Risk & Economy » 5 things FDs need to know this week

1. Bitcoin price plummets

It’s been a bad week for the cryptocurrency, with the price falling below $3,000 at the time of writing.

The falling price comes after the CEO of JPMorgan called bitcoin “a fraud” and China shut down its cryptocurrency exchanges.

Jamie Dimon said bitcoin was “worse than tulip bulbs” in reference to the Dutch bubble in the 1600s, and said he would fire any employee trading bitcoin for being “stupid.”

Meanwhile, China closed down its BTCC exchange and has banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) after increased regulatory scrutiny.

 

2. Seadrill drilling firm files for bankruptcy

The offshore oil rig firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after agreeing a restructuring deal to prop up the company with $1 billion.

Seadrill Ltd, owned by Norwegian billioanaire John Fredriksen, worked out a deal with its bondholders, a consortium of investors and most of its secured bank lenders, to extend maturity on $5.7 billion in debt, with no amortisation payments until 2020.

The agreed restructuring plan was developed over the course of more than a year of detailed discussions, according to a statement released by Seadrill.

 

3. HMRC’s Executive Chair to step down

Edward Troup, HMRC’s Executive Chair and First Permanent Secretary, has announced that he will retire at the end of this year.

Troup has held the position for the past five years after joining from HM Treasury and is the department’s most senior tax professional and chaired HMRC’s board.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “My colleagues and I are very grateful to Edward for his service to HMRC and HM Treasury – his deep expertise and experience has rightly gained him the respect of the tax world and he retires with our very best wishes.”

Troup will leave the department on 31 December, 2017.

 

4. Investment consultants face competition probe

The FCA has referred the investment consultancy and fiduciary management sector to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) because of features it thinks “prevent, distort or restrict competition”, citing a “weak demand side” and “relatively high levels of concentration, with the largest three firms together holding between 50-80% market share” as key issues.

The three largest firms under scrutiny are Aon Hewitt, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

“It is a significant step for us to make this recommendation. We have serious concerns about this market and believe that the CMA is best placed to undertake this work.”

 

5. World leaders gather for first Global Business Forum next week

As the UN general assembly convenes in New York next week, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba, and Bill Gates, Microsoft magnate, are just some of the names who will join over 50 Heads of State and 250 Global CEOs to discuss today’s challenges to economic growth and prosperity.

The session will begin with a speech from Michael Bloomberg and former US President, Bill Clinton and topics will include societal challenges, disruptive technologies, global trade and commerce, preserving broad economic opportunity, climate change and mass migration, and regional transformations in China, the Middle East and Africa.

Other notable attendees include: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey; Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia; former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs; IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde; Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo; and Jim Kim, President of World Bank Group.

Bloomberg will live stream the Global Business Forum on Twitter, after agreeing a partnership with the social media site in May this year.