phone with whatsapp

WhatsApp Business app a reality now; to bring businesses closer to people

WhatsApp has announced what many deemed impossible once, a dedicated business app for companies and enterprises. Though in a pilot stage, WhatsApp aims to bring businesses closer to their consumers with the instant messaging platform. Read more

construction in the united kingdom

UK construction slumps to lowest in 2017 as real estate projects are delayed in Brexit run-up

UK construction slumps to lowest in 2017 as real estate projects are delayed in Brexit run-up.

Activity among Britain’s builders slumped to its lowest in a year in August as firms delayed projects in the run-up to Brexit according to the latest survey snapshot of the sector. Read more

london tower bridge and skyline

London reveals 80%+ retention rates

City firms have begun to release retention rates for the autumn cohort of trainees, with many posting figures in excess of 80% – a significant indicator of health in the sector.

Slaughter and May leads the way in the magic circle so far. It has taken on 29 of 32 trainees (90%). Allen & Overy had 47 trainees and made offers to 41, of who 40 accepted (85%). Linklaters took on 47 of its 56-strong group (84%). Read more

UK-US trade deal could be ‘big and exciting’

The US President tweeted that a bilateral trade agreement with the UK after it leaves the EU in 2019 could be “very big and exciting” for jobs.

Mr Trump, who backed Brexit, also took a swipe at the EU accusing it of a “very protectionist” stance to the US.

The US President, whose officials are meeting British counterparts this week, has been accused of protectionist rhetoric by his political opponents.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is currently in Washington discussing the potential for a UK-US trade deal after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019. No deal can be signed until after then.

Mr Trump has said he would like to see a speedy deal although free trade agreements typically take many years to conclude and any agreement, which will have to be approved by Congress, is likely to involve hard negotiations over tariff and non tariff barriers in areas such as agriculture and automotive.

On Monday, Mr Fox published details of commercial ties between the UK and every congressional district in the US as a working party of officials met to discuss a future trade deal for the first time. Two-way trade between the two countries already totals £150bn.

Mr Fox is also discussing other issues, including the continuation of existing trade and investment accords, with trade secretary Wilbur Ross and the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.

At a breakfast meeting for members of the House of Representatives, Mr Fox said his twin objectives were to provide certainty for foreign investors ahead of Brexit and to expand the volume and value of trade with the US.

“The EU itself estimates that 90% of global growth in the next decade will come from outside Europe, and I believe as the head of an international economic department that this is an exciting opportunity for the UK to work even more closely with our largest single trading partner the US,” he said.

Sir Vince Cable, the new leader of the UK parliament’s fourth largest party, the Liberal Democrats, said a US-UK trade deal could bring significant benefits – but he called on the government to guarantee parliament would get a vote on it first.

“Liam Fox and Boris Johnson must not be able to stitch up trade deals abroad and impose them on the country,” he said.

“It is parliament, not Liam Fox, that should be the final arbiter on whether to sacrifice our standards to strike a deal with Trump.”


BYPY 2017 finalists unveiled

The finalists for the 17th Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) awards have been unveiled. The 2017 awards will again celebrate the city’s best professional services talent under the age of 35 across six categories before choosing an overall young professional of the year.

This winner will then spend a year as BYPY, promoting the city and working on new initiatives and programmes within the business community.

In addition, they will receive an executive MBA from Aston University worth £20,000.

A further four finalists have also been unveiled in the aspiring talent category which celebrates individuals aged 16 to 24 and who are currently in education or training for a professional services career.

Organiser BPS Birmingham Future will again recognise an inspiring leader who has shown unwavering commitment to the city.

The awards take place on May 18 at the ICC in Birmingham.

Mike Colledge, chairman of the BYPY 2017 committee, said: “BYPY highlights the incredible talent the sector has to offer and never has this been more apparent than in the standard of entries that we received this year.

“Our sifting panel has carried out one of the toughest jobs in the BYPY process and our finalists are some of the most driven and successful individuals that we’ve seen over the last 17 years.”

A judging panel, led by Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace, will spend a day grilling all of the finalists next week.

The final shortlist is…

Property & Construction:

  1. Charles Jones – Christie & Co
  2. Michael Parker – Gleeds
  3. Steve Townsend – Associated Architects


  1. Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard – Thursfields Solicitors
  2. Victoria Ball – Trowers & Hamlins
  3. Matthew Sharp – Wright Hassall
  4. HR, Recruitment & Training:
  5. Rob Markwell – Pitch Consultants
  6. Alexandra Barre – Idex
  7. Katy Hanby – KPMG


  1. Adam Rollason – Higgs & Sons
  2. Chris Taylor – Jasper Corporate Finance
  3. Andy Lee – NatWest Bank

Marketing & Communications:

  1. Ria Blagburn – GrowBeyond
  2. Nathan Wallis – Wesleyan
  3. David Glenwright – JC Social Media


  1. Glenn Karlsson – Green Frog Power
  2. James Nestoruk – Stickee Technology
  3. Dan Rice – Turn Partners

Aspiring Talent:

  1. Zara Fortt – Birmingham Metropolitan College
  2. Sarah Fraser – Deloitte
  3. Luke Billings – Aston University
  4. Brogan Kent – KPMG

For more information about BYPY, please visit:

Michael Hay PHOTO

North Korea’s only foreign-founded law firm suspends operations

North Korea’s first and only law firm set up by a foreigner, Hay, Kalb & Associates, will suspend operations, the firm’s principal said in a statement on Monday, as the country grows increasingly isolated.

The firm is a joint venture between the North Korean state and British-French citizen Michael Hay, who has represented foreign clients in the capital, Pyongyang, for 12 years.

Hay said he had made the decision based on “business and geopolitical principles”.

“This decision has been taken only after lengthy and thorough deliberation and an examination of the continuing deterioration of inter-regional relations pertaining to the Korean peninsula,” Hay said in a statement.

“It is not unreasonable to assume that no meaningful change or indicator of change in relations shall occur, if at all, until well after the United States Presidential Inauguration, on January 20, 2017,” Hay said in the statement.

North Korea has come under growing diplomatic pressure since its January nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch in February, which led to a new U.N. Security Council resolution in March that tightened sanctions against Pyongyang.

The majority of Hay’s clients are foreign investors, many of whom have been negatively affected by the sanctions, Hay told Advisory Excellence.

“Sanctions are hurting legitimate foreign investors. There still is no credible, consistent evidence I see of DPRK companies hurting,” Hay said. DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official title.

Very few foreigners live or work in North Korea. Those who do are usually members of the diplomatic or NGO community, although a small group of foreign investors have maintained a quiet and steady presence inside the country.

The suspension takes effect from midnight on Monday, Hay said, with an official suspension scheduled for Aug. 14, the firm’s 12-year anniversary.

Hay, who bills his firm as the only foreign-invested firm in North Korea, said he will still maintain an office in Pyongyang.

North Korea has more than 8,000 law graduates, according to an official 2008 census, half of whom are based in Pyongyang. Most are employed by the state.