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FirstFT: Truss to shake up the City


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Good morning. Liz Truss, the frontrunner to be the next UK prime minister, has the City of London’s top regulators in her sights, planning an immediate review of their roles and responsibilities if she wins, according to campaign insiders.

The foreign secretary, who is 32 points ahead of former chancellor Rishi Sunak in the latest survey of Conservative party members, is considering merging the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Payments Systems Regulator.

One well-placed financial services executive said Truss was privately critical of the FCA, which faced its first industrial action this year under new chief executive Nikhil Rathi, and wanted to overhaul financial regulation as part of “a wider war on technocrats” and civil servants.

The plans would represent the biggest shake-up of the UK’s critical financial regulatory authorities in more than a decade. Truss’s leadership campaign declined to comment on the proposals, but one campaign insider confirmed that she would review the organisations.

“No decisions have been made on the future of regulators. Liz will look at their role as part of a review. She’s clear that there has not been enough focus on economic growth” — a campaign official

1. Fed minutes signal restrictive rates to stay Federal Reserve officials discussed the need to keep interest rates at levels that restrict the US economy “for some time” to contain the highest inflation in roughly 40 years, according to minutes of their July meeting, when US central bankers implemented a second consecutive 0.75 percentage point rate rise.

2. Quant funds ramp up bets on US stocks Quant funds, which attempt to ride the momentum of market trends, are increasing bets on US shares, fuelling a rally that has added $7tn in value since June even as data points to a slowdown in the world’s largest economy.

3. UK inflation rate hits 40-year high of 10.1% Consumer price inflation in the UK, driven by higher food prices, rose from 9.4 per cent in June to 10.1 per cent in July, its highest level since February 1982 and the country’s first double-digit annual increase in more than four decades.

Bar chart of Annual CPI inflation, July (%) showing The UK has the highest inflation rate in the G7

4. PwC’s UK partners’ pay tops £1mn for first time The Big Four accounting firm’s partners were paid an average of more than £1mn for the first time last year, buoyed by a jump of one-third in consulting revenues and the disposal of part of its business. But PwC warned that inflation and rising wages would probably reduce partner pay this year.

5. Japan’s alcohol advice: please drink more The unorthodox government-backed “Sake Viva!” contest calls on people aged 20 to 39 to help revitalise an industry hit by demographic changes, the pandemic and long-term diminishing consumption that has cut into tax revenue.

How can Japan tempt younger citizens to drink more alcohol? Share your suggestions with me at firstft@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

The day ahead

UK transport strikes More than 50,000 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport, Unite and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association unions will walk out across the country over pay, job losses and working practices.

Serbia and Kosovo meet Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić and Albin Kurti, Kosovo’s prime minister, will hold joint discussions in Brussels with Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, over a road map to resolve tensions under the threat of conflict.

  • Opinion: The EU and Nato have crucial roles to play in stopping Russia from exploiting regional rivalries, writes Misha Glenny, rector of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Economic data Egypt’s central bank holds a monetary policy meeting after its governor Tarek Amer resigned; his replacement has not been named. The EU and Canada publish July inflation figures, while US initial jobless claims are forecast to have risen slightly last week. (FT, WSJ)

UK exam results day Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level and vocational exam results, which are expected to be down on last year but up on pre-pandemic levels. Exam body AQA has said papers would be more generously graded to reflect the return to normal test conditions.

Corporate earnings Electrical retailer AO World reports full-year results as it attempts to shift its business model away from sales growth to building and maintaining margins, with an economic slowdown crimping sales demand. Other companies reporting include Estée Lauder, Hella and Kohl’s.

What else we’re reading

The village wedding caught in the Taliban’s battle for Kabul In August 2021, people in Dost Kol — a hamlet in the hills an hour west of Kabul — prepared to celebrate the wedding of Mohammad Ullah to a bride from a neighbouring village. But the next 24 hours brought tragedy.

Sardar Mohammad points to the hole in the glass made by the bullet that killed his daughter Basmeen, 8, in the village of Dost Khol
Sardar Mohammad points to the hole in the window made by the bullet that killed his eight-year-old daughter Basmeena © Oriane Zerah

Central bank independence is on the decline In the US, UK and Turkey, politics are gaining sway over central banks, writes economics editor Chris Giles. Even so, if Liz Truss becomes UK prime minister, she has an opportunity to improve the country’s monetary policy — and the Bank of England’s accountability.

France’s magnificent rusting giant The coat of paint that the Eiffel Tower will receive for the 2024 Olympics can hardly hide that it is rusting. Paris bureau chief Victor Mallet assesses the wear and tear on the pre-eminent symbol of France — and explains why Parisians could be waiting a decade for proper repairs.

Neighbourhood apps are great but IRL is better At the peak of the pandemic, usage of online forum Nextdoor, which connects people by location, increased 80 per cent globally. But solely online interactions surely miss something important, argues Cristina Criddle.

Beware patronising the marginalised How would you feel if you were told, by someone who knew very little about you, that because of your immutable physical characteristics you must have been the victim of oppression? Treating people as victims deprives them of agency, writes Jemima Kelly.

Food & drink

Ravinder Bhogal presents a menu that is a taste of Sicily, from caponata to pasta with sardines and apricot ricotta cake, all borrowed from a christening she gatecrashed this summer.

Caponata, pasta with sardines and apricot ricotta cake
Gastronomically speaking, Sicily is the meeting place of at least two major traditions, the Arab and the southern Italian © Aaron Graubar

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