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FTI Consultancy steps up hiring to expand in India

By Sachin Dave, ET Bureau | Apr 04, 2018, 12.00 PM IST


MUMBAI: As the domestic scene around corporate investigation heats up, FTI Consultancy, the
New York Stock Exchange-listed rm with a small presence in India, has started poaching talent
from competitors.

FTI, which currently employs about 30 people in the country focussed on litigation,
investigations and reputation management, could be looking to hire 100 more in the coming
months, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

In last one year, competitors like the big four — EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG — along with
some other rms like BDO, Grant Thornton, Alvarez & Marsal and Kroll have seen revenues
soar. At this time, say people close to the development, FTI is trying to increase the team to get
a bigger pie of the revenues.


“For this, the rm is looking to beef up the senior leadership,” said a person in the know. FTI
has already poached Amit Jaju, who was partner and head of forensic technology, EY India, for
a senior leadership role, said a person close to the development. Jaju had put in his papers a
few months ago, and is on a gardening leave. He is set to join FTI by August.

It is still not clear whether Jaju would join FTI along with his team. However, the person quoted
above claimed no one from his team would join FTI. Jaju could not be reached for comments.
An email sent to EY remained unanswered.

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“Amit Jaju is to join FTI Consulting as a senior managing director in Mumbai. He will be a senior
leader in the India business and will, as part of his role, build a global forensic technology
delivery capacity in India for FTI,” said Andrew Gerrald, managing director — marketing and
business development for Asia Paci c, responding to a detailed questionnaire from ET.

Forensic investigators have seen a huge spurt in their revenues in the last few months due to a
jump in the corporate investigations. Most banks have been roping investigators to gure out
whether there was a fraud by promoters and if money was siphoned o . In some cases, like in
the case of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, investigators are also asked to see if any
assets were created outside India.


While there are no publicly available gures of the total revenues earned by major players
through forensic investigations, industry trackers put it in the area of ?1,000 crore annually.

Plastic companies challenge discriminatory ban in Mumbai

By Krishna Kumar, ET Bureau | Apr 04, 2018, 12.51 PM IST


The state government may have banned plastics used in polypropylene bags but has strangely not banned
plastics made up of laminated multi-layered packaging which is used by companies.

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government’s recent decision to ban plastics may have earned lots
of kudos from the people, but the Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturer’s Association (MPMA) has
led a case challenging the ban in the Bombay High Court.
The state government may have banned plastics used in polypropylene bags — needed for
packaging food items, including liquids and food grains — but has strangely not banned
plastics made up of laminated multi-layered packaging which is used by companies for
packaging wafers and other food stu .

It is surprising because while the normal plastic bags are always recycled, the ones containing
such multi-layered packaging are not recycled as they contain mutltiple subtracts of di erent
materials which is not feasible for recycling. Almost all the snack making companies pack their
products in such packaging.


Not just shampoo sachets, supari and other tobacco products are also being sold in plastic
pouches containing laminates that cannot be recycled.

More importantly, the state government seems to have gone against its own undertaking to
the Bombay High Court. On February 7, when the state environment department issued a
noti cation calling for a ban, the MPMA had led a petition in the high court claiming that the
ban will be issued only after hearing the stake holders. But the state government did not
discuss with the plastic manufacturers, and unilaterally went ahead with the ban.

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“There’s no rational thinking behind the ban. They had initially said that all plastics would be
banned, but facing the heat from the MNCs which sell packaged drinking water and cold drinks,
the state kept out PET bottles from the ambit of the ban, and that’s why they had also kept out
multi-layered packaging used in packing of snacks.

“These plastics are not going to be recycled, and nobody will be collecting them. Will these not
harm the environment?”


asked Neemit Punamiya, general secretary of the Plastic Bag Manufacturer’s Association of
India (PBMAI).

Sensing that it is on a weak wicket, the Maharashtra government has called the manufacturers
for a meeting to sort out the issue in the next couple of days.
READ MORE: Plastic ban | mpma | maharashtra plastic | Maharashtra | Bombay high court

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Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate
By Nick Wingfield, Paul Mozur and Michael Corkery
April 1, 2018

SEATTLE — To see what it’s like inside stores where sensors and artificial intelligence have
replaced cashiers, shoppers have to trek to Amazon Go, the internet retailer’s experimental
convenience shop in downtown Seattle.

Soon, though, more technology-driven businesses like Amazon Go may be coming to them.

A global race to automate stores is underway among several of the world’s top retailers and
small tech start-ups, which are motivated to shave labor costs and minimize shoppers’
frustrations, like waiting for cashiers. They are also trying to prevent Amazon from
dominating the physical retail world as it does online shopping.

Companies are testing robots that help keep shelves stocked, as well as apps that let
shoppers ring up items with a smartphone. High-tech systems like the one used by Amazon
Go completely automate the checkout process. China, which has its own ambitious e-
commerce companies, is emerging as an especially fertile place for these retail

If they succeed, these new technologies could add further uncertainty to the retail work
force, which is already in flux because of the growth of online shopping. An analysis last
year by the World Economic Forum said 30 to 50 percent of the world’s retail jobs could be
at risk once technologies like automated checkout were fully embraced.

In addition, the efforts have raised concerns among privacy researchers because of the
mounds of data that retailers will be able to gather about shopper behavior as they digitize
their locations. Inside Amazon Go, for instance, the cameras never lose sight of a customer
once he or she enters the shop.

Retailers had adopted technologies in their stores long before Amazon Go arrived on the
scene. Self-checkout kiosks have been common in supermarkets and other stores for years.
Kroger, the grocery chain, uses sensors and predictive analytics tools to better anticipate
when more cashiers will be needed.
But the opening of Amazon Go in January was alarming for many retailers, who saw a
sudden willingness by Amazon to wield its technology power in new ways. Hundreds of
cameras near the ceiling and sensors in the shelves help automatically tally the cookies,
chips and soda that shoppers remove and put into their bags. Shoppers’ accounts are
charged as they walk out the doors.

Amazon is now looking to expand Go to new areas. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to

comment on its expansion plans, but the company has a job posting for a senior real estate
manager who will be responsible for “site selection and acquisition” and field tours of
“potential locations” for new Go stores.

“Unanimously, there was an element of embarrassment because here is an online retailer

showing us how to do brick and mortar, and frankly doing it amazingly well,” said Martin
Hitch, the chief business officer of Bossa Nova Robotics, a company that makes inventory
management robots that Walmart and others are testing.

Nowhere are retailers experimenting more avidly with automating store shopping than in
China, a country obsessed by new tech fads.

One effort is a chain of more than 100 unmanned convenience shops from a start-up called
Bingo Box, one of which sits in a business park in Shanghai. Shoppers scan a code on their
phones to enter and, once inside, scan the items they want to buy. The store unlocks the
exit door after they’ve paid through their phones.

Alibaba, one of China’s largest internet companies, has opened 35 of its Hema automated
grocery stores, which blend online ordering with automated checkout. Customers scan
their groceries at checkout kiosks, using facial recognition to pay electronically, while bags
of groceries ordered by customers online float overhead on aerial conveyors, headed to a
loading dock for delivery to shoppers.

Not to be outdone, JD, another big internet retailer in China, said in December that it had
teamed up with a developer to build hundreds of its own unmanned convenience shops.
The businesses put readable chips on items to automate the checkout process.

At its huge campus south of Beijing, JD is testing a new store that relies on computer vision
and sensors on the shelves to know when items have been taken. The system tracks
shopping without tagging products with chips. Payment, which for now still happens at a
kiosk, is done with facial recognition.

JD and Alibaba both plan to sell their systems to other retailers and are working on
additional checkout technologies.
Back in the United States, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is testing out the Bossa
Nova robots in dozens of its locations to reduce some tedious tasks that can eat up a
worker’s time. The robots, which look like giant wheeled luggage bags, roll up and down
the aisles looking for shelves where cereal boxes are out of stock and items like toys are
mislabeled. The machines then report back to workers, who restock the shelves and apply
new labels.

At 120 of Walmart’s 4,700 American stores, shoppers can also scan items, including fruits
and vegetables, using the camera on their smartphones and pay for them using the devices.
When customers walk out, an employee checks their receipts and does a “spot check” of
the items they bought.

Kroger, one of the country’s largest grocery chains, has also been testing a mobile scanning
service in its supermarkets, recently announcing that it would expand it to 400 of its more
2,700 stores.

New start-ups are seeking to give retailers the technology to compete with Amazon’s
system. One of them, AiFi, is working on cashierless checkout technology that it says will be
flexible and affordable enough that mom-and-pop retailers and bigger outlets can use it. In
the United States, venture capitalists put $100 million into retail automation start-ups in
each of the past two years, up from about $64 million in 2015, according Pitchbook, a
financial data firm.

“There’s a gold rush feeling about this,” said Alan O’Herlihy, chief executive of Everseen, an
Irish company working with retailers on automated checkout technology that uses
artificial intelligence.

While such technologies could improve the shopping experience, there may also be
consequences that people find less desirable. Retailers like Amazon could compile reams of
data about where customers spend time inside their doors, comparable to what internet
companies already know about their online habits.

“It’s combined with everything else Amazon might know about you,” said Gennie Gebhart,
a researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil liberties organization.
“Amazon knows what I buy online, what I watch and now how I move around a space.”

In China, there is less public concern about data privacy issues. Many Chinese citizens have
become accustomed to high levels of surveillance, including widespread security cameras
and government monitoring of online communications.

Depending on how heavily retailers automate in the years to come, job losses could be
severe in a sector that has already experienced wave after wave of store closings by the
likes of Macy’s, Toys “R” Us and Sears.
Retailers are playing down the threat to jobs. Walmart, the largest private employer in the
United States, says that it does not anticipate automation will lead to job losses, but rather
that the new technologies are meant to redirect employees to spend more time helping
customers find what they need.

“We see this as helping our associates,” said John Crecelius, vice president of central
operations at Walmart. “We are a people-led business that is technology enabled.”

Some traditional retailers are also skeptical about whether the sort of automation in
Amazon Go can move to large stores. They say the technology may not work or be cost
effective outside a store with a small footprint and inventory.

“That’s probably not scalable to a 120,000-square-foot store,” said Chris Hjelm, executive
vice president and chief information officer at Kroger.

But he said it was just a matter of time before more cameras and sensors were
commonplace in stores. “It’s a few years out,” he said, “before that technology becomes

Nick Wingfield reported from Seattle, Paul Mozur from Shanghai, and Michael Corkery from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Retail Races to Automate

What does RBI really do to the economy with its money policy
By Rahul Oberoi, ETMarkets.com | Updated: Apr 04, 2018, 06.17 PM IST


RBI credit policy: Will Urjit Patel maintain status quo on Thursday?

Economists at the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee (MPC) have gone
into a two-day huddle for the rst bimonthly policy review of nancial year 2018-19. The policy
announcement will be made on April 5.

Dalal Street as well as other nancial players will keenly watch the policy outcome, as it would
mirror the health of the economy and the money supply situation.

Money policy is a macroeconomic tool laid down by the central bank. It involves management
of money supply and interest rates and is demand-side economic policy used by the central
bank to manage macroeconomic objectives such as in ation, consumption, growth and

Monetary policy is profoundly intertwined with the real economy, as central banks use policy
tools to attain macroeconomic objectives in terms of targeting in ation, stable exchange rates
and managing growth rates, says Hitesh Jain, AVP – Research, IIFL Investment Managers.
The primary objective of the monetary policy is to set short-term interest rates to control
in ation and support growth. In turn, this determines the lending rate of banks and, thus, the
cost of capital for companies.

The long-term yield curve moves with monetary policy actions and in ation expectations.
“Yields determine returns on bonds. Investors decide their allocation of equities and debt
based on returns generated by both the asset classes,” said Rahul Jain, Head, Edelweiss
Personal Wealth Advisory.


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Monetary policy commentary and interest rate xing also set the path for in ation
expectations. A stable in ationary environment can create macro stability and boost
consumption and economic growth, said Jain of Edelweiss.

An accommodative money policy stance in uences market sentiment, buoying appreciation in

riskier assets in anticipation of higher GDP growth.


Similarly, a hawkish central bank (in case of steep price pressure) can contain liquidity in the
banking system and e ectively slow down the growth momentum.

Financial markets structurally tend to re ect expectations regarding future economic and
monetary policy developments.

Asset classes like equities and bonds factor in future trends in key macro variables, including
in ation, output, scal situation and current account balance.

“Expanding price-to-earnings multiples conveys expectations of recovery or expansion in

growth. Bond yields convey the future pace of in ation, while the yield curve tells you about
the economic cycle. Similarly, overheated real estate markets can make a compelling case for a
tighter monetary policy,” said Jain of IIFL.

Conversely, de ationary price trends across asset classes often prompt central banks to turn

Central banks certainly care about nancial stability and accordingly endeavour to decipher the
underlying current in various asset classes before formulating the monetary policy.

Monetary policy this time around could largely be a non-event, with most market watchers
expecting no change in policy rates.

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Wipro Infrastructure Engineering looks up, eyes $100 mn from

By Nilesh Christopher, ET Bureau | Apr 04, 2018, 11.24 AM IST


While Airbus and Boeing are large system integrators, the opportunity is to tie-up with the tier I and tier-II
vendors of these plane makers who look to expand their partner network globally.
BENGALURU: Wipro Infrastructure Engineering (WIN) says it expects revenue to double to
over $100 million from its aerospace business on the back of growing business from
customers such as Airbus and Boeing.

“Today (revenue) in aerospace alone, the ball park gure is about $50 million. My ambition is to
see that it actually doubles in the next three years,” said Pratik Kumar, chief executive of Wipro
Infrastructure Engineering. “In our order book, we have a visibility of over 8-9 years. But,
growth is not going to come from the order book alone, it will come through new wins.”

WIN has been around for close to four decades with deep expertise in hydraulic solutions
space. Last year, WIN acquired HR Givon, an Israel-based aerospace metallic parts supplier, in a
bid to broaden its portfolio and expand its footprint in the aviation and aerospace industry.
The acquired entity has been renamed Wipro Givon.


While Airbus and Boeing are large system integrators, the opportunity is to tie-up with the tier I
and tier-II vendors of these plane makers who look to expand their partner network globally.
WIN is looking at this opportunity, building capabilities inhouse and delivering systems and
sub-systems to them.

It is also looking to the tap the customer base of Wipro Technologies, o ering clients an endto-
end solution from design to manufacturing systems and subsystems from across its centres in
India, Israel, Europe and the US.

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“Our approach has been to go beyond building expertise in the design and engineering side. To
be able to graduate from what we are doing on the assemblies level to move on to become a
subsystem player,” Kumar said.

India’s o set policy is also an added incentive for WIN, which looks to tap the opportunity to
deliver components and systems to global vendors who need to honour their commitment for
planes and arms they sell to the country’s armed forces.


In the past year, Indian suppliers are seeing an uptick in o set orders and expanding their
facilities. “O set order is a big attraction. There is lot of investment which is beginning to
happen in anticipation that the o set opportunity will fructify. But it is still work in progress,”

Kumar said.

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