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Deloitte announces new additions to UK leadership team

Deloitte is today announcing new additions to its leadership team with Lisa Stott joining as the new managing partner for tax and legal and Jackie Henry taking over as managing partner for people and purpose. In addition, Kirsty Newman has been appointed as UK market chair.

Effective this month, Jackie will provide leadership of Deloitte’s UK people strategy and purpose agenda, focusing on inclusion and wellbeing. She started her career with Deloitte in Belfast 31 years ago and for the past seven years has been lead partner in Northern Ireland.

Jackie’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and social mobility has been a focus throughout her career, and in particular her efforts in building skills and providing access to education for people across Northern Ireland. This includes setting up the Belfast Delivery Centre, which includes the creation of Deloitte’s BrightStart Degree and Graduate academy programmes. She has also served as people and purpose lead for Deloitte’s UK consulting business for the last two years.

Jackie Henry commented: “The last year has reminded us more than ever of the importance of putting people and purpose at the heart of our business. I am delighted to be appointed UK people and purpose managing partner. We are a people business and my priority is to put the voice of our people at the centre of our business strategy to deliver an impact that matters.”

Effective from 1 June, Lisa Stott will be the first woman to lead Deloitte’s tax and legal service line. She has been at the firm for 32 years, advising and supporting clients, and was most recently global lead for international tax and business tax advisory.

Lisa Stott said: “It is a privilege to be leading Deloitte’s tax and legal teams. We will continue to focus on our clients’ needs by investing in our capabilities and building on our recent acquisitions of Kemp Little who joined our legal team and Kerr Henderson to our pensions teams.”

In her role as market chair, effective from 1 June, Kirsty Newman will build relationships with UK Boards and policymakers and lead Deloitte’s Vice Chairs group.

Newman also serves as Deloitte North & South Europe (NSE) leader of Deloitte Private and is the co-chair of Deloitte’s Global Family Office Advisory Board. She started her career with Deloitte as a tax consultant and has been a partner for over 20 years.

Kirsty Newman added: “I am delighted to have been appointed as market chair of Deloitte in the UK. I look forward to working with our vice chairs and partners to continue to create connections between our clients, communities and people to collectively support a UK-wide recovery.”

Richard Houston, senior partner and Chief Executive, said: “I have no doubt that the wealth of experience and expertise Kirsty, Jackie and Lisa will bring to their new positions and the leadership of the UK firm will further reinforce our inclusive culture and our purpose of making a positive impact on clients, our people and wider society.”

Pinsent Masons named as a Top 50 Employer for Women by The Times

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has been recognised for its commitment to achieving gender equality, being named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women report for the fifth consecutive year.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women annual listing identifies companies which embed gender equality into their business strategy. Businesses are assessed on a range of areas, including their approach to recruitment, family friendly policies and how they have championed gender equality in the context of the pandemic.

Pinsent Masons has enhanced its commitment to inclusion and belonging in recent years to further support its people and promote equality across its business. Earlier this year, the firm brought forward the launch its Global Carers Policy to support families and individuals with caring responsibilities affording additional annual leave and launched several new network groups including its Fertility Support Group and Fan Club, its menopause awareness group.

Senior partner at Pinsent Masons, Richard Foley, said: “Equality in all forms is critical if business is to work better for people. While it’s clear that significant progress has been made across the profession over the last decade, I am fully aware that more can and should be done to build on the positive changes we have made at Pinsent Masons such as support for working families and the continued rollout of agile working.

“There are no quick fixes to achieving equality and recognising the challenges and how far there is still to go ensures that we continue to listen to our people and collaborate with other businesses to improve and adapt in a way that promotes equality in its broadest sense.”

Gender Equality Director at Business in the Community, Charlotte Woodworth, said: “COVID-19 has shone a light on how far we have to go on gender equality: by having to pick up things like the bulk of extra caring responsibilities, women have been disproportionately affected by lockdown.

“We congratulate the many employers who have maintained their efforts towards gender equality at this time, often introducing innovative policies to support their workforce during this period. This year’s application process for The Times Top 50 Employers for Women was the most competitive one we have seen in five years. Employers like Pinsent Masons haven’t forgotten women at work and they are committed to making gender inequality a thing of the past.”

Roadmap out of lockdown fuels record jump in consumer confidence

The first three months of 2021 saw a record quarterly rise in consumer confidence, rising six percentage points in the first quarter, to -11%, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. Every measure of confidence saw both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter growth, as consumers journey out of lockdown with a spring in their step.

Deloitte’s analysis is based on responses from more than 3000 United Kingdom consumers between 19th and 22nd March 2021, as the United Kingdom’s phased lockdown easing remained on track.

After entering the year under the tightest of lockdown restrictions, the reopening of schools helped boost sentiment around children’s education and welfare to -11%, up six percentage points on the previous quarter. Coupled with the continued speed of the United Kingdom’s vaccination programme, sentiment around health and wellbeing improved eight percentage points, to -26%, the highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With restaurants and physical non-essential retail remaining closed in Q1 2021, consumers’ pockets improved this quarter. Household disposable income saw a seven percentage point boost to -10%; marking a 17 percentage point improvement compared to the same period last year. Further, consumers’ confidence in their level of debt has tipped over to the black, at 1%, for the first time in ten years.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, commented: “The United Kingdom is primed for a sharp snap back in consumer activity. High levels of saving, the successful vaccination rollout and the easing of the lockdown set the stage for a surge in spending over the coming months.”

Economic recovery

The start of the pandemic in Q1 2020 saw economic sentiment plunge to an historic low. However, armed with a clear map out of lockdown, extended furlough support through to the autumn, and the vaccination programme continuing, consumer sentiment on the state of the economy grew to -61%, a quarterly rise of 12 percentage points.

With CFOs also hiring at their highest levels for nearly six years, consumers are optimistic about both their job security, and opportunities and career progression; each up by six and seven percentage points, respectively.

Stewart continued: “The eventual peak in unemployment looks set to be far lower than had been feared, and far lower than following any downturn in the last 30 years. With employers anticipating a return to the office by Q3 2021 life should start returning to something which, though far from normal, is closer to it. The risk to this upbeat outlook is the emergence of new, vaccine resistant variants and a third wave of cases. With global case rates rising we’re not completely out of the woods.”

Consumers signal a Q2 spending spree

In an encouraging sign that consumers are preparing for further lockdown easing, discretionary spending grew this quarter, albeit by one percentage point. While net spending in most of the discretionary categories remain below where it was a year ago, there was strong quarterly growth in demand for holidays and categories related to socialising, such as going out and eating out.

With late June earmarked for the last of social distancing measures to lift, consumers expect to increase their spending across almost every essential and discretionary category. Net discretionary spending is anticipated to become positive for the first time, meaning the number of consumers expecting to spend more exceed those anticipating to spend less.

Reflecting consumer eagerness to spend, ‘going to a shop’ topped the list of leisure activities consumers are most likely to do after lockdown, with 63% saying they’d plan to return within a month of measures lifting.

Ben Perkins, head of consumer research at Deloitte, commented: “Although April 12th marked what many hope will be the permanent reopening of non-essential retail stores, mass remote working will continue to impact footfall on the High Street. Shopping behaviours have changed significantly during the pandemic, with some consumers discovering the convenience of online retail for the first time. It’s likely that many of these changes will continue beyond the end of the pandemic. Whether shopping online or in-store, though, if consumers remain confident about their income, then an increase in consumer spending could become the driving force for growth as the economy reopens.”

Consumers head out, but remain hesitant about large events

With the exception of spending on in-home entertainment – up one percentage point in Q1 2021 – overall leisure spending this quarter remains well below year-on-year comparables. However, with lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, consumers are gearing up for a long-awaited return to hospitality and holidays.

Whilst limited to takeaway options over this period, eating out saw the biggest quarterly rise in net spending, up ten percentage points, to -43%, followed by drinking in pubs and bars; up nine percentage points compared to the last quarter.

Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “Consumers embraced a brief cold snap this quarter, by heading to parks for picnics and takeaway coffees, for a chance to socialise with other households. With more restrictions lifting, albeit still limited to outdoor settings, warmer weather and pent-up demand could bode well for the leisure sector as it opens up further.”

Consumers are also looking to get away, with spend on holidays up seven percentage points this quarter, to -31%.

Oaten continued: “Whilst international travel for leisure remains restricted for now, consumers are still keen for some time off. Many will have accumulated vouchers from cancelled trips in 2020 and will be looking to rebook whilst they remain valid. For others, ‘staycationing’ offers another chance this summer to explore new areas around the United Kingdom.”

Whilst consumers seek to socialise again, they remain more hesitant, at least in the short term, on attending large events and festivals. Just 7% said they’d go to a live event within a month of being permitted to, with 25% preferring to wait six months or more.

Oaten concluded: “Leisure consumers remain cautious on large events, and the reopening of these might not immediately see pre-pandemic crowd sizes. The continued vaccination programme could be key to boosting consumer confidence to return to large events.

“Likewise, just 15% of consumers said they’d return to gyms within a month of reopening.

“The prospect of sharing gym equipment or working out in an indoor setting may be behind the caution consumers are displaying with regard to returning to gyms. Equally, after a year of exploring at-home fitness options, it could be we’re also seeing the start of more permanent shifts in consumer behaviours.”

Hogan Lovells to fund female led FinTechs

Hogan Lovells announces during UK FinTech Week that applications are open to its Global FinTech Mentor and Momentum Program for 2021-22. This year, the firm will focus on selecting and supporting female led FinTechs, as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion. To date around 10% of successful applicants for the Program have had women founders or leaders, including Dozens (Gemma Steel), Flexy (Joanna Mansbridge) and Rodi (Ilia Mallioras).

The Program is open to FinTechs at any stage of development, from start-ups to more established growth players. Interested businesses, particularly in the areas of banking, lending, payments, insurance, investments, and sustainable finance, are welcome to apply throughout 2021 for complimentary or subsidised support from Hogan Lovells. The firm is committed to empowering the female FinTech community, and is aiming for at least half of successful applications from female led FinTechs.

Globally, just 3% of FinTechs were founded by women as of 2019, according to Deloitte Insights published in October 2020, which also found that funding for FinTechs founded or co-founded by women was significantly less than for men. Innovate finance reported in January this year that female founded FinTechs accounted for 17% of the UK’s total FinTech venture capital investments over 2020, up 6% from 2019. Yet KPMG’s UK FinTech Focus 2020 found that female founded FinTechs are more resilient to the pandemic, with more in cash reserves.

Commenting, Hogan Lovells Head of FinTech and Innovation Emily Reid, said: “What we are seeing is that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, female-led FinTechs represent a well-run and competitive investment proposition. However the levels of investment remain nowhere near on a par with male-led counterparts. We recognise their potential and hope to harness it through our Global FinTech Mentor and Momentum Program this year, empowering female-led FinTechs to grow and achieve a greater share of the market and investment.”

Launched at Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) in April 2017, the successful Program is entering its fifth year. To date, Hogan Lovells investment has totalled over a million pounds in support of around 25 FinTechs; providing each with up to £25,000 in free legal services, together with a 30% discount to the free advice, to make it go further. This is in addition to the same discount on advice provided after or outside the scope of the program, as well as access to industry events and networking opportunities with the firm’s existing clients in the FinTech space.

Hogan Lovells Head of Financial Services Regulation, Rachel Kent, said: “We offer more than just legal advice through our Global FinTech Mentors and Momentum Program, we share our extensive industry knowledge, our connections, content and tools to help the selected applicants launch, expand and succeed within a complex regulatory framework that is constantly evolving and can be tricky to navigate, but is essential for a long term sustainable business.”

Those selected are assigned a dedicated relationship manager who will ensure they receive maximum value from Program membership by guiding them through the suite of support options on offer:

  • Commercial insight on how financial services businesses can successfully launch and scale-up
  • Access to the firm’s cross-border FinTech network
  • Networking with current and previous mentees
  • Training opportunities through a host of firm and industry events
  • A package of affordable corporate and regulatory advice, from contracts, compliance and collaboration agreements to employment law, fund raising and structuring
  • Guidance on the financial services regulatory landscape for FinTechs post-Brexit
  • Free or subsidised access to the firm’s suite of LawTech tools offered on Hogan Lovells Engage, including the Consumer Credit Academy, PISP/AISP Authorisation Toolkits, Payment Services Academy and Blockchain Tools, among others while on the program
  • Support from Hogan Lovells Consulting team for regulatory advice on everything from authorisation to building a scalable compliance framework.

Hogan Lovells is ideally placed to provide this support, long positioned at the heart of the FinTech industry. The firm advised on the establishment of the UK’s first internet only bank; on the launch of Zopa – the world’s first peer-to-peer lender; and of a mobile P2P payments service – the first of its kind in the UK market. Head of Financial Services Regulation Rachel Kent co-chaired the policy and regulation chapter of the recently published UK FinTech Strategic Review, in February 2021.

More details on the Program and how to apply can be found here.

Baker McKenzie Enhances Leveraged Finance Team With Significant Hire

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has hired Ben Wilkinson from White & Case where he was a partner in the Debt Finance practice. Ben will join the Banking & Finance practice in London on May 3rd, to help build out the Leveraged Finance team.

With over 16 years in the legal industry, Ben’s experience includes advising investment banks and private credit funds in relation to cross-border acquisition finance transactions, in particular those with complex capital structures. He regularly advises lenders, borrowers and financial advisors in connection with the bank financing of acquisitions of public companies, and also acts for a variety of lender syndicates, steering committees, sponsors and companies in relation to various restructuring matters.

Ben is an important strategic hire with a focus and strong experience in cross-border leveraged / acquisition financing transactions, particularly on the lender-side, which will significantly expand our capabilities in the leveraged finance space.

Matthew Dening, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie’s Banking & Finance practice group, commented: “Ben has an outstanding reputation in the acquisition finance and bank lending market. Expectations are that 2021 is going to be very busy as financial performance re-stabilises with pent-up refinancing and liquidity that has yet to be deployed, creating key opportunities. Ben’s appointment will put Baker McKenzie in a solid position to take advantage of these openings.”

London Managing Partner Alex Chadwick added: “We are very excited about Ben joining our Banking & Finance group in London. His practice is firmly aligned with our strong industry focus and his hiring represents our ambitions to become one of the leading transactional Firms globally. Ben has a long track record of doing deals in the financial sector which supports our ambitions to strengthen our relationships with sponsors. We will continue to grow our transactional partnership in London and other key markets, both laterally and organically.”

Ben Wilkinson’s hire comes after a number of recent lateral appointments including M&A partner Nick Rainsford who joined from Ashurst, private equity partner Justin Hutchinson who joined from Kirkland & Ellis, Adam Eastell a partner from Slaughter & May and Nick Bryans, also from Ashurst.

Baker McKenzie is a transactional powerhouse with over 2500 deal lawyers and expertise in over 46 countries. We excel in cross-border deals – over 60% of our deals are multi-jurisdictional. We are global and local, combining money market sophistication with local excellence.

Pandemic has accelerated digital upskilling, but key groups still miss out

A new survey of 32,500 workers in 19 countries paints a picture of a global workforce that sees the shift to remote working as just the tip of the iceberg. Reflecting the fact the pandemic has accelerated a number of workforce trends, 60% are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk; 48% believe ‘traditional employment won’t be around in the future’ and 39% think it is likely that their job will be obsolete within 5 years.

However, this is not a counsel of despair, as 40% of workers say their digital skills have been improved through the prolonged period of lockdown, and claim they’ll continue to embrace training and skill development. 77% are ‘ready to learn new skills or completely re-train’ and 74% see training as a matter of personal responsibility. And, 80% are confident they can adapt to new technologies entering their workplace, with a large majority of those asked in India (69%) and in South Africa (66%) saying they are ‘very’ confident.

In addition, 49% of respondents are focused on building entrepreneurial skills with an interest in setting up their own business.

Half of workforce report missing out on career opportunities or training due to prejudice

The survey also found that 50% of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work which led to them missing out on career advancement or training. 13% report missing out on opportunities as a result of ethnicity and 14% of workers have experienced discrimination on the grounds of gender, with women twice as likely to report gender discrimination as men. 13% report discrimination on the basis of class, with post-graduates and others with higher qualifications more likely to report prejudice. Younger people are as likely as older people to report discrimination based on age.

On top of that, the survey found there are disparities in access to upskilling opportunities. While 46% of people with postgraduate degrees say their employer gives them many opportunities to improve their digital skills, just 28% of people with school-leaver qualifications say the same. Industries like retail or transport, which are most at risk of disruption, score just 25% and 20% respectively; while banking scores 42%.

“If current patterns in access to training persist, upskilling will increase social inequality when it should be doing precisely the opposite,” said Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader of PwC’s People and Organisation Practice. “Government and business leaders need to work together to intensify efforts to ensure people in the most-at risk industries and groups get the opportunities they need. Automation and technological disruption are inevitable, but we can control whether its negative effects are managed or not.”

Younger people more focused on maximising income than ‘making a difference’ if forced to choose

Three-quarters of workers globally (75%) say they want to work for an organisation that will make a ‘positive contribution to society.’ This feeling was especially acute in China (87%), India (90%), and South Africa (90%).

However, economic insecurity is limiting people’s ability to pursue purpose driven careers, with younger people particularly affected. Overall, 54% of those polled said, if forced to choose, they would prefer a job that enabled them to ‘take every opportunity to maximise their income’ over a job that ‘makes a difference’ (46%).

Interestingly, those between 18 and 34 are more likely than other generations to prioritise income over purpose in their job with 57% prioritising ‘maximising their income’ over ‘making a difference’ (43%), a margin of 14 points. Those over 55 prioritise making a difference by a margin of 8 points, which rises to 22 points amongst workers over 65.

“As the world continues to grapple with a global health crisis and economic uncertainty, we’ve seen workers come to demand more from the business community, expecting their employers to make a positive contribution to society,” said Peter Brown, Joint Global Leader of PwC’s People and Organisation Practice. “Fortunately, focusing on societal impact and maximising profit are not mutually exclusive, and being a purpose-led business can actually help boost your bottom line.”

Employees want the option to work remotely moving forward

The survey concludes that remote working will persist post-lockdown. Of those who can work remotely, 72% of say they prefer a mixture of in-person and remote working, with only 9% stating they’d like to go back to their traditional work environment full-time. This is particularly true of professionals, office workers, business owners and the self-employed, all of whom are able to perform their jobs remotely using technology. Home working need not be limited to professional jobs. 43% of manual workers and 45% of semi-skilled workers say there are many elements of their job that they are able to do remotely.

People’s attitudes to working from home also change by location, providing further evidence of how the pandemic has increased the global digital divide. Workers in metropolitan areas (66%) are more likely to work in roles that could allow remote working than those who live in rural areas (44%).

Workers torn on privacy and technology

44% of workers globally would agree to let their employer use technology to monitor their performance at work including sensors and wearable devices, with 31% against. However, many would not go as far as allowing their employers access to their personal data. 41% of respondents said that they were unwilling to give their employer access to their personal data including social media profiles, with only 35% willing.