HSBC/McKinsey: Plague and pestilence

City Insider

Doomsday prediction of the week: banks face wipeout in some business areas, according to a new McKinsey study. Luckily the strategy firm is on hand to help the banks fight back against these disruptive technologies with a big expensive consulting project.

HSBC is a case in point. Long-time insiders speak bitterly of a “plague” of McKinsey staff and alumni being parachuted in to shake things up. The firm spoke at the bank’s “Global Talent Pool” conference in June — an off-site in the ballroom of the Savoy hotel for 200 of HSBC’s up-and-coming managers. McKinsey’s Richard Dobbs talked the audience through a book he’s co-written: “Ordinary Disruption: The Four Forces Breaking All the Trends.” One of these — “the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition” — is all too familiar to the banks. But whether HSBC’s next-generation elite will be up to the task is questionable. City Insider’s man on the ground quips: “There was lots and lots of grey hair in the room.”

Lord Davies: Building bridges

Good news and bad for supporters of the Garden Bridge. The trust that is managing the fundraising is only £5m short of the £150m point at which chairman Lord Mervyn Davies believes he can “press the button” on the £175m project. There’s a snag, though, in the form of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the favourite to win next year’s election for London mayor.

Lord Mervyn Davies
Lord Mervyn Davies © FT

Khan has been pretty clear about his opposition to a scheme that is absorbing £60m of public money and has been backed by outgoing Tory mayor Boris Johnson. Last week he issued a statement saying the bridge was another Johnson “white elephant” and didn’t represent value for money. Cue an emergency meeting between Davies and Khan later this month. Trowels at dawn no doubt.

Alan Yarrow: Giving, giving, gone

Alan Yarrow

The outgoing Lord Mayor of London, Alan Yarrow, toured the Square Mile on Wednesday to launch the inaugural City Giving Day. More than 200 companies signed up to support the initiative, designed to champion companies across the City for the good that they do. Only a fifth of City employees are aware of their own company’s corporate social responsibility work, says Yarrow, who recently abseiled down the Lloyd's Building to raise money for charity. City Giving Day is “a win win”, he says. “If we get it right, more people will want to volunteer and then more charitable work will get done and it will gather momentum.”

Yarrow rounded off the day with the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards at Mansion House, which celebrate CSR. Barclays picked up the Lord Mayor’s Award for Longstanding Achievement. The bank has committed to invest £250m to help 5m people build a better future for themselves. Makes a change from boardroom coups, interest rate rigging and PPI mis-selling.

Daniel Stewart: Groundhog Day

It was a tale of three brokers this week. Numis Securities said revenues were up about 5 per cent in the year to September 30. Rival Panmure Gordon reported a pre-tax loss of £225,000 for the six months to June 30. It is reviewing about a dozen jobs following its acquisition of Charles Stanley investment banking division in July.

Over at troubled broker Daniel Stewart, it was Groundhog Day. On Thursday it said its shares would be suspended from trading on London’s Aim market (again) as it works to secure a new funding package.

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