Editorial: July 17

FinTech is an interesting phenomenon that has drawn lots of attention over the past few years. Recently four influential financial executives gathered for a panel discussion to offer up their opinions on how Fintech is redefining global financial centres, including Toronto. It’s our cover story this month.

The retail sector continues a monumental transformation and in so doing it’s leaving more carnage with yet another traditional chain about set to disappear. Sears Canada has sought creditor protection but it seems highly unlikely
that it will survive in any form, other than to have parts of it sold off to other entities. Online shopping has killed a number of retail giants and Sears is the latest victim.

Bricks & mortar companies that don’t transform to the digital realm are finding it very difficult to survive. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum such new age companies as Amazon continue to flourish. Amazon Canada plans to hire 200 more workers at its headquarters in Toronto including for positions in software development, engineering, programming, marketing and sales and human resources. Amazon employs 3,500 people across Canada at its offices and distribution centres including 600 full-time workers at its downtown Toronto headquarters.

Continuing on theme – digital currency bitcoin keeps reaching new heights, surging above $2,400, as demand for crypto-assets soared with the creation of new tokens to raise funding for start-ups using blockchain technology. Blockchain, the underlying technology behind bitcoin, is a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator. It will be interesting to see just how large this gets before we see government regulation – because as of now there is none – anywhere.

It is old news now, but I still don’t understand the rationale in U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May calling an election that was totally unnecessary. Her ruling Conservatives had majority control in the British Parliament, meaning the opposition was helpless to stop the ruling party’s agenda. But May got greedy and wanted to prove that Britons overwhelmingly supported the Conservatives’ mandate, and primarily as it related to their Brexit strategy. The thinking was that she’d win an even larger majority. But it turned out May and her advisors were horribly wrong and she’s now left with a minority government that will need to be propped up by a small Northern Irish party in order to get the votes needed to have legislation passed. Some members of her own party wanted May to resign but she’s not having any of that. If May was looking for more excitement and controversy with Brexit, she achieved her goal.

Did you know?… the United Kingdom first joined the European Union back on January 1, 1973, although at the time it was known as the European Economic Community.

Angus Gillespie