Relocate Global weekly news roundup: 27 September

This week's news roundup includes the Finland, US and UK economic growth rankings, 2019 higher education rankings, unusual business practices around the world, Goldman Sachs' UK retail banking debut, and the latest on Brexit.

A photo of the Aurora Borealis illustrating the Relocate Global weekly roundup, which features information on Finland

London Banks still not pressing Brexodus button

London-based banks and other financial services firms are postponing plans to relocate staff to new, European hubs until it becomes clearer what, if any, Brexit deal the UK reaches with the EU27, according to a survey this week.The Reuters poll of 134 major City of London companies found that only 630 finance roles had actually relocated abroad since the EU membership referendum in 2016. But the survey also found that 5,800 jobs would move in the event of a 'hard' Brexit.“We have not seen a big Brexodus of financial services jobs materialise yet,” said Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation. “Firms are, however, watching closely to see how negotiations between the two sides progress. This will play an important role in determining whether we see more jobs move to the continent after Brexit.”While estimates of the effects of Brexit have focused on the number of jobs to move from London to other EU financial centres, Miles Celic, chief executive at TheCityUK, warned that a “bad Brexit outcome” could harm business across Europe."Over the long-term, the real risk of a bad Brexit outcome is that jobs and economic activity leave Europe as a whole,” he said. “This will benefit centres like New York, Singapore and Hong Kong, but will do little for customers and prosperity in Europe.”

Finland top of the world in terms of investment in education and health care - while the US drops from 6th to 27th

Finland has emerged in top place in a scientific study that ranked nations across the world on their investments in education and health care as measurements of their commitment to economic growth.The United States came in 27th and the UK 31st in the rankings, with Niger, South Sudan and Chad equal last.“Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP – which policymakers ignore at their own peril,” said Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.“As the world economy grows increasingly dependent on digital technology, from agriculture to manufacturing to the service industry, human capital grows increasingly important for stimulating local and national economies.”The World Bank defines human capital as “the sum total of a population’s health, skills, knowledge, experience, and habits”.

Higher education: universities in Asia are beginning to catch up to the US and UK

Universities in the United States and UK once again dominate the 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. But there are signs that higher education institutions in the rest of the world - particularly Asia - are catching up.Oxford University is ranked first for the third year in a row and the rest of the top 10 is made up exclusively of US and British institutions.Nevertheless, across all 1,258 universities assessed across the globe, the UK is no longer the second most-represented nation in the rankings: after the US, which has 172 institutions in the list, Japan now has 103, overtaking the UK's 98.Phil Baty, editorial director of the THE global rankings, said the Brexit threat to UK universities was a real one. "To ensure they continue to thrive on the global stage, positive immigration and investment policies are crucial," he said."They must be free to attract and retain the very best international talent and international students post-Brexit, and they must be protected from cuts, the flow of research funding and academic talent mustn't be impacted."THE top 10: Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Imperial College London, University of Chicago.

Jonathan Portes, Professor at King's College London, is unimpressed by the latest Migration Advisory Committee proposal

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public policy at King’s College London, is unimpressed by the UK government's endorsement of its Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) proposal that a post-Brexit immigration policy should be based on attracting the "brightest and best" from around the world.Writing in the Guardian this week, he concedes that the MAC analysis included new research suggesting that immigration boosts productivity, and that migrants were likely to contribute far more to the public finances than they cost public services or the benefits system."It also suggests, unsurprisingly, that higher-skilled or higher-paid workers are likely to have a greater positive impact," he says."But the MAC conclusions, as endorsed by the cabinet, don’t necessarily follow from their analysis. It’s often assumed in this debate that migrants are either 'the brightest and best' or here to do menial jobs. That’s just not true of migrants any more than it’s true of the rest of us."In fact, these proposals would exclude not just low-skilled workers but almost everyone earning under £30,000, well above average full-time earnings. So this wouldn’t just hit fruit-pickers and baristas but butchers, primary school teachers, radiographers and so on."

Karaoke, saunas, and lengthy business dinners - what are the most unusual business practices around the world?

If your company sends you on assignment to South Korea, you had better practise your singing, according to a survey of overseas business customs and habits by office property advisers, reason appears to be that, after a business dinner in South Korea, it is not unusual for the hosts to suggest a trip to a karaoke club.Other unusual practices include holding business meetings in a sauna in Finland; accepting business cards with both hands in Japan; and declining a gift from Chinese hosts three times before accepting it.Chris Meredith, CEO of, commented: “We Brits are renowned for taking work very seriously – but this almost pales in comparison to some other countries, who have strict business protocols that should always be adhered to out of respect.“We feel it’s useful to draw attention to some of these customs, just in case British workers find themselves having to take business trips to these countries."

Making saving worthwhile again: Marcus digital bank (Goldman Sachs UK retail banking debut)

Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs has made its debut in UK retail banking with the launch of a market-leading savings account through its Marcus digital bank.Launched originally in the States two years ago, Marcus's move into Britain involved hiring 150 extra staff in London, comprising 100 management, IT and product development workers, and 50 staff for its customer call centre.The Marcus brand - named after Marcus Goldman, one of the bank's founders - offers a high yield rate of 1.5 per cent for easy access savings, but does not serve as a current account catering for direct debits.Des McDaid, managing director of Marcus, said: "Over the past decade savers have been on the wrong end of low interest rates. We want to reverse the trend - literally putting the interest back into savings and make saving worthwhile again."
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