CITY WHISPERS: Killjoys sound the death knell for office parties
Ever since the shenanigans at the Confederation of British Industry party hit the front pages, many British corporates have been left terrified about whether the same could happen to them.
So much so that high-level consultants have been advising bosses to cancel summer and Christmas parties in a bid to avoid scandals linked to drunken behaviour.
One partner at a leading consultant told Whispers: ‘These conversations are taking place in every boardroom up and down the country.
Raising a glass: There are worries that this new age of worthy puritanism could destroy much needed interaction between the different generations
‘We ask them is it a good idea to have people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s all on a boat or in a bar with copious amounts of free alcohol available?’
No doubt this expensive expert advice is being lapped up.
But there are worries that this new age of worthy puritanism could destroy much needed interaction between the different generations.
Has your office party been cancelled? Let Whispers know.
Revolut still waiting for licence
Another week passes for fintech firm Revolut as it waits for a UK banking licence – to the ever-growing fury of its outburst-prone boss Nik Storonsky.
It has now been more than half a year since finance boss Mikko Salovaara said a licence would be granted ‘imminently’.
But Salovaara quit in May and – with Storonsky previously lambasting UK regulators for the ‘long and tiring process’ – he might be better off going for a nap this time.
Tough month for Freedom Holdings
Freedom Holdings has been having a tough month after the Kazakhstan-based broker was accused by short-seller Hindenburg of evading Russian sanctions.
This won’t come as a surprise to the Ukrainian authorities, who have suspended the firm’s licence, while its tech-savvy founder Timur Turlov has been sanctioned by President Zelensky due to his ties to Russia.
Freedom denies the allegations. And, despite the growing controversy, it is trying to expand its empire.
Whispers hears the firm has applied for a licence to offer brokering services in the UK.
Given Turlov recently said the firm would continue to work with non-sanctioned Russians despite the frosty climate, he may wait a long time for a reply.
Ping An licking wounds over China property woe
All eyes were on China’s property market last week when one of its largest developers Country Garden posted a record £5.3 billion loss.
The firm has lost two-thirds of its value this year amid fears over its finances and the state of the housing sector.
One investor licking its wounds is insurer Ping An, with its 5 per cent stake.
City watchers will recall Ping An as a key irritant for HSBC earlier this year when it argued the banking giant should split off its Asian business.
With China’s economy slowing, it may now be Ping An’s turn to suffer, or, as President Xi Jinping recently said, ‘eat bitterness’.
Contributor: Mark Shapland