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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 29th December 2017

Posted: 29th December 2017


RBS investors look to address corporate governance

More than 100 Royal Bank of Scotland investors are backing plans for a shareholder committee intended to address corporate governance issues at the lender. ShareSoc is set to deliver documents relating to the proposed resolution to RBS’s London offices today in the hope that it will be put to a shareholder vote at the bank’s annual general meeting in May 2018. It is the second time the shareholder society has tried to establish a bespoke committee at RBS, after the bank rejected a similar proposal earlier this year.

Thomas Cook plans banking app

Thomas Cook will launch a bank in Britain next year in a partnership with Ferratum, one of Europe's largest digital lenders, with the aim of slashing the cost of paying for items in foreign currencies. Under the plans, Ferratum will operate a mobile banking app on behalf of Thomas Cook Money, under a new brand, called Sumo. Thomas Cook and Ferratum believe that Sumo will be better for travellers, as it will come with an "intelligent" contactless debit card that will identify the local currency and enable the holder to pay without incurring transaction charges or fees for cash withdrawals.

Mortgage approvals 'lowest for over a year'

The number of households taking out new mortgages in November was the lowest in more than a year according to official figures, UK Finance said High Street banks approved 39,507 mortgages during the month, a 5% fall on the same month a year ago.

Barclays now takes cheques as photos

Barclays’ mobile banking customers can now pay in cheques by snapping a photo with their phone's camera. Lloyds, Halifax Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Santander are planning to introduce this option for customers paying in cheques in 2018.


Japanese private equity: lucre’s allure

The FT's Lex column highlights Japanese private equity firms' large cash reserves, suggesting leverage and equity returns could increase drastically to address legacy investor concerns.


Softbank hails Uber

Japanese giant Softbank is set to take a large stake in Uber, expanding its holdings in transportation companies around the world. Softbank led a consortium that reportedly agreed to invest at least $8bn for a roughly 15% stake in the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company. The group will buy most of the shares from early investors in a deal that values Uber at about $48bn (£35.7bn).

Good reasons for Swiss banking’s resilience

The FT publishes a letter highlighting the resilience of Swiss private banking, which points out that net outflows since 2013, when Swiss bank secrecy laws were rescinded, have been less than 2%.

Axis Bank ordered to probe leak of financial results

Shares in Axis Bank slipped on Thursday after the Securities and Exchange Board of India ordered an internal inquiry at the lender into a leak of its financial results.


Airbus to axe superjumbo

Airbus is drawing up contingency plans to phase out production of the world’s largest jetliner, the A380 superjumbo, if it fails to win a key order from Dubai’s Emirates, sources familiar with the matter have claimed.


South Korea targets anonymous cryptocurrency trading

Bitcoin tanked on Thursday after South Korea announced new rules targeting the trading of virtual currencies and a crackdown on money laundering. Regulation will include a ban on opening anonymous accounts and new legislation to allow regulators to close virtual currency exchanges.

Swiss Re chief urges governments to back cyber insurers

Governments must help the insurance industry tackle cyber-attacks, according to Christian Mumenthaler, head of reinsurer Swiss Re, who champions cyber insurance to aid "accumulation risk" in the sector.

Britain’s insurers find a sympathetic ear in Downing Street

The FT's Oliver Ralph explores insurers’ increased influence on Downing Street, noting changes to the Ogden rate, whiplash reforms and a halt to increases in insurance premium tax.


House prices up £28 a day in 2017

Britain’s housing market has grown 3.5% this year, according to figures from Zoopla, as the nation's homes increased in value by an average of £9,652, or £28 per day, and are now worth a collective £8.3tn.


Poundland owner downgraded over debt concerns

Moody’s has downgraded South African retailer Steinhoff, which owns Poundland, Harvey's and Bensons for Beds in the UK, over concerns about its looming debt pile and its liquidity. Steinhoff has been hit by accusations of “financial irregularities” in its accounting.


Charlton on the block

Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet has revealed the club is in takeover talks with "various interested parties". Duchatelet confirmed the club's outgoing chief executive officer Katrien Meire will not be replaced.


Falling wages to put Britain at bottom of pay league

Britain will be bottom of the pay league of the world’s advanced economies next year as inflation eats into real wages, the TUC has claimed. After adjusting for inflation, UK workers will see their real pay drop by 0.7% in 2018 in an analysis by the body.


Global M&A exceeds $3tn for fourth straight year

Worldwide M&A activity has surpassed $3tn for the fourth year running. Deals included CVS Health acquiring insurer Aetna for $69bn and Westfield's sale to France’s Unibail-Rodamco for $24.7bn.

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