Shocks & Stares » Facebook 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 Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/03/friday-fiver-7/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/03/friday-fiver-7/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 12:06:15 +0000 Joey Ng http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=569 Sticking to the format of our new shorter and snappier Friday Fiver, here are five things that caught our eye from the week that was:

Just horsing around

Source: Creative Commons/Kenjonbro

1. The rise of the Sun on Sunday and the death, or rather resignation of another – On Wednesday, James Murdoch resigned as executive chairman of News International, raising speculation to the possibility of one of Jimbo’s older siblings emerging as eventual contender for the top dog of News Corp as he steps down.

2. The Leveson enquiry unrivalled another “surprise” this week with Rebekah Brooks and her gift horse from the Metropolitan Police. Sure did reveal the stable relationship Brooks had with the police. Oh the puns!

3. Facebook Timeline for brands got us talking this week as well. What it will mean for financial clients, for professional services? How to mark those significant brand milestones? I mean, issue 9.99 of an ISA account is hardly going to create the same emotional relevance, as the nostalgia of an iconic Coca Cola advert. Whatever the outcome, existing brands have just 30 days to clean up their Timeline and flip the switch.

4. In other news, banks have had their knuckles rapped this week by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS received over 250,000 complaints in 2011. Topping that list were Lloyds and Barclays as the most complained about banks.

5. Soon you’ll be able to use your phone for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Just earlier this week, H+K client, Visa Europe announced a worldwide partnership with Vodafone that will allow mobile phone users to pay for goods and services using their handset.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/02/fps-friday-fiver-33/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/02/fps-friday-fiver-33/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2012 17:59:33 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=506 Hello All, and welcome to our latest edition of the Financial and Professional Services Friday Fiver. Two things have happened in the UK this week – firstly, it’s been very, very cold. And secondly, corporate Britain has turned into something of a witch hunt. There’s more on that below, as well as our thoughts on Facebook, Mega mergers and a new magazine launch for our sector. Happy weekend everyone, and stay warm.

THE BUSINESS OF FRIENDSHIP…..“It is a good thing to be rich… but it is a better thing to be beloved of many friends.” Euripides

A wise quote, but of course if you’re Mark Zuckerberg you have all of the above. This week Facebook announced its much anticipated Initial Public Offering. It may not be the biggest IPO, of recent years but it’s likely to be a theme of the business pages for many weeks to come. The company is looking to tap up investors for $5bn but the investment community is divided both on the rationale for the listing, as John Gapper explains in today’s FT [recommended read] and also the long-term investment case for the company.

Whatever the merits of the decision, it can be easy to forget the wealth that start-up businesses create, particularly when they experience success on the scale of Facebook. We were warmed to hear the tale of the graffiti artist who took stock instead of cash for painting the company’s office. The value of the stock could now be worth as much as $200 million. All in a day’s work…

SICK (MEDIA) NATIONS…..This weekend sees the beginning of the RBS Six Nations. England approach the tournament as fourth favourites, humbled by their world cup exit and off the field escapades. Ireland are third favourites and will be without their talismanic skipper Brian O’Driscoll. And Wales, so often the nearly men of northern hemisphere rugby (sorry Rach), lie second in the odds, without their impressive and youthful fly half Rhys Priestland. The French once again lead the pack.

La Tribune has ditched its daily print edition

But unlike their rugby team, it seems the French print media landscape is in a more rapid decline than ours. This week saw the last ever daily print edition of La Tribune, one of the leading economic newspapers in France. It will be replaced by a weekly print edition and an active website – of course. Established in January 1985, it was read by CEOs, managers, professionals, political and institutional decisions makers for twenty-seven years.

The success of the website and the weekly edition will no doubt be closely monitored by the British print media. As in the rugby, the question is, when will England take a lead from the French? The closure of the News of the World, the Leveson inquiry and the emergence of ‘i’, ‘Britain’s fastest growing quality newspaper’ no less, suggests the long mooted change in our media landscape is a foot. Quite who will win the sweepstake however is anybody’s guess.

ECONOMY, ECONOMI, ECONOMIA…..Not all print titles seem doomed however – this week, Ed and Dave attended the launch of the ICAEW’s new magazine, ‘Economia’ (thanks for the champagne and chocolates guys, we loved it!). The inaugural edition certainly featured a grand line-up of interviews and contributors, and it will be interesting to see if the magazine can maintain the high standard it’s set itself in future editions. However, there must have been one or two nervous faces on Tuesday evening as the front cover was unveiled – perhaps not the greatest timing….

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – ENJOY IT…..Our annual cold snap arrived with a bang this week and the forecast for the weekend is decidedly of the ‘icy-white’ variety. Then again, according to The Times’ Eureka magazine this week, we’d better enjoy the pretty white stuff while we can. Snow it seems, is in danger of becoming as rare as a snow leopard within the next 50 years or so as global warming takes a grip. While the debate over warming continues to take precedence over actual action, there are some upsides to a less snowy/icy planet, not least the opening of the Northwest Passage and access to the Arctic’s oil, gas and mineral reserves – something that a newly merged Xstrata/Glencore would undoubtedly look to get to grips with…

GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK…..As it turns out, it’s been a good week for shareholders, and in particular, anyone with a FTSE tracker fund. As the BBC’s Hugh Pym noted a short time ago, the FTSE100 closed up this week at 5,901 – the highest the index has been since July last year. Will it last? Perhaps not, but for a brief moment at least, pension pots and stocks & shares ISAs are looking a little rosier.

On the bad week front, it’s hard to look past anyone sitting in the chief exec or chairman’s seat on a large company’s board really. The combination of Stephen Hester’s bonus backdown and (Sir) Fred Goodwin’s ‘de-robing’ have caused some commentators to speculate that Britain is now ‘closed for business’. With reporting season still in full flow, the pay gauntlet is looking increasingly long and spiky for company bosses for at least the next four weeks.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-20/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-20/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2011 13:04:41 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=294 Known unknowns…

Frank Portnoy, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego has written a fantastic article in today’s FT on market uncertainty, rogues, risk taking and trust in banks. The best we’ve seen and rather frightening, Dr Doom would be proud, because ultimately, however much we regulate, we are only basing decisions on what has happened in the past, rather than what could happen in the future – i.e, Greece defaulting.

Every picture tells a story…

Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Indeed this photo, featured in Jackie Ashley’s excellent comment piece on what the future may hold for the Liberal Democrat’s (it’s a fairly bleak outlook) tells a very specific story of the Liberal Democrat’s past; the good intentions of fresh faced Lib Dem MP’s. Contrasted this week, with the harsh realities of Government, and the tensions between the two, superbly captured in Danny Finkelstein’s commentary.   

F8: The media story of the week…

Facebook and Spotify have teamed up to bring free music to Facebook users and announced the fruits of their labours this week with this video. Mashable provide a better summary than we ever could, but this is certainly worth knowing about.

“Disastrous miscalculation” – but by whom?

Yesterday Kweku Adoboli, the UBS trader accused of losing £1.5 billion, appeared in court on charges of two counts of fraud and two of false accounting dating back to 2008. During the hearing his lawyer said that he is “sorry beyond words” for his actions.

Mr Adoboli is not the only one who should be sorry – or worried. Mr Adoboli actually shopped himself; it was not the UBS risk or compliance teams that picked up on his reckless behaviour. This presents a massive problem for UBS and its internal control systems as they have been shown to be unfit for purpose.

“Disastrous miscalculations” have certainly been made, both by an individual and an institution.

Get set for the iphone 5…

Infographic: Dusan Belic, IntoMobile

 

The ‘will they, won’t they’ speculation was all a bit much for the iPhone junkies around the office this week, and despite the lack of information coming out of Apple themselves, we think all this confusion just makes for an even bigger launch when the iPhone 5 actually hits the stores – and we can’t wait.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/07/fps-friday-fiver-10/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/07/fps-friday-fiver-10/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:38:14 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=213 Yes, it’s Friday, and even though the weather’s not looking great, it is at least the weekend. Undertandably this week, most people have had their heads focused on one story in particular. However, there’s also plenty else going on which is why nin this edition of the Financial & Professional Services Fiver we bring you some of the stories you may have missed this week.

Thanks as ever to our contributors – this wek, Jo, Ed and Clare.

To save or spend, that is the question…With retailers going bust on UK High Street, you could be forgiven for thinking that consumers have no money to spend. However, quarter two’s Visa Europe: UK Expenditure Index (our client) paints a more complicated picture of consumers’ expenditure behaviour.

Consumers aren't spending and the high street is in trouble. The reasons why are more complex than you might imagine though (Image: Guardian.co.uk)

The Index shows that year on year consumer expenditure increased by 4.4% in quarter two. The monthly data for April, May and June shows year on year increases in expenditure of 4.2%, 4.5% and 4.3% respectively. However when you look more closely at May’s figures, things start to get interesting: expenditure growth in May was bolstered by consumers saving rather than spending as they put their money into NS&I certificates. The impact of one-off factors were largely diminished in June, which saw a strengthening of underlying spending as consumers cautiously returned to the High Street and ‘usual’ spend.

It seems that consumers are becoming increasingly circumspect about what they do with their money.  The challenge for the High Street is to convince consumers their money is best spent with them rather than saved. This is a battle that may well get bloody…

The Huffington Post launches…Yes, HuffPo, as it is affectionately known has launched in the UK. The brainchild of Arianna Huffington who took the US political news market by storm, has set her sights on the UK online media market. Already, questions have been raised – ‘Where is the innovation?’, The Guardian’s digital content blog asked. It’s a fair point, given the work that paper has done in this area, but why change a winning formula?

The jamboree around the launch alone must’ve generated major traffic. Its success will undoubtedly lie in its ability to challenge the online print media for traffic and generate advertising revenue for its owners AOL. Given PoliticsHome’s rapid shift to a subscription model, it will be interesting to see if HuffPo also competes in the political news aggregator space. Certainly, plenty to look forward to and we anticipate the ‘meeja’ watching developments very closely.

It’s also worth also noting the launch today of Dale & Co: ‘a new blogging platform, showcasing 92 writers, each with editorial independence, providing some of the best political, media, social and sports commentary on the net’. This may provide the real competition for Huffington Post UK given Iain Dale’s profile as a commentator in political and media circles.

FaceSkype…This week, Facebook announced an interesting partnership with Skype, which the latter’s CEO, Tony Bates, considers as “the most important strategic relationship”. Is this yet another reason for us spend more time behind the digital wall or does it really bring the opportunity for video chat to go truly mass market?

Facebook picked up another partner this week, which will make distant friends & family happy

Apart from being extremely useful to keep in touch with those that live on the other side of the world this might just fuel the demise of a simple face to face coffee in Starbucks and with over 750 million active users this is looking more and more likely. We can safely say then that Facebook is the current big winner of the social network fight!

One country which isn’t jumping on the Facebook / Skype bandwagon is the UAE. Surprisingly Skype is not legally licensed in the UAE – quite remarkable coming from one of the most technologically advanced countries in the Middle East. Trust Facebook to fuel this debate further as discussions over whether or not this ‘innovate feature’ will actually make it to the forefront of people’s laptops and phones are in the air.

Boris Bonds…A couple of weeks back, we wrote about the Scottish government’s attempts to raise money through their new powers to issue ‘braveheart bonds’. Now it seems, it’s the turn of the Greater London Auhtority, which plans to issue £600m worth of bonds to pay in part for CrossRail.

Crossrail - the GLA are digging a big hole in the ground while trying to avoid a big hole in their budget

Paying for any kind of public works project at the moment is tricky. Raising enough money to pay for a £17bn construction programme is therefore at the very tricky end of tricky. As Anthony Hilton noted though, the move by the GLA and Lloyds, who will act on their behalf, could be a masterstroke and a template for future fundraising efforts by local authorities as austerity cuts really start to bite.

PIGS or PIGI…Greece, as we know, is in serious trouble. This week Portugal looked like it was being lined up to be the next to fall off the wagon as one ratings agency downgraded its debt dramatically. Ireland, we all know about as well. The question is though, who’s next in line?

The conventional wisdom had been that Spain was the next most vulnerable, but now thoughts are beginning to turn towards Italy. As The Econmist noted in a special report last month, in the good times the country has grown less than its peers, and in the bad times has tended to suffer more than its peers. Perhaps its no surprise then that some are starting to question whether investor eyes might be about to turn on it.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/fps-friday-fiver-8/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/fps-friday-fiver-8/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:07:55 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=181 Welcome to our Friday Fiver. This week we look at Nick Clegg’s proposals for public ownership of bailed out banks, the ever growing tech bubble and cybercrime, whilst we shift effortlessly from speaking to ourselves in the first person to a collective, as our minds wonder what the weekend might hold. With a few nuggets of information at the very end – so worth reading all the way through!

Thanks to Ben, Dave and Jo for contributions.

The People’s Bank…

It’s not often that ‘I agree with Nick’. But despite the naysayers who say that it’s pie in the sky, the administration of such a project would be impossible, or that Nick Clegg is only mentioning it now to get himself some press attention while he travels in Brazil, I have to say I like the idea of those who bailed out the banks getting something back. I also like the idea of reintroducing share ownership to the public at large because it goes some way to bridging the gap between what people perceive of financial services and equity ownership and reality.

It also helps with the financial education theme which is so popular amongst politicians and financial services companies, but rarely actually really delivers change because at the end of the day it is a one way message. Repeated surveys show the public never really engage or feel comfortable with finance, however well intentioned the various programmes are that exist. If they owned shares, they would pay attention, they would engage, they would also probably make some money in this instance, and get something back for the tax revenue they provided to the banks.

Surely that is worth further investigation?

The bubble keeps growing…

We’ve written before about the soaring valuations of tech companies, and in particular, social media companies. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Foursquare have seen their potential values skyrocket as investors queue up to get a piece of any potential IPO. We (or to be blunt, Dave) have been somewhat sceptical about the value being placed on these businesses, chiefly because the profits most of them are making are barely correlated to the huge valuations put on them.

Over the past week, we’ve had two more cases in point. The first is Pandora, an online music and radio service based in the USA. It floated for $2.6bn mid last week, and its value briefly soared above $4bn according to an in-depth article about this issue in Tuesday’s FT. The second is Shazam, which secured $32m in new funding from venture capitalists on Wednesday. This means a float is unlikely for a while, but it didn’t stop ‘sources’ claiming the company “was now worth hundreds of millions of dollars” according to an FT blog.

The missing element here? Profits. Shazam is making them, but only just, whilst Pandora hasn’t made one yet, and its current revenues of $110m are a tiny fraction of its valuation.

This sceptic remains unconvinced I’m afraid….

Cyber crime

The threat of ‘cybercrime’ loomed large this week after news of the arrest of a 19 year-old hacker suspected of carrying out attacks on the C.I.A and the UK’s serious organised crime agency. After the WikiLeaks saga and arrest of NASA hacker Gary McKinnon it would seem that security agencies are struggling to keep a handle on…well, security. But this isn’t just any security, the issue of ‘cyberspace’ is a particularly tricky one as currently there is no transnational law to define what happens next.

This is an issue policy makers have been keen to address since the National Security Strategy identified cybercrime as a tier one priority risk.

But the question remains, how do we control this vast and intangible area? In the FT this week former British cabinet minister John Reid says innovation is the key to cracking the cyber crisis. What is needed, says Reid, is an ‘elite cadre of innovators able to lead a workforce with a different, entrepreneurial ethos’. We’d like to think they might look like this.

Anyone up for the job..?

Summer Solstice

June 21 saw the longest day and shortest night of the year and despite this marking the official beginning of the summer season it also means that from now on our days will be getting shorter and our nights longer and we might as well all be starting to get ready for Christmas.

But for those of us who haven’t yet embraced the summer months you might want to have a look at Visa Europe’s (client) Third Annual Travel Report which revealed that holidaymaking Britons are increasingly venturing out of the eurozone. Visa Europe analysed international spend trends of 105 million UK cardholders to reveal the countries with the highest annual increase in consumer spend in 2010. While Zimbabwe tops the list, fellow African countries, Gambia (4th), Nigeria (5th) and Morocco (10th) all featured in the top ten.

Definitely food for thought if you haven’t yet planned your summer getaway, but if you would like to keep your feet on home turf, you might want to try and find some at Glastonbury this weekend, which despite its muddy start, festival goers are expected to enjoy the hottest day of the year on Sunday! Excellent.

On the theme of live music…

And fitting for a Friday afternoon, we’ve noticed recently an upward trend in people singing out loud on trains along to their ipods, regardless of the fact that their fellow commuters are either staring at them and tutting, or sniggering quietly behind their copy of the Evening Standard. It’s not surprising given the tendency of City workers to drown their sorrows before boarding the train back to the home counties and with more mobile music, it was bound to happen.

Last night’s performance was a classic though, not only the odd word being sung, but the full nine yards. Eyes shut, belting out a rambling drunken version of what sounds something like a combination between Blur, The Streets and Bob Dylan but with one of the most awful voices ever heard. The whole carriage falling about laughing, the commuter/singer totally oblivious, eyes still shut, finger pointing in the air and occasionally tapping on the table in front of him. Never mind karaoke, this is surely a new national sport. Is this is continuing influence of reality TV? Dave, we think you might know the answer, but can anyone think of a name for it?

The best of the rest…

If you haven’t read a transcript of this week’s treasury questions, never mind, but for *the record* this summary from Paul Waugh comes highly recommended.

H&K’s very own Candace Kuss has written an excellent article for CNN on her experience at this year’s Cannes Lions advertising festival.

And BIS published a consultation on consumer empowerment this week, which we think you might like to know about.

Have a good weekend.

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