Friday 7 December 2012

Abchat Weekly Wrap-Up: Britain is open for Business

City chatter this week has centred on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement with just about every group of people, from the richest and poorest to the much maligned ‘squeezed middle’ claiming to bear the brunt of the spending cuts. Mr Osborne was forced to admit that the period of austerity (buzz word of 2012?) will continue for the next six years, way into the next government, and that overall the economy has actually contracted again this year.

While banks were hit with yet more tax, it was not all doom and gloom; the majority of businesses, and particularly SMEs, should welcome the statement. In a bid to make Britain a more competitive and attractive place to do business, companies will benefit from reduced corporation tax and an increase in the annual investment allowance, which should hopefully encourage capital investment through stocks and shares ISAs. As those who work with SMEs will know, any moves to encourage investment in small companies will be extremely welcome. With the introduction of the Business Bank, there should (eventually) be funds in place to improve lending to small businesses also.

We must hope that the result of these measures will do what the government intends – kick start the economy, stimulating the growth and confidence this country so desperately needs.

The Government’s Autumn Statement was unveiled this week and George Osborne has placed business at the centrepiece for economic recovery. The aim is to harness the private sector’s £750bn cash pile to stimulate growth through a range of incentives; including corporation tax cuts, a 10-fold increase in the small businesses annual investment allowance and a £5bn boost to capital projects.

Large multinational businesses came under scrutiny this week as it emerged that many were paying little or no corporate tax. Famous firms revealed to be funnelling UK generated profits offshore include Starbucks, Amazon and Google.

Cineworld splashed out £47.3 million this week to snap up the arthouse group’s Picturehouse. Despite the concerns over the movie giant spoiling the quirkiness and ‘local’ vibe of the Picturehouse’s cinemas, the Group stresses that nothing would change under the new ownership.

As Japan’s government revealed its new energy policy, the DPJ has pledged to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear energy following their Fukushima plant disaster last year. For now, the forecast for Japan could see it rise to being the next frontier in innovative energy efficiency and renewable technologies.

STOCKWATCH: Apple’s market value was slashed by £35bn as the Company suffered it’s biggest one-day drop in 4 years. Wednesday saw shares plummet 6.4pc amid concerns of losing market share in China.

Abchaps hosted a fantastic Christmas Future Faces party this week, entertaining a great mix of the City’s Future Faces with live music from the Robbie Boyd Band and delicious canapĂ©s including mini Abchurch logo Christmas cakes.

We held a brilliant China Market Lunch, where industry specialists discussed China’s manufacturing rebound and the audit crackdown by the US SEC.

Other festive networking events Abchaps enjoyed this week include Seymour Pierce and Moore Stephens Corporate Finance Mines & Money event; Daniel Stewart Christmas party; Baker Tilly’s Young Professionals drinks and Bates Wells & Braithwaite’s Caribbean themed Christmas Party.

At our Christmas Party this week, the team were treated to an evening at Jamie Oliver’s recently opened Recipease in Notting Hill. We learnt how to make Jamie’s American green chili before sitting down to eat our own delicious (and some not so!) interpretations.

As the City starts to wind down for Christmas, rumour has it that Hector Sants, former head of the FSA, has been offered a job by Barclays just a few months after it was fined almost £60m by the FSA for the libor rigging scandal. Sants is keeping his options open as Reuters reports he is also in talks with Deloitte to join as a Partner.

BlackRock has announced the appointment of Olivier Defaux to its financial institutions group in its London office while Westhouse Holdings has appointed Simon Pettitt to head up the stockbroker’s fixed income business. Last week Canaccord Genuity appointed Adrian Haxby as Head of European Investment Banking.

In the professional services space, Deloitte has brought in Angus Wildblood as analytics partner in its enterprise risk services practice and KPMG this week appointed senior M&A investment banker Rama Ayman to head its global Metals & Mining Corporate Finance practice. BDO has strengthened its international private wealth team with three appointments.

City veteran Tony Nutt, a central figure at Jupiter Asset Management, head of the UK equities desk and runner of two of its best known funds, has announced his desire to step down and retire from the industry.

In a Media Move, Gerard Baker was named as Editor in Chief at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.

"Fungibility" - The ability to exchange or substitute a security for another security of the same type.

Feast festival at Islington Square is underway, following their sold-out summer event they are now getting festive. They have transformed a Victorian sorting office into a festive Christmas banquet which brings together some of London’s most exciting chefs including HIX, Mishkin's, Ceviche, Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany, alongside our Capital’s street food heroes, all accompanied by some brilliant live music.

Head to the Southbank Centre to see Art of Change: New Directions from China on until Sunday, presenting groundbreaking Chinese art. The first of its kind, the exhibition is entirely focused on large-scale contemporary installation and performance art from China, over the last 30 years.

Everyman Cinema has relocated to the Old Vic Tunnels under the streets of London for fully festive snow-capped screenings of classic films including The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, It’s A Wonderful Life and more. There’s plenty of Christmas food and cocktails to accompany your visit to the alpine forest of Christmas cinematic magic.

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