Friday , July 20 2018
Home / Tag Archives: Europe – UK

Tag Archives: Europe – UK

Under Fire, Biggest Brick & Mortar Retailers in Europe Seek Refuge in Cartel Economics 

It’s a brutal environment. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Two of the world’s biggest retail groups — France’s Carrefour and the UK’s Tesco — announced plans to form a global purchasing alliance to help drive down costs as they respond to fierce competition from German discounters and fast-growing online rivals such as Amazon. They are not the only supermarkets in Europe opting to combine resources in a bid to fend off new rivals. Struggling French...

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“Big Four” Audit Oligopoly Strikes Back at Plans to Break it Up

Auditors are still not auditing banks properly despite the crippling costs of the last banking crisis. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Deloitte, one of the so-called “Big Four” accountancy firms that have effectively cornered the global audit industry, has warned the UK government and regulators that any attempt to break up their oligopoly could backfire. Forcing the Big Four — which also include KPMG, PwC and EY — to split could harm Britain’s standing...

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What IBM Said about the IT Chaos at UK Bank TSB and Owner Sabadell, Now in its 12th Week

Contracted to fix the fiasco, IBM estimates costs at $1.25 billion: sources. There’s even talk of divorce, after just 3 years of corporate marriage. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. As the blame game intensifies over beleaguered UK lender TSB’s never-ending IT nightmare upgrade, now in its 12th week, relations between the bank’s management and that of its parent company, Spain’s Banco Sabadell, are beginning to sour. According to sources quoted by the...

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Corporate Brexodus Begins as “No-Deal” Brexit Looms

Potential for ugly consequences, intended or otherwise, is rising. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Construction and infrastructure giant Ferrovial has announced it is moving its international HQ from the UK to low-tax haven Amsterdam because of Brexit. The Spanish firm, which owns a quarter of the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, and runs its US, Canadian, Polish and UK operations from Oxford, says it needs to keep within EU legislation after the UK...

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Next Central Bank Puts QE Unwind on the Calendar

The end of an era spreads. Markets were surprised today when the Bank of England took a “hawkish” turn and announced that three out of nine members of its Monetary Policy Committee – including influential Chief Economist Andrew Haldane, who’d been considered dovish – voted to raise the Bank Rate to 0.75%, thus dissenting from the majority who kept it at 0.5%. This dissension, particularly by Haldane, communicated to the markets that a rate hike at the next meeting in August is likely....

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Multi-Decade Outsourcing Boom Comes to Sticky End in the UK

After scandals, collapses, and the government’s off-balance-sheet debt. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. The United Kingdom, widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern incarnation of the public-private partnership (PPP), in which private firms are contracted to complete and manage public projects, could be one of the first countries to jettison the model. The collapse in January of 200-year old UK infrastructure group Carillion, whose outsized...

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Big Four Audit “Oligarchy” Comes under Scrutiny in the UK after Corporate Surprise Collapses

The “oligarchy” controls the standard-setters, ensuring rules of the game suit it. The long reach of the bean counters also extends deep into the heart of government. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. KPMG, one of the world’s “Big Four” accounting firms, has shown an “unacceptable deterioration” in auditing British firms and will be subject to closer supervision, the UK’s top accounting watchdog warned on Monday. “Fifty percent of KPMG’s FTSE 350 audits...

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Tragicomic Farce at UK Bank TSB Enters Week 7 of IT Chaos

Bank-friendly regulators finally show some interest. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Embattled UK lender TSB can’t get even the simplest of things right these days, including apologizing to the thousands of customers affected by the bank’s botched IT upgrade in late April, which has still not been remedied [timeline of nightmare: April 24: “Day 5”, April 30: “Contagion Fears,” May 6: “Internal Revolt,” May 22: “Customers Leave in Droves”]. And the...

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Visa Goes Down in the UK, Chaos Ensues, Cash is Suddenly King

War on Cash Suffers Setback. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. For over 12 hours on Friday, shopping centers in the UK and other parts of Europe were plunged into chaos as millions of consumers were unable to use their Visa debit or credit cards at points of sale. The credit card company, which was finally able to restore normal service early Saturday morning, said it had no reason to believe the hardware failure was due to “any unauthorized access or...

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“Bank of Mum & Dad,” Huge Prop under UK Housing Bubble, is Running Out of Liquidity

“Mum & dad are lending money to their kids so their kids can afford to pay the prices demanded by mum & dad & their friends. It’s like a giant Ponzi scheme but where the victims are your children.” By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. As the economic growth in the UK stutters — for the first quarter, the UK posted the worst GDP figures in five years on weak business investment and household spending — the country’s all-important housing market is...

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