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The UK has declined to grant the EU ambassador to London full diplomatic status, raising concerns in Brussels over how the two sides will negotiate their future relationship.
This decision stems from a disagreement over the EU's role in foreign service and how it can protect its interests. According to sources, the UK has argued that the EU should not enjoy the privileges and immunities granted other countries' ambassadors under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
One of the greatest challenges posed by Britain's exit from the European Union is what to do with all the data, legislation and bodies that currently govern UK criminal justice cooperation with the EU. This issue of interest to forensic science professionals as well as academics, practitioners, policy makers and even members of the general public alike will be how Brexit affects these fields post-Brexit.
One of the many challenges the government will have to address is crafting a transition strategy that ensures an orderly exit from the EU while avoiding costly disruption to UK economic growth. Therefore, they must negotiate terms of withdrawal with the EU before 2021's actual departure date, then work on building a new long-term relationship once that period has concluded.
Studies have been conducted to identify the optimal transition plan. These included studying the effects of integrating EU laws with domestic legal systems, developing a shared governance structure and assessing how legal changes might affect civil law enforcement. Furthermore, researchers looked into whether EU-funded research might better enable the UK to meet its future obligations.
In the end, it's essential not only to create an effective transition strategy but also recognize that changes will be felt across many sectors of society. Most significantly, police forces as a whole and forensic science and technology will be particularly affected. Short-term this means significant adjustments in police funding as well as investment in forensic technology - which is essential for securing both forensics and police crime-solving's sustainability in the long term. The best way to guarantee this happens is through meaningful engagement with both Europe and beyond from day one.
At the time, Scott Wightman served as British High Commissioner in Singapore and faced a ban on any contingency planning for an alternative outcome to the UK's decision to leave the European Union. Without an agreed version of what would occur if "Leave" won, it was impossible to predict what would transpire should that result become reality.
In his final farewell address to his successor, Mr Wightman warned of the long-lasting damage to Britain's reputation caused by its political disarray following Brexit. He noted that Britain was now seen around the world as a nation divided, obsessed with ideology and careless with reality.
He further warned that major investors anticipate future investment in Europe to shift more towards Germany and France, which he described as a "devastating blow to the UK's image," according to a leaked diplomatic cable dated April 2018.
Mr Wightman is the head of the British High Commission in Singapore, responsible for strengthening ties between Singapore and other Commonwealth nations. Appointed to his position in 2015 after holding several positions within both the Foreign Office (FCO) and Asia, he has extensive experience.
His duties encompass political work, trade and investment, press/cultural relations, visa and consular services. In 2009 he was awarded a Companion of St Michael and St George in the New Year Honours List for his services.
Mr Wightman enjoys playing tennis in his free time and currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a member of the National Tennis Association and serves on the committee for UK Law Society's Tennis Advisory Group.
Mr Wightman began his professional journey in risk management after earning a degree from Columbia College Chicago. He spent time working at Venture Stores before joining Gallagher in 1999 as a certified risk manager, with an emphasis on creating goal-oriented investment solutions for his clients.
Prior to his employment with Gallagher, Mr Wightman served as Director of Risk Management at Saint Louis University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has completed PRIMA/URMIA training courses.
In June 2019, Mr Wightman was appointed Director for External Affairs within the Scottish Government. His mandate includes developing Scotland's international relationships, advocating Scotland's ambition to be a good global citizen and safeguarding Scotland's place and interests within Europe. Furthermore, he must influence migration policies tailored to Scotland's individual needs.
Joao Vale de Almeida, the EU ambassador to the UK, has experienced an "unhealthy chilling effect" on negotiations in Brussels since his diplomatic status was downgraded by the Government. This decision sparked outrage from EU and Conservative MPs who accused No 10 of being petty and retaliating against EU demands to officially recognize him as ambassador.
Since February 2020, this diplomat has served in the UK. He is an experienced European diplomat, having previously served as the first EU ambassador to Washington from 2010-14 and played a significant role in developing EU-US ties.
Prior to his appointment in Washington, he served as director general of external relations at the European Commission - Europe's executive body - where he helped formulate its foreign policy. Furthermore, he played an instrumental role in creating the European External Action Service established by Treaty of Lisbon.
He has been actively engaged in Washington, DC to promote trade and investment between the EU and United States. Additionally, he spearheaded negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is expected to enter into force by 2021.
He has long advocated for closer cooperation between the EU and Britain after Brexit. But he faces an uphill battle in trying to reconcile all parties involved in the contentious Northern Ireland protocol, which keeps the region subject to nearly 300 EU rules and creates a trade border in the Irish Sea.
This issue has caused tensions between unionists in Northern Ireland and British businesses. But Mr Vale de Almeida has urged unionists to focus on how the Protocol functions rather than opposing it.
The EU desires a deal on the Protocol and is willing to make concessions if the UK can demonstrate it has an alternative option. However, the UK remains adamant about dissolving the European Court of Justice from its role within the Protocol in favor of setting up an independent arbitration body.
This has led to a backlash from the DUP, who argue that the Protocol is an impasse and could result in a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
On March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union, marking one of British history's most consequential political moments. This period saw negotiations to shape their future relationship raging for several months, leading to political upheaval on both sides.
There was much controversy surrounding the deal May reached with the EU. Some Conservatives opposed it, believing it would erode Britain's negotiating position and hamper its ability to bargain with the bloc. On the other hand, those in support of it claimed it was the best way to protect EU citizens living in Britain as well as shield Britain's economy from immigration-related impacts.
Another contentious issue was the EU's role in overseeing Brexit negotiations. There were suggestions that Luxembourg's highest court would have final say on implementation, something some in Britain felt unjust.
As such, the UK government sought a system that would enable one arbiter in Europe to oversee its implementation. While this idea was supported by the European Commission, many member states expressed caution over its potential risks.
Once negotiations were concluded, the UK began a year-long transition period to reshape its trading relationships with the EU and beyond. It also started debating how it would divide tariff schedules and allocate liabilities resulting from trade disputes.
At the same time as these talks were underway, Alexandra Hall Hall resigned her job as ambassador due to her unease over government's delivery of half-truths about the deal and how that had undermined her trust in diplomats abroad.
Her resignation comes at a critical juncture for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is running for re-election on the promise that he can "get Brexit done." In her letter to Johnson, Hall Hall stated she could no longer "peddle half-truths" as an ambassador. She had been an integral figure in the Brexit process and widely respected among her peers for her leadership abilities.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon is struggling to maintain his bank's culture while facing off against a societal storm, leading him to an impasse.
One challenge the firm faces is its attendance numbers, which have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In a challenging year for Goldman, the bank has struggled to strike an equilibrium between cutting costs and paying record bonuses. This has resulted in numerous layoffs, massive reductions in annual bonus payments, lower-than-expected performance ratings and reduced spending on corporate travel & other expenses - which may reduce salaries of thousands of employees by up to 40%.
Wednesday's announcement by JPMorgan, Citigroup and Barclays comes amid growing anxiety among Wall Street firms that they could lose more workers in the coming months. JPMorgan, Citigroup and Barclays have already cut about 2,000 positions recently; Credit Suisse is planning to shed 2,700 positions as well.
Goldman faces a major challenge: how to attract and retain top talent. CEO David Solomon has refused to put off firing low-performing employees, as other Wall Street firms have done, believing it's not in their best interest or that of shareholders or the firm itself.
Goldman is seeing the beginnings of a new cultural norm: many tech workers--software engineers, data analysts and cybersecurity specialists--are increasingly working from home at least three days per week, according to someone familiar with their practices.
Goldman has identified a strategy that can propel its consumer banking business faster than other competitors. This approach helps the bank capture customers at the beginning of their life cycles, giving them the chance to build long-term relationships with Goldman.
Furthermore, Goldman's strategy can make it easier for them to entice other companies to partner with them, according to Brandon Spear of B2B payment and credit solutions provider MSTS. Experts note that Amazon is an especially sought-after partner that would fit well within a fully digital Marcus ecosystem.
But the issue is that when CEOs begin dictating where and when work gets done, it can alienate employees. Goldman wants to foster a culture of collaboration rather than control by offering flexibility within work-life balance parameters for when someone needs to stay home with an ailing child, for instance.
Effective banks are those that motivate their best employees. They do this by offering networks, creative interaction with peers, stretch assignments, training courses and a brand that conveys elite status to employees. Furthermore, these banks usually pay high salaries plus provide benefits like health insurance and an inviting office setting so valuable individuals can work from home comfortably.
Goldman Sachs has been a leader in this space for many years, and its success can be partly attributed to its reputation as an expert dealmaker who brings together various stakeholders. However, the firm is currently facing challenging times on Wall Street which are impacting earnings.
Solomon's efforts to transform the company have been hindered by a variety of issues, such as its inability to generate profits in consumer banking and an outdated model that doesn't fit well in today's more competitive and risk-averse economy. Furthermore, analysts believe that Solomon's bank may face further damage due to an increasing debt load from consumer lending that threatens its operations further.
While the company has made some efforts to enhance its culture, such as advocating for better work-life balance and elevating senior management to give more control over employee schedules, it still has a ways to go before fully adopting an expansive remote-work policy.
Goldman has not adopted the five-day work week, as some other large companies have done. That would require a significant shift in how it treats employees - something CEO David Solomon is unwilling to undertake.
He's described the pandemic as an "aberration" and has repeatedly backed away from his five-days-a week demand since June began. Now junior bankers are threatening to quit over these demands, alleging their bosses use spreadsheets for attendance tracking purposes.
Solomon's return-to-office attitude isn't just Goldman's issue; it's an issue for companies trying to be successful in this new economy. The most successful companies are those that bring out the best in people and keep them contented; that requires a strong culture of collaboration. When CEOs start prescribing how employees should spend their days, however, that culture can crumble and top talent may leave for other opportunities.
Goldman Sachs continues to struggle with an economic downturn and the effects of the pandemic, forcing CEO David Solomon to make difficult decisions. He had to justify massive job cuts, write off millions in consumer banking losses, and resolve internal conflicts.
One of Solomon's major obstacles is re-engaging top talent after the pandemic. However, given the new landscape of post-pandemic work, attracting top talent has become more difficult than ever before.
Goldman is currently struggling to break into retail banking, an area it doesn't have a history of expertise in. Additionally, its personal loan business that launched under the Marcus brand in 2016 hasn't been successful yet.
Sources close to the brand report significant losses and job cuts at Goldman, due to the financial crisis. These costs have put undue strain on Goldman's capital which was already stretched thin before this.
GS executives believe they have built a solid consumer base to help the bank weather any tough times ahead. This strategy also positions GS better to generate revenue from newer customers who may require more complex services than what traditional bankers can provide.
At present, that effort is still in its early stages. One year after Solomon urged employees to return to work, attendance is still far from pre-pandemic levels and has not fully recovered.
Goldman Sachs' efforts to reorient itself toward its most important clients--corporations, governments and the rich--are paying off. To this end, they're investing in more sophisticated training for their private wealth team that will give them an edge when serving these important customers.
It's also encouraging more junior bankers to stay with the firm. That is why GS Bank is making changes to its Analyst program, such as accelerating promotions and allowing analysts to earn their Associate 2 designation after two years instead of three. Plus, analysts will have free access to Talks at GS, featuring leading thinkers discussing hot topics in finance.
Companies that promise to bring out the best in their employees often attract significant reputational capital. Unfortunately, this strategy can also prove risky; once a company's reputation is damaged, it may be difficult to repair. As evidenced by Goldman Sachs CEO's resignation letter questioning their commitment to upholding high standards, such promises should never be made again.
Goldman Sachs and other big banks face an uphill battle in trying to maintain their traditional culture amidst volatile market conditions and increasing uncertainty about employment prospects. It's an age-old dilemma for CEOs, yet getting it right won't be simple.
Goldman Sachs has long been a great place for professionals to advance their career and cultivate a supportive network of colleagues. That's especially true for young, accomplished individuals who desire to move up quickly in the ranks and gain an edge over their peers.
But now the bank faces a different reality as they struggle to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, there have been significant reductions in staff numbers as part of their restructuring plan.
Goldman Sachs' overall headcount has declined by two per cent, as reported in its most recent quarterly report. This follows a record high of over 38,000 staffers last year.
Though this may appear like a small figure, it's actually quite significant. It's much lower than the typical course-of-business turnover at one of Wall Street's premier banks.
Goldman has been successful in recruiting top young talent with its generous compensation packages and impressive professional development opportunities. Additionally, the company's elite brand provides its employees with a sense of prestige.
But many of Goldman's employees have indicated they would rather work at tech companies with better compensation and a more flexible work environment. That is why the firm recently implemented a policy allowing partners and managing directors to take more vacation days.
However, it remains uncertain if this policy will be successful in returning Goldman's employee attendance to its pre-pandemic level or even close. In-person attendance has averaged 60% to 70% at its headquarters over the past several months but remains far below Solomon's request that workers return full time in February.