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Ex-Goldman Sachs Dogecoin millionaire joins UK healthcare company

A Goldman Sachs manager who quit after making millions from the meme-based, crypto currency Dogecoin has reemerged as the Executive Chairman of a UK healthcare company.

Aziz McMahon will join SpectrumX as Executive Chairman, focussing on investor relations, corporate governance, and the formulation of the company’s new ESG policy. McMahon was formerly the head of emerging market sales at the US investment bank, but he resigned after profiting from Dogecoin’s meteoric rise this year.

Aziz McMahon, an early stage investor in the company, said, “having supported SpectrumX since the outset, I am excited to agree to an executive chairman role.”

“I look forward to ensuring the company continues its path of success as it becomes a public company, adhering to strict ESG standards, including carbon neutrality, transparent investor relations and the highest standards in corporate governance,” he continued.

SpectrumX is a UK-based healthcare and pharmaceuticals firm focused on bringing a new respiratory therapy, known as SPC-069, to market. It also intends to roll out of the most powerful hand sanitiser in the world to the NHS and other healthcare clients. 

Damien Hancox, CEO & Co-Founder of SpectrumX commented on McMahon’s appointment.

He said, “as an early-stage cornerstone investor, Aziz has been a key team member and advisor since our inception. We are delighted he has agreed to this appointment, where he will focus his abilities and wealth of experience on the development of our group as we enter this exciting new phase ahead of our listing.”

It is unclear how much money McMahon made from Dogecoin, the world’s ninth largest crypto currency by market cap, before leaving Goldmans after working there for more than 14 years.

However, the coin peaked at a price of $0.74 in May, shortly before McMahon resigned, having surged by 25,054 per cent in one year. Dogecoin has made gains of 4,091 per cent this year to date.

Read more: Watford FC to feature Doge on football shirts

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Categories: City of London

Emma Raducanu reunited with her parents in Bromley

BBC London News Feed - 1 hour 41 min ago
Emma Raducanu is photographed with father Ian after becoming Britain's youngest Grand Slam champion.

St Neots woman with incurable cancer plans to row across the Atlantic

BBC London News Feed - 2 hours 1 min ago
Kat Cordiner will be joined by two other women in an attempt to row the 3,000 mile crossing.

Call for investigation of menstrual changes after Covid jabs

BBC London News Feed - 2 hours 53 min ago
There is no evidence of any impact on fertility - but research will help to counter false claims.

Ealing child death: Mother charged with murder of daughter

BBC London News Feed - 3 hours 4 min ago
Five-year-old Aijah Thomas was found with fatal injuries at a house in Ealing, west London.

Sir Elton John: UK and European tour postponed to 2023 after hip injury

BBC London News Feed - 3 hours 21 min ago
The rock star says it "breaks my heart" to postpone, but he is still recovering from a hip injury.

City hiring spree: Financial services sector's recruitment plans to break records this autumn

Employers in London have ambitious plans to increase their headcount as they enter the fourth quarter, according to new research shared with City A.M. this morning.

Even though London’ outlook was the lowest of all regions in the fourth quarter of last year, at minus 13 per cent, businesses in the capital now have one of the highest recruitment looks in the country, at more than 40 per cent. a 53 percentage-point increase year-on-year. 

London’s outlook correlates with the finance and business services sector as the industry’s intention to hire is also breaking records, with an outlook of +46 per cent, according to recruitment giant Manpower.

In fact, as the UK adapts to life post-lockdown, employers in all 12 regions of the UK expect to add to payrolls during the next three months.

Source: Manpower

“Strong hiring intentions in the capital bodes well for the economy as a whole, so it’s great to see such strong numbers in London,” commented Jason Greaves, Director of Manpower.

He told City A.M. today that “employers across the capital are anticipating a shift which will see many more people return to the office, with coffee shops, restaurants and retailers all expecting a surge in footfall which goes hand in hand with increased demand for staff.” 

As London powers ahead of other regions, the national outlook is at an all-time high of +32 per cent, a 39-point increase compared to the fourth quarter of last year as the UK adapts to life post-lockdown.

This coming quarter, a record half of all employers (50 per cent) in the UK intend to increase headcounts.

Manpower’s survey is based on responses from 2,033 UK employers. The research asks employers in the UK if they intend to hire additional workers, maintain current headcount or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter, October to December.

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Categories: City of London

Chinese Uber rival Didi's users drop by 30 per cent after US IPO saga

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi has lost 30 per cent of its app’s daily users since its $4.4bn IPO in New York at the end of June, in the latest blow to the company following Beijing’s harsh regulatory crackdown for an alleged data breach.

Didi’s average daily users plunged to 10.9m in August from 15.6m in June, according to data from Chinese mobile data tracker Aurora Mobile, first reported by the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, its main competitors either experienced a surge in user numbers or a similar fall, as regulatory fears weighed on the Chinese tech industry.

Beijing’s authorities opened an investigation into Didi for allegedly violating user privacy just days after its $4.4bn debut on the New York stock exchange in June, sending share prices tumbling 40 per cent and collapsing co-founder and CEO Cheng Wei’s net worth by around $1.2bn.

The fallout from the investigation has hit Didi’s business hard, in part due to the regulator imposing a ban on new customer sign-up which is depriving the app of about 4m new users a month, based on its usual rate.

But US shareholders are yet to find out the extent of the damage, as the company has held off reporting its second quarter earnings – lagging behind most of its Wall Street peers.

Shortly before launching its Didi probe, China’s digital regulator the the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that Chinese firms with data on more than 1m users will face security checks before they can list on foreign stock exchanges.

This is coupled with China’s broader regulatory crackdown in recent months on Chinese tech giants and other business sectors including education for perceived monopolistic behaviour and unfair competition.

Xi Jinping’s government is concerned about listings in the US, where over 30 Chinese firms raised a record $12.4bn in the first half of this year, according to data from Dealogic.

But Beijing’s recent campaign against offshore listings of Chinese companies in the US has caused foreign investors to doubt the prospects of Chinese companies that IPO on Wall Street and in London.

The ongoing probe led Didi to call off plans to launch its app in continental Europe, including UK cities, at the end of last month.

A Didi spokesperson said: “We continue to explore additional new markets, liaising with relevant stakeholders in each and being thoughtful about when to introduce our services.

“As soon as we have any more news on additional new markets, we look forward to sharing.”

“We have established an international talent hub in the UK, recognising the exceptional quality of people in the market. Beyond that, any personnel matters remain strictly confidential.”

Didi has been asked for comment.

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Categories: City of London

Putin continues self isolation as dozens of staff succumb to Covid

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will continue self-isolating after dozens of his closest staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Earlier this week the Kremlin announced that Putin would begin self-isolating after someone in his inner circle, who the President had spent an entire day with, was infected. While Putin has reportedly tested negative for the virus and is fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V. he said that the outbreak amongst key staff is extensive.

“Cases of coronavirus have been identified in my immediate environment, and this is not one, not two, but several tens of people. Now we have to observe the self-isolation regime for several days,” he said on a video call at a meeting of the Russia-led Collective Treaty Security Organization.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, said that those infected were “mainly those who take part in ensuring the work and activities of the head of state, his security.” None of the cases are severe, he added.

Although Russia was the first country to roll out a coronavirus vaccine, less than 30% of the country is fully vaccinated, far short of the target of 60 per cent by the end of the month. Daily average deaths staying close to 800 over the past month with a total of 7.2 million infections and 195,835 deaths recorded since the pandemic began.

While the Russian premiere has rarely been seen wearing a mask in public the Kremlin has taken a tough approach to Covid safety. Visitors have to enter through a disinfection tunnel and journalists attending press briefings are required to take multiple tests.

Putin will remain in isolation for a few days.

Read more: Watch as Putin oversees war games with Belarus

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Categories: City of London

M&S to close French high street stores after Brexit red-tape

Marks & Spencer will shut 11 of its French stores because of supply issues with fresh and chilled foods after Brexit.

The supermarket said it would close all franchise stores operated with partner SFH in the country by the end of the year.

Nine stores at travel hubs would remain open but supply chain problems meant there was “no workable alternative” for high street stores.

“M&S has a long history of serving customers in France and this is not a decision we or our partner SFH have taken lightly,” said Paul Friston, M&S international director.

“However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.”

The retailer said red-tape at the border had caused delays that made it a struggle to get fresh food items including sandwiches to stores.

Stores run with partner Lagardere Travel Retail – in airports, railway and Metro stations – have not been affected by the supply chain woes.

The business will continue its French online operation, selling clothes and homeware. 

M&S announced in April it was removing the sale of all fresh and chilled products from stores in the Czech Republic and would double ranges of frozen and ambient items.

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Categories: City of London

Covent Garden and St John's Wood to continue al fresco dining

BBC London News Feed - 4 hours 52 min ago
Outdoor dining is made permanent in parts of central London but Soho's future remains unclear.

Asos outlines plans for lower carbon footprint

Online fashion retailer Asos has set out plans to minimise its impact on the planet over the next few years.

Under its Fashion with Integrity (“FWI”) 2030 programme, the company intends to become a verified net zero emissions business and use more sustainable and recycled materials by 2030. 

Consumers are increasingly concerned with fast fashion’s impact on the environment while  the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013 caused a spotlight to be pointed at textile factory conditions.

Asos is among online retailers to come under fire for promoting a throwaway fashion culture, where consumers do not re-wear items for long periods.

The company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals include a goal to be carbon neutral in its direct operations by 2025 and achieve net zero across its value chain by 2030.

Asos said it would ensure 100 per cent of its own-brand products and packaging were made from more sustainable or recycled materials by 2030, to become more circular.

It also pledged to be transparent and publish a detailed human rights strategy and implementation reports annually from 2023 and provide full public transparency of every own-brand product by 2030.

Leadership representation will also be a key focus moving forward, with an aim for at least 50 per cent female representation and over 15 per cent ethnic minority representation at every level by 2030.

Nick Beighton, CEO, said: “The responsibility for a sustainable future lies with all of us and businesses must lead the way. We will make sure we deliver products and brands that allow our customers to shop ethically and responsibly, safe in the knowledge that they are reducing their impact on the planet and contributing to a fairer world.”

The retailer’s news comes just after budget chain Primark set out its first measurable environmental impact goals on Wednesday.

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Categories: City of London

FCA probes three traders for market abuse around time of Brexit vote

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued formal warnings to three traders from an unnamed bank who carried out market abuse around the time of the 2016 Brexit vote.

The FCA accused the individuals of ‘spoofing,’ a practice where traders place orders on financial assets they do not intend to complete in order to manipulate markets.

In this case, the traders worked separately and together to place large futures orders on assets which pushed their price upwards. They then placed smaller, genuine orders on the assets to profit from the price increase.

In a statement the FCA said it “considers that the individuals’ behaviour constituted market abuse within the meaning of Article 12 of the Regulation and in contravention of Article 15 of the Regulation.”

Oliver Blower, CEO of VoxSmart, said “spoofing is an unfortune by-product of the fact that certain traders have always, and will always, look to manipulate the markets for personal gain. 

“But this does not mean that the industry is full of bad actors. More and more financial institutions are currently looking to reconstruct orders to try and figure out the exact sequencing that takes place,” he added.

The financial watchdog says the misconduct took place between June and the end of July 2016 with the Brexit referendum held on June 23.

The Brexit vote caused a spike in the price of the British pound which shot up to $1.50 when polls closed before crashing by as much as 9.09 per cent when the results were announced.

Read more: FCA chair urges investors not to take cryptocurrency advice from Kim Kardashian

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Categories: City of London

130 universities in UK: Half of new Cabinet studied at Oxford or Cambridge

Almost half of Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet went to Oxford or Cambridge universities while over 60 per cent attended a private school.

New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Housing Secretary Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak all attended Oxford University.

Moreover, one in four of all Conservative MPs studied at one of the two prestigious universities, according to research that was sent to City A.M. this morning.

The percentage privately educated Cabinet members is down slightly on the Prime Minister’s previous cabinets, data from social mobility charity Sutton Trust suggested. The figure was 64 per cent in his first Cabinet in 2019, and 65 per cent in a 2020 reshuffle.

In its analysis of the educational background of the new Cabinet announced yesterday, the trust said the 2021 percentage for private education compares to 29 per cent when it comes to all MPs in the House of Commons.

The Sutton Trust said there has been a slight increase in the proportion of the new Cabinet educated at comprehensives, from 27 per cent last year to a third now.

While 46 per cent of those in the latest Cabinet studied at Oxford or Cambridge, the figure compares with 27 per cent of all Conservative MPs, 18 per cent of Labour MPs and 24 per cent of all MPs.

The trust said just over a quarter of Cabinet ministers attended both independent schools and Oxbridge.

The trust said its analysis includes 30 ministers and assumes Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and Attorney General Suella Braverman will attend Cabinet.

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Categories: City of London

Co-op sales fall 3.2 per cent amid food shortages

The Co-op has warned that full year profit could be hampered by ongoing supply chain issues after sales fell by 3.2 per cent in H1 2021.

Group revenue stood at £5.6bn for the first half of the year, up 4.2 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, but a cut below the heights seen last year on the back of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The group reported an underlying operating loss before tax of £15m, down by £71m compared to 2020, and cautioned that ongoing Covid costs and supply chains issues will continue to apply pressure for the rest of the year.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of the Co-op, said: “as we continue to experience the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, it is clear that things will never be the same again.

“As a business and as a society, it is crucial that we learn from the last 18 months, particularly as we turn to the momentous task of rebuilding Britain and face into the continuing disruption to our business and our supply chains,” he added, thanking the company’s 62,000 staff for their hard work.

News of the lacklustre half year results come after Murrells told the times that “the shortages are at a worse level than at any time I have seen.”

Empty supermarket shelves have become a common occurance at supermarkets across the company driven by labour shortages and logistics issued caused by Brexit and Covid-19.

Co-op is retraining staff as lorry drivers to help fill vacant roles after road haulage bosses said there is a shortfall of around 100,000 drivers, partly caused by the exit from the UK during the pandemic of thousands of EU drivers who have not yet returned.

Co-op’s share price is up 0.5 per cent today despite its uncertain forecast concerning full year financials.

Read more: Co-op chief: Brexit and Covid have caused the ‘worst food shortages I have ever seen’

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Categories: City of London

Full-time return to office not on the cards, say 70 per cent of Brits

Just over 70 per cent of all Brits do not feel a return to full-time office working is on the cards after the pandemic, according to new YouGov research shared with City A.M.

The majority of those questioned by YouGov said they would favour to either work from home full-time, or have a hybrid arrangement.

But the poll, commissioned by the BBC, also found concern from senior leaders that creativity and collaboration could suffer if employees were staying at home.

‘Gradual return’

Speaking in June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected to see a “gradual return to work over the summer”, but the Government has not ruled out a return to mandatory home working.

In the Covid-19 Autumn and Winter Plan, the Government said it would “consider asking people once again to work from home if they can, for a limited period” in a Plan B scenario if data shows the NHS is “likely to come under unsustainable pressure”.

The YouGov/BBC poll of 1,684 people and 530 senior leaders in business also saw a majority thinking their productivity would not suffer if staff continued to work from home, with 75% of people thinking their manager will allow them to continue not coming into the office.

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Categories: City of London

SpaceX launch: E-com billionaire and three ordinary civilians are on their way to space

A SpaceX rocket ship blasted off from Florida last night carrying a billionaire e-commerce executive and three less-wealthy private citizens he chose to join him in the first all-civilian crew ever launched into Earth orbit. Watch the full report.

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Categories: City of London

THG targets separate IPO for beauty business

UK e-commerce company THG said this morning it will spin off its beauty division in a separate listing in 2022, and is also considering stock market listings for its other main ecommerce business, as well as its technology and logistics divisions.

A stock market listing comes after THG Beauty – which counts brands such as Lookfantastic, Glossybox and Espa in its portfolio – was one of the fastest growing parts of the business in the first half of the year, with sales of £461m in the six months to the end of June, up from £296m in the same period last year.

“A separate listing for THG Beauty will position the business very well to focus investment in its key growth areas, including own-brand portfolio expansion,” the company said this morning. “The decision of whether to separately list THG Nutrition and the timing will remain under consideration.”

The decision to spin out its beauty business comes just a year after Manchester-based THG (previously The Hut Group) listed on the London Stock Exchange, raising £1.88bn in the largest UK IPO since 2015.

Shares in THG surged as much as 15 per cent in May this year when the group, founded by Matthew Moulding, raised another $1bn further equity led by Japanese investment giant SoftBank.

As part of this deal THG agreed to sell a 20 per cent stake worth around £1.6bn in Ingenuity, its tech and logisitcs platform, to SoftBank, which now owns around 8 per cent of the group.

Ingenuity’s ‘commerce’ revenues surged 166 per cent year-on-year to £18.3m in the first half of 2021, and now the group is mulling a potential listing for this part of the business, it hinted this morning.

Overall group revenues were £958m, beating average analysts’ forecasts of £942m.

CEO Matthew Moulding said a decision on whether to list THG Nutrition, which reported revenue growth of 27 per cent to £328m in the first half, up from £258m last year, “will remain under consideration.”

Outlining how it had begun the process of separating its beauty business, THG said it would at first operate as a majority-owned subsidiary and that the group “retains ultimate discretion and flexibility to determine any subsequent IPO, or other structural option for Ingenuity, with the objective to maximise value for all shareholders”.

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