Business round-up: Five key stories of the day

Katherine Garrett-Cox is leaving the Alliance Trust board
Katherine Garrett-Cox is leaving the Alliance Trust board
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Here are five of today’s key Scottish business stories in one handy package.

Alliance Trust said Katherine Garrett-Cox will be stepping down from its board, but will remain as chief executive and a director of its investments arm. The move came as the Dundee-based trust, which also said finance chief Alan Trotter has decided to leave, seeks to cut costs by about £6 million a year.

EY, the biggest professional services firm by staff numbers in Scotland, said its fee income topped £2 billion last year, although investment in the business dented profits per partner, which dipped by 3.7 per cent to £700,000. The firm now employs 990 people in Scotland, across offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, and saw 270 new joiners during the year.

New rules designed to make it easier for victims of anti-competitive behaviour to claim redress and recover lost profits came into force. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives extensive new powers to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, and a fast-track procedure is intended to encourage smaller businesses to bring cases against large companies or groups abusing their market power.

Entries opened for Scotland’s biggest investor showcase, Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE). Gordon Stuart, director of operations at organiser Informatics Ventures, said: “Investors don’t want to miss ‘the next big thing’ coming out of Scotland.”

Small businesses were urged to take advantage of a free package of support to help cut their energy bills. Resource Efficient Scotland, the Scottish Government programme designed to reduce energy usage, said the average SME could slash more than £19,000 off their power bills each year.