IMF encourages global response to stimulate economic growth

The World Economic Outlook study by the IMF spotlights weaknesses in the global economyStudy by IMF spotlights weaknesses in global economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that free trade is being increasingly seen as something that benefits the wealthy and warn that help is needed for people whose job prospects have been damaged by globalisation. In a statement from the organisation’s half-yearly World Economic Outlook study, it spotlights weaknesses in the global economy as being largely responsible for the stalling of trade growth over the past few years. It also acknowledged that anti-trade feelings could harden further, given the current climate. Read more…

Wells Fargo in meltdown over unethical conduct

Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf under the spotlight as bank castigated for unethical conductWells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf grilled over unethical conduct

Last year, the city of Los Angeles sued Wells Fargo for unethical customer conduct, amid allegations that the bank had secretly opened unauthorised accounts on behalf of thousands of customers. The bank has since reached settlements totalling almost $200 million. At a September hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf was grilled over the bank’s transgressions and although he announced a pay forfeit of $41 million in pay and made a promise to drop the bank’s incentive programme, few of his interrogators were impressed. Read more…

Airbnb’s Samara project targets new buildings

Airbnb is extending its reach into architecture and city planning with its new Samara projectAirbnb extends its reach into architecture and city planning with Samara

Space-sharing disrupter Airbnb has encountered as much opposition as it has inspired budget-conscious travellers across the world. Its business model of owners renting out living spaces – anything from a single room to an entire house – has offered an opportunity for owners and renters alike to benefit. But the San Francisco-based company has drawn criticism from hoteliers who are losing business and from city dwellers who claim that Airbnb is reducing the availability of long-term rentals. Read more…

Brexit means Brexit – or does it?

The British public voted for Brexit, but when is it going to happen?The British public voted for Brexit, but when is it going to happen?

In June this year, a referendum was held in the UK over whether or not to remain part of the European Union (EU). The shock vote by the British public to leave the European Union caused a dramatic shift in sentiment and left a kingdom that seemed a long way from united. Despite assurances by the then government that wheels would be put in motion to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon – and continued talk by the new prime minister that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, there’s seems no further clarity on what form Britain’s secession from the EU would take. Read more…

US companies should review ‘pale, male and stale’ boardroom

Shareholder advisor ISS advises refresh of tired boardroomShareholder advisor ISS advises refresh of tired boardroom

Corporate governance advisor ISS is recommending that the United States’ top companies – including Alphabet and Berkshire Hathaway – should review their board recruitment policies to reflect increased diversity. As part of its latest annual survey, ISS canvassed opinions on boards where long-serving directors were the norm in a bid to promote changes in investor voting guidelines. In a recent Financial Times (FT) analysis of research data, more than a quarter of the American boards tracked fielded boards with a high proportion of older, long-serving directors. Read more…

US economy feeling the pinch as lines of credit are squeezed

Businesses treading water as banks tighten standards relating to applications for creditBusinesses treading water as banks tighten standards over applications for credit

A survey recently conducted by the Federal Reserve reveals indications that lines of credit are harder to come by, with loans to businesses on commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real estate (CRE) facing tougher criteria over the second quarter of 2016 than in the past three quarters. Companies in search of C&I loans for new inventory or relocation are facing tougher credit standards as banks continue to tighten lending, particularly in the case of medium- and large-sized companies. Read more…

Microsoft wins privacy tug-of-war with US government

Appeals court overturns earlier ruling forcing Microsoft to hand over customer dataAppeals court overturns ruling forcing Microsoft to hand over customer data

Cooperation between tech companies and the US government has soured recently over a series of showdowns over law enforcement and customer privacy issues. Most recently, a US appeal court has judged that the government can’t compel Microsoft to comply with a demand for information, overturning an earlier ruling that found the tech giant in contempt for failing to aid a narcotics prosecution. This is because the data at the centre of the story is stored overseas and would breach the company’s terms. Read more…

Verizon acquires Yahoo in $5 billion deal

US mobile network Verizon has bought Yahoo in a $5 billion dealUS mobile network Verizon has bought Yahoo in a $5 billion deal

For many millennials, Yahoo was their first introduction to the worldwide web – a portal to an exciting new experience. But more recently, it’s become an anachronism, lagging behind the competition, and is struggling to maintain its place in a fast-moving field. Once valued at $125 billion, it has now been sold for less than $5 billion to US mobile network Verizon. In last quarter alone, the company lost half a billion dollars but Verizon wants it not for its existing business model, but for its billion-a-month visitors. Read more…

Lifestyles of the rich and famous exposed in the Panama Papers

panama papersBiggest-ever leak causes political fall-out across the globe

The secret wealth of some of the world’s highest-profile politicians and celebrities has been unceremoniously unmasked in the biggest information leak in history. Millions of documents obtained from law firm Mossack Fonseca – collectively known as the Panama Papers – has demonstrated how the rich and famous take advantage of international fiscal havens to avoid paying tax and to mask their commercial activities. Read more…

Are we heading towards a cashless economy?

Cashless could be on the cards as banks weigh up the pros and consCould cash become obsolete?

We’ve all become more wedded to plastic as advancements in technology allow us to pay for everything from a breakfast muffin to a wide-screen TV with a credit card. But the idea of a cashless economy seems unthinkable. Central banks are evaluating the situation, though, to enable them to exert more control over economic recovery measures. It’s no good establishing QE and negative interest rates to stimulate the economy if people hoard cash instead. Read more…