FirstFT: Bain punished for ‘gross misconduct’ in South Africa

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good morning. Bain & Co, a Boston-based global management consultancy, was hit yesterday with a three-year ban from bidding for British government contracts due to “gross professional misconduct” in a corruption scandal in South Africa.

Cabinet Office Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told Payne that the case had made the company’s integrity “questionable” and he was not convinced it had taken its role in the scandal “seriously enough”.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Reese Moog told James Hadley, managing partner of Bain in the UK, that the ban would apply retroactively from January 4, 2022. “I am confident that with three years after the lapse of three years, Bain & Co will regain I heard it,” he wrote.

Initially, Cabinet Office officials advised that no action should be taken against the company, but Rees-Mogg requested more advice, including from an outside QC.

Britain is the first Western country to impose such sanctions on Bain for its role in the South African “state takeover” scandal. There is pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Do you support the intervention of Reese Mog? Share your thoughts on firstft@ft.com. Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa – Jennifer

1. Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan Yesterday, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan, the highest visit by a US official in decades, as China announced military exercises with live ammunition.

  • High tension: Beijing has banned imports from hundreds of Taiwanese food producers in an apparent attempt to punish Taipei.

  • deepen: Tom Mitchell wrote that President Xi Jinping’s reaction made Pelosi’s trip more important than it deserved.

2. Lloyd is chasing billions in new capital Lloyd’s of London hopes a new investment structure agreed with UK financial regulators will attract billions of dollars in alternative capital and boost its competitiveness with centers such as Bermuda in the growing market for insurance-linked securities.

3. Liz Truss is doing her part to cut public sector wages Britain’s foreign secretary’s bid to lead the Conservative Party suffered a setback yesterday when she was forced to abandon her plan to cut public sector salaries in Britain’s poorest regions just 12 hours after it was launched in the face of fierce criticism. Who do you think will win the driving race? Vote in our poll.

  • deepen: Truss’ policy has had a fundamental problem: You can’t cut salaries in places you struggle to recruit, Stephen Bush wrote in Inside Politics. Subscribe to his newsletter here.

  • Opinion: Diane Coyle, a professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge, writes that pledges to cut taxes distract attention from the UK’s miserable productivity.

4. The UK risks deepening the recession Britain’s economy is slipping into recession, unceasingly into a cost-of-living crunch that will deplete the savings of more than 5 million families by 2024, according to projections by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that showed a decline in gross domestic product during the first quarter of 2023.

5. Robinhood to fire 23% of employees The struggling online broker will lay off nearly a quarter of its staff as it grapples with waning enthusiasm in retail from the heights of the coronavirus pandemic. The cuts were announced as part of a “wider reorganization,” as she announced yesterday in a blog post.

next day

OPEC + meeting The group of oil producers is meeting today following US President Joe Biden’s visit to Riyadh and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit across Europe last week. Any move to increase production could lead to renewed downward pressure on crude oil prices, which have rebounded around $100 a barrel.

Grain shipment inspection in Ukraine The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship, carrying 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn as part of a deal to ease soaring food prices, is expected to undergo checks by officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations at a joint monitoring center in Lebanon.

economic data S&P Global has released its Services PMIs for France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Italy and the European Union publish retail sales data for June and July respectively, while the US releases monthly employment data.

corporate profits Axa, Bank of Ireland, Commerzbank, eBay, Hugo Boss, Infineon Technologies, Just Eat, Moderna, Taylor Wimpey, Telecom Italia and Veolia report. Maersk is to release full quarterly results after it raised its earnings guidance for the third time this year. Find out more in The Week Ahead newsletter – Register here To receive it via email every Sunday.

What else are we reading

The willful blindness of climate conservatives is puzzling Both candidates to lead the UK’s ruling party seem convinced of ignoring environmental and geopolitical realities, writes Peletta Clarke. If we were about to turn climate promises into concrete actions, one wouldn’t know it from watching Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

China in focus in Kenya elections The candidates battling to become Kenya’s next president agree on one thing: China is at the center of next week’s elections. While the vice president has threatened to deport Chinese nationals, many of whom struggle to make a living, his veteran rival highlights the need to renegotiate loans from Beijing.

How listening to constant noise has helped millions focus Lofi Girl, a live music broadcast, ran uninterruptedly for 20,843 hours – over two years – until YouTube abruptly suspended it last month. Dave Lee wrote that these constant streams are designed for people who seek not silence but peace.

Nike achieves success with women’s soccer For the sportswear retailer, which has groomed the Lionesses on their way to winning the European Championships, appearing in nearly every British newspaper was the culmination of nearly a decade of investment in the English language, especially women’s football.

Time to invest in a vacation? The concept of taking extended breaks has always been popular in the academic world, but as the war for talent rages on, it is increasingly being embraced in professional workplaces. Claire Barrett explains that more employers are willing to take employees off, but there are important financial questions to ask first.

general engineering

The first images of the new Saudi city of NEOM were released last week. It is intended to house 9 million residents along a 170 km canal that cuts through the Tabuk desert. The parallels with a 1969 plan for a continuous city cutting across the Arizona desert are irresistible, architectural critic Edwin Heathcote wrote.

An artist's interpretation of the new Saudi city of NEOM

NEOM is a city defined as a wall, driving it through an uninhabitable desert, that is hermetically sealed and relies solely on technology to make it livable © EOM/AFP/Getty Images

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