It’s a pleasure to speak with you this morning on a subject that is right at the top of my priorities.Women in Finance really is central to the success of UK financial services, and our prosperity more broadly.Not because of social pressure or reputational risk – but to help us meet the challenges and opportunities of the global economy.In the future, we will never be able to compete with the likes of China or India when it comes to raw numbers, or sheer financial and political clout.The single most decisive factor in our success will be the expertise found within our workforce.And if the UK is to remain a leading centre for global finance, then we cannot afford for people with talent and skill to pass the sector by.Nor can we afford for experienced and capable individuals to be prevented from rising to the top.I know many of you recognise this too.As such, I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t repeat all the traditional arguments in favour of workplace diversity.It might have been necessary 10 or 15 years ago; but this is 2019. One would hope that the benefits are plainly apparent across the industry – and certainly to this audience.Nor do I intend to simply reel of the normal list of Government platitudes and policies as you might expect from a ministerial speaker.You’ve already discussed the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter in the previous session.And many of the 330 organisations that have already signed-up are represented today.Instead, I want to talk about how we can translate our shared commitment into meaningful, measurable, improvement.As City Minister, I certainly hear all the right noises about diversity and inclusion.Corporate leaders tell me they ‘get it’.They have an action plan. They hold forums. They bring in experts.And yet the gender pay gap in financial services remains the largest of any sector within our economy.On average a woman earns 64 pence for every one pound earned by a man.There is no great mystery behind this disparity. The simple fact is men are disproportionately represented in senior roles which naturally attract better salaries.For all the noise and activity – for all the supposed commitment within the sector – there are still too few women reaching the top.Is it because companies are choosing quick and superficial wins over long term cultural change?Or perhaps they were only interested in window dressing in the first place?I have certainly heard some horror stories in my time.Reports of firms filling gender balanced shortlists but with no real intention of employing the women concerned.Or creating new seats for women in the boardroom in roles that are peripheral or – worse – roles that set them up for failure.These are anecdotal examples – one hopes they aren’t accurate.But somehow the very public commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the sector isn’t cutting through.Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Man Group.It’s one of the firms that is making progress.They’ve introduced a global parental leave policy. All new parents – men and women alike – are entitled to the same full pay and the same, extended, 18-week leave allowance.I wanted to speak to a cross section of women who work there to understand their perspective more broadly.I was particularly taken with the comments of one classics graduate who is now co-managing a billion-euro hedge fund.She made the point that the perception that financial services is all about complex maths and spreadsheets can put people off. It doesn’t reflect many aspects and skills required for the job. Emotional intelligence also matters.Alongside the requirement for hard quantitative analytical skills is the need to understand the complex inter-personal dynamics and culture of an organisation you might want to invest in.This point about perception came up time-and-again during our conversations.Take role models as an example.We often look to CEOs and industry ‘big names’. But if they are so far removed from your own experience or career path, what impact can they really have on your aspirations?People need realistic case studies. Role models with backgrounds they recognise. Attributes they can emulate.And I think perception also plays an important part in answering why we’ve not seen more progress in achieving a greater gender balance across the sector.There’s little point in having the right policies on parental leave, for example, if new mothers or fathers feel that taking their entitlement will harm their career.Likewise, there’s little point in permitting flexible working if staff feel they’ll be poorly judged if they work at home.Indeed, truly enlightened firms should be willing to publish the data to prove they practice what they preach.And the most inclusive firms are those where managers lead by example.Because if managers aren’t taking the leave they’re entitled to – or if they’re burning the midnight oil in the office night after night – is it any wonder if their staff feel obliged to do the same?It’s clear that having the right policies isn’t enough by itself – the culture must be there too.Of course, some countries have gone down the route of legislation.In Sweden new mothers and fathers are obliged to take their entitlement of parental leave, and that’s been the case for several decades.My instinct is that isn’t the right solution for the UK at present.I’d much rather tap into the spirit of competition that exists within the sector by sharing best practice to inspire – or provoke – firms to do better.And there are plenty of companies that are making progress toward their targets.Lloyds has a leadership development programme which has seen women being promoted at a rate 5 times greater than the average across the firm.Nationwide reviewed their maternity leave policy and consequently. designed a new returners programme to help ease mothers back into work.And at PwC all staff, at every level, have diversity linked objectives against which their performance is assessed.This kind of approach matters because everyone has a role to play in creating an inclusive culture.Everyone is a leader of some sorts, even if it’s just by setting an example for others to follow.And it’s important to hold people to this obligation – just as firms need to be held to account for the overall progress they make.This leads us back to the Women in Finance CharterThe next annual review will begin over the summer.And I will be taking a personal interest in the submissions we receive.I don’t expect to see complete transformations overnight.But I do expect to see signs that you are making headway.Putting in place policies and programmes which will deliver consistent progress in the years to come.Because signing the Charter is not a ‘tick in the box’ – it’s a solemn commitment to do what must be done to right this wrong.So let me draw this together.I’ve raised a few awkward questions today, but I make no apology for asking them – nor are they for me to answer.Ultimately, the onus is on the sector to ask itself whether it is willing to translate warm words into the tough, tangible action which is necessary.I’m proud to be your advocate.Barely a day goes by when I don’t speak in Parliament or in public about the contribution that financial services make to our economy, or the potential it offers for the future.I will always try to name firms that represent the best of the sector, as I have done today.But nor will I shy away from highlighting where the sector is falling short; and where it needs to do more.And the hard truth is we still have a long way to go.So the time has come for real leadership.No more gestures.No more warm words.Decisive action is required.I must now return to Whitehall to prepare for a Parliamentary debate this afternoon.But I would encourage you to take inspiration from one another’s achievements and from all you’ve heard today.And to never lose sight of what we’re working toward.A financial sector where no one is forced to choose between their family and their career.A sector where anyone can succeed on the strengths of their talents alone.A sector that is not only more open, but more resilient, more dynamic and more successful too.
Turnover at Greencore is currently down 60% year on year following the slump in the food-to-go market.Weekly demand in the company’s food to go categories declined by up to 70% as a result of coronavirus and is currently less than 60% below trading levels a year ago, the company reported today (19 May).As a result, Greencore has simplified its product ranges and temporarily halted production at its Bow, Atherstone and Heathrow sites, as well as rationalising production at its Northampton factory.The company has also furloughed a “substantial proportion” of staff, and eliminated non-essential operating costs, including recruitment, travel and other variable overheads.“Greencore has worked collaboratively with its customers to quickly adapt to the effects of the lockdown while maintaining customer service and working together on ways to maintain the integrity of the supply chain, as well as planning for activation as social restrictions begin to ease,” stated the company.Announcing its interim results for the 26 weeks ending 27 March 2020, Greencore’s reported revenue growth was 1.6%, with adjusted EBITDA up 2.1%. It stated, however, that revenue was currently down around 60% year-on-year.The Bakers and Allied Food Workers’ Union had raised concerns earlier this month that the company had failed to inform staff that a manager had tested positive for Covid-19. But Greencore today stated staff safety was a priority.The company said it was engaging continuously with regulatory bodies, including the Health & Safety Executive and Public Health England, and had carried out a large number of social distancing measures, introduced new hygiene protocols and provided support to workers.“I am hugely proud of the way in which our people have responded to the extraordinary challenges of Covid-19, and take this opportunity to publicly thank them for their role in keeping the UK fed over the last two months,” said CEO Patrick Coveney.“We have implemented a broad range of actions to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on our business and to position us for growth as the pandemic eases.”Greencore said it was in close dialogue with customers on how to optimise its operating model to respond to evolving demand, while the group’s commercial teams were looking at shopping trends and buying behaviour as the situation develops. read more
Tom Hamilton’s American Babies are keeping their Masquerade of Light and Dark tour going, with two highly-anticipated shows at Sweetwater Music Hall slated for this weekend. The shows were always billed as having a “Grateful Dead” theme, keeping with the Babies’ ongoing run of special themed shows. Now, the shows will take on even more special meaning, as a number of high-profile, Dead-flavored special guests have been announced for the two-night run.First of all, Bob Weir will join Hamilton and his cohorts for a few songs on Friday night. On Saturday, The Babies will be joined by Dave Schools of Widespread Panic and the inimitable Holly Bowling.Hamilton, Weir, and Schools will join forces with Bill Kreutzmann and Jeff Chimenti this February to headline the Los Muertos Con Queso event in Mexico, and they have been rehearsing in California this week. Fans who are attending these special shows at Sweetwater have to be pinching themselves, as they’ll get to witness a special preview of this unique lineup. Holly Bowling just released an album of Grateful Dead material as well, so she should be a great fit with American Babies to help pay tribute. If you’re in the area, make sure to catch these incredible collaborations!If you can’t make it to Sweetwater Music Hall this weekend, make sure to enter our contest below that could send you and a friend to Mexico for an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Muertos Con Queso! read more
Middle school teachers became students in Mansi Srivastava’s lab earlier this month, as the assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology led an educational workshop on DNA and evolution titled “Real Science: Untangling Evolutionary Trees.” Srivastava, in collaboration with students at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Museum of Natural History education office, gave lessons and hands-on lab work in the three days of classes with funding from her National Science Foundation’s CAREER award.Monique Harrington, a middle school substitute teacher in the Needham Public Schools, found the material “incredibly valuable and relevant.”“I was very impressed with the quick understanding of DNA sequencing that I was able to acquire. The attention to detail and the multistep learning process involved in lab work was very interesting and rewarding,” she said. “The work of drawing trees and finding connections between all life forms would also support tactile learning styles that integrate art and visual mathematical concepts. This opportunity would transform classroom teaching into a much-needed multidisciplinary approach.”Srivastava said she sought out middle school educators “to bring these experiences to [the students] before they make up their minds.” She noted that the “equipment needed to produce the experiments has become more affordable and portable,” making evolution — a topic sometimes hard to make tangible — feel more accessible.“Content-wise, students do learn about DNA in their curriculum already, but this workshop allows them to work with it directly,” she said. “Scientists study the world in an experimental framework — we generate hypotheses about something, do an experiment to test it, and then we assess whether the results support our hypothesis or reject it. Science textbooks teach students about the results or inferences we make, but don’t always communicate how we got to the answer. This workshop included hands-on experience in the doing of science.” DNA reveals we are all genetic mutts A new spin on an old question DNA helicopters offer insight into how biological machines power living things Related Geneticist David Reich discusses how migration shaped modern human populations read more
Check out Baldori and Migliazza doing the Boogie Stomp below. The internationally renowned Boogie Stomp! features two pianos, one stage and 100 years of American piano music. Tickets are now available for Boogie Stomp!, starring jazz and blues pianists Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza. The off-Broadway show will play a limited engagement May 8 through May 31, with opening night set for May 15 at The Chain Theatre. Baldori has been a mainstay of blues, boogie and rock for over 40 years. He has performed hundreds of dates in venues from Detroit to Chicago, L.A. to New York, to the White House for President Clinton. He has worked with such legends as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Del Shannon, and Bo Diddley. Migliazza began playing the piano professionally at the age of 13, has been inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, and has shared the stage with stars including Little Milton, Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, and Albert Lee. View Comments read more
Oct 30, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A 39-year-old woman who was previously listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Egypt’s 15th H5N1 avian influenza case-patient died today, the country’s state news agency reported.She is the seventh Egyptian to die of the illness and the first fatality since May. The woman was from the Nile Delta town of Samanoud, which is about 60 miles northwest of Cairo, Reuters reported today.According to an Oct 11 WHO statement, the woman became ill on Sep 30 and was hospitalized Oct 4. She had suffered from pneumonia and been treated with oseltamivir. Reuters reported that her contacts have tested negative for the virus.The WHO report said she had slaughtered and plucked about a dozen ducks after some of the flock got sick and died.The H5N1 virus first cropped up in Egyptian poultry in February, and a series of human cases followed in April and May. Cases in poultry resurfaced in Egypt Sep 5, when an outbreak was reported on a farm in the southern province of Sohag, about 305 miles south of Cairo. Another outbreak was reported in late September among domestic birds at a home near Aswan, in southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan.A Reuters report said most commercial poultry flocks in Egypt have been vaccinated against H5N1, but only about 20% of backyard birds have been immunized.See also:Oct 11 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_10_11/en/index.html read more
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Employer organisations and unions of the ailing sector scheme for dental technicians (Tandtechniek) said they preferred to place further pensions accrual with the €182bn healthcare scheme PFZW.According to the pension fund, employers and unions were consulting their members about such a switch.If they agree, the €800m Tandtechniek, which had a funding of just 84.8% at the end of February, would continue as a closed scheme managing existing pension rights.Rob van Leeuwen, chairman of the pension fund, however, said that its board was also assessing other options, including continuing as an independent scheme for the time being. “Ideally, we would like to keep both pensions accrual and existing rights together,” he told IPE.Placing existing pension rights with PFZW or another pension fund means that the dental technicians’ scheme must apply cuts, which depend on the difference in funding between the two schemes.At the end of February, funding of the healthcare scheme stood at 91.6%.Van Leeuwen indicated that the board was in talks with three schemes about potential partnerships. Placing pensions with a general pension fund (APF) was another option considered by the board, he said.According to the chairman, the board aimed to transfer pensions accrual on 1 January 2018 and that it wanted clarity before 1 July, ‘as the ministry for Social Affairs also had to approve new accrual elsewhere, to continue the mandatory participation of employers”.Earlier this year, Tandtechniek still assumed it had to apply rights cuts of 0.16% this year, following two discounts of 9% in total during the past years.In 2015, it raised its contribution by 5.5 percentage points to 32.5%. During the same year, its administration costs per member rose from €217 to €330.According to Van Leeuwen, the sector scheme, which is one of the industry-wide pension funds that have to leave provider Syntrus Achmea, had not yet made a decision about a new provider.While acknowledging that PGGM – the provider for PFZW – could be a suitable alternative, Van Leeuwen said that a collective administration transfer to Centric, as is being negotiated by Syntrus at the moment, would offer Tandtechniek some respite.“In this case, the entire pensions administration could remain with Centric,” he pointed out.Tandtechniek’s contract with Syntrus expires at year-end.Consultant seeks to bring robo-advice to NetherlandsDutch consultant Floreijn Groep has sold a minority stake to Swedish financial service provider Söderberg & Partners.It said it expected to benefit from Scandinavian expertise and “robo-advice” technology to individual workers in pension schemes.“The Scandinavian market is ahead on individual pensions advising, as the Nordic countries made the switch from defined benefit to defined contribution several years ago,” said Theo Stam, director of Floreijn. “We see the Dutch market heading in the same direction.”According to Stam, Söderberg had developed efficient advisory services for individual pensions accrual, and the Swedish firm could, with their robot technology, add an important IT element to Floreijn’s advisory services.He said he saw potential for robo-advice to provide preparatory work for individual advice.“A robot could be deployed for gathering and interpreting financial data and, ultimately, even deliver advice,” Stam said. “This enables us to reduce advisory costs, which people are seldom willing to pay anyway, by at least 80%. Any remaining tailor-made advice could be provided during a personal conversation.”Stam said Floreijn was still assessing how it could deploy robo-advisers for individual investment advice.He indicated that, in principle, his company could use Söderberg’s large investment analysis department, which monitors 4,700 investment funds.Gouda and Rotterdam-based Floreijn targets employers with a pension fund or insured pension arrangements with services that include communication strategy.Söderberg said its strategic co-operation with Floreijn offered an opportunity to introduce its technology outside Scandinavia, adding that it intended to grow through its robo-advice and investment services.L&G completes sale of Dutch businessLegal & General (L&G) has completed the sale of its Netherlands business to Chesnara for €161m.Initially announced in November 2016, the sale is part of the UK-headquartered financial services giant’s plan to “dispose of non-core businesses”, it said in a statement.L&G Netherlands was founded in 1984 and has its main office in Hilversum. It runs roughly €2.1bn in assets, predominantly for retail clients.Chesnara is a UK-based consolidator company focused on the life insurance sector. read more
The Veronicas buy in Queensland In Victoria, it is the outer suburbs of Melbourne that have experienced the biggest changes in population, with places like Craigieburn reporting an increase of 53.4 per cent over five years, according to HTW.Affordable housing and new greenfield sites are driving growth in Melbourne’s western suburbs, while the revitalisation of Geelong and new local infrastructure is expected to stimulate its property market.And in South Australia, overseas migration rather than interstate migration is driving Adelaide’s population increase, according to the report.While Tasmania is “enjoying steady, albeit not outstanding, population growth of 1.24 per cent”, a “far cry from 2012 when the population actually shrank by 0.57 per cent”.This is being driven by a stronger economy thanks to tourism, building and real estate activity and general confidence, population migration due to real or imagined climate change effects and overseas migration. People are “simply relocating from Queensland and Western Australia because it is too hot”, the report said. Adcock Prestige agent jason Adcock recently sold 41 Brisbane Corso, Fairfield, for $3.05 million“This tide of new residents heading coastward is turning somewhat as more choose to stay in Brisbane and enjoy it’s growing cosmopolitan lifestyle attractions,” the report said.“The NIM (net interstate migration) has been steadily rising from 15,000 in 2016 to just under 24,000 in 2018. The next lot of results in 2019 are expected to be even higher.”Property data firm CoreLogic will also reveal today that Brisbane recorded median price growth of 0.1 per cent during August.“There has been positive growth in Brisbane and it looks like it will be positive again,” CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said ahead of the release of the August hedonic home value index today.It marks the second increase in values in two months, after Brisbane recorded a small rise of 0.1 per cent in July – the first monthly rise since November last year.“Australia’s housing market recovery gathered some pace in August, with CoreLogic set to report a rise in national housing values over the month of August,” CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said.“The first 28 days of the month has seen capital city values increase by 0.8 per cent (overall). “If the trend holds firm over the remaining few days of the month, this will be the largest month-on-month rise in the five city aggregate index since April 2017.”The recovery trend is being propelled by stronger conditions in Sydney and Melbourne, the two capitals hardest hit by the property downturn but now proving the most responsive to recent policy decisions and improved access to credit. Chris Hemsworth and his family have set up home at Byron Bay. He is posing here for his health and fitness app, Centr“There’s no doubt that this population growth from interstate migration has put pressure on the price of real estate in these localities,” the report said.Earlier this year, Byron Bay leapfrogged Sydney after its median house price became the most expensive in Australia.The report, also by Propertyology, identified Australia’s most expensive places to buy a house, and Byron Bay took out top spot.“Byron’s median house price increased by a whopping 64 per cent over the past five calendar years, propelling it to the top of the national table,” that report said. National Property Clock – Houses. Source: HTW Month in Review And this house at 117 Adelaide St East, Clayfield in Brisbane was sold by Ray White New Farm agent Christine Rudolph for $2.8 million in JulyBack in Brisbane, the HTW report said affordability in the local prestige market when compared to Sydney and Melbourne was an attractive prospect for people looking to make the move north, with the “price point for ultra-prestige homes in Brisbane a long way under those in Sydney”.It is a temptation that many interstate migrators can’t refuse, the report said. “Couple that with more work opportunities and a (hopefully) overall strengthening state economy, and it’d be fair to say that those who purchase in 2019 will look back in ten years and thank their stars they acted,” the report said. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhy location is everything in real estate01:59INTERSTATE migration is boosting prices at the top end of the Brisbane housing market, but it is not just million-dollar properties that are seeing a positive impact.That is according to the latest Herron Todd White Month in Review report, which found that all price points were reaping the rewards from ‘out of towners” moving to Brisbane from the more expensive capitals of Sydney and Melbourne. MORE NEWS: Brisbane’s million-dollar suburbs boom Brisbane skylineAnd it would seem that more of those interstate movers are now staying in Brisbane rather than being tempted to the Gold or Sunshine coasts. Gold Coast skyline (Photographer Glen Anderson — We Are Gold Coast)The report noted a growing trend, particularly in the hinterland, towards buyers seeking dual living houses on acreage, and developers altering their pitch to suit that market. But on the southern Gold Coast, new developments were driving the most interest from local, interstate and international buyers.The Sunshine Coast also continues to be a popular destination for buyers, but the report could not pinpoint a hot spot for new residents from interstate. 18 Maryland Ave, Carrara sold for $6.3 million in July“Most of our locations on the Coast seem to be having their fair share of new arrivals into their communities though it would be fair to say that suburbs along the coastline would be top of the list, the report said.In NSW, overseas migration is expected to continue to underpin population growth in Sydney, but it is Byron Bay that has experienced a “significant increase in population” as a result of interstate and internal migration. Place Bulimba agent Sarah Hackett sold 65 Longman Tce, Chelmer, for $6.6m in JuneIn July, Propertyology revealed that the Sunshine State was not only the destination of choice for the majority of interstate migrators, but those that already live here were in no hurry to leave.But it is not just Brisbane that is attracting interstate interest.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus11 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market11 hours agoThe Gold Coast has a mix of ‘out-of-towners’ who have moved from interstate for work, and people trying to escape the city. Premium Brisbane units in demand Wategos Beach at Byron BayThe hippy beach town-turned celeb haven, and its surrounds, has become a beacon for cashed up buyers wanting to escape the capital cities. National Property Clock – Units. Source: HTW Month in ReviewBut that population movement is impacting on Tassie’s housing affordability, particularly in Hobart.“Inner city Hobart is priced out of many potential purchasers means with its median house price now above Adelaide,” the report said. “The median and outer ring suburbs however still provide affordable housing and are still enjoying solid capital growth.” read more