Double intake on scheme for Indian talentOn 16 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. The Government is to double the number of places on a scheme allowing young Indian professionals to work on attachment with UK companies.Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers used his recent visit to India to announce the increase in places this year from 15 to 30.Launched in 1998, the British Overseas Industrial Placement Scheme has seen more than 40 Indian nationals sponsored by UK organisations for up to 12 months.Speaking at a seminar in Delhi, Byers said the scheme is designed to enable UK organisations to develop links in overseas markets.He said, “These high-fliers contribute their skills and experience of their home market. “Through their exposure to the products and services of their UK business sponsor they develop new skills and knowledge which they are able to apply on their return to India.“So far, 43 talented Indian professionals have participated. As a result, leading British companies have gone on to develop partnerships and joint ventures with their Indian counterparts.” Related posts:No related photos.
– With a score of 10, Finland is seen as the world’s mosthonest country. “I do a lot of deals in Thailand and they couldn’t bedone without people being paid off. The payments are ‘lost’ through anothercompany that is set up locally. Really, I think this whole anti-corruptiondrive has come from back-office types who’ve never done a business deal in theirlives. Greasing palms is the way business is done in Asia – and always hasbeen. If I don’t, my competitor will.” “A rule of thumb many businesses use in gift-givingcultures is to neither accept nor give anything other than that which can beconsumed on the spot,” says Berenbeim. “So, a bottle of wine is okay.A case isn’t.” John Githongo, an anti-corruption campaigner in Kenya, backsthis up, saying that investors in many African countries soon realise that topromote their business, it’s essential to “establish mutually beneficialrelationships with the head of state, his relatives and croniesgenerally”. Previous Article Next Article “We have a Group-wide policy and target of no bribes.In 97 countries, Shell companies have procedures above and beyond the Group’scontrol measures to prevent and identify possible breaches of the ‘no bribes’policy,” she adds. Third-party agents working on Shell’s behalf are notexcluded from the no bribes policy. “To avoid inadvertently becominginvolved with corrupt practices through the use of intermediaries, Shellcompanies in 71 countries operate a procedure to ensure the use ofintermediaries does not compromise business integrity,” says Tavinor. – Does the fact that such practices are common in thecountry change the situation? An increasing number of countries and companies are adoptinganti-corruption legislation and strategies to stamp out bribery in business.But will they succeed? asks John Parrish Further information League of corruption A Shell company involved in a joint venture in a foreigncountry is trying to get one of the minister’s officials to grant a concession.The country’s government is also in discussion with a competitor who, accordingto a reliable source, does not shy away from buying off politicians. In thiscountry, bribery is the rule, not the exception. The Shell company learns thata condition for obtaining a concession is the donation of a substantial sum ofmoney to the president’s campaign fund. Dean Newlan, director of forensic accounting with consultingfirm KPMG in Australia, investigates corruption throughout Asia. “Therewas one case in Hong Kong where a manager was found to be asking for bribes andwas sacked – not because he was asking for bribes, but because he asked for thewrong amount,” says Newlan. “The difficulty is in trying tocommunicate a Western model of business ethics in a place where business hasbeen done in a different way for many years. I’m sure they would find ourbusiness practices very strange,” he adds. Nevertheless, larger companiesare increasingly adopting the Western model. – The UK has a rating of 8.7, making it the world’s tenthmost honest nation. Australia comes in at 13th with 8.3 and the US is 14th with7.8. – Go to www.shell.com for the company’s information on bribery andcorruption, including excellent case studies that your managers can workthrough. Where do you think you are most likely to have to pay abribe to win business? US anti-corruption campaign group TransparencyInternational compiles an annual report which examines perceptions ofcorruption. The lower the score – on a scale of 1 to 10 – the more corrupt acountry is perceived to be. – Italy scores poorly with 4.6, making it joint 46th withJordan in the honesty league. Coming cleanOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. In Eastern Europe, gift giving, which can open the door tocorruption, isn’t so important. “I suspect solicitation for a bribe wouldbe more overt in somewhere like Russia,” says Berenbeim. Given the gripthe Russian Mafia has on the economy it may be put even more bluntly. Pay up orelse. Unfortunately, it’s not always that straightforward if youare a small or medium company that can’t afford to lose business, says theAustralian-based director of one US company, who preferred to remain anonymous.”Anti-bribery drives are all very well for Shell, but some of us can’tafford to lose business,” he says. The International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations,the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and Development, and theOrganisation of American States (OAS) have all developed initiatives andlegislation designed to stamp it out. The British government is currentlyplanning anti-corruption laws that would allow a Briton bribing an official ina foreign country to be tried for this offence when he or she returns home. TheUS has had such laws since 1977. A cynical attitude no doubt, but it is backed by statistics.A survey of international businesses by international security and risk consultancyControl Risks Group revealed that 95%of respondents believed US companies used middlemen to get aroundanti-corruption legislation. The golden rule then seems to be, “Don’t getcaught”. This underlines Ron Berenbeim’s assertion that if you do have ananti-corruption compliance procedure, you had better make sure it’s wellsupervised. – Nigeria, 90th and last nation on the list, scores 1.2,making it the most dishonest country. Companies that do business overseas need to be aware thatemployees who pay bribes to secure contracts could land not only themselves butalso their companies in court. However, part of the problem with this is thatcultural differences mean what you may regard as a bribe others may regard as agift. Ron Berenbeim of the Conference Board, a global business think-tank basedin New York, has studied these differences. From the Shell perspective, the answer to all thesequestions is a firm “no”. Comments are closed. The African continent – like Japan – has a tradition of giftgiving, and corruption here has evolved in highly sophisticated ways. “Towin a contract you may find you have to make a donation to a foundation thatdoes excellent community work,” says Berenbeim. “But you may findthat there are a lot of highly paid people on the payroll with no apparentfunction, and the work the foundation does helps prop up the politicalsystem.” To bribe or not to bribe Here is a scenario Shell presents to its senior managers: – The International Chamber of Commerce at www.iccwbo.org has links to documents on corruption and has produced a manual foremployees. If your company exports to China, the name Wu Yubo may befamiliar. A top customs agent in the port city of Xiamen, he made sure nothingwas off-loaded without his palm being greased first. But not any more – inFebruary Yobu was executed for taking bribes. While few nations advocateexecution for those found guilty, the practice of corruption is becomingincreasingly frowned upon around the world. – Is it acceptable, given the great importance of winningthe concession, to honour this request? – Close to the bottom of the table, with scores ranging from1.3 to 2.1 are Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Angola, Cameroon, Russia andKenya. To protect your company from becoming embroiled incorruption and bribery, Ron Berenbeim recommends setting up what he calls a”compliance culture”. The first step is high-level commitment fromthe CEO and other senior executives who are seen to back anti-corruptionmeasures. Next, the company has to clearly state exactly where it stands andmake sure that all staff, joint venture partners and suppliers know about this.Discussion and training are vital. Third, the implementation of anti-corruptionprocedures must be supervised and properly resourced. Finally, compliancecertification is essential. Larysa Denysenko, of anti-corruption campaign groupTransparency International, is a lawyer fighting the problem in the Ukraine.She believes the state is inextricably linked to corruption and warns that newpermits and licences are invented literally every month as corrupt officialsthink up new ways to extract cash from businesses. “Corruption pervadesall levels of state power,” she says. – Information about the fight against corruption can befound at Transparency International’s Website at www.transparency.org Filling in a compliance form tends to focus the mind of anemployee who might otherwise be tempted to offer or take a bribe. And althoughunpopular with employees, whistle-blowing hotlines are another useful measure. – The Philippines scores just 2.8, joint 69th with India inhonesty, and Vietnam comes in at 2.5, making it joint 76th with Tanzania. “It’s not as simple as saying they do it this way inAsia and this way in Africa,” he says. “Often, you’ll find manydifferent practices in a single region. Take Asia for example. In Indonesia,it’s all quite open and if you pay a bribe you’ll even get a receipt. But inSingapore, they’ve worked very hard to eradicate corruption. And in Japan, it’sdifferent again. There is a tradition of lavish gift giving, which can beextremely confusing – where it ends, how far you should go, nobody knows.Fortunately, the Japanese are in the process of codifying this right now. Shell has set a standard for them to follow by publiclydiscussing the problem of corruption and equipping executives to deal withit. “Shell companies insist onhonesty, integrity and fairness in all aspects of their business and expect thesame in their relationships with all those with whom they do business,”says Shell’s London-based spokeswoman Cerris Tavinor. “Direct or indirectoffer, payment, soliciting and acceptance of bribes in any form areunacceptable practices. – Is the fact your competitor has fewer scruples a goodreason to go ahead and find a way of satisfying the president’s wishes?
Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Onlinejob-seeking is growing at four times the speed of Internet use in general butwhat is its future potential? Five major players in the recruitment marketoffer their insights into the future of online recruitmentThetraditional recruiterBy Paul Wilson, managing director, Michael Page Human ResourcesAround30 million people change jobs in Europe each year. But gone are the days whenthey just searched magazines andnewspapers to find employment opportunities – they are now heading for the Net.In the UK, 14.3 million people have access to the Internet with an estimated5.4 million using it specifically to look for work. So does this mean the endof traditional recruitment consultancy?Recruitmenthas been one of the largest growth areas online and, as a sector, has createdhundreds of new businesses offering online recruitment services or careerportals. The common perception is that the Internet lowers the barriers ofentry into business. Ina sense this is true, but the real need for recruitment sites to create brandawareness at a time when proliferation has resulted in crashing prices foronline advertising, creates a huge financial hurdle at which most Internet-onlyrecruitment companies will fall. If a company of News International’s staturerebrands its career portal Revolver to Sunday Times Online after only fourmonths, what hope is there for the Internet-only brands of recruitment site?Clearly online consolidation is overdue.Anew venture can gain strong brand awareness by riding on the back of atraditional business or ploughing millions of pounds into advertising. But newbrands that haven’t adopted the advertising route run the risk of operatingwithout a strong enough brand equity to be an online success. So, brandawareness is everything. It is interesting to note that in the UK the MichaelPage Website generates about 15,000 applications a month without any publicitycampaign.TheInternet has also changed a client’s direct interface with candidates. At firstthis seems the instant solution for big employers. Unfortunately, again, massaccess spoils the result. Major employers now approach traditionalconsultancies to handle their own Internet applications. This is because theyare not geared to manage the volumes of applications produced, most of whichmay not be relevant.Thisbrings me to the crucial point. Recruitment consultancies are there tounderstand companies, roles and candidates and to interpret and match themaccordingly. That is the added value of a consultancy, saving companies timeand money and giving them access to the best employees. HR candidates andclients alike continually stress the need forculture and personality fit, andthis is the defining point for successful executive recruitment. Theface-to-face interview, consultancy and intimate knowledge of the marketplaceby the recruiters are key factors in securing a successful match.Therewill be very few Internet-only recruitment models that survive. What we arealready finding is that recruitment companies who can combine offline deliverywith online presence will prosper. In retail, companies such as Tesco, whichcan combine Net innovation with the combination of funding, financial stabilityand an established infrastructure, are winning against the plethora of puree-tailers. The same will happen in recruitment. It is perhaps ironic that oneof the leading recruitment Websites turned to Michael Page Human Resources tosuccessfully recruit its own HR manager recently.Inconclusion, the technology will continue to evolve. However, this will notreplace the need for traditional consultancies. The question for futurerecruitment businesses is not how can I run a business solely on the Internetbut rather, how can I use the Internet to enhance my existing business andservice offering?Employmentnetwork (the employee’s perspective)By Tim Elkington, head of research, workthing.comThe online recruitment market is continuing to grow and evolve and has seensome significant developments over the past six months, as highlighted byworkthing’s latest Online Recruitment and Employment Survey.ORESis the largest piece of research into recruitment and the Internet, samplingmore than 3,000 Internet users every six months. This gives us an invaluableinsight into the trends and issues affecting the online recruitment market.Thegrowth of Internet use in this country has been documented at length, and it isa fact that more and more people are going online. What is not so welldocumented is that online job-seeking is growing ahead of the curve, four timesfaster than Internet use in general. This emphasises the suitability of therecruitment industry to this channel.Inspring 2000, there were more than 4 million online job-seekers. In the past sixmonths, this has grown to 5.4 million people using the Internet to look forjobs, showing that online recruiting is a natural activity for this newInternet audience. Overall,the UK Internet population has grown by 900,000 in six months and online jobseeking is growing at a faster rate than Internet use in general. The Internethas proved an indispensable way to reach people from all geographical anddemographic spectra.TheInternet is ideally suited to sifting applications and matching candidates tojobs but the leading online recruiters are attracting consumers by offeringmore than just a jobs board, they are also forming online communities fordifferent sectors. Our research reveals that browsing for jobs in specificindustry sectors is the most popular activity on recruitment Websites and athird of visitors to recruitment sites use them for industry sector news. Morethan a third of visitors to recruitment sites have also obtained traininginformation from the sites. This is the value-added service that we can provideto job seekers and which encourage them to return to the site.Consumerattitudes to online recruitment have been discussed in Personnel Today in thepast. For example, a common assumption is that consumers are wary of onlinerecruitment as they do not get the human touch, even though many recruitmentWebsites offer personal contact with job-seekers. Those sites with superiorsearch engines allow candidates and job postings to be accurately andefficiently categorised, but many online recruiters also try to retain a moreintimate connection with their candidates by sending them personal e-mails,having helplines in place and by allowing them to personalise their experience.Thispublication has also debated whether job seekers trust the Internet enough as amedium to post their personal information. Our research has tackled this issuehead-on and found that consumers are placing more and more faith in thesecurity of the Internet. Onlinejob seekers tend to differ from general web users in terms of confidence andInternet experience. More and more are using sophisticated features online, andusers are saving their CVs online and have overcome worries about security.Itis clear the Internet is an effective and increasingly popular medium, thepotential strength of this evolving medium is demonstrated by a prediction forthe future from ORES – more than 2 million users expect to obtain their nextjob via the Internet, which is more than those who expect to find their nextjob via national and trade press and recruitment agencies.Theonline testerBy Richard Alberg, chief executive of PSLAt a recent presentation given by the head of graduate recruitment at one ofthe “Big Five” accountancy firms, many people were struck by hisopening remarks. He stated that the firm’s online recruitment process isstate-of-the-art, offering speed and quality benefits over its competitors. Buthe was certain that all of the major graduate recruiters would soon beemploying similar systems.Hislogic was simple. We are experiencing a buoyant economy and this exacerbatesthe problems in attracting high-calibre personnel – it is currently a buyer’smarket. His firm’s new processes provided significant advantages and,therefore, it was obvious the firm’s competitors would need to invest insimilar systems. If the Big Five went down this route, then investment banksand other financial institutions would follow. This, in turn, would promptsimilar moves by major corporates. No-one argued with that logic.Competitionis nothing new. What is new is the level of advantage provided by technologyand the speed with which increasingly sophisticated processes are beingintroduced. Whereas in the past recruiters would have been satisfied with minortweaks from year to year, with an occasional overhaul, the pace of change isnow so rapid. Recruiters need to be continually aware of new developments.Advocatesof online recruitment typically cite four core benefits:1.Speed – the complete campaign (from origination to processing) happens fasteronline2.Cost – electronic processes that do not involve print, manual distribution and,crucially, administrative staff, inevitably cost less, particularly in volumecampaigns3.Effectiveness – a properly designed electronic process eliminates elements ofhuman error inherent in manual processing4.Exposure – the key strength of the Internet is its ability to reach audienceswho may not be captured via traditional media platforms.Clearlythese procedural benefits are significant, but the key strength of onlinerecruitment is its ability to combine processing with a highly sophisticated,psychometrically-based investigation of a candidate’s suitability for aparticular post – or, in other words, allowing the candidate to put theirpersonality and competencies into the process.PSL,as with other providers of specialist psychometric testing, has been developingInternet-based screening tools directed at improving the quality of the siftingprocess – a job that becomes overwhelming when organisations are running volumerecruitment campaigns.Astructured online questionnaire – standalone, integrated with recruitmentWebsites or linked to bulletin boards – helps businesses match candidates’ skills,abilities, attitudes and experience against their own required competencies andcorporate values “fit”. Many of the applicants may appear, via theiraccompanying CVs, to meet the criteria for the job, but are they genuinelysuited to the post and, equally important, to the organisation?Thebenefit of using an online questionnaire is that it can be linked directly to agrading system whereby an individual candidate’s suitability can be measuredagainst specific criteria identified by the recruiter. Moreover, the campaignmanager can get an instant fix on the range of candidates applying for the joband their relative strengths. For example, the manager can identify – in realtime – say, the top 10 per cent of candidates and invite them immediately for aninterview, thus ensuring that good people receive a quick response.Inshort, the linkage of online recruitment procedures and intelligent tools suchas psychometric instruments delivers a fundamental benefit to the campaignmanager and is the basis for a sustained future for online recruitment. Insteadof spending valuable time eliminating the vast majority of candidates who areunsuitable, the manager can concentrate on the minority of candidates who meetthe brief. This ensures those who go forward to the next round are the rightpeople.“Clicksand bricks” modelBy Chris Hermannsen, chief executive, UK, Ireland & Nordic Region ,TMP Worldwide eResourcingThe arrival of the Internet has radically changed the way the world doesbusiness. Faster, smarter, cheaper, further – the Internet gives companies theopportunity to really push the boundaries of how business is done. Although youwould not believe it from the way some companies do business, today’s economyis global. The players who succeed, indeed dominate in this environment, willbe those who can offer truly global solutions.Recruitmentis no exception. The arrival of the Internet means that finding, assessing andhiring the right executives, no matter where they are, is a reality not adream. Need500 computer programmers yesterday? No problem. Whether they are located inBombay or Boston, the Internet empowers recruitment businesses to find thesepeople. KPMG recently announced it is moving all of its recruitment online –testament indeed to the value of the Net in the recruitment process.Ofcourse, it would be foolish to suggest that the Internet is the only way toprovide solutions in the global economy or even to say it is the best way toprovide them. What it can do is provide solutions more quickly and at a reducedcost compared to traditional recruitment methods. Offeringa choice is critical. The human capital businesses that dominate the 21stcentury will be those which can offer truly harmonised “bricks andclicks” solutions. There will always be a place for the personal,”high-touch” services, offered by traditional recruitment methods.Clients will often desire these and they will often be the right service tomeet their needs. Online recruitment is not the be-all and end-all.However,for us at TMP Worldwide, the Internet is the foundation of everything we do. Ifone of our consultants is not asking himself every day, “How can I bestuse the Internet to help my clients?”, he is not doing his job. Inparticular this means how they can best leverage the resource that isMonster.com, the world’s leading global online career network and, fortunatelyfor us, a TMP Worldwide company.Muchhas been made recently of the dotcom shakeout, where literally hundreds ofonline businesses have gone to the wall or hit serious problems. Onlinerecruiters have not been immune to this – StepStone recently announced it is tocut nearly 400 jobs following a £45.75m loss in the first quarter of this year.Monster.com on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength. This is notonly because it has been supported by the “bricks” element of TMPWorldwide’s business but also because it has focused on achieving one crucialfactor for success: critical mass. Monster.comhas more than 10 million CVs registered online and 500,000 job vacancies. ItsMedia Metrix “power ranking” (audience reach multiplied by the numberof unique pages per visitor per month) is greater than the sum of the powerrankings of its 10 closest competitors. To make an analogy, if Monster.com werea soft drinks manufacturer, it would have more market share than Coca-Cola andthere would be no Pepsi to compete with it.Thisis the future of online recruitment – only the strongest and the largest willsurvive in an environment that demands size and reach as criteria for success.What we will see is the creation of a cluster of online “superbrands”that will act as online recruitment hubs for the growing number of virtual CVs.Asthe number of Web-savvy “knowledge workers” in the global economy increases,more and more individuals will be posting their CVs online. We estimate that bythe end of this decade there will be more than 100 million CVs in cyberspace,forming a massive online CV “tank” to be tapped by employers andrecruiters. The place of online recruitment in the marketplace is quite assured.Theonline recruitment site (the employer’s perspective)By Andrew Findlater, business analyst, and Keith Robinson, managingdirector of totaljobs.comAsour recently published bi-annual poll examining the e-recruitment practices ofleading employers such as IBM and KPMG has shown, most organisations are usingjobsites to advertise positions and almost half predict an increase inexpenditure on jobsites over the next 12 months.Alongsidethis growing confidence, our research points to an air of realism aboute-recruitment, with most employers predicting that it is set to become a majorchannel in the next three or five years rather than overnight.Attotaljobs we recognised early on that the concept of e-recruitment is anevolving one and have embarked on a comprehensive research programme tofacilitate a better understanding of recruiters’ needs, while at the same timecreating a learning platform for ourselves. It is this ongoing commitment toeducation through usability testing of totaljobs and employer focus groups thatis serving as the basis of our future growth and success.Drawingon our expertise and heritage as publishers, as part of the Reed ElsevierGroup, we recognise that many of the same rules apply in the onlineenvironment. From the recruiter’s perspective, it is the ability to measureperformance that is set to become a key driver in selecting e-recruitmentsolutions. Indeed, in much the same way that employers scrutinise the audience reachand make-up of mediums in the offline world, they will demand the sameinformation from an online environment. Those jobsites which simply continue tohide behind generic application figures and unique visitor numbers are exposingthemselves to failure in the future.Bymonitoring the behaviour of our employer panel it has also become clear thatpatterns of e-recruitment behaviour vary according to the sector – again thisis the same for offline publishers. For example, a higher proportion oforganisations in the public sector, media and IT use their corporate sitescompared with jobsites, while in retail, education and financial services ahigher proportion use external jobsites sites compared with corporate sites.Thus, rather than seeking a broadbrush strategy for all, it seems importantplayers understand how to tailor their approach to different industry sectors.Itis also striking that a huge opportunity exists for e-recruiters to workalongside traditional channels. In recognising the role of the Internet ascomplementary to their existing channels, the stated intention of manyemployers is to reduce their dependence on recruitment agencies. But it is theagencies themselves which have been some of the earliest adopters ofe-recruitment, recognising that aspects of contingency recruitment work done bythem, such as identifying, filtering candidates and even first interview, willbegin to be automated using the Web.Sowhat of the future of e-recruitment? The past year has witnessed the beginningof e-recruitment’s “coming of age” in the UK. But as employers beginto formulate real strategies to evaluate and use online recruitment, the keyopportunity in moving forward is in developing a research-led offering thatwill focus on the needs of employers as well job seekers. Within this our endgoal is to encourage employers to move from a mindset which regards theInternet as just another recruitment advertising media to incorporating it aspart of the whole hiring process. Related posts:No related photos. What is the future of online hiring?On 22 May 2001 in Personnel Today
Stakeholder pensions at a glanceOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Eligible employers should have acted by now, says Tim Sargisson. From 8October 2001 firms with five or more “relevant” employees must offeraccess to a stakeholder-compliant pension scheme. He highlights what employersshould knowWhat is a stakeholder pension? A flexible, low cost, tax-efficient retirement savings plan, which shouldoffer good value to everyone, especially those on low incomes. It should meetminimum standards on cost, access and terms (CAT) standard, namely: – A maximum charge of 1 per cent of the fund per annum, calculated on adaily basis of 1/365th per day – The minimum contribution cannot be set at a level above £20. This appliesto regular and single contributions. There is no minimum frequency or paymentterm. How will stakeholder affect you, as an employer? Organisations with fewer than five employees will not have to provide accessto a stakeholder pension. This situation will be reviewed after three years. Organisations with five or more employees have to provide access to astakeholder pension scheme from October 2001. Those with an existing pensionscheme may be exempt. At present there is no requirement for employers to paycontributions to a designated stakeholder plan Firms needing to offer access to a stakeholder pension must: – Designate a stakeholder provider for the scheme. – Provide information about the scheme to employees. – Offer a payroll deduction facility for employee contributions. – Enable employees to join the scheme within three months of joining theorganisation. – Offer a default investment choice so that staff do not have to considerinvestment options for their stakeholder payments. Penalties Firms with five or more “relevant” employees which do not offerstakeholder pensions will be liable to fines of up to £50,000. Individuals (such as trustees) will be liable for fines up to £5,000 each. The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (OPRA) has powers underSection 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 to fine employers for breaches of rulesrelating to occupational pensions. These powers were extended to stakeholderpensions under Section 3 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999. Why is the Government launching stakeholder pensions? People are living longer and tending to retire earlier, plus the olderpopulation is increasing faster than the young. By about 2040, there are likelyto be only two people in work for every one pensioner – currently the ratio isabout 4:1 – making it important for everyone to start saving for theirretirement as early as possible. What exemptions are available? Employers running an occupational pension scheme This provides anexemption as long as all employees can join within 12 months of starting withthe firm. Membership does not have to be extended to employees under 18 yearsof age, or those within five years of the normal pension age. Employers running a group personal pension plan They may be exemptfrom establishing a stakeholder scheme, so long as: – The firm contributes at least 3 per cent of employees’ basic pay – There are no “exit charges” or penalties under the plan – Employees must be able to join the scheme within three months of joiningthe organisation. Employers with group personal pension plans should also note: – Staff under 18 years of age are excluded – If the existing plan has matching employer/employee contributions of morethan 3 per cent, the plan can continue and should be exempt – The 3 per cent employer contribution can be conditional on employeesmaking a matching contribution of up to 3 per cent. The situation for grouppersonal pensions will be reviewed after three years. Is stakeholder my only option? No. You can opt to set up a pension scheme which suits you and yourbusiness. You won’t have to provide a stakeholder pension as long as all relevantemployees are given access to a pension, which conforms to the stakeholdercriteria detailed above. Why should I have a pension scheme for employees? Apart from it being now being a legal obligation, it will bring benefits tothe firm: – In an increasingly competitive employment market, a comprehensive benefitspackage, including a good pension scheme, is important. – It can help attract quality staff to your business and over the long terma pension scheme can encourage existing employees to stay with your business. – A pension is one of the most tax efficient ways of investing – for bothyou and your employees: – Your contributions to employees’ pensions are treated as a businessexpense. – Corporation tax relief is usually granted in the year in whichcontributions are paid, at the highest rate payable by your business. This canreduce the potential amount of taxable profits earned by your business. – Contributions paid by employees also receive tax relief at the highestrate of tax they pay, thereby reducing their personal tax liability. – Very little tax is paid on the actual growth in value of pensioncontributions, allowing more of the growth to remain in the pension. – Under stakeholder, only a very small amount goes to administering anemployees’ pension arrangement. Additionally, stakeholder is beneficial to employees as: – They can stop and start contributions as they wish – If they are unhappy with a stakeholder provider they can transfer toanother provider without incurring financial loss or additional charges. Finally – Employers have a key role to play in stakeholder pensions. – A pension for your employees will no longer be an optional extra. – The requirement for employers to choose and offer their employees accessto a stakeholder scheme is a legal requirement and this will be closelyregulated. – An Independent financial adviser could help in choosing the right type ofpension scheme for your staff and your business. – Doing nothing is not an option. Always take professional advice before applying the contents of thisarticle Tim Sargisson is the sales and marketing director for Swipe plc, theonline pension solution established by Smith & Williamson. Tel: 020-76375377, e-mail: [email protected]
Comments are closed. Mark Mansell highlights the key issues of corporate social responsibility, itsimpact and describes how it is changing the face of UK businessCorporate social responsibility (CSR) has received a great deal of publicityrecently, with businesses signing up to its principles and an increasing numberproducing reports on their activities. An industry, complete with its ownbuzzwords, talking about triple bottom line reporting, sustainable developmentand a Quaker business tradition, seems to have sprung up around CSR. It is all about adopting a holistic approach to business. Rather than justconcentrating on shareholder value, it looks to address environmental andsocial concerns, hence the triple bottom line. Every business has itsstakeholders. These include business partners, customers, the communities inwhich the business operates and, importantly, employees. While CSR originated in the US, it is now part of the European Union’spolicy. Over the past three years, there have been a number of EU initiativessupporting CSR and seeking to find ways to promote its development. Within theEU, the UK is leading the way, with government and business bodies promotingCSR. It is a central tenet of CSR that it is voluntary. While the EU and the UKgovernment are anxious to promote good corporate citizenship, it is recognisedthat the way this is done will vary from business to business. Many CSR initiatives impact directly on employees. These include: – Open dialogue with the workforce – Workforce diversity – Training and career development – Incentivising employees – Work-life balance – Health and safety – Socially responsible restructuring From this list, it is clear that HR professionals have a central role toplay in implementing CSR. Yet, in practice, what can be done? Creating the vision As with any policy, winning over senior management is critical if CSR is tobe seen as a core value. Getting the commitment of the chairman or chiefexecutive is vital if the business is going to take these issues seriously. Once that commitment has been obtained, the next step will involve reviewingand revising workplace policies to ensure they are consistent with theobjectives at the heart of CSR. It is also important to involve employees indetermining and shaping what is being done. It is often surprising how unaware workers are of the benefits theiremployers provide over and above their basic terms and conditions. At the sametime, employees should be made aware of their own responsibility to others thatthey come in contact with. In any business, staff are the most important asset.If stakeholders outside the company are to be engaged, this has to be throughthe organisation’s employees. Involving trade unions or other staff representatives, is an important partof getting ownership and buy-in from the workforce. If an employeerepresentative body is not in place, setting up focus groups or using teambriefings can perform the same function. Involving workers in this way will help secure commitment throughout thebusiness. It also encourages them to feel they have a part to play ingenerating new ideas. As with any initiative, it is never enough just to introduce a policy.Regular checks should be made to make sure initiatives are successful andchanges should be made and policies adapted to suit changing circumstances. Embracing diversity The area of equal opportunities is increasingly regulated. As well as ourexisting laws, over the next three years we will see new legislation extendingprotection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation,religion and age. But, within business, the debate has moved on from equalityof opportunity to diversity. It is not just about ensuring someone is nottreated unfavourably. It is about recognising the benefits of a diverseworkforce and embracing diversity as a core value. Views on sex and race within the workforce have changed significantly sincelegislation was first introduced, and the same is happening with disability. Aswell as committing to policies that provide equality of opportunity, theintroduction of programmes, such as diversity training, will help to encourageemployees to understand and value those from backgrounds different to theirown. Changes being made to the UK’s anti-discrimination laws include givingemployers more scope to encourage under represented groups to apply for jobsand train them so that they are equipped for these positions. Any diversitystrategy and introductory training on cultural awareness should identify wherethe composition of the workforce does not reflect a business’ commitment todiversity. While it would still be illegal to discriminate at the point of selection,by using training, more targeted advertising and target setting, it is possibleto start addressing these issues. Perhaps the most effective way of ensuringthis becomes a priority is to include it within managers’ objectives and totake it into account at appraisal time and when awarding performance-relatedpay. Dealing with harassment When encouraging diversity, it is vital employers ensure staff are notbullied or harassed for any reason. As with discrimination, this is an areawhere changes are in the process of being introduced to the law, withharassment recognised as a specific form of discrimination separate from directdiscrimination. Actions that lead to a hostile work environment or violate an individual’sdignity, will be subject to greater legal penalties. Even if that were not thecase, to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, it is necessary to establishand operate a strong policy against harassment and bullying. In doing this, itis vital the policy applies to all. Often it will be senior managers and, in many cases, the most valuablepeople within an organisation, who are guilty of unacceptable behaviour. Theway in which an organisation deals with these individuals will set the tone forthe whole of the workforce. Tolerate behaviour and everybody will believe it isacceptable, whatever the company’s policy may say. On the other hand, if harassmentis dealt with quickly and effectively, whoever the individual is, the oppositemessage will be received. As part of the process, a timely, fair and confidential complaints procedureis needed. In certain cases, it may be appropriate to involve individuals witha greater degree of independence in handling claims either from within anorganisation or by introducing a completely independent third party. Inaddition, confidential counselling lines are increasingly a part of corporatelife. Training Lifetime training and knowledge development are an important aspect of CSR.The idea is that the employees will continue to learn and develop new skillsthroughout their career. With the need to acquire new skills and with theturnover of skills becoming ever more frequent, there is a clear correlationbetween an employee’s needs and the interests of the employer. There are a number of ways this can be achieved. Career guidance can beprovided through appraisal or other processes. Appraisals can be the first stepin promoting training, which gives an ideal opportunity for either the companyor an employee to identify training needs. It can also help the employer shapean employee’s expectations. Where there is a commitment to training, other forms of support areinevitably required. This will usually involve time off work and financialassistance. While it was fashionable to require training costs to be reimbursedwhere an employee left shortly after completing training, this is now lessoften the case. Employers need to balance the desire to avoid equipping staffto make them attractive to other prospective employers and putting people offparticipating in training. Training can also involve opening up opportunities within the community.Volunteering for pro bono activities can help people develop a wider range ofskills and contacts. Mentoring is valuable for an employee, whether they arebeing mentored or whether they are mentoring others. Relating pay to performance There are clearly good business reasons for linking pay to performance. Thisallows employees to share in business success and promotes a strong feeling ofpartnership. Probably the most widely used ways of doing this are option or sharepurchase plans. For the employers, the benefit of these plans is that theshares or options need to be held over a period of time for their potential tobe realised. The downside at the moment is that because of the depressedfinancial markets – incentives that did carry a large amount of value maycurrently be below the value at which they were granted. The important point in addressing performance related pay is to create areal sense of value. Where one particular mechanism, such as options, is notproviding the required incentivisation, others, such as long-term incentiveprogrammes, can still achieve the same effect. Whichever is used, it isimportant to reward genuine performance and retain valued employees within thebusiness. Work-life balance Work-life balance continues to be the Holy Grail. All employers stress itsimportance, yet within the UK, the long hours culture seems to be becoming evermore prevalent. There are a variety of ways in which this can be tackled. There are simplethings that can be done, such as avoiding late meetings or travelling at shortnotice, which can eat into personal time. With the Government’s recent legislation promoting flexible working, it willbe interesting to see whether employers more readily embrace the idea. Whilethere still seems to be a high level of resistance to atypical working, thecases that have come before employment tribunals relating to refusals ofrequests to work flexibly tend to show that, very often, such concerns areunfounded. Where there are doubts as to whether a particular request to work flexiblycan be accommodated, it is in an employer’s interest to use either a trialperiod, or make an alternative suggestion to meet an employee’s needs. Thisallows valuable skills to be retained and often helps motivate an employee.Educating managers is also key. Where someone has climbed the career ladder thehard way, there can be a tendency to think that everyone else should be able toreach the same level of achievement without offering steps that allow work andfamily responsibilities to be balanced. Health and safety checklist It is important that employers promote a healthy lifestyle for employees.This goes beyond obligations under the health and safety legislation. It is nowcommon to provide health screening or health club membership as part of abenefits package. Encouraging employees to take up these benefits and allowingthem the time to do so benefits staff and employer. Workplace stress is increasingly a problem and this can manifest itself inall kinds of situations. Establishing measures to promote work-life balance canalleviate stress. When this is coupled with other measures, such as propermonitoring and the use of helplines, these can be very effective ways ofreducing stress-related problems. Socially responsible restructuring In many ways, corporate social responsibility and redundancy seem strangebedfellows. However well run a business is, the need to make employeesredundant is almost certain to arise from time to time. When a business facesredundancies, it is important the they are made in such a way as to lessen theimpact for those who are made redundant; and, at the same time, preserve moraleamong those who have retained their jobs. There is already legislation that requires consultation where 20 or moreemployees are being made redundant. CSR suggests employers go beyond theirstatutory obligations and adopt social plans along the lines of those in use incontinental Europe. For many employers, this may be counter cultural. Even ifan employer does not want to go this far, involving staff in the redundancyprocess will ensure the consultation is genuine. Providing career counselling or outplacement for those who are maderedundant will also allow the redundancy exercise to be completed with theminimum of disruption and with employees retaining a sense of dignity. This hasmany benefits for employers, not least minimising the risk of tribunal claims. Reporting on CSR There is still little guidance on exactly how employers should report ontheir CSR initiatives. What is important is that statements have realcredibility, and objective standards should be set. Some form of auditing ishighly beneficial. Statements made by a third party with a degree ofindependence will always carry far more weight than what a company says aboutitself. But perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind in relation toreporting, is that where recommendations or promises are made, they areimplemented. Little can be more damaging to credibility than promising a lotand delivering little. Conclusion So, HR clearly has a significant part to play in implementing CSR and makingsure the behaviour that CSR policies encourage becomes a reality within abusiness. CSR is not just about providing employees with benefits. It alsomakes sound business sense, increasing and protecting shareholder value. Recentcompany failures demonstrate all too clearly how over-concentration onproducing financial results can lead to disaster. By concentrating on all ofthe stakeholders in the business, this is far less likely to happen. It alsohelps to enhance a company’s reputation, allowing it to attract and retain thebest employees and develop long-lasting customer relations. With CSR, it mayactually be possible to have your cake and eat it. Mark Mansell heads international law firm Allen & Overy’s EmploymentLaw Group Lawyers view – Corporate Social ResponsibilityOn 1 May 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
New research highlights serious deficiencies in management and staffdevelopment at NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT), with little HR capacity availableto drive change. PCTs play a key role in the funding of the NHS in England and control 75 percent of the NHS’s £40bn annual budget. However, the PCT Polling Report showed that senior management, including HRdirectors, financial directors and IT directors, are working in multiple rolesacross different PCTs. The research said that sharing roles gave rise to concerns about managementexpertise, such as leadership and the capacity of personnel to deal withchange. HR is particularly neglected, with 38 out of the 50 PCTs surveyed (76 percent) without a full-time, dedicated director of HR. The report commissioned by the Hudson Consultancy said there was littleconsistency regarding the recruitment and development of staff. It noted thatstaff appraisals were the main way that PCTs benchmark and assess skill-setcompetency, but said there did not appear to be a consistent way of assessingskills across the PCTs. Sandra White, chair of the Institute of Healthcare Management, said that alack of capacity meant that while staff wanted to get training and to developtheir careers, they were not able do so. “We can find the time [for training] and most of our dedicatedfrontline staff want to have training and develop,” she said. “Butthen you have to find someone to look after the patients. Until we grow aconsiderable number of people to fill the gaps, it’s not going to happen.”By Michael Millar Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article HR gets forgotton as managers double upOn 18 May 2004 in Personnel Today
Brilliant, up to date, hard hitting, cheeky, factually based assessment Greg. Much more than I regularly hear from the “disruptors” whom I believe have much more vested self interest in their “disruption” than presenting the real facts. Agree totally with Peter Glesson’s comments regarding our industry’s demise and ability to adapt. Keep up the good work Greg.Read full article Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Comment on Agency recruitment is not dying. It’s growing! by Scott SmallShared from missc on 14 Apr 2015 in Personnel Today
The fine is the culmination of a long-simmering conflict between Compass and other rivals over how Compass targets competitors’ agents and exclusive listings.In New York, exclusive listing agreements exist between sellers and brokerage firms, not agents, even if the agent procures the client.According to REBNY’s email, Compass has encouraged new agents to urge clients to “disavow exclusive listing contracts with prior brokers.”As far back as 2018, the heads of several major residential firms met with REBNY’s then-president John Banks to air their grievances over Compass’ purported flouting of that rule.Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber reportedly stormed out of the meeting after a heated discussion about Compass’ tactics. “The group feels that’s unethical and improper under REBNY rules,” Lorber said at the time.Realogy, the parent company of the Corcoran Group and Coldwell Banker, lodged a similar complaint in a 2019 lawsuit that accused Compass of “illicit” business practices.In its complaint, Realogy cited an example of two Corcoran agents who joined Compass and subsequently posted their listings to Compass’ website without Corcoran releasing the listings. Relaogy said Compass provided new agents a template to give sellers, urging them to sign over their listings to Compass. “The form … misleads owners into thinking that they can unilaterally terminate their existing listing agreements,” the complaint said.Compass has tried unsuccessfully to compel arbitration in the case, on the grounds that both Compass and Corcoran are bound by REBNY rules. After a judge denied its motion, Compass filed a motion to appeal the decision last month.Notably, Compass has changed its stance on listing agreements over the years.In 2015, the young brokerage introduced a “key-person clause” in contracts, meaning if an agent left they could take their clients and listings with them. At some point, however, Compass adopted the industry standard, whereby firms release an agent’s listings for a fee.REBNY began imposing fines for listing-related infractions in September. There are two categories of violations, including one for bad data and one for poor business conduct. The second category covers things like agent poaching and excessive whisper listings.For Compass, which has raised $1.5 billion from investors since 2012, $250,000 is a drop in the bucket. The Manhattan brokerage has 18,000 agents nationwide, and sold $91.4 billion worth of real estate last year. It filed confidentially to go public earlier this month.Contact E.B. Solomont TagscompassREBNYRLS Full Name* Message* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and REBNY president James Whelan (Getty; Whelan by Anuja Shakya; iStock)The Real Estate Board of New York has slapped Compass with a $250,000 fine for improperly going after its competitors’ exclusive listings.In an email to New York City agents, the trade group said the penalty was due to “repeated violations” of REBNY’s universal co-brokerage agreement (UCBA), a document that governs how agents share listings.All of REBNY’s residential members are bound by the UCBA, and in exchange they have access to its syndicated listing feed, known as the RLS.According to the email, a copy of which was reviewed by The Real Deal, REBNY suspended Compass from the RLS for 10 days last year as a result of UCBA violations. But Compass appealed, prompting REBNY to convene a panel to examine its decision in November 2020.“The panel deemed the 10-day suspension to be merited, but in consideration of other factors it imposed an alternative penalty,” said the email. In addition to the fine, REBNY is also requiring Compass’ senior managers undergo training about the UCBA and REBNY’s code of ethics.Both REBNY and Compass declined to comment.Read moreTempers flare at REBNY meeting REBNY fines brokers for bad data and bad behavior Compass’ whisper listing campaigns raise eyebrows Email Address*
Share via Shortlink The landlords who participated in the suit, who manage both rent-stabilized and market-rate apartments in Manhattan and the Bronx, claim they have seen financial losses due to the rent law, which has made it more difficult to convert apartments to market rate. They also allege that the new law is unconstitutional because it does not allow them to manage their apartments as they see fit.The new law applies to rent-stabilized New York City apartments, and among other changes, made it more difficult for landlords to take those units out of rent regulation.But the judge dismissed the landlords’ claims as moot, stating that they have no “constitutional right to an unregulated market.”It’s the fifth lawsuit brought by landlords since the new rent law was signed into law two years ago.[Daily News] — Keith Larsen Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink A Manhattan judge dismissed a lawsuit from five New York City landlords to overturn the rent reforms. (Getty)A Manhattan judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by five New York City landlords challenging the constitutionality of the 2019 rent law.Judge Edgardo Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against the landlords, who sought to overturn the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, according to the New York Daily News.The ruling adds to a number of decisions upholding the controversial rent reforms, which passed in the state legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019.In his decision, Ramos said the landlords “knowingly entered a highly regulated industry,” according to the report.Read moreLawsuit challenges New York eviction bans constitutionSenate assembly hit real estate industry in budget proposalsSupreme Court shift could favor rent law challenges Andrew CuomoPoliticsReal Estate Lawsuitsrent regulation
Future CityproptectTechnology “[Adam] Neumann played up WeWork’s prospects on the call and the conversation piqued [Vivek] Ranadivé’s interest.”— Reuters, on the WeWork founder’s role in facilitatinga SPAC deal with BowX Acquisition Corp. Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Click here to join the thousands of knowledgeable readers who subscribe to Future City. 8 years, $1.5B and 19,000 agents later … Compass goes publicFrom Compass’ launch in 2012 to its IPO last week, The Real Deal has chronicled the startup’s unmatched growth. On its first day of trading on April 1, the company’s stock closed at $20.15 per share — giving it a $7.7 billion market cap, or nearly $10 billion including fully diluted shares. The IPO raised a total of $450 million.“The goal was never a valuation, the goal was successful financing,” CEO Robert Reffkin said during an appearance on CNN. “And this met that goal.”A trip into the archives reflects Compass’ meteoric rise and the speed bumps it hit along the way.ADVERTISEMENT2013After an official launch in 2012, Urban Compass burst into public view with $8 million in seed funding. The rental firm’s debut press conference was attended by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Compass quickly pivoted to sales and later dropped “Urban” from its name.2014It was the shot heard around the brokerage world when Leonard Steinberg joined the upstart firm, along with Gordon Golub, Kyle Blackmon and others. Rivals soon complained that Compass was attracting agents by writing big checks. “Every advisory business I know gives equity to the people that help build it,” Reffkin told TRD at the time.2015Amid a massive hiring spree, Compass was slapped with a string of lawsuits from rivals including Citi Habitats, Corcoran, Brown Harris Stevens, Modern Spaces and Saunders & Associates. The Corcoran case stood out for revealing a job offer from Compass. All the suits were settled, except Saunders’, which prevailed in a jury trial in 2018.2016Compass became a unicorn, but questions lingered regarding how it calculated annual sales figures. Reffkin insisted investors weren’t pushing an IPO anytime soon.2017Compass raised $550 million in the span of several weeks — $100 million from Fidelity followed by $450 million by SoftBank. At the time, it was SoftBank’s biggest bet yet on real estate tech.2018SoftBank invested another $400 million in Compass, which announced an audacious plan to capture 20 percent market share in 20 major U.S. cities by 2020. “There’s nothing that will stand in the way of their growth now,” industry consultant Steve Murray told TRD at the time.2019In a pivotal year, Compass raised $370 million (at a $6.4 billion valuation), lost a string of high-profile execs and defended itself against comparisons to WeWork, after the co-working firm’s botched IPO attempt. In July 2019, Compass was slammed with a wide-ranging lawsuit from rival Realogy.2020A few months into the new year, Compass was still working toward the 2020 by 2020 goal — with mixed results. As it marched toward an IPO, Compass beefed up its C-suite and board of directors.2021Compass filed confidentiality for an IPO, but its contracts with agents, which have tough golden handcuffs, increasingly came under scrutiny. The firm’s S-1 dropped in March, revealing $1 billion in cumulative losses, $3.7 billion in 2020 revenue, and a $270 million net loss the same year. Although it initially targeted a $10 billion valuation, Compass downsized the offering a day before the IPO. On April 1, Reffkin and Ori Allon rang the opening bell. Zigg, don’t zaggDave Eisenberg’s Zigg Capital just raised what appears to be the second-biggest venture fund focused on proptech.The $225 million fund is more than double the size of Zigg’s first fund, which deployed $100 million into 25 startups since 2018. Zigg will continue to focus on early-stage startups but will be able to write bigger checks and participate in growth-stage rounds.At $503 million, Fifth Wall has the biggest proptech fund. But Zigg isn’t the only one raising bigger funds. Camber Creek closed a $155 million proptech fund in October, and Metaprop is raising a $200 million growth-stage fund. Eisenberg, who sold 3D imaging startup Floored to CBRE, co-founded Zigg with ex-Morgan Stanley analyst Ryan Orley. Its portfolio includes VTS (lease management), Kasa (short-term rentals) and Snapdocs (online closings). An IPO never looked so good …Porch Group cut its losses in half in 2020, after going public in one of proptech’s first SPAC deals.The home-services company reported $51.6 million in net losses in 2020, down from $103.3 million in 2019. On paper, revenue dropped 5 percent to $73.2 million. But that didn’t account for divestitures, including Serviz, a home-repair company Porch sold.CEO Matt Ehrlichman called 2020 a “transformative” year for Porch, which announced its $523 million merger with Proptech Acquisition Corp., in July. Despite shaky finances, Ehrlichman said the deal gave $200 million and no debt. Porch’s valuation soared to $1 billion ahead of trading. It was trading close to $18 last week, giving it a market cap of $1.6 billion.STAT OF THE WEEK48%Drop in tech companies’ office leasing in 2020, per CBRE. TAMI tenants still leased more space than any other industry. Tags Lennar’s Midas touchLennar could make $1.5 billion from its prudent proptech bets.The homebuilder has invested $324 million into 20 startups, reported The Information. Through LenX, its investing arm, Lennar made an early bet on Blend (now valued at $3 billion) and Notarize (which raised $130 million at a $760 million valuation last month).But its biggest paydays could come from Opendoor, Doma and Hippo.It has a 23 percent stake in title startup Doma, formerly States Title, that could be worth more than $800 million after it goes public in a SPAC deal. And it reeled in $470 million from Opendoor’s IPO last year. “They were very good at choosing the right partners, helping them grow, and did it at an opportune time,” Hippo CEO Assaf Wand said.Hear me roarTiger Global just raised a $6.65 billion fund — one of the biggest venture funds to date and even more impressive considering it only set out to raise $3.75 billion.While the Chase Coleman-led firm may be known for investing in companies like Peloton, Stripe and Roblox, it’s made some hefty bets on proptech of late. For one, it’s leading the $295 million PIPE investment in Matterport’s upcoming SPAC IPO.In February, Tiger also led a $110 million round in Divvy, a rent-to-own real estate startup, and a $95 million round in Rhino, a security-deposit alternative. Prior investments include leading a $55 million round in Qualia, a real estate closing software, and a $50 million round in NoBroker.com, a real estate portal in India. Digitizing mortgages for mom-and-pop lendersMortgage startup Maxwell just raised $16.3 million to help small and mid-sized lenders streamline their business.The Series B, led by Fin VC and TTV, will let Maxwell scale its offerings after a breakout year spurred by historically low interest rates.The Denver-based startup launched in 2016, and claims it has facilitated $100 billion in loan volume. After its refi business took off last year, Maxwell is now handling $6 billion in mortgage volume monthly.Maxwell uses loan data from a network of 250 lenders to provide real-time data that can be used to automate part of the underwriting process. The company targets community lenders that originate $50 million to $5 billion in mortgages per year.Small bytes✊ Knock, which pre-finances home purchases, hired bankers to weigh IPO options. It’s reportedly looking to raise $400M to $500M.🚧 nPlan, a London-based construction tech startup, closed a $18.5M round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures).🌞 SoftBank’s looking for 100K sf in Miami, where it’s committed $100M to local startups.🏢 Industrious hit 600K sf of flex space in Manhattan, with a new location West 30th Street.💰 Rently, a self-touring startup, said it raised money from McCarthy Capital, which invests $15M to $75M in companies with revenue of $10M+.💸 Rechat, which develops software for real estate agents, raised $1M from New Valley Ventures.