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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 14th September 2018

Posted: 14th September 2018


Half of TSB IT complaints unresolved

TSB has dealt with less than half of customer complaints arising from its recent IT outage, with more than 87,000 of the 159,000 complaints yet to be resolved. Josep Oliu Creus, chairman of TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell, said compensation efforts had “not gone the way I would like”, adding that “regulators also don’t like it”. A TSB spokeswoman said Mr Oliu’s comments were made “during an informal visit” to TSB’s London headquarters in which he sought to thank TSB partners “for their hard work . . . and to reassure them about the efforts being made to put things right for customers”.

Diamond: Banks are too risk averse

Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond believes banks have grown too risk averse in the post-financial crash environment, telling the BBC: “If they are totally without risk, banks are not helping create jobs and growth. The culture now is that if anyone makes a mistake they get fined, or the bank is in trouble.”

Barclays offers anti-scam tool

Barclays has launched a new verification feature that alerts online and mobile banking customers when a call they receive is fraudulent. The tool enables users to receive an alert confirming the details of the employee who is calling them, verifying the contact as legitimate. Ross Martin, Barclays’ head of digital safety, said: “As part of our continued efforts to beat scammers, our new call verification feature will give customers extra confidence when picking up the phone to someone from Barclays."

Post Office riding bank branch closures

Trading profits at the Post Office have more than doubled, from £13m to £35m in 2017/18, on the back of bank branch closures. Its high street banking arm processed over 125m withdrawals in 2017-18. Boss Paula Vennells said more people were turning to branches to "undertake everyday banking services".


Blackstone buys 60% stake in Baltic lender

Blackstone has agreed to pay €1bn to Nordea and DNB for 60% of Luminor, their joint lender in the Baltics, marking the biggest private equity purchase of a majority stake in a universal bank.


ECB to draw back from QE

The European Central Bank will end its €2.5trn stimulus programme in December, with monthly asset purchases under quantitative easing to be halved from next month and ceased by the end of the year.

Turkey lifts interest rate

Turkey's central bank has increased its benchmark interest rate from 17.75% to 24% - exceeding forecasts from economists who expected the rate to hit 22%. Brett Diment, head of emerging market debt at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said the rise puts Turkey "on the slow road to recovering some monetary policy credibility.”

Danske chief ignored calls to shrink scandal-hit unit

The FT reports that despite concerns being raised, Danske Bank chief executive Thomas Borgen opted against scaling back business at its Estonian branch, which sits at the centre of a money laundering scandal.

Investment bank China Renaissance targets $377m in Hong Kong IPO

Beijing-based China Renaissance is planning to float in Hong Kong to raise up to £377m through 85m shares. Alipay, LGT Group Foundation and Snow Lake are the key investors.

Casino to sue BNL

Playboy has been told it can sue Banca Nazionale Del Lavaro, BNP Paribas' Italian subsidiary, for deceit over unpaid cheques by a gambler who disappeared after using Playboy’s Mayfair casino. The bank provided a credit reference for Hassan Barakat, who took out £1.2m from the casino's cheque-cashing facility, with it later found there was no money in his account.


Legal & General takes on BA pensions

British Airways has sealed a landmark £4.4bn pensions deal with Legal & General. The deal see L&G take responsibility for the Airways Pension Scheme (APS) covering nearly 22,000 of the airline's former workers. APS has a deficit of £469m, according to BA's 2017 annual report, and liabilities of £7.7bn, of which L&G will take on £4.4bn.


Goldman Sachs reshuffles top team under new chief executive

Goldman Sachs’ consumer bank chief Stephen Scherr has been named chief financial officer, investment banker John Waldron is to be president and CFO Marty Chavez will become co-head of securities.

Financial apps gain fans by helping users handle their money

Owen Walker highlights new financial services apps - including Plum, which leverages AI to help users save, and Clarity, a similar program which encourages users to save.


Investors check in to hotels plan

Neilson Active Holidays, which was supported by Risk Capital Partners, has attracted investment from mid-market private equity investor LDC and will look to open more hotels in Europe.

GVC confident amid fixed-odds 'hangover'

Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC suffered a “hangover” from the Government’s triennial review of controversial betting machines, the firm has acknowledged, though suggested digital growth would offset any fallout going forward. On the back of a good World Cup, which saw big teams go out, underlying profits were up 11% to £349.5m. GVC is also eyeing growth in the US betting market after a tie-up with casino group MGM.


Manufacturing enjoys longest period of jobs growth for 40 years

Some 145,000 UK manufacturing industry jobs were created in the five years to March 2018, marking the sector’s longest period of sustained employment growth since records began in 1978.


WPP appoints Wunderman CEO

Wunderman, one of WPP's largest ad agencies, has appointed Mel Edwards as global CEO. She replaces Mark Read, who was recently named CEO of WPP itself.


Carney: No-deal Brexit could see house prices plunge

Mark Carney has warned the cabinet that a chaotic no-deal Brexit could crash house prices and send another financial shock through the economy. The Bank of England's governor met senior ministers on Thursday to discuss the risks of a disorderly exit from the EU. His worst-case scenario was that house prices could fall as much as 35% over three years, according to sources.

Moving costs hit record high

The average cost of moving home has topped £12,000 for the first time, Lloyds Bank has found. Stamp duty, estate agent fees, conveyancing and removals costs have risen by £486 in just one year and £2,890 since 2008, when it was £9,220. Lloyds Bank said more than half the increase in moving bills is down to stamp duty costs.


John Lewis profits crash

Profits at the John Lewis Partnership for the six months to July 28 have plummeted 99% from last year to £1.2m, with reported pre-tax profits down 81% to £6m, despite gross sales edging up to £5.5bn. John Lewis endured an operating loss of £19.3m, with same store sales down 1.2%, while Waitrose's operating profit fell 12% to £96m.

Morrisons reports best quarter in nine years

Morrisons has reported its best quarterly performance in nine years, with the summer heatwave and World Cup boosting the supermarket. The chain saw underlying pre-tax profits of £193m in the second quarter, marking a 9% increase, with like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, up 6.3%. Total half-year revenues totalled £8.8bn, an increase of 4.5%, although pre-tax profits over the period fell 29% to £142m.


Bank of England holds rates over 'greater Brexit uncertainty'

The Bank of England has left interest rates on hold at 0.75% as expected but flagged "greater uncertainty" around the Brexit negotiations. The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted 9-0 to leave rates unchanged. The Bank's regional staff reported that businesses were cracking down on costs and holding back on investment ahead of Brexit. However, it raised the forecast for UK economic growth in the third quarter from 0.4% to 0.5%, partly due to stronger consumer spending over the unusually warm summer.

Next financial crisis 'two years away', JP Morgan says

JP Morgan has warned that the next financial crisis could happen in 2020. Strategists have created a model which predicts the timing and potential impact of the next crisis - which they say will be less severe than the 2008 crash but could result in a US share drop of 20%. Elsewhere, Barclays’ boss Jes Staley warned of future risks, saying: “'Everything seems to be going so well. The economies are growing, unemployment is at close to record lows - I do think you need to be concerned. There are risks out there and how we try to anticipate those risks and respond is a big deal.”

No-deal Brexit risks UK recession

A no-deal Brexit risks a British recession, according to Moody's, which has warned that such a scenario would endanger the credit ratings of a host of companies. The agency warned of a sharp fall in the value of the pound, higher inflation and a “squeeze on real wages over the next two or three years”.


FCA drums up team-building

Questions have been asked about the Financial Conduct Authority’s spending after it emerged that the watchdog sent hundreds of staff on a team-building exercise where they learned African drumming to understand “the power of group energy”.

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