 trillion in value since 7 August.

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