The Gateway news round-up: 3 February

Top stories from the worlds of banking, law, consulting and accounting to help boost your commercial awareness

Here's a snapshot of the top finance and legal industry news from the last two weeks. For a more in-depth commentary on graduate banking hours, the Candy Crush trademark saga and the US-China audit scandal, look out for this week's issue on stands around your campus and in your careers department.

Banking industry news

Turkey's central bank makes shock interest rate hike

Turkey's central bank made several sharp hikes to the country's interest rates this week, raising its benchmark overnight interbank lending rate, for example, from 7.8 per cent to 12 per cent. The move was a surprise, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made his opposition to high interest rates clear. The move may help stabilise Turkey's volatile currency, but higher interest rates may also slow investment in the infrastructure and construction projects that are the backbone of Turkey's current economic growth.

Sudden deaths of two senior bankers

Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in IT at J.P Morgan and 58-year-old William Broeksmit, a former senior manager at Deutsche Bank, both died in tragic circumstances this week. Magee fell to his death from the roof of J.P. Morgan's Canary Wharf offices, while Broeksmit was found hanged in his South Kensington home. Neither death is being treated by police as suspicious.

Star banking tweeter looking for a book deal

It's being reported that @GSElevator, an anonymous Goldman Sachs employee who tweets comments supposedly overheard in the bank's lifts, is attempting to sell a book about their experiences in finance. It's being billed as "the definitive exposure of investment banking culture today" and the stories inside it, @GSElevator claims, will be "100 per cent true, as seen and told through the intriguingly anonymous eyes and voice behind @GSElevator." Sample tweets from the feed: "'Work hard, play hard' is the mantra of a drunk who doesn't work that hard"; and "I'm saving all my Black Amex points to go to space."

Legal industry news

Magic circle firm has best brand recognition in England

Allen & Overy has topped a league table of 20 law firms assessing brand recognition. Compiled by London reputation management consultancy Eulogy, the rankings were based on a combination of press coverage, social media activity and responses from within the industry. Despite the good news for A&O, Eulogy's findings were largely negative; researchers commented that, in general, "law firms are bad [brands]. The traditional legal model is no longer seen as safe and trusted, but archaic and out of touch."

High trainee retention rates for City firms

In news that will delight potential future lawyers, several City law firms have announced high trainee retention rates for their March 2012 intakes. Leading the way were Clifford Chance and Ashurst, with a 94 per cent and 96 per cent retention rate respectively. Clifford Chance is keeping on 45 out of 48 trainees, resulting in their highest rate since 2010, while Ashurst will retain 23 out of 24 trainees. At the other end of the scale, even the weakest retention rate was an encouraging 89 per cent, posted by BLP.

Irwin Mitchell falls foul of Google

Law firms are often criticised for being slow to embrace new technology, but Irwin Mitchell may well be wishing they had never tried. A recent attempt to promote its website by linking to it from external sites has broken Google's guidelines, resulting in its main domain - irwinmitchell.com - no longer appearing in organic Google search results. In order to have the penalty revoked, the firm will need to remove the links posted on other websites. A spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation and working closely with our digital agency to deal with it."

Consulting and accounting industry news

Treasury needs to manage the royal accounts better

The Queen's coffers are in a mess and the Treasury must take a more involved role in managing the Royal Household's finances, a government watchdog has said. According to a report by the Public Accounts Committee, the Royal Household has dipped into its reserve fund after spending all of its £31 million grant. The watchdog called on the Treasury to help review the Household's financial planning and management.

Bitcoin Foundation vice chair accused of money laundering

Charlie Shrem, vice chair of the Bitcoin Foundation, which promotes the use of digital currency bitcoin has been arrested for conspiring to commit money laundering. He and another man are accused of "engaging in a scheme to sell over $1 million (about £600,000) in bitcoins" to users of the website Silk Road, an online black market used to traffic illegal drugs. Following news of the arrests, the price of bitcoin on the Mtgox exchange fell 3 per cent.

Accountants are the new investment bankers

According to a blog post in the Wall Street Journal online, investment banks are recruiting more accountants to work on big transactions. After cutting down on the number of graduate hires between 2007-10, European banks are now looking to employ people with ACA qualifications to join at associate levels in order to fill the gap left by a lack of junior staff who do much of the leg work on deals.

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