Friday, December 3

Call for pragmatism to tackle UK skills shortage makes sense | Nils pratley

TThe most interesting intervention in the heated debate over the skills shortage came last week from Simon Wolfson, the CEO of Next, who, as a pro-Brexit businessman, might be expected to feel a modicum of sympathy for the government’s apparent opinion. that companies should stop complaining and train British workers to address tensions in supply chains.

In fact, Wolfson’s sympathy was less than zero. “I find it crazy that even though everyone knows we desperately need drivers, the Interior Ministry is still preventing people from coming to this country to work as drivers,” he said.

In his view, the supply shortage is not primarily due to Brexit, but has more to do with pressure from the pandemic. You may or may not agree with that analysis, but it is difficult to object to his key point about the need for pragmatism in the here and now. “There is a huge difference between having control over their immigration system, which I think we should have, and managing that system well, which I’m not sure we do,” he argued.

One could argue that big companies, including Next, are reaping what they sowed in undervaluing truck drivers. And, up to a point, one can agree: forced wage increases for a category of workers who have been consistently underpaid is a welcome development.

But you also have to untangle short-term and long-term factors. The CBI’s weekend warning about hotels limiting the number of rooms that can be booked and restaurants limiting covers rings true. The shortage is clearly affecting capacity now, potentially slowing recovery and having knock-on effects on other workers.

The employer body argued that the delay could take two years to be eliminated. That deserves to be taken seriously. Higher salaries and a faster training and approval system for heavy-duty vehicle drivers are clearly part of the answer, but cannot be seen as instant solutions. Reclassifying heavy vehicle drivers as skilled visa-worthy workers is not a remedy either, as European countries are also experiencing their own shortage. But all efforts help a little.

It seems perverse, or counterproductive, as the IWC put it, to reject an obvious, temporary and specific measure. The government gives the impression that it ideologically prefers purity, as you might see it, to common sense.

Petershill: a little teaser too late?

First, it was Bridgepoint, the private equity firm with overpaid non-executives. Now Petershill Partners, an investment company that buys stakes in mutual fund managers and hedge funds, is going public, again in London, with a probable valuation of more than $ 5 billion.

Petershill is a Goldman Sachs production (its current shareholders are clients of the Wall Street firm’s asset management division) and owns stakes in 19 of the so-called “alternate” managers. You get most of your money through your share of regular managers’ fees, and you also get your share of any “accrued interest,” the outperformance bonus. The operation, which started in London 14 years ago (named after a Goldman building near St Paul’s) and will continue to rely on Goldman’s services and contacts, seeks to raise $ 750 million (£ 542 million) to add more stakes in the managers.

The positive way to see this development is to see it as a small step towards the democratization of finance. After all, we’ve complained quite often about how entry into the “alternatives” universe is generally restricted to funds and the ultra-rich.

However, it is difficult to escape the feeling that the doors are opening just when the price of everything seems expensive. Bridgepoint shares are up 40% from the float in July, and Petershill will likely be in demand as well. But one wonders if the boom-era party is getting old.

Investing in cryptocurrencies: eliminate scams

Charles Randell, chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority, is correct that writing a comprehensive regulatory regulation to watch over the wild world of cryptocurrency investing will require “a great deal of careful thought.” If the goal is to protect the young and naive, almost the worst outcome would be a half-baked setup that creates the misleading impression that bettors are protected. It needs to be said over and over again: If you lose your shirt playing with digital tokens, don’t expect a ransom.

But part of this picture is not complicated: social media companies must eliminate financial scams online. The FCA has had some success in embarrassing Google with limited action for the past two years. Yet it is depressing that Randell still felt the need on Monday to name others who should “do the right thing.” Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and TikTok are without excuse.

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