Linstock’s Friday Takeaway – 8 April 2016

“The leak is a reminder of the need to manage the inextricable links between cyber security, hacktivism and reputation management effectively.”

Bad week: Mossack Fonesca
Bad week is an understatement. The last seven days have seen the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonesca, suffer a data leak of no less than 11.5 million files, swiftly dubbed “the Panama Papers” by global media. The leak has led to the resignation of Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and the publicising of sensitive information relating to 200,000 companies. The leak is a reminder of the need to manage the inextricable links between cyber security, hacktivism and reputation management effectively – an issue which will increasingly move up the business agenda over the coming years.

Good Week: London Financial Services
London has maintained its place at the top of Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index, beating rival city New York to be named the world’s number one financial hub. Innovation across the capital’s booming fintech sector is helping to spur the city’s success. Londoners themselves have certainly embraced advancements, conducting 36 million cashless transactions worth nearly £900 million since September 2015, and are increasingly warming to mobile and wearable payment services. The latest Index is a reminder of London’s pre-eminence and the importance of financial and related professional services to the UK’s global competitiveness.

Bad Week: David Cameron
Among global leaders implicated in the Panama Papers debacle is the UK’s own David Cameron. In an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston, the Prime Minister admitting selling a stake in the Blairmore Investment Trust, a fund mentioned in the leaked Mossack Fonesca documents, for just over £30,000 at the start of 2010. While investment managers worldwide, and Peston himself, have been swift to highlight that the registration of funds like the Blairmore Trust in offshore locations is not always tantamount to tax evasion, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has accused Cameron of a ‘do as a I say not as I do’ approach to tax avoidance. The PM will no doubt be hoping that today’s news is fish and chip paper by the time parliament resumes proceedings on Monday.

Good Week: Personal Privacy
WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, has introduced full end-to-end encryption, meaning that billions of users are now sending messages that cannot be intercepted by a third party. The new update also protects photos, videos and group chats from being snooped on by external parties as well as WhatsApp employees. In light of increasing concerns about surveillance and the recent fall-out between Apple and the FBI, the move has so far been welcomed by users of the app concerned about protecting their personal information.

Client News

Ahead of the first anniversary of pension freedoms, Retirement Advantage featured in a Financial Times review of the impact that last April’s changes have had on consumer behaviour. Andrew Tully, Pensions Technical Director at Retirement Advantage, highlights how retirees are still not shopping around enough for annuities and will potentially miss out on £104 million of retirement income over the course of their retirement.

Coming Up

Experts on devolution will be taking part in a roundtable discussion with academics from Newcastle University in an event entitled, ‘What can the Northern Powerhouse learn from London? Keeping community engagement at the heart of devolution.’

We’ll be attending a lecture discussing how behavioural science can help tackle a lack of diversity in the workplace.