The cash call from FTSE 100 giant Hammerson – pitched at a 50% discount to Friday’s closing share price of 397p – will lay bare the full extent of the crisis in the real-estate market.It is expected to presage a string of rights issues across the sector, with British Land, Liberty International and Land Securities likely to follow suit.British Land, which publishes its third-quarter results on Thursday, is also planning to confirm a rights issue worth about £500m this week, according to people close to the company. The details had not been formally decided last night.Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Telegraph
Even before the current outcomes-focused regulations came into force compliance was seen by many as a necessary evil. What firms are going to make of it with the new regulators out in force still remains to be seen. I don’t think that law firms will find OFR easy in spite of the fact that it is supposed to give them more control and more of what they said they wanted. In fact, does OFR really give them such freedom? How do you explain the results of a recent mini-survey? For a seminar we ran on compliance, and the opportunity to become an ABS, we carried out an investigation to see how many of the firms complied with those regulations which can be externally checked, such as website compliance and data registration. It was shocking to note that out of the 40 firms who had signed up only three firms were completely compliant. Needless to say, when these figures were announced the pens and pencils came out with furious note taking burning holes in the notepaper. We found that even large firms hadn’t got it right. Some firms appear to rely on their website creators – whether internal or outsourced – to deal with the appropriate regulations and this has turned out to be a risky business. You would expect the larger firms to have the resources to employ specialists but my impression is that such so-called experts are in the job by default rather than willing enthusiasts for the subject. The owners let them get on with it. If the owners of the business do not have a good grasp of compliance how can they know about what they don’t know? And this is just one example of compliance where there is no choice. So where is the opportunity in such a subject which is often cast to back office functions at a low level without the power to implement easily? Given that that there is a requirement to have a compliance officer for legal practice and compliance officer for finance and administration (no choice there by the way), there is an opportunity to make the firm more commercial in its outlook. Such functions are only the same as those which already exist in the commercial world. Look at the composition of any commercial company board. They nearly always include financial and commercial directors (during a re-structuring process a partner once told me that the title operations director sounded like a surgical appointment in the NHS). Taking on board the regulations should end in more profit as long as well-appointed appointees seize the opportunity to get things right with better operations management and financial understanding. I don’t think that the majority of firms will cope as well as will be hoped unless the right people are appointed and they do not exist in a lot of firms. Many, partners or others, will be moved into the role as a required necessity to be seen to comply – not to move the firm on. My suggestion is that more outsourcing or interim management would help the medium and small firms with what should be regarded as an investment not an expense. The outcome should be to recover perceived costs by better performance and more. Yet another demonstration of compliance working for us n’est ce pas? Mike Gorick is associate director of The Compliance People Ltd
GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 YOKAWA, Hyogo Pref. – Third-year pro Mayumi Nakajima carded a sparkling 6-under-par 66 Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Suntory Ladies Open.Gunning for her first title on the Japan LPGA circuit since turning pro in 2001, Nakajima carded six birdies in a flawless round at Japan Memorial Golf Club for a one-shot advantage over Mikiyo Nishizuka and Australian Alison Munt.
The Senegal international made an instant impact for Liverpool after signing in the 2016 summer transfer window 1 Liverpool forward Sadio Mane admits he has been given a confidence boost by his stunning strike at Burnley.The Senegal international smashed home with his weaker left foot for only his second Premier League goal since August.Mane was Liverpool’s stand-out performer last season with 13 goals, one behind top scorer Philippe Coutinho despite missing a month at the African Nations Cup and having his season ended on April 1 by a knee injury.This campaign, which has been disrupted by suspension and a hamstring problem, he has been outshone by summer signing Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Coutinho.He has appeared lacking in confidence in recent weeks but his goal at Turf Moor showed none of that and it has given the 25-year-old a much-needed lift.“It was important for myself and the team,” he told Press Association Sport.“I am trying to give my best to help the team. At the moment it is not easy, it was very difficult.“I think it pushed me up to get more confidence to help the team.”Although there has been a perception of Mane struggling this season, his statistics are not that different.He now has eight goals in 24 appearances, three of which have come in the Champions League. Last season he had nine in 21 games.Mane also scored in the first game of 2017, a 2-2 draw at Sunderland, before departing for the African Nations Cup.That coincided with a slump in Liverpool’s form which saw them win just once – an FA Cup replay against League Two Plymouth – in nine matches.Mane will head to Africa again on Thursday but this time it will be a whistle-stop trip as he and Salah are on the short list for the Confederation of African Football’s Player of the Year award.Liverpool have chartered a private jet to fly the pair to Ghana and back so Mane, at least – Salah is currently injured – has a chance of playing in the FA Cup third round tie at home to Everton on Friday evening.That game could see the debut of £75million new signing Virgil van Dijk, whom Mane knows well having played with him at Southampton.“I think he will be big for us and will help us. He is a great player. I think he will help the team,” said the Senegal international.