Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. Today we look at how London office culture needs to be more enticing to stop a talent exodus, 40% of brits of three or more pension pots and how the Bank of England’s gold custody os the highest its been since 2013.
London losing its allure as Covid causes talent to leave
London-based businesses may struggle to get staff back into the office, even after restrictions are lifted, as a new survey by Urban Jungle of 1022 Londoners aged 18-34 showed that 55 per cent want to leave London when restrictions ease.
When asked where they would like to live post-pandemic, just 45% of young Londoners chose the capital. Whereas 19% opted to live somewhere greener such as a village or the countryside.
Jimmy Williams, founder and CEO of Urban Jungle, says the pandemic looks likely to have a long-term impact on work and life in London. “Employers based in London and other large cities are going to have to think long and hard about ways to entice people back to the office. A big part of living and working in a city is the social life that comes with it. They need to fire up their office culture and put some fun back into work.
“Right now, young people are stuck in flats, paying rent, for very little in return – they just aren’t going to stick around for no good reason. As an employer myself, I believe company culture is everything.”
Bank of Englands’s gold custody amount highest since 2013
According to data researched by Trading Platforms UK, the Bank of England gold custody added 8,009,000 troy ounces between December 2019 and December 2020. This translates to an addition of 248 tons since one troy ounce is equivalent to 0.031 kilograms.
The report explains the drivers for increased gold accumulation in the BoE custody. According to the research report: “BoE’s increasing gold reserves in 2020 was a direct side effect of the economic shock initiated by the coronavirus pandemic. Historically, gold is the world’s oldest safe asset, always thriving in times of uncertainty. Gold offered a hedge against inflation due to the government’s response to the pandemic.”
Faced with uncertainties from the health crisis, a shaky monetary policy, alongside unprecedented fiscal stimulus to economic consequences of lockdowns, most global currencies were poised to weaken, leaving gold as the primary hedge.
RapidSOS Raises $85M to Scale Emergency Response Data Platform Ahead of UK Launch
RapidSOS, creators of the world’s first emergency response data platform, has announced it closed $85M in Series C funding led by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners. The investment, which brings RapidSOS’s total funding to $200M, will advance the company’s work to connect emergency data from digital health, smart buildings, security, connected vehicles, and app companies with first responders globally.
The funding round comes as the company plans to launch within the UK, expecting to announce its first partnerships with British emergency control centres over the coming weeks.
“2020 reminded all of us of the heroic work that first responders do in our most challenging moments,” said Michael Martin, founder & CEO of RapidSOS. “We spent the past eight years building the RapidSOS emergency response data platform in partnership with thousands of first responders — collaborating with leading technology companies to provide the right data, at the right place, at the right time to save lives across over 150 million emergencies annually.”
Survey finds 40% of Brits have three or more pension pots
A survey by pension app creators mypensionID has revealed that over 40% of Brits have three or more pension pots (including their state pension), with over a third of people surveyed (36.5%) admitting to losing track of the pensions they had taken out.
The survey also found that almost one in five men (19%) said they had five or more pension pots, compared to less than one in 10 women (9.5%). Under 24s were the age group most likely (48%) to have lost track of their pensions, with 35-44-year-olds were the age group most likely (18%) to have five or more pensions.
Lisa Lyon, Founder of mypensionID, commented: “The survey findings confirm our previous research in terms of people losing track of pensions – the very reason we created mypensionID.
“It’s fascinating, however, to see the scale of the problem today – the average Briton has at least six jobs in their lifetime which, since the introduction of auto-enrolment, means that they will accumulate a pension benefit at every new employer, meaning a lot of administration for that individual as they move through their career keeping track of them all. Ultimately many people lose track of previous schemes and funds they have paid into.”
Hull-based fintech launches solution to help combat financial abuse
GuardianCard has launched to help provide a safe and secure banking solution for relatives who want to assist in managing the finances of older or vulnerable family members, without removing their independence. The card has all the functionality of a debit card but also allows the cardholder to issue a virtual card to a relative or carer so they can shop or pay bills on their behalf with total control and transparency.
A recent report by Age UK found that approximately 130,000 people over 65 who live in the UK have suffered financial abuse, with 70% of financial abuse perpetrated by family members. GuardianCard aims to provide a solution to financial abuse in the older generation, whilst acting as a safety net for their day to day finances.
Co-Founder Aidan McAllister said: “Covid-19 has created a real problem in this industry, in that it has become even more difficult to keep older relatives safe and secure from dodgy scams and fraudulent activity. Our vision for GuardianCard is to offer a solution to be part of that caring role and provide people with older and vulnerable loved ones a much higher degree of financial security.
London loses crown as top European share trader
Amsterdam has overtaken London as the European leader in daily share trading volumes. Since the start of the year, share trading value in London has fallen by roughly €6.5bn to €8.6bn with the majority of this trading being taken up by Amsterdam-based exchanges, which have seen an increase of four times in trading since December.
This has caused concern not only for brokers and banks but also the UK’s tax revenues, as it has been estimated that financial services contributed almost £76bn to the treasury last year.
Chris Biggs, Partner at Theta Global Advisors said: “This news comes as a major worry for the City, however, London will survive. While it’s sad to see the volumes of EU share trading drop – likely due to the EU wanting to see what the UK would do ‘differently’ – the bigger risk is that this ‘equivalence’ debate becomes a political argument rather than a constructive negotiation as to what is best for the wider markets.
“Overall, I don’t think it is a reason to panic just yet, London has a depth of talent which is second to none, and is always creative in capitalising on opportunities created by change. And if the worst should happen and no sensible deal is struck, then London should look for ways to position itself as the favoured place to do business and trade.”