Friday 14 June 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Hester la vista

The big news to hit the City this week was the surprise announcement that Stephen Hester was stepping down as CEO of RBS. Tasked with turning the bank around, restoring it to profitability and overseeing its privatisation, his sudden announcement sent shares in the bank plummeting by 8%, wiping billions off its value. Although it partially recovered during the day, the fall out led to other banking shares tumbling as well; Lloyds dropped by 0.9 per cent, Barclays by 2.2 per cent and Aberdeen Asset Management by 4.3 per cent.

There has been anger from the City in response to George Osborne’s handling of RBSgate, with fury at the fact Hester was basically booted out by the Chancellor. It is clear that the two held divergent positions over the restructuring of the bank and also about the scale and pace of change. For all Osborne’s talk about entering the next phase of the RBS story, the message is the same. The government’s long held position was to refocus the bank towards consumer and business lending and cut down its investment banking operations. As Lord Lawson, former Tory Chancellor said “Essentially RBS is a retail bank dealing with SMEs and he [Hester] is an investment banker.”

Alongside the announcements of thousands of job cuts at RBS, some of which will be in the City, his £1.6 million pay out plus deferred share awards of up to £4 million and further privatisation announcements expected next week, the outrage from the City is set to continue.

This week Abchaps attended the Industry Lab on Healthcare at Bloomberg and a CIPR speakers lunch with John Hughman, editor of Investor’s Chronicle. We celebrated our Creative Director Boydie’s birthday in the Sky Bar. On Friday we hosted Versarien in our offices alongside Mark Russon of the London Stock Exchange, to congratulate them on their first day of dealings on AIM. 

The big City mover this week is undoubtedly the resignation of RBS Chief Stephen Hester. The chief executive of five years is to stand down at the end of the year as the UK government starts the transition to sell its 82% stake and return the bank to private ownership.

Paul Tucker is to leave his job as one of the Bank of England’s deputy governors. Mr Tucker is to leave in August, ahead of the end of his term, and plans to spend a period of time in academia in the US.

Amongst the City’s law firms, Fox Williams has appointed Helen Farr as a partner within its employment team and Lewis Silkin welcomes Adam Glass from Davenport Lyons as a partner in its media, brands and technology team.

Small Cap broker Westhouse Securities appointed a new finance director. Andrew Proctor leaves N+1 Singer to join the small cap institutional broking house.

Celebrate World Gin Day at Gin Stock 2013. For £36 a ticket, guest of the festival will be treated to some of London’s best bars, bartenders, live music and street food all day from midday to midnight and at the home of Street Feast London, Kingsland Road.!saturday-events/cp6w

For all you British Patriots, head down to Whitehall this Saturday for the annual Trooping of the Colour and celebrate the Sovereign’s official birthday. Events begin at 10am with the fly-past at 1pm.

London’s Southbank plays host to Yoko Ono’s Meltdown. From Friday 14 – Sunday 23 June, Yoko is curating a series of events and unique collaborations. There will be performances from Siouxsie, Iggy & The Stooges and talks and debates from the Guerilla Girls and Hans-Ulrich Obtrist

Head down to the Oxo Tower for renowned photographer, Roger Hooper’s exhibition in aid of WWF. Roger has captured animal images from across seven continents.

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