It’s been a tough week at consultancy giant EY, which has just agreed to pay a $100 million fine after its auditors admitted to cheating on their accountancy ethics exam. Dozens of employees were reportedly involved, but the fine record was issued not just because of that wanton disregard for best practice, but because the company also allegedly misled investigators and obstructed a probe into events. You can’t help but feel that it just would’ve been a lot simpler to sit the test properly.
Andrew Formica set tongues in the City of London wagging several days ago when he announced a surprise exit from his position of chief executive at US fund giant Jupiter. But it wasn’t the surprise that was so, erm, surprising. Formica, who is 51 years old and originally hails from Australia, intends to go and “sit at the beach and do nothing.” Chief investment officer Matthew Beesley will succeed Formica in October, though no doubt by that point Formica will be sporting a healthy tan and possibly even a guitar fashioned from Pacific Ocean driftwood.
Remember Rishi Sunak’s Future Fund? Well, it wasn’t just a coronavirus gimmick. Announced in a bid to support firms that may be struggling as a result of the economic downturn induced by Covid-19, the Treasury’s Future Fund has taken a 1.5% stake in Killing Kittens, the global adult sextech party brand that runs “meet-and -greet” events all over the world for curious and likeminded participants. It also turns out founder and CEO Emma Sayle is a mate of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Netflix is Definitely Getting Ads
We’ve given extensive coverage to Netflix’s revenue woes, and it appears that, several months on, the company has come up with one answer at least: advertising. Users will have the option of a cheaper tier of content access that includes adverts to YouTube, co-chief executive Ted Sarandos told the Cannes Lions advertising conference this week. We suspect this won’t be the last you hear on this topic, given Netflix’s decidedly worrying-looking share price performance in the last six months.
A New Era of Archeology Has Begun
If you ever watched Blue Peter you may remember the show’s near-obsession with time capsules, which it used to preserve present-day objects for posterity. It can be quite exciting discovering things that are so old, particularly when they’re kept in immaculate condition. But that happened on an even grander scale in Wilmington, Delaware, where a fully-intact Burger King restaurant from the 1970s was discovered behind a wall at a local shopping mall. The internet quickly nicknamed the find “The Burger King Burial Chamber”. We can only hope it is turned into a museum.
Next-Gen Advisers Aren’t that Old
It can be disheartening when someone assumes you’re older than you actually are, so spare a thought for financial adviser Ross Jefferies, who was among the 210,000 people who descended on Glastonbury last week to sing, dance, and enjoy the likes of Billie Eillish , Paul McCartney and Diana Ross on stage. A reporter from the Swindon Advertiser (of all publications) picked up on Jefferies’ attention to him, describing him as a “middle-aged guy in a bucket hat and vest jacket having the time of his life.” Jefferies is 26.
Wise’s CEO is The Subject of an FCA Probe
The chief executive of payment company Wise appears to be in hot water with the UK regulator after not paying his taxes. Back in September 2021, HM Revenue & Customs put Kristo Käärmann on its list of “deliberate tax defaulters” after he failed to pay £720,495 in 2017-18 and was fined £366,000 for the pleasure. The FCA has now piled in with a probe of its own, regarding what Wise called “regulatory obligations and standards to which Kristo is subject.”
Credit Suisse is Taking on Risk Again
Embattled investment bank Credit Suisse declared it was ready for “big risk opportunities” again this week, prompting a flurry of questions about its capacity to handle risk properly after a series of scandals. Goldman Sachs veteran David Wildermuth was appointed chief risk officer at the bank in July last year, and this week told investors that, after two years of trouble involving the collapse of Greensill Capital and Archegos Capital Management, the company’s “risk pendulum” had swung to the “conservative” end of the spectrum. Certain commentators are now wondering why Wildermuth seemed to be implying that it was a bad thing.
Sipp and ISA Sales Are Surging
The full impact of lockdown on savings rates was revealed this week. According to new figures from the FCA, ISA sales almost doubled in 2021, from 389,674 to 769,247, while Sipp sales also emerged by 15% year-on year, from 740,418 in 2020 to 851,963 in 2021. Naturally, everyone now wants to see precisely what is happening to the contents of those wrappers, as inflation heads for 10% and the cost of living crisis unfolds. We will be sure to keep you updated.
Bulb’s Boss Has Left The Building
If you’re feeling strong enough to remember the fallout of that initial spike in wholesale gas prices, you’ll recall the UK energy firm Bulb was one of the energy companies that went bust. The government handed it a bailout and handed responsibility for managing the company to energy regulator Ofgem. At the time, co-founder and CEO Hayden Wood stayed on at the business to ensure a smooth transition, and drew scrutiny over his pay packet from him at a point of crisis for the firm’s customers. He has now said he will leave at the end of this month.