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Parker Fitzgerald enters Australian market to assist financial services firms amidst increasing scrutiny

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Parker Fitzgerald enters Australian market to assist financial services firms amidst increasing scrutiny

Parker Fitzgerald, the strategic advisor and consulting partner to the world’s leading financial institutions, today announces the opening of its new international office in Sydney, Australia. The company is also announcing the appointment of Jeremy Scott, formerly the Global Chairman of PwC’s Financial Services practice, to lead Parker Fitzgerald’s growing business in Asia Pacific.

Mr Scott, Vice Chairman of Parker Fitzgerald, has advised a number of the world’s largest financial institutions on a variety of strategic issues relating to corporate governance, regulatory compliance, culture and behavioural change over the course of his career.

This appointment comes amid heightened scrutiny of financial services in Australia following revelations from the Banking Royal Commission.

Parker Fitzgerald has specific expertise and extensive experience on the remediation and rectification of major conduct-led issues that require a transformation of a firm’s enterprise risk framework and underlying capabilities.

The firm is well positioned to help Australian financial institutions respond to the significant challenges in risk management identified by the Banking Royal Commission and Australian Regulatory Authorities, having helped multiple UK clients dealing with similar issues over the past decade.

Adding to its existing offices in London, New York, Singapore and Paris, Parker Fitzgerald’s new Sydney office will be located at 44 Market Street.

Jeremy Scott, Vice Chairman at Parker Fitzgerald, said:

“Since the emergence of revelations from the Banking Royal Commission, and the subsequent federal government’s announcement of larger fines and jail terms in April, the current crisis in public opinion is very familiar to those who have experienced the UK financial services industry over the last 10 years and, based on that experience, presages a period of remediation and significant change across Australian financial services.

“I am excited to help Parker Fitzgerald expand its international footprint and look forward to bringing the company’s global expertise to bear in the Australia market.”

Scott Vincent, Group CEO at Parker Fitzgerald, commented:

“We are very excited about the opportunities for Parker Fitzgerald in Australia and are confident in our ability to add great value to our clients in this region.

“Having supported many global financial institutions in the UK on similar issues of trust and integrity, we understand the approach firms should take to rebuild these vital components of their operating model and brand.

“The combination of relevant experience, knowledge of regulatory expectations, and our practitioner-led delivery model will be of significant value to our clients in Australia and ensure that they are able to prioritise effectively, invest wisely in remediation and accelerate desired outcomes.

“We are delighted that Jeremy has accepted this important role and we have every confidence that, under his leadership, Parker Fitzgerald will soon become a recognised force in the Australian consulting market as it has done in the UK and Europe.”

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 1

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales fell in the year to February as stores cut jobs at a rapid rate, with only supermarkets reporting any growth during the latest COVID-19 lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s gauge of retail sales stood at -45, up only slightly from January’s eight-month low of -50. The measure points to falling sales and is below the consensus forecast of -38 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Retailers’ expectations for March – when non-essential shops will remain closed to the public as part of lockdown measures – fell to -62, the lowest since the series began in 1983.

In another sign of a changing consumer habits during lockdown, the survey’s gauge of internet retail sales hit a new record high.

“With lockdown measures still in place, trading conditions remain extremely difficult for retailers,” said Ben Jones, principal economist at the CBI.

“Record growth in internet shopping suggests that retailers’ investments in on-line platforms and click-and-collect services may be paying off, but the re-opening of the sector can’t come soon enough to protect jobs and breathe life back into the sector.”

Job losses among retailers accelerated according to a quarterly question in the survey. For the distribution sector as a whole, which includes wholesalers and car dealers, employment fell at a record rate, the CBI survey showed.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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