Shocks & Stares » Digital http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 How do you PR pensions to 8m people? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/how-do-you-pr-pensions-to-8m-people/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/how-do-you-pr-pensions-to-8m-people/#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2012 13:26:31 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=703 This little conundrum is the question facing the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) over the next few months. On 1st October, a new era of retirement saving will begin as workers are automatically enrolled into company pension plans without fail. You can opt out if you wish, but the hope from the Government is that two thirds of people won’t.

Now let’s get to the crux of the issue shall we? “Pensions”, “Saving” and “Retirement Planning” are all very dull, very unsexy words that most people the young side of 50 have little interest in discussing or thinking about.

The number of reports, press releases and speeches from companies and politicians on the yawning savings gap in the UK is enough to form a paper road to the moon. But it still makes little difference to savings rates, as was highlighted this week.

So, back to the question: how is NEST enticing 8m potential new pension savers to stay in their pension plans and not opt-out as soon as they can? Well, hats off to them. With restricted budget, they’re going hell for leather with an upbeat message, emphasising the joys of a later life spent in relative comfort. This is neatly summed up with the hashtag

#worthsavingfor

What’s pleasing to see is that they’ve avoided the old-school approach of just producing reports, surveys and general doom and gloom. We have the classic PR tactics like these in the mix, but they’re supported by a strong social media programme. Together, for me, it makes quite a package.

Will it work? It’s too early to say and we won’t really know for two or three years when most people will be auto-enrolled. Expect the papers to jump on any data showing high opt-out rates in big companies from December onwards. NEST and the Government are also clearly a little nervous, with rumours of an additional TV advertising campaign in the mix. Still, at this point, fair play to them.

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10 analysts/economists/traders to follow on Twitter http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/10-analystseconomiststraders-to-follow-on-twitter/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/07/10-analystseconomiststraders-to-follow-on-twitter/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2012 07:54:00 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=700 Someone has fired the starting gun on the City and Twitter, because in recent months the number of City commentators taking to the airwaves has shot up. Some of the names are familiar from their traditional place on the rolling news channels. Others are less familiar but growing.

Below is our list of ten that are well worth following for an insight on the markets, investing and economic data. There are lots more, and we’ll run another list in a couple of months’ time to update on this:

Mike Van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets: @Accendo_Mike

Michael Hewson, Senior Market Analyst at CMC Markets: @michaelhewson

David Buik, BGC’s semi-retired veteran analyst: @truemagic68

Bond Vigilantes, M&G’s retail bond team: @bondvigilantes

Justin Urquhart Stewart, Director at 7 Investment Management: @ustewart

Nick Bubb, Retail Analyst: @NickBubb1

Joshua Raymond, Chief Market Strategist at City Index: @Josh_CityIndex

Paul Kavanagh, Chairman of Killik Capital: @KavanaghKillik

And two financial bloggers well worth following on Twitter to round out the set:

Zerohedge: @zerohedge

Felix Salmon, Reuters’ finance blogger: @felixsalmon

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/166/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/166/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2011 17:34:24 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=166 Hello All, and apologies for a slightly late Financial & Professional Services Friday Fiver this week, but we’ve all been a little hectic. To round out the week we bring you banking, more banking, an Archbishop and Blackpool football club. Happy weekend all!

The Big Four Banks feel the heat….The big four revealed deep divisions on restructuring at Wednesday’s treasury select committee appearance as their CEOs jockeyed for position with the powers that be. Stark divisions were revealed on the Independent Banking Commission proposed scope for ring fencing core retail banking functions. RBS’ Stephen Hester alluded to the “moral hazard” problem if government effectively insulated the market, which could perversely encourage excessive risk taking, a view supported by Barclays.

In contrast, HSBC and Lloyds support a broader separation and more diverse mix to encourage the much needed supply of credit to the market – note the Q1 figures which reveal banks failed to stay on track with “Project Merlin” pledges.

Vince Cable - back on the banker bashing trail this week (image from Telegraph.co.uk)

Finally, Vince Cable rattled the sabre again, unveiling a not so “veiled threat” to link bank bonuses to SME lending! Will this create the required traction on this fragile detente between the City and the Government? Watch this space, but maybe don’t hold your breath.

Anthony Hilton digs in his heel as well…At the same time as surviving a tough session in Westminster, Barclays came under fire from the Evening Standard’s Tony Hilton. While CEO Bob Diamond was claiming to Parliament that his bank had been a “stabilising force” in the crisis (though some might argue the Middle East was the real ‘stabiliser’), Hilton was taking aim at his finance director for something called ‘Project Protium’.

Barclays and the Cayman Islands - source of Anthony Hilton's wrath this week

This essentially involved hiving off some of the bank’s toxic assets to a Cayman Islands registered company in a neat little trick to reduce losses on the company’s profit and loss account when the assets turned sour. It’s fair to say Hilton really went for the jugular on this one. The moral of the story? If he writes something once and you don’t like it, be prepared to read it all again two days later if you complain about it.

The Archbishop caused a stir too…Rowan Williams stole Prince Phillip’s thunder whilst acting as guest editor of New Statesman this week, using an article to heavily criticise the Coalition and its policies. He argued that ‘we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted’ thereby questioning the Government’s mandate to govern.

Was he right? Probably not. As Defence Secretary Liam Fox pointed out, ‘the Government has legitimacy because it has a majority in the House of Commons.’ Whilst some policies have undoubtedly been rushed, a Government is elected to make decisions and lead a country, and it’s fair to say the Coalition is certainly doing that – despite clamours for the Chancellor to adopt a plan B, he presses on resolutely.

As businesses need strong leadership and clear direction, we need our politicians to show equal virtues. Questioning the Coalition’s mandate is much like Donald Trump and others questioning Barack Obama’s place of birth place and therefore his right to be President; an unnecessary distraction from a much more important job at hand.

Boom, Bust or Blackpool…Is it us or is the world of football slowly going mad? We say this having recently read an article on Deloitte’s annual Football Money League. We’re no experts on the ins and outs of running a football club, but GCSE maths and a pinch of common sense tells us that paying your staff more than 70% of your total revenue in any industry is a bit iffy – as our colleague Nick puts it, the desire for a couple of extra places up the league table “seems to me a bit like financial Russian roulette”.

Blackpool gambled and won promotion - others have been less fortunate

We’ve already seen Portsmouth fall spectacularly from FA Cup winning glory to administrative collapse. With wages still increasing it may not be long before other Premiership clubs follow suit. One could argue Uefa’s Financial Fair Play Initiative is a step in the right direction but for us the danger lies in clubs trying to establish themselves as a prominent Premiership force.

Football governance should improve and a lot of lessons can be learned from the world of business. Just as CEO’s have a responsibility to their shareholders; boards, managers and players have a responsibility to fans. I’m sure if you ask most Bolton fans whether they’d rather finish 10th and risk financial meltdown or 14th and still be here in twenty years most would take the latter. We know Nick would!

Demystifying Digital…Finally, H&K this week held one of our regular ‘D2′ events aimed at tackling and understanding the digital world. Our very own Nick Woods presented on how financial services brands can engage in this sphere, highlighting the work we do with HSBC International Bank. We’ll have more on this next week for you, as will the main HanK blog but in the meantime congrats to Nick on a cracking presentation.

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