Lloyds Banking Group, which is 39%-owned by the UK taxpayer, says its chairman, Sir Win Bischoff, will retire before May 2014.
Staff-owned retailer announces plan to offer senior managers a level-6 vocational qualification equivalent to an honours degree
John Lewis is planning to offer its staff the chance to study for “degrees” under a work-based scheme dubbed the “University of John Lewis”.
The staff-owned retailer said it would offer senior managers a level 6 vocational qualification, said to be equivalent to an honours degree, by the end of the year. The department store chain already offers a range of existing programmes leading to qualifications. Last year 1,330 John Lewis partners gained a retail diploma, with a third picking up a level
Some 60% to 80% of fossil fuel reserves owned by listed firms could be classed as unburnable if politicians stick to CO2 emission limits, a report warns.
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Deputy PM says he wants to encourage more owners to sell business on to employees
Nick Clegg will propose tax breaks on bonuses handed out to staff in employee-owned firms as part of an attempt to boost what he calls the “John Lewis economy”.
In a speech to the Employee Ownership Association, the deputy prime minister will outline plans to consult in the summer on “a relief on tax on bonuses paid through benefit trusts, where a significant chunk of the business is owned by employees”.
To qualify it would be necessary for the rewards to go to the whole company and not just those at the top.
It is the first time that Clegg has gone so far as to promise a specific consultation on the issue. He will say: “Employee ownership works because it so neatly aligns incentives and puts the workers at the heart of the business.”
The ideas go beyond the budget commitment to provide £50m capital gains tax relief from next year for a majority shareholder to sell his company to his employees.
Justifying that plan, Clegg will say: “Many owners end up selling to the investor who has the largest chequebook but little regard for the traditions, employees and customers of the firm.
“Others hand the business down to their children even if that isn’t what they or their children really want. What we want to encourage is for more owners to sell the business on to those people who know the business inside out, who will go the extra mile, the wider family who have worked to build it up and contribute to its success – in other words, the employees.”
In the past year there has been a 10% growth in the number of employee-owned firms.
In common with the Tories Francis Maude and Oliver Letwin, Clegg is pushing for a diverse model of companies in the UK, including mutuals in the public sector. He will say: “A diversity of business models in an economy is important because it ensures that not all firms are structured to take short-sighted, gung-ho risks on behalf of others.
“Crucially, employee ownership can drive employee engagement by aligning the incentives of ordinary workers and the business. In practical terms, it means lower absenteeism and lower levels of staff turnover. Across public service mutuals we have seen organisations who have decreased their absenteeism by an average 20% since spin-out. Many companies spend thousands of pounds to come up with quirky ideas to motivate their staff, yet fundamentally it is the structure of their company which fails to align incentives.
“The Cass Business School concluded in 2010 that employee-owned businesses are between nine and 19% more productive than traditionally structured companies. So not only does employee ownership help build a more motivated, more committed workforce, but it improves the bottom line too.”
Schroders to purchase rival fund management company Cazenove Capital, netting Cazenove shareholders a fortune
Two of the City of London’s oldest firms are to merge, unleashing a million-pound bonanza for stockbrokers, as Schroders announced on Monday that it will buy its smaller fund management rival Cazenove Capital.
Cazenove, reputed to be the Queen’s broker, is one of the City of London’s most blue-blooded firms, dating back to 1823. Schroders, founded in 1804, has agreed to pay for £424m for Cazenove, spelling a windfall for the smaller firm’s shareholders.
Cazenove is 95% owned by its roughly 1,200 current and past employees and the deal will net shareholders 135p in cash per ordinary share.
“The price must be right for Cazenove shareholders. We can surmise from the fact that [the shareholders] are minded to accept that the price makes sense for them,” said Douglas McNeill, investment manager at Charles Stanley.
The single biggest shareholder, Andrew Ross, Cazenove’s chief executive, who holds 4,592,000 ordinary shares, 2.7% of the total, could be in line for a windfall of £6,199,200. Under the deal, Ross is to become head of UK private banking, reporting to Philip Mallinckrodt, group head of private banking at Schroders.
A spokeswoman at Cazenove declined to comment on individual payouts, but said no shareholder owned more than 2.7% of the shares.
Cazenove’s fund management business was split from its parent company when the Cazenove investment bank agreed a joint venture with US financial giant JP Morgan in 2004.
The tie-up between the two city firms, intended to be complete by June, will create one of the UK’s largest private banking and wealth management firms. Schroders had assets under management worth £229.2bn in 2012, while Cazenove had £11.2bn. The Cazenove brand will be retained for the private banking business, keeping in circulation a name that dates back to the Regency period.
McNeill said the tie-up was a good deal for Schroders, who will “certainly cover their cost of capital”.
Regulation aimed at making wealth management more transparent could stoke further mergers and acquisitions, he said. “There is an element of uncertainty about future margins as a result of regulatory change, and that is giving a lot of wealth management firms pause for thought at the moment, and it may encourage them to respond with more M&A activity.”
Philip Mallinckrodt of Schroders said: “The complementary fit between our two firms, the strong shared service culture, long-term investment approach and established heritage of both businesses make this an ideal match.”
Justin Urquhart Stewart, marketing director at Seven Investment Management, said Schroders had got “pretty good value” on the deal, but that the challenge would be merging the cultures of the competing firms. “They are both fairly traditional [firms], but they have been rivals for some time. The easiest part of the takeover is the takeover. The hard part is making it work.”
He also predicted that a “period of lower, slower growth” and low interest rates would bring more consolidation in the fund-management industry. “There will be more mergers as people try to get economies of scale, but equally there will be more innovation as the smaller firms, boutiques, try new ways of doing things to reduce costs and provide better values.”
Rising costs meant that small firms, handling sums of £20-£40m, were likely to go to the wall, he said. “Whereas costs previously would have been hidden by high returns, now they stick out like rocks through water and rocks rip out the bottom of any fund business.”
Although famed for its traditional ways, Cazenove, or “Caz”, has already moved on since the days it was led by old Etonians, with a butler manning the gold-plated front door at discreet offices behind the Bank of England.
Urquhart Stewart warned against nostalgia for the city of bowler hats and long lunches, before the “Big Bang” regulatory clearout of 1986.
“The city is at its best when it is trying to reinvent itself. The city is at its worst when it is looking at sepia photographs of how good it thought it was. It looks back to pre-Big Bang days and ignores the fact that it was divided by firms according to their religion, it was very white, nearly all male and had fixed commissions.”
“On the other hand, it didn’t have a bonus culture and all the excesses that we have lived through today. The sooner we get back to the attitudes that it is a privilege to manage people’s money and not a right, the better.”
The City of London has always been a draw for foreigners. Cazenove was founded by two brothers, who traced their origins to the Huguenots, the Protestant refugees who fled France in the mid-17th century; Schroders was created by two Prussians, also brothers.
Schroders, established in 1804, grew rich on financing the tobacco, cotton and sugar industry, and by 1900 was one of London’s biggest banks. Cazenove, founded by Philip Cazenove in 1823, carved out a niche providing discreet financial advice to the well-heeled. Cazenove is reputed to be broker to the Queen, something it consistently declines to confirm.
Even the most venerable firms could not stay immune to the changes sweeping the Square Mile for ever. US banking giant JP Morgan bought Cazenove’s investment banking business in 2009, following a joint venture agreed five years earlier, which had left Cazenove Capital as an independent fund management business.
Lloyds Banking Group, which is 39% state-owned, paid more than £1m to 25 of its staff last year, its annual report shows.
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YouTube, the video sharing site owned by Google, has announced it has passed one billion regular users.
Excerpt from: YouTube reaches one billion users