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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 12th November 2021

Posted: 12th November 2021


Banks need to support fraud victims more fairly and consistently

The Times’ Gareth Shaw comments on data from last week’s Office for National Statistics crime survey for England and Wales which show banking scams are out of control. Shaw notes that an industry code for victim compensation is voluntary and a probe by consumer group Which? found that banks “are not just falling short on this commitment but in some cases failing spectacularly.” Shaw says it is time for the Payment Systems Regulator to put banks’ “commercial interests” aside and order them all to regularly publish clear and transparent data to show how they are dealing with APP scams, including their reimbursement rates.

Banking apps increase malware threats

Cyber criminals are targeting the rising popularity of mobile banking on smartphones, Nokia has warned, increasing the risk to customers of malware stealing  personal banking credentials and credit card information. The mobile phone giant said it based its warning on data that was aggregated from network traffic monitored on more than 200m devices globally and showed an 80%, year-on-year increase in the first half of the year in the number of new banking trojans, which also try to steal SMS messages containing one-time passwords.

Close Brothers faces investor revolt over pay rise for boss

Plans by Close Brothers to nearly double its chief executive's basic salary to comply with European Union pay rules will be met with investor anger at the bank’s AGM next week. A number of leading shareholders plan to oppose a new remuneration policy, according to Sky News. The basic pay of Adrian Sainsbury, chief executive, will rise from £550,000 to £900,000 next year and his overall guaranteed pay will increase from £605,000 to £1.023m with other elements included.


New emerging markets equity head for Morgan Stanley

Amy Oldenburg has been appointed by Morgan Stanley as head of emerging markets equity at its investment management business, replacing Ruchir Sharma who is leaving after a 25-year stint at the bank.

Wall Street banks generated $7.2bn in fees from rise and fall of GE

Investment banks have earned more than $7bn in fees from General Electric since 2000 with the US conglomerate spending $2.3bn on mergers and acquisition advice alone.


Johnson Matthey abandons electric car battery market

Johnson Matthey has scrapped plans to capture a slice of the market for electric car batteries arguing that its rivals were too far ahead in the technological race. The move sent shares in the chemical company down 20%. Chief executive Robert MacLeod, who also announced on Thursday he would step down next year, said the potential returns from the battery division could not justify further investment.


Aviva plans to hand back £4bn to investors

Aviva is attempting to stave off criticism from activist investor Cevian by returning £4bn to investors after selling off eight businesses for £7.5bn and cutting costs by £300m. Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc said: "We expect the good trading momentum to continue in the fourth quarter, and we remain on track to meet or exceed our cash and cost saving targets.” However, Cevian wants the insurer to hand back £5bn to shareholders and believes Aviva can do more to cut costs.


US doctors fear patients at risk as cost cuts follow private equity deals

The FT reports on fears among US doctors that private equity firms, which have taken over several staffing companies in recent years, are cutting costs so much that conditions are dangerous.


Sales rise at Young's

Pub group Young's has reported that sales were down just 1% on 2019 levels in the half year to September 27, rising by 8% in the past 12 weeks. The company, which saw a £45.2m 2020 pre-tax loss, today reported a half-year pre-tax profit of £22.2m and reinstated its dividend.


Volex sounds alert over supply issues

Shares in engineering company Volex fell on Thursday after the company sounded a note of caution over supply chain problems. The company’s executive chairman Nathaniel Rothschild said: "While we remain mindful of the challenges faced by all manufacturing businesses from continued extended lead times in the global supply chain, we are today reaffirming our outlook for the remainder of the year." Overall, revenue rose 45% to $293m (£219m) for the first half of the year and profit before tax rose 35% to $19.4m.


Purchase of Open Fiber can go ahead

EU regulators have approved the acquisition of broadband network company Open Fiber by Italy's state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Australian fund Macquarie.


Burberry reinstates dividend after rise in sales

Burberry has recorded a 38% increase in sales for the six months to September 25 to £1.12bn, driven by demand for handbags and quilted coats in China and the United States.

Signs of recovery at Ted Baker

Ted Baker has revealed that sales were up 17.6% at £199.3m for the first half year, compared to £169.5m last year.


Belfry golf resort sold

Goldman Sachs and Cedar Capital Partners have acquired The Belfry golf resort in Warwickshire, a four-time host of the Ryder Cup, from KSL Capital Partners.


UK economy grew 1.3% in the third quarter

Weak consumer spending and supply chain issues drove economic growth down in the third quarter, figures from the ONS show. Growth between July and September came in at just 1.3%, from a 5.5% rise recorded between April and June. This means the economy is 2.1% smaller than in the final three months of 2019. The news sent the pound down to its lowest level of 2021 against the dollar on Thursday. The latest growth figures were weaker than many economists had expected, and Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said the data suggested "the best of the recovery is now behind us". "We think progress is going to slow over the next six to nine months as shortages remain an issue and the real spending power of businesses and households is reduced by higher taxes and rising utility prices," he added.

UK businesses still upbeat

UK businesses remain upbeat about growth over the next three years, according to the latest Santander Trade Barometer, despite labour shortages, rising costs and fears going forward about supply chains holding up.


Remote working could damage women’s careers, Mann warns

Bank of England monetary policy committee member Catherine Mann has warned women that their careers could suffer if they work from home for too long. “Virtual platforms are way better than they were even five years ago. But the extemporaneous, spontaneity — those are hard to replicate in a virtual setting,” she said.

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