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Monday's Business and Politics round-up

16 Apr 2018

Person reading the news on their smartphone on a train

Good morning!
 
This week the UK hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Leaders will gather with a view to addressing shared global challenges and agree how to create a better future.
 
But with Brexit on the horizon, can the Commonwealth provide Britain’s trading future?
 
This question takes front page of the Financial Times this morning and sees the IoD’s Head of Europe and Trade Policy, Allie Renison, debate Lord Mandelson, former European Commissioner for Trade.
 
Allie argues Britain’s future trade prospects are as much about Europe as they are about the rest of the world.
 
And if Brexit interests you, sign up to attend the next instalment of our popular Navigating Brexit series which takes place on April 25. Allie will be joined by a panel of experts including Shanker Singham, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama and Giles Derrington to discuss data flows in the negotiations and the regulatory regime that might emerge for businesses managing personal data in the UK after Brexit. 



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Persons of interest

The Financial Conduct Authority has reported a sharp fall in the number of regulatory cases for individual misconduct.
 
Figures show that from 2016 to 2017, the number of individuals referred to the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee in financial services fell by 64% to just 13 people.
 
The RDC hears disputes against the FCA findings in cases against firms and individuals for regulatory failings.
 
The statistics are in spite of the FCA’s intention to refocus on individual cases, particularly at senior management level.
 
However, there was a significant increase in the number of firms referred to the RDC. 476 businesses were referred in 2017, up from 289 in 2016.

Despite the drop in individual cases, professional services firm RPC reports “ever-increasing numbers” of FCA investigations into individuals.

“We expect significant increases in referrals to the RDC in the coming years - not only due to the projected increase in the number of investigations into individuals, but also due to recent changes to the FCA enforcement process”, the firm said. 


Waging against inflation 

Britons have been given their first pay rise since the beginning of last year with average wages climbing. A year-long squeeze on real incomes, constraining economic growth, has come to an end.
 
Figures released tomorrow are expected to show average wages in February rose 3% on a year earlier, above the inflation rate of 2.7% for the same month. This marks the first time pay growth has outpaced the rise in inflation since January 2017.
 
On Wednesday, statistics from the Office for National Statistics are expected to show a continued decline in inflation to 2.6% in March.
 
The numbers are set to be welcomed by households after inflation over the past year dealt a blow to spending power.
 
The early signs of recovery come after a “lost decade” for pay, which still has some way to go before reaching its pre-financial crisis peak. 

Free-4-all

Channel 4 is looking for a location for its new national headquarters. It has kicked off the search with a launch at its Horseferry Road premises in London.
 
The broadcaster is distributing a 15-page brochure outlining its requirements and a timeline for submitting bids. Final decisions on the “winning” bids are expected in the third quarter.
 
The initiative, called 4 All in the UK, will be the biggest structural change in the company’s 35-year history. The plans include 300 of its 800 staff moving out of London.
 
Over a dozen cities have already expressed an interest in hosting the broadcaster, including Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton.
 
With plenty of municipalities vying to host the company, Channel 4 will have to avoid breaking rules on state aid – the use of state resources that might distort EU competition and trade.  

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