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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 22nd January 2021

Posted: 22nd January 2021


Ezbob CEO: ‘Banks should deliver the same experience as Amazon and Netflix’

In an interview with City AM, Ezbob CEO Tomer Guriel suggests that once the Government SME lending programs end there will be "renewed lender appetite" among UK banks. Mr Guriel says the link created via digital SME lending programmes and financial institutions during the pandemic must now be maintained with these partnerships further sustained through additional product offerings. “Customers will expect from banks the same intuitive and intelligent user experience they get from digital leaders like Amazon and Netflix,” continues Guriel, adding: “Banks will need to up their game.”


Private equity’s new bet on sport: buy the league

The FT examines how private equity investment in sport is evolving with firms now looking beyond clubs to governing bodies and competitions, a move which risks alienating fans.


Recovery in eurozone reversed by second wave

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said on Thursday that the eurozone’s economies contracted at the end of 2020 as the pandemic’s latest wave and extra lockdowns hit the services sector. The ECB kept interest rates and quantitative easing on hold, but raised the prospect of even more stimulus on top of the €1.8trn (£1.6trn) already announced as part of the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme that was extended last month. Ms Lagarde pledged “to preserve favourable financing conditions over the pandemic period”, anticipating continued intervention in markets “until at least the end of March 2022 and, in any case, until the governing council judges that the coronavirus crisis phase is over”.

JPMorgan Chase holds Jamie Dimon’s annual pay steady at $31.5m

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was paid $31.5m for 2020, the US bank disclosed on Thursday. Dimon’s remuneration was the same as the previous year despite the bank reporting record revenue.

Barr tipped to lead OCC

The White House is expected to nominate Michael Barr to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Mr Barr helped write the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act while serving under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


Nissan commits to UK

Nissan has said its Sunderland plant is secure for the long term as a result of the trade deal reached between the UK and the EU. The Japanese car maker announced it will move additional battery production close to the plant where it has 6,000 direct employees and supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the supply chain. Manufacturing the more powerful batteries in the UK will ensure its cars comply with trade rules agreed with the EU requiring at least 55% of the car's value to be derived from either the UK or the EU to qualify for zero tariffs when exported to the EU. Nissan's chief operating officer Ashwami Gupta told the BBC: “The Brexit deal is positive for Nissan. Being the largest automaker in the UK we are taking this opportunity to redefine auto-making in the UK.”

VW hit with fines for missing strict EU emissions targets

Volkswagen is to pay more than €100m in fines after just missing EU emissions targets last year. The company said the charges were already booked in previous quarters.


State backs Norwegian Air restructuring plan

Norwegian Air’s recovery plans, which would see it cut its fleet to 50 planes and stop long-haul services, have been backed by the Norwegian government. Ceasing long-haul flights will result in about 2,000 job losses, including 1,100 in the UK where Norwegian’s base at Gatwick airport will close.

Airbus to raise production more slowly as pandemic bites

Airbus has projected only minor increases in the production of its commercial aircraft dashing hopes of a boost to UK aerospace factories and their domestic supply chains.


FCA could cap claims management company fees

The Financial Conduct Authority is considering a price cap on the fees claims management companies (CMCs) charge for financial products. While some customers currently pay fees of more than 40% of the redress they receive, the FCA’s new proposals would mean CMCs cannot charge more than 15-30%. Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition, asserts: “We estimate that the proposed cap on fees could save consumers around £9.6m a year.” The proposals will also see CMCs have to disclose key information, including giving consumers more information about how the fees are calculated. The FCA took over the regulation of CMCs, which handle products like PPI and payday loans, from the Ministry of Justice in April 2019, and its CMC fees consultation closes April 21.

IRSG asserts financial services roadmap for UK’s G7 presidency

As the UK takes over the presidency of the G7 from the United States this month, the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) which is co-sponsored by the City of London Corporation and TheCityUK, has formally outlined its key areas of focus in financial services. The IRSG advocates four areas of focus for the UK: global regulatory coherence for pandemic recovery, leadership on climate agenda ahead of COP26, digital policy continuity, including on digital taxation, and also alignment with G20 global policy priorities. Deputy Chair of the IRSG Catherine McGuinness comments: “The UK has begun a new chapter outside of the EU. Its presidency of the G7 and hosting of COP26 in 2021 are key opportunities to mark that new beginning by showing continued international leadership, as the global economy looks to meet the challenges of the post-pandemic recovery, climate change and digitisation."

City urges return of stability to bolster business confidence

A study commissioned by the City of London Corporation concludes the UK must return to being seen as “stable and strategic” in order to reinforce London’s position as a leading financial centre.

US emerges as early winner of shift in derivatives trading from London

With Brexit leading to a shift in derivatives trading out of London, the US has seen trading in euro and sterling swaps doubling in the opening weeks of 2021.

IG makes bumper bet on the US

In the City spread betting house's biggest ever deal, IG is splashing out $1bn to buy US platform tastytrade, which enables retail investors to enter the complex world of derivatives.

Transferwise picks banks ahead of blockbuster IPO

UK payments unicorn Transferwise has chosen Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as joint global coordinators to lead its London listing this year.


Entain appoints Jette Nygaard-Andersen

Ladbrokes owner Entain has appointed Jette Nygaard-Andersen, to replace Shay Segev, who left to join sports streaming company DAZN last week. The move raises the number of women leading FTSE 100 businesses to six.

Bowling alley chain predicts sharp decline in revenue

Ten Entertainment yesterday forecast that total sales would fall 60% to £36.3m in 2020 after its venues were forced to close for roughly half the year due to the pandemic.


Shareholder revolt brewing over Cineworld pay plans

Shareholder advisory groups Glass Lewis and ISS have recommended that investors vote against a new pay policy and long-term incentive plan proposed by Cineworld. The scheme could result in senior bosses being allocated up to £208m in share awards while thousands of staff remain on furlough as all 127 of its UK sites remain closed. “On an annualised basis the maximum payout under the plan reflects about 3,400% of the chief executive’s base salary,” Glass Lewis told investors in a note. “This potential payout is excessive, far outpacing the maximum opportunity available to UK peers.”

Hipgnosis’ buying spree continues

London-listed songs investment fund Hipgnosis has bought producer Bob Rock's rights to hit albums from Metallica and Michael Bublé.


Keystone Law bucks Christmas downturn trend

Keystone Law enjoyed a better than expected Christmas period. Full year revenues to Jan 30 2020 were £49.6m for the law firm, which will issue its full results in May. Chief executive James Knight comments: “In the past people have had parties to go to and things. With nothing else to do you might as well work – that’s the only explanation I can give as to why it just didn’t tear off and work carried on very, very strong all the way to the end of the year.” AIM-listed Keystone operates a self-employed model.


Residential transactions surge in December

UK residential transactions in December were up 13.1% compared to November and were 31.5% higher than in the year prior. The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in December 2020 was 129,400, according to HMRC Property Transaction data. However, HMRC data shows that on an unadjusted basis, a total of 1,047,490 homes were sold in the UK last year, down from 1,176,820 in 2019.


Next pulls out of race to buy Arcadia

A consortium which included fashion chain Next has withdrawn from the race to buy Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail empire out of administration. Mike Ashley's Frasers Group remains in the picture along with US company Authentic Brands, which has tabled a joint offer with JD Sports.


Spending slumps by a third in latest lockdown

Consumer spending has fallen further in the latest lockdown, according to credit and debit card data published by the Office for National Statistics, which showed purchases 35% below their February 2020 average in the week to January 14. Spending on discretionary goods such as cars, clothing and furnishings were hit hardest, the data indicated, tumbling by 49% as the closure of non-essential retail pushed shoppers online.


Former head of Vatican bank sentenced to jail for embezzlement

Angelo Caloia, the head of the Vatican bank between 1999 and 2009, has been convicted of embezzlement and money laundering and sentenced to nearly nine years in prison. Two Italian lawyers who were consultants to the bank were also jailed for their role in the scheme, which saw the trio siphon off money while managing the sale of Italian real estate owned by the bank.

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