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Desire to WFH! Will it be a full time thing?

38% of professionals in the Middle East have expressed their desire to move to full-time remote working, with a further 32% wanting at least 50% remote working this year.

Jason Grundy, Managing Director at Robert Walters Middle East commented that 2020 was the year of the world’s largest remote working experiment, and employers would be amiss to think that there wouldn’t be some long-term changes to employee expectations as a result. He also mentioned, “Whilst the pandemic did not necessarily bring about entirely new trends in working-style, it certainly fast-tracked the inevitable around flexible working – speeding the transition up by as much a 5-10 years for some companies.

We anticipate that some of the changes incorporated into workplaces as a result of Covid-19 in 2020 will be more enshrined in day to day working environments going forward and for some professional industries there will be an element of remote working embedded for good.”

Jason added, “A clear finding from the survey is that there are a number of hidden benefits to office working such as providing structure, professional & personal support, social interaction, and all-round wellbeing benefits – that are not openly being discussed, perhaps due to individual cases or sensitivities.

With many banging the drum on the benefits of remote working and no longer having to commute, it makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to open about the value they placed on face-to-face support from management, the ease of working on ergonomic desks & chairs, and the sense of belonging or cultural fit which provides some with a purpose. Whilst there is no right answer, companies will really need to take stock of working practices this year to see what will best serve the needs of both employees and the business in the long term.”

According to the statics shocking 73% of professionals have enjoyed the flexible hours afforded with home working, and over a third (31%) stated that working from home has allowed for an increased focus on wellbeing and a quarter (26%) found that the more regular updates & check-in calls with managers and colleagues during lockdown to be a positive change to their work style.  An overwhelming 61% of professionals state that their overall expectations of their employer have changed in the past year due to Covid-19. In positive news, 61% of businesses will be looking to change their offering in response to the change in employee expectations. At the top of employers’ list is reduced or reconfigured office space (28%), enhanced mental health & wellbeing policies (38%), and an increased investment in technology, apps & tools (43%). After the opportunities were presented to the professionals, they stated that the compulsory remote working unknowingly pushed them to improve their business communication in such a way that the office atmosphere didn’t support. The reliance on virtual presentations, over-the-phone discussions, and video calls being a key driver in this. In fact, during lockdown professionals in the Middle East ditched the age-old email (31%), in place of instant messenger (71%), video calls (69%) and telephone calls (62%) as their primary form of workplace communication – as the lack of physical interaction with the outside world drove professionals to be less formal and more conversational with colleagues and acquaintances.

All the resources comes from the Salary Surveyor, Robert Walters 2021 Salary Survey. The data from the Firm’s annual employment trends survey which undertook approximately 1000 plus white collar professionals.

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LexisNexis risk solutions study reveals sharp rise of financial crime compliance costs

Decision makers inside banks, investment firms, asset managers and insurance firms identify the drivers impacting financial crime compliance. LexisNexis® Risk Solutions revealed that the results of its annual True Cost of Financial Crime Compliance Study for the U.S. and Canada. The total projected cost of financial crime compliance for the region is approximately $49.9 billion. The survey illustrates the sharp increase in financial crime compliance costs.

The study projects the average annual cost of financial crime compliance for U.S. financial institutions with $10 billion. Pandemic Continues to Spur Growth. The pandemic continues to negatively impact compliance operations. Sixty eight percent of U.S. respondents report longer times required to complete due diligence. Fifty five percent of U.S. respondents report reduced productivity compared.

More U.S. financial institutions now rank real estate and hospitality as top money laundering risk segments. Crime involving digital payments, trade-based money laundering and money mule schemes are on the rise. Digital currency is a growing problem for Canadian firms. Crimes involving digital payments have the greatest impact on compliance costs. Cryptocurrency crimes have the greatest impact on compliance costs for Canadian firms. The survey results demonstrate that financial institutions are battling a broader set of issues.

Survey respondents indicate that a lack of current and extensive data tops the list of Know Your Customer (KYC). Leslie Bailey, vice president of financial crime compliance strategy for LexisNexis Risk Solutions stated that the study shows clear linkages between the pandemic, digital crime and increasing regulations. Hence, financial institutions need to prepare for expanded compliance obligations and risks from emerging financial crime. Bailey added that digital transformation is a game-changer for financial crime compliance operations.

This will require a sophisticated approach that incorporates insight into digital behaviors. This study surveyed 145 decision-makers in the U.S. and Canada. Responses were collected in June 2019, August 2020 and June 2021. Organizations such as banks, investment firms, asset management firms and insurance firms. The total annual cost of compliance across firms was calculated using survey data. The spend amount was generated by multiplying the average percent allocated to financial crime costs.

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COP26 delegates agree on need to deliver on $100 BLN climate finance pledge

Delegates heading to the COP26 U.N. climate summit in Glasgow. These delegates agreed that they must deliver on the $100 billion per year pledge. COP26 president Alok Sharma said that, it is to help most vulnerable nations for tackling the climate change.

After many days of meetings at the pre-COP26 climate event, which happened in Italy, Sharma said that there was a consensus to do more. Which is to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target within reach, adding more needed to be done collectively in terms of national climate plans.

The COP26 conference in Glasgow aims to secure more ambitious climate action. This is from nearly 200 countries, those all that have signed the 2015 Paris Agreement for limiting the global warming, well below 2.0 degrees Celsius. And to 1.5 degrees, above pre-industrial levels.

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City’s exposure to Evergrande is very minimal-Hong Kong finance Chief

Hong Kong’s exposure to debt-laden developer China Evergrande Group is very minimal at 0.05%. This is of banking assets, South China Morning Post reported, citing the city’s finance minister. Financial Secretary Paul Chan told the newspaper that it is very minimal and won’t cause them any systemic risks. He added that he had arrived at the conclusion after a recent audit of the local banking sector’s exposure to the company.

Chan also said that the Hong Kong’s stock market was inevitably subject to some volatility. This is amidst a recent mainland crackdown on some industries. But still he believed any setback would be temporary. With liabilities of $305 billion, Evergrande has sparked concerns its cash crunch could spread through China’s financial system. This may reverberate globally and that is a worry that has eased with the Chinese central bank’s vow, to protect homebuyers’ interests. Evergrande has missed two bond interest payments. Bondholders have said this and its offshore debt, amounting to about $20 billion, trades at distressed levels.

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