RBS is trying to lose customers but it's not working, employee experience vs profits, JD Wetherspoon in shareholder brawl

A study claims to prove happy employees drive financial returns and other news you may have missed this week.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 08 Nov 2019

Why RBS is trying to get rid of customers

Royal Bank of Scotland looks likely to miss an August 2020 deadline to offload 120,000 commercial customers. The bank has been ordered by regulators to incentivise customers to switch to rival firms, in a bid to curb RBS’s dominance in the business banking sector. 

It’s thought, by insiders apparently briefed on the figures, that so far around 18,000 customers have switched during the first seven months of the scheme that was agreed in 2017 - and launched in February 2019 - by the UK government and EU regulators as a condition of the bank’s financial crisis bailout.

A £350m pot has been created by the bank which challengers can use to promote special offers and encourage customers to switch. The pot is managed by the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), an independent body, and "dowries" are also paid to commercial customers to cover the costs of switching. 

It’s thought that BCR may have to offer RBS a 12-month extension and widen the pool of participant banks.

(Source: The FT)

Is this tangible evidence that employee experience drives the bottom line?

For the "first time" a study claims to be able to demonstrate a tangible causal link between employee experience and financial performance.

The research, conducted by multinational advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, found that companies demonstrating a strong employee experience consistently outperformed their sector rivals across KPIs including return on assets, one-year changes in profit margins and three-year movement in revenues and profitability. 

The analysis is based on surveys from over 500 companies, 50 years of research and a database of nearly 250 million workers. The firm defines high performance employee experience as feeling inspired by company purpose, being able to achieve career ambitions and having a deep trust in management. 

(Source: Willis Towers Watson)

Did JD Wetherspoon break the law?

An influential shareholder group is urging other investors not to back JD Wetherspoon’s annual report. 

The group, Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), claims chairman and 32 percent owner Tim Martin broke the law by spending nearly £95,000 on beer mats promoting Brexit during the 2016 referendum campaign. 

Under the Companies Act 2006, firms are required to declare any political spending above £2,000 in their annual report, and gain shareholder approval ahead of any political outlay. PIRC says the pub chain has failed to do either, a claim that Martin rejects.

PIRC failed to oust Martin ahead of last year's AGM and it is thought by the BBC that any rejection of this year’s report would be largely symbolic. 

(Source: BBC & Guardian)

Image credit: NurPhoto / Contributor via Getty Images

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