Article: Work from Home Gets Entrenched: Embraced by Workers & Businesses in the UK, it’s Upending Real Estate, Retail, Restaurants, Bars, Cafés

Article - Media, Publications

Work from Home Gets Entrenched: Embraced by Workers & Businesses in the UK, it’s Upending Real Estate, Retail, Restaurants, Bars, Cafés

Nick Corbishley, 03 September 2020

One of the UK’s largest outsourcing companies, Capita plc, which employs 45,000 people across the country, has just done what many other companies have been thinking and talking about doing since the virus crisis began: it announced that it is permanently closing more than a third of its offices. As a result, the leases on almost 100 workplaces will be terminated.

Like many large outsourcing companies in the UK, Capita has been struggling for years. It did not collapse and get liquidated like erstwhile giant Carillion but its share price has collapsed 97% since 2015. Even before the virus crisis began, the firm was exploring ways of slashing costs, including embracing more flexible working practices such as work from home, which the lockdown pushed to the fore. The company says that employees are firmly on board with the changes. Continue reading “Article: Work from Home Gets Entrenched: Embraced by Workers & Businesses in the UK, it’s Upending Real Estate, Retail, Restaurants, Bars, Cafés”

Article: €22Bn Hedge Fund H2O, Majority-Owned by Natixis, Ordered to Freeze Funds. Fishy Smells Emanate

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€22Bn Hedge Fund H2O, Majority-Owned by Natixis, Ordered to Freeze Funds. Fishy Smells Emanate

Nick Corbishley, 31 August 2020

H2O Asset Management — a UK-based hedge fund, majority-owned by French investment bank Natixis — just gated a series of its funds due to illiquidity of its holdings. On Friday evening, France’s chief market regulator, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), instructed the firm to close three of its funds due to “valuation uncertainties” resulting from their exposure to unlisted securities linked to the controversial German financier Lars Windhorst.

Besides the three funds indicated by AMF, H2O closed another five funds containing holdings of similarly illiquid assets, with the result that roughly half of the asset management firm’s entire portfolio of assets — €21.7 billion, according to the company’s website — is now under wraps. Trapped investors cannot access their funds, and will be unable to do so for at least the next four weeks, during which time the company will try to sell off the illiquid assets. Continue reading “Article: €22Bn Hedge Fund H2O, Majority-Owned by Natixis, Ordered to Freeze Funds. Fishy Smells Emanate”

Article: Small Landlords, Tenants, Lenders, Governments Grapple with “Extend-and-Pretend Forevermore”

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Small Landlords, Tenants, Lenders, Governments Grapple with “Extend-and-Pretend Forevermore”

Nick Corbishley, 26 August 2020

The British public was recently treated to an exemplary example of what Wolf Street likes to call “extend and pretend forevermore.” At the end of last week, the UK government extended its ban on tenant evictions by four extra weeks. First launched in late March, the ban was supposed to last three months, but it was extended by an additional two months in June. Now, it’s been extended til late September.

In other words, tenants will have been safe from legal eviction for six months so far this year. The government also lengthened the minimum period of notice a landlord has to give before evicting a tenant from two months to six months. Continue reading “Article: Small Landlords, Tenants, Lenders, Governments Grapple with “Extend-and-Pretend Forevermore””