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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 10th May 2019

Posted: 10th May 2019


Metro shareholders advised against re-electing CEO or chair

Advisory firm ISS has recommended that Metro Bank shareholders reject the lender’s pay report and withhold support for its chairman and chief executive. ISS said a £288,000 bonus for finance chief David Arden is “not considered appropriate, given the recent shareholder experience”. Metro shares have lost 75% of their value since an accounting blunder was revealed in January, prompting speculation that the bank could substantially increase the amount of capital it raises in a planned rights issue.

TSB expected to cut head office jobs

TSB is expected to cut up to 100 head office jobs as it looks to move on from last year’s high-profile IT debacle. The challenger bank is understood to have begun notifying affected staff last month that they were at risk of redundancy in a wave of cuts expected to be completed by early June. The move comes just months after former CYBG executive Debbie Crosbie was appointed to take over at the lender.

Female NatWest worker compensated after equal pay complaint

A NatWest worker has won £150,000 in damages after taking action against the bank’s owner, Royal Bank of Scotland, over unequal pay. The female employee worked as a support analyst in NatWest’s technology division for seven years, on a lower salary than her male counterpart. Union Unite has warned that RBS could now face a raft of equal pay claims from other workers who have also been underpaid.

Regulator wants checks on bank transfers to start in 2020

The UK's six biggest banking groups will need to have a name-checking service fully in place by the end of March 2020 to make it easier for people sending payments to make sure they are going to the right recipient, under proposals from the Payment Systems Regulator. The move is part of wider efforts to give better protection to people tricked into sending money to fraudsters.

Atom Bank explores £50m raise

Atom Bank is gearing up to launch a £50m fundraising bid after its main shareholder BBVA abandoned a full takeover of the company. The digital bank has started speaking to investors over the fundraise in recent weeks, according to Sky News.


TPG agrees to manage $1bn Abraaj healthcare fund

TPG has agreed take over the existing assets of Abraaj’s Growth Markets Health Fund, despite criminal fraud cases against the collapsed Dubai-based buyout house's senior executives.


China tech giants land HK banking licences

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has awarded banking licences to the financial units of Alibaba and Tencent, paving the way for the two tech giants to set up virtual banks. Norman Chan, who runs HKMA, said eight companies had been granted a licence this year. He said he hoped the virtual banks would help improve customer experience and financial inclusion in Asia's financial hub. The move is expected to step up pressure on Asia-focused HSBC and Standard Chartered.

BlackRock pulls out of rescue deal for Carige

A private rescue deal for Italian regional bank Carige has collapsed after Blackrock withdrew its interest, leading to fears of a fourth significant bank bailout in Italy in two years.


Tata denies planning to sell JLR

Tata Motors has denied that it is on the verge of selling Jaguar Land Rover to the French owner of Peugeot. The British brand has been mooted as a potential target for PSA Group amid reports that India’s Tata was growing frustrated with JLR’s struggles. However, both carmakers denied a sale is in the offing.

Float values Uber at $82bn

Uber has priced its shares at $45 (£35) on the New York Stock Exchange, in a deal valuing the ride-hailing firm at $82bn (£63bn).


Emirates profit sinks to a 10-year low

Emirates has reported its lowest profit in 10 years, blaming a stronger US dollar and sky-high fuel costs. In the 12 months to March 31st, net profit declined 69% to 871 dirhams (£182m), although revenue increased 6% to 97.9 dirhams. The number of passengers using the Gulf carrier inched up 0.2% to 58.6m.

Aviation industry riled by ‘insolvency levy’ proposal

A proposal from the UK Government to add a 50p insolvency levy to every airfare has brought an angry reaction from the aviation industry. The money would be used to repatriate travellers stranded by an airline bankruptcy.


Barratt eyes full-year results ‘modestly’ ahead of expectations

Barratt has said it expects its full-year results to be “modestly” ahead of expectations after posting a 2.4% rise in sales to £3.4bn for the year to May 5th. Barratt launched 47 new developments in the first four months of the year and now has forward sales worth £3.4bn on its books, £100m higher than the same time last year.


UK watchdog seeks to issue fines over unsuitable pensions advice

The Financial Conduct Authority is seeking to punish three investment firms alleging they advised over 2,000 people to transfer their pensions in to high-risk assets “unlikely to be suitable for them”.

Rathbones ups funds

Rathbone Brothers has reported funds under management grew to £47.5bn in the first three months of this year, up 7.7% from the end of last year. However, the growth rate for the firm's investment management arm was 0.1%, down from the 2% rate reported last year.

Insurers Beazley and Zurich add voices to upbeat chorus

Beazley and Zurich have both posted results that will cheer other insurers - the former's premiums rose 16% in the first quarter on the back of customers' increasing cybersecurity concerns.

Barbados creditors fume at ‘absurd’ $27m advisory fees

The FT reports that London-based White Oak Advisory stands to make about $27m from the restructuring of Barbados’s $7bn of debts.


BT boosts broadband target

New BT chief executive Philip Jansen has revealed plans to increase the company’s full fibre broadband targets, promising to connect 4m households by 2020-21 and aiming to connect 15m premises by the mid-2020s. Mr Jansen also said BT Sport is seeing a surge in sign-ups from British football fans ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham.


Ion Group in talks to buy Mergermarket owner

Dublin-based Ion Group is in talks to buy Mergermarket owner Acuris in a transaction that could fetch just over £1bn. Acuris was bought by BC Partners in 2014 for £382m from Pearson.


Superdry issues profit warning

Superdry has issued a profits warning, blaming weak wholesale and online activity, as well as measures designed to boost performance. In its first trading statement since founder Julian Dunkerton returned to the retailer as interim chief executive, it said full-year pre-tax profits would be lower than the "current range of market expectations" of £54.1m-£59.4m. Group sales declined 4.5% in the 13 weeks to April 27th.


Smooth Brexit will not see interest rates soar

A Bank of England ratesetter has said interest rates are unlikely to rise “far or fast” even if the economy accelerates after a smooth Brexit. Michael Saunders, an external member of the monetary policy committee, suggested growth will improve as business investment picks up once the political uncertainty clears but households need not fear a sharp increase in borrowing costs.

Retraining workers could cost UK £90bn

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that a million UK workers could lose their jobs to robots leaving the country with a £90bn bill. A third of this would go on retraining while the rest would be the result of lost income for those workers displaced by automation.


BoE scales up Africa work

The Bank of England is teaming up with the Department for International Development to export its financial and inflation-fighting expertise to Africa. DfID has pledged £6.1m of aid to scale up work that the Bank is doing to improve regulation in 30 emerging markets, with a focus on Africa.

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