Hello and welcome to our weekly intelligence briefing for boards, where we help directors keep up to speed on the macro trends affecting businesses across the world, and corporate governance news.

We hope you enjoy it and, as always, email your suggestions for stories and resources to [email protected]

You can also find more news and resources on our online hub FT.com/Board.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Each day FT Leader writers on the Editorial Board meet to discuss the topics to be considered for Leader columnsHere are the issues that dominated this week:

Uber's struggle to find workers to drive its taxis led the leader team to conclude that the era of cheap Ubers may be over.

The concerning build-up of Russian military might around the Ukraine border should be met with stiff resistance from the EU, the Editorial Board concluded.

And later in the week, we're likely to opine on the concerning disconnect between markets and mounting inflationary risks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inflation concerns picked up steam this week. Chief economics commentator Martin Wolf argued that the Fed must shift towards “monetary sobriety” more quickly . “Current policy would make sense in a depression. But we no longer risk a depression,” he wrote.

Bill Gross, the founder of bond investment group Pimco, also sounded the alarm. In an FT interview, he said central banks’ accommodative policy is lulling investors into a “dreamland that’s been supported by interest rates that aren’t where they should be.”

And there was further caution from the UN, which warned that high shipping costs – caused by supply chain issues – will further fuel global inflation and disproportionately affect developing economies.


In the UK, there have been yet more hints that rates could rise. On Monday, Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, told MPs that the end of the furlough scheme had created little additional unemployment so far, suggesting the main block to raising rates had been cleared.

Indeed, figures released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people employed in the UK actually rose between September and October, despite the end of the job retention scheme.


There is now added pressure on BoE to act when it meets in December as figures for October show inflation in the UK rising to its highest level since 2011That said, the euro hit a 16-month low as traders bet that the European Central Bank will diverge from the Fed and BoE and stick to its accommodative policies.

Into corporate news and Royal Dutch Shell announced plans to ditch its dual share structure and move its chief executive and tax residency from the Netherlands to the UK. Analysts suggest the move is designed to keep shareholders happy. while it negotiates a green transition.

Executive pay has also been on the agenda. Several Barclays investors are unhappy about the board’s decision to allow Jes Staley – the bank’s departing chief executive – to retain £2.4m in fixed pay and £120,000 pension entitlement for this year, alongside “repatriation costs to the US”.

And management editor Andrew Hill, took a close look at linking executive pay to climate targets. While a growing number of companies are using such measures, critics are sceptical about whether it will create meaningful change.

Elsewhere, investors and audit groups have also expressed anger about the government’s plans to scale back corporate governance and audit reforms. They argue that weakening the proposals risks further corporate scandals.

And finally Nvidia faces a tough battle to acquire chip designer Arm, writes business columnist Helen Thomas. “It is one thing for a regulator to give your deal a thorough going-over,” she wrote. “It is another for it to imply publicly that your assurances about why the deal should proceed materialised too late to be credible.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Following a number of scandals, the Big Four have been forced to rein in cross-selling services – and competitors are seizing the opportunity both to lure away talent with hefty pay packets and bid for some of their lucrative divisions.


But, despite the moves that have brought on these raids, there is still plenty of work to be done to improve audits.


This week the Financial Reporting Council released a new report, What makes a good audit?, which includes details on execution and topics such as monitoring quality.

And don’t forget, there are plenty more resources on our online hub FT.com/Board.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

At our event today, Forecasting the World in 2022, a panel of FT experts will discuss their predictions for the world in 2022, how these are likely to play out over the next few years and the ways they might affect global businesses.


You should have received an invitation to join this event today at 16:30 GMT. If not, you can register here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The FT Board Director Programme helps participants understand the requirements of the director role and how to carry out their duties successfully – for their own benefit and that of the companies they govern.


You can receive a 10% discount on any of these upcoming workshops below by entering the code FTBD10:

So You Want To Be a Non-Executive Director? | Virtual workshop | 16 March 2022
The Effective Non-Executive Director | Two-day workshop London | 30 & 31 March 2022
Board Director Online series | Flexible eLearning courses | 3 month license

To discuss your individual or organisational needs please contact the team: [email protected]
 
 
 
 
 
 
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