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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 21st September 2018

Posted: 21st September 2018



Thousands of bank branches closed in four years

Research from consumer group Which? has revealed that nearly 3,000 high street bank and building society branches have shut since 2014. Jenni Allen, managing director of Which? Money, commented: "The rate at which free-to-use cashpoints are closing is alarming. Plastic cards may have overtaken cash as the most commonly used payment method but 2.7m British adults rely almost wholly on cash.” George McNamara, director of policy at charity Independent Age, noted: "With increasingly large distances between bank branches, this can cause difficulties for customers who rely on public transport. Banks must ensure that all customers can access services, advice and offers using their preferred method of communication, whether that be over the internet, on the phone or in person."

System failure at Cashplus challenged

Following problems at payments operator Cashplus that left customers unable to transfer or receive funds, Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Commons Treasury committee, has written to the firm demanding an explanation. She commented: "While Cashplus may not be regulated as a bank, it claims to offer 'the UK's most seamless banking services experience'… Its customers rightly expect continuous access to their accounts and it should be held to the same standards of operational resilience as a retail bank."

Buyback talks at RBS

Royal Bank of Scotland has started talks with regulators over a special share buyback as it attempts to hasten its privatisation. No announcement is expected before the results of the latest bank stress test in December.

HSBC dealt investment banking blow

A leaked memo on HSBC’s investment banking division claims that it has “utterly failed”, and its “performance is really appalling”. The memo comes as speculation around the firm’s future grows.

TSB head of IT payouts leaves

Jonathan Hall, customer remediation director at TSB who was coordinating the bank’s attempts to compensate customers after its IT upgrade earlier this year, is to leave.

Rose to lead entrepreneurship drive

RBS leadership candidate Alison Rose is to lead a drive to help female entrepreneurs, with females comprising just one third of British entrepreneurs currently.


Fresh inquiry for Danske Bank

Denmark's financial regulator has reopened its investigation into Danske Bank over a €200bn money-laundering scandal, a move which could see top management face legal action.

Rogue trader loses final appeal

France's highest court of appeal has rejected the final appeal by former Societe Generale trader Jérôme Kerviel, who racked up a €4.9bn (£4.5bn) loss at the lender.

Goldman rises in league table

Goldman Sachs has overtaken Citigroup as the world's second-largest investment bank, with JP Morgan in first place.

Indian banking billionaire ordered to step down from bank

Yes Bank chief executive Rana Kapoor is being edged out by regulators over concerns surrounding the bank's transparency over its loan quality. The bank has been hit by defaults.

Bank of America’s investment banking boss to depart

Matthew Koder, Bank of America's president of Asia-Pacific, is replacing Christian Meissner as head of the bank's corporate and investment banking division after its recent loss of M&A market share.


Aston Martin seeks bumper float valuation

Aston Martin’s IPO could value it between £4.02bn and £5.07bn when it floats almost 57m shares in London next month - a 25% stake in the company. German manufacturer Daimler will retain its interest in Aston Martin, converting its non-voting stake into a 4.9% shareholding.


Ryanair rejects investor pressure to oust chairman

Ryanair has avoided shareholder turbulence and re-elected long-standing chairman David Bonderman. Despite 70% of the vote, disgruntled shareholders voiced calls for a detailed succession plan.


Kier overcomes construction turbulence to post 9% rise in profits

Kier has posted underlying pre-tax profits of £137m, up from £126m last year, alongside a record construction and services order book of £10.2bn. Group revenue hit £4.2bn.


Oaktree founder warns on Brexit uncertainty

Howard Marks, founder of Oaktree Capital Management, has told the Financial Times that Brexit-related uncertainty has made investing in Britain too unsafe. He said he was unwilling to risk the large-scale losses that could result from a botched departure from the EU.

PayPal purchases iZettle for $2.2bn

PayPal is to buy Swedish payments specialist iZettle for $2.2bn (£1.67bn), its biggest acquisition to date. PayPal’s chief Dan Schulman described the takeover as a "strategic fit, with a shared mission, values and culture".

Saga appoints new CFO after 6 month search

Insurance firm Saga, which specialises in services for older people, has appointed James Quin as its new finance boss. He is currently the chief financial officer at Zurich Insurance Group.

IG Group revenues fall as regulatory crackdown felt

Difference trading platform IG Group has posted falling revenues of £128.9m for the three months to the end of August, with 12% declines in its derivatives trading arm.

Mothers should receive more support in finance industry - ABI

The Association of British Insurers has said that motherhood is the greatest disadvantage women face in reaching senior roles in business. The ABI has called on firms to make it easier for part-time employees to advance by making more senior jobs part-time, making job-shares easier, and increasing the chances of promotion for mothers who return to work.


City Pub Group rides wave of falling competition

City Pub Group has posted a 73% rise in pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2018, to £1.6m. Boss Clive Watson said: "Retailing is steady, and that’s partly because competition has fallen by the wayside, with restaurants either not opening or closing down." Sales increased 24% to £20m.


Manufacturers desperate for a deal

One in six manufacturing companies in Britain say their businesses would be “untenable” in a no-deal Brexit scenario. A study by ComRes for trade association EEF said 16% of companies would have to close or relocate out of the UK if they faced WTO levies and border checks on goods. Stephen Phipson, EEF chief executive, said companies are "desperate" for the Government to negotiate an exit deal.


Shares of recruiter Adecco tumble to 2-year low

Adecco's share price is 27% down on this time last year after the recruiter posted a weaker than anticipated trading update. Adecco posted just 4% revenue growth.


Only one London home on sale for less than £100k

London has only one home listed for sale at £100,000 or less, according to an analysis of property websites by HouseSimple. The studio property, one of several flats carved out of a former commercial building in Hornchurch, on the periphery of east London, measures 4.9m by 4.5m (15ft by 16ft) and has one door and two windows. It is also located next to a busy dual carriageway. The studio is described as an “investment opportunity” in a “central location” by Bairstow Eves.


Amazon plans 3,000 high-tech grocery shops

Amazon could build up to 3,000 high-tech inner-city grocery shops by 2021 under a plan that would rapidly expand its bricks-and-mortar retail operations. Sources told Bloomberg that the company is considering a wider expansion of Amazon Go, a concept grocery shop that has no cashiers and uses an artificially intelligent motion-tracking system to record what shoppers buy.

Retail sales up last month

The Office for National Statistics has reported that retail sales volumes rose 0.2% in August, an improvement on the 0.2% contraction expected by City of London economists in the wake of the strong performance in July.

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