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6 June 2017 | Issue 19
Market corner

by Ghillie Little
Head of Corporate Consulting, SBC London
ghillie@sbc.london
Outperformer
Netflix and a lot of chill
Netflix's subscriber count to hit 128 million by 2020, a 44% increase from 2016 to 2022 across all geographical regions. During that same timeframe, subscription revenues are estimated to climb from $8.29 billion USD to $14.86 billion USD. What's special about Netflix remains their competitive advantage, Netflix data allows them to know more about who and how people watch its content than the content creators do whereas competitors are so far at the mercy of weekly ratings.
Neutral
World Bank figures
World Bank releases its latest set of predictions for the global economy - one of which stated that global growth will hit 2.9% next year, up from the 2.7% it expects this year. Good news the World Bank is optimistic but so far an estimate that was also accompanied by a number of risks that could alter its forecast.  Considering stocks have on the whole already been performing as the World Bank has anticipated, this news is somewhat non-news.
 
Underperformer
Venezuela boldly attempts to resell bonds
Chinese brokerage Haitong Securities has won the fortunate task of marketing the deeply discounted $5 billion worth of Venezuela bonds to hedge funds and the reaction is not looking promising. Irregularities and legality aside, even specialists in distressed debt are finding the resell a bit hard to swallow. The move is the latest of a litany of interesting moves by the country to raise funds with one brokerage suggesting they are just filling up their credit card with no plans of paying back.

FinTerest
A bit of Financial Crime got you down?
Cordium is looking to be a knight in shining armour for wealth and fund firms working to adapt to new requirements of the Criminal Finances Act, going into effect later this year in September. Possibly a bit too late for some as we continue to read about the Ingenious Media's film investment scheme debacle.

Notable Headline


Man drinking pint while fleeing terror becomes symbol of London spirit

...keep calm and don't spill your pint.

Corridors of power


by Louis Rynsard
Director, Reputation & Strategy, SBC London
louis@sbc.london

Two days out

Well it’s been quite the ride. When this election was called nearly everyone was predicting a Tory landslide, as yours truly said at the time:

“…barring a monumental f*ck up, a crisis the likes of which we cannot yet imagine, or a political earthquake never before experienced, Theresa May will dramatically increase her majority.”

This may still be on the cards but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who thinks this campaign went well for May and her team (recently rebranded the Conservatives). From the Dementia tax to dodging debates and those less than impressive performances, the Prime Minister entered this election (of her own calling) a political colossus. No matter what, she will leave it a much-reduced figure. The PM may still get her landslide. But does anyone think that the Conservative Party, the most effective and successful electoral force in global history, the party of ruthless pragmatism, will allow a leader who was run so close by Jeremy Corbyn to survive to the next election? Betting books for next Tory leader open soon.

 
Where's Liam?

Here’s a quick question, has anyone seen Liam Fox this entire campaign? All foreign trips have been cancelled and today the PM announced the recreation of The Board of Trade, of which Fox is formally President. Yet Foxy is nowhere to be seen.
 
Is May ashamed of him? Does Lynton Crosby know Liam Fox doesn’t go down well? Or is he off playing golf?

A Mayor for all Londoners

While Sadiq Khan and his team worked through the night with the emergency services and central government in response to the horrific events of last Saturday, across the pond President Trump was tweeting.

We could go into great detail about the very fact that this city, this wonderful London, elected a Muslim Mayor, the son of a bus driver, sending a message of hope to the world or how Sadiq is championing an open, diverse, tolerant and modern London. Or we could just quote the headline from GQ’s open letter: “Hey Donald Trump, back the f*ck off our Mayor.”

Heroes of the week


Our emergency services who again ran towards danger, members of the public who looked out for and protected each other and everyone like Richard Angell, Florin Morariu and Ignacio Echeverría who defiantly did not give in to terror.

Reader slot
The spirit of democracy and why it matters:
In a time of Trump, democracy and democratic values have never mattered more.

How London will move forward:
I think there is a deeply imbedded attitude in the British in general and Londoners in particular not to ‘reel’ in the face of adversity. Complain a bit but not reel. Look at twitter and some of the comedic responses of slight annoyance at Sunday’s front page headline in the New York Times.  In the shadows things might get a little less forgiving for those seen as threats but in the mainstream it will be, ‘Stay calm and carry on.’

On hope:
Expressed lightly under a veneer of comedy. Let’s not express ourselves too much.

Answers from Simon L. (British expat in New York, NY)

Who's having a rough week?


Those who turn to terror
 
Despite it all, despite three attacks in quick succession, the biggest story in London today was the rain and across the UK people are living, loving and being themselves. Britain keeps calm and carries on, there is nothing you can do to stop that.
Silicon passage

by Louis Rynsard
Director, Reputation & Strategy, SBC London
louis@sbc.london

Well I'll be droned

We’ve all become accustomed to drones as a tool of war, we will soon get to know them as a device for delivering goods. However, with their potential to cause damage, either intentionally or not, the question has to be asked how to keep us safe from the drones?
 

One tech company has the answer – more drones!

San Leandro-based company Airspace Systems is in the process of developing drones to hunt down drones. This is another reminder that technology (be it cyber or physical) is just a tool. It is how we use it that matters and for any risk created by humans making tech, there is often a solution humans can make out of tech.
 

All the people around the world

It's day two of Apple’s worldwide developer conference in sunny California and so far, so old. Headline announcements are Apple’s foray into the smart speaker market, a new OS for Apple products and updated versions of their hardware offer.

Excited? Yeah, me neither.

Gone are the days when Apple announcements set the world on fire. Indeed, not really since the iPad has the world’s second largest company by market cap really changed the game. The sheer size and devotion of Apple’s fan base means what they are putting out will sell, but, as the old saying goes, you either disrupt or are disrupted. Apple needs to up their innovation game or they risk some new kid on the block becoming the future.

Ice, ice baby

While all eyes are on Apple this week, rumours are swirling that Amazon is about to try and enter the smart phone market. Again. Codenamed ‘Ice’, the new phone will be Amazon’s second attempt, after the failed not-so-hot "Fire" in 2014.

Reportedly priced at below $100, Amazon is going for a mass-market appeal. A cheap smart phone is quite the revolutionary idea and could help Bezos’ empire grow as it grabs the newly affluent in Africa, India and other economically developing areas of the world. This idea might have legs. Watch this space, we will be.

Don't know how to vote?
Fun tips for floating voters.


The Financial News told us this week that the City is facing a horrible choice on Thursday. To that end, we put our heads together and came up with some alternative ways to choose:

1. Pick the person in the world you admire most. Imagine that person were standing in the general election. Which candidate would vote for them? (vote for them)

2. Imagine you were standing in an election. Which candidate would vote for you? (possibly vote for them)

3. Imagine each candidate with their finger hovering over the nuclear button. Who do you trust the most? (Definitely vote for that person)

4. Imagine each candidate going on a highly-publicised visit to another major head of state? Is there a candidate that would make you cringe with embarrassment? (vote or prepare to blush for four long years)

C-suite steer

 
by Lief Anya Schneider
CEO, SBC London
lief@sbc.london
Miracle at Bank Station
 
This morning, less than 72 hours after a blood curdling event five-minutes away on London Bridge, a mini miracle occurred at Bank Station.
 
The scene was a rain-soaked, packed corridor and the stairwell it leads to. Usually, at that time in the morning, after disembarking from the train, it takes around 10 minutes to leave the station because the crowd bottlenecks at the escalator.  There are stairs, but the well is deep. A few take the plunge and walk up. A station guard sometimes pleads on the mic “If you can, please use the stairs”. Very few, bar a few young bucks, take him up on it.
 
This morning the station was extra packed. The staff were gesturing to each other over the heads of the crowd, and seemed a little panicked. No doubt they’ve been told to clear crowds quicker than usual because of recent events, and a backlog of trains meant that the platform wasn’t being cleared as new ones came in.
 
Enter a guard who gets on the mic. A jovial, confident cockney: 
 
“So, you can see we’re extra busy this morning,” came the friendly, jovial cockney accent. “So please don’t block the escalators and use both sides.
 
“Or, if you would like to take the Hundred Step Challenge, use the staircase in the middle.”
 
A frisson rippled through the crowd. And, like the Red Sea, it parted. Half stayed on the escalator side, and the other half (the fitter ones) stepped out of the queue, proceeding resolutely and joined a determined march to the top.
 
For the first time ever, I witnessed a queue forming not for the escalator, but for the stairs…
 
How many managing consultants, academics, marketing psychologists, advertising creatives and politicians does it take to come up with one way to change habitual behaviour patterns?  Tens. At least. Or one station guard.
 
Somehow, the crowd remembered themselves. Blitz spirit kicked in. They were lucky to be alive, committed to doing their little bit and so on. Also, he hadn’t asked them to do something - he’d offered them something irresistible – a challenge. And he’d given his offering a catchy name - the Hundred Step Challenge. Brilliant.
 
Footnote: Did I take the stairs or the escalator? I took the escalator.  I’ve done that “hundred step challenge” a couple of times, it’s a lot deeper than you’d think and bloody murder!

Poem of the week


A Scottish Blessing

Read aloud today before the minutes silence at Guildhall in London


The SPIT is produced weekly by SBC London.
SBC London is a corporate reputation and communications advisory firm based in the City of London. 

SBC London
80 Coleman Street London EC2R 5BJ
+44 (0)207 104 2214 | www.sbc.london

the SPIT © 2017 SBC London, All rights reserved.
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