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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 29th June 2018

Posted: 29th June 2018


Rural communities worst hit by vanishing ATMs

Consumer group Which? has warned that more than 300 cash machines are being removed each month from Britain’s high streets, with rural communities the worst hit. The issue is linked with the wider break-up of Britain's banking system that has also seen hundreds of community branches closed. The ATM Industry Association says as many as 25,000 to 30,000 cash machines are likely to disappear from the UK’s current network of 55,000 free-to-use ATMs over the next few years. Which? and the Federation of Small Businesses have launched a campaign urging the Payment Systems Regulator to conduct an urgent review to fully evaluate how the changes will affect communities and consumers.

Bank of England warns institutions over crypto risks

Sam Woods, head of the Prudential Regulatory Authority, has written to a wealth of finance bosses to warn of the risks of cryptocurrencies, raising concerns about vulnerability to fraud and manipulation, as well as money laundering risks. He urged effective risk strategies and warned that cryptocurrencies give rise to reputational risks. The letter echoes concerns raised by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who in March launched an attack on cryptocurrencies and called for regulation that would hold them to the same standards as the rest of the financial system.

Banks join forces to fight off hackers targeting TSB customers

The Times reports that the Cyber Defence Alliance, which includes cybersecurity experts from several big banks, as well as police officers and staff from GCHQ, has been urged to protect TSB’s 5m customers from online hackers who have used the lender’s IT upgrade debacle to pose as representatives of the bank to trick people out of their money. The paper suggests that the extra level of support given to TSB reflects concerns about the lender’s problems after upgrading its systems more than ten weeks ago and the impact on the wider banking industry. One CEO of a rival bank said: “It doesn't look good for any of us to see this happening and it's an act of enlightened self-interest to help them out at this time.”

TSB owner added to bid target list

Analysts at Goldman Sachs have added Banco Sabadell, the owner of TSB, on to a list of the most likely publicly-listed takeover targets. Goldman suggested that Sabadell was ripe for a bid, as it updated its list of M&A targets with a host of well-known corporate names, including Capita, Prada and FirstGroup.

Barclays expands digital marketing team

Barclays has appointed three new senior bankers as it tries to push forward better use of digital technology in its corporate and investment bank. New global head of electronic fixed income Mauricio Sada-Paz joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Nas Al-Khudairi will oversee the electronic trading platform and Brett Tejpaul has also been promoted to lead digital strategy for markets.


Deutsche Bank’s US arm fails stress test

Deutsche Bank's US division has failed the second round of the Federal Reserve's annual two-stage stress tests, designed to assess how well the sector could withstand another financial crisis. The German lender suffered from “widespread and critical deficiencies” in parts of its business, the Fed said. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were only granted “conditional” passes. Thirty-one of the 35 banks tested were given the all-clear.

Global dealmaking reaches $2.5tn as US megadeals lift volumes

Data from Thomson Reuters has revealed that global dealmaking has reached $2.5trn in the first half of 2018, up 65% on the same time last year.

CaixaBank to sell real estate business to Lone Star

CaixaBank agreed to sell 80% of its real estate assets to Lone Star. The Spanish bank is also selling its Servihabitat real estate services business.

Italy to propose ending ban on EBRD lending to Russia

The Italian government is proposing an end to the ban on European development bank lending to Russia.


BP buys charging firm Chargemaster

BP is buying the UK’s largest electric charging network, Chargemaster, for £130m. Chargemaster, which will be rebranded BP Chargemaster, currently has 6,500 charging points and also sells electric vehicle charging points for home use. BP said the acquisition was an important move towards the company becoming the leading provider of energy to low carbon vehicles.

UK car production up

The number of cars produced in the UK rose 1.3% in May, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said, with 137,225 cars produced in the month. A 12.8% rise in cars made for domestic consumers helped offset a 1.5% dip in export production.


IAG expands budget airline Level to short-haul routes

IAG, the owner of British Airways, is expanding its low-cost long-haul airline Level further by launching short-haul routes from a base in Vienna, Austria. The new service will start on 17 July, with four planes serving 14 destinations including Gatwick and Barcelona.


FCA to overhaul charges on drawdown pensions

Businesses offering pension investment accounts will have to display fees in a single figure under new proposals designed to better protect individual investors from retirement rip-offs. The Financial Conduct Authority said some pensioners could receive 37% more retirement income every year by investing rather than cashing in. The regulator is also proposing that pension providers send "wake-up" packs to their customers at the age of 50 and for every five years after that until they access their pension, to encourage them to think about how much they need to save now and to alert them to potential pitfalls. Separately, research by Prudential has found two-thirds of couples over 40 living together have no idea what their combined pensions will be, and nearly a quarter have never discussed retirement income plans.

Insurers must deal with Brexit uncertainty

Insurance companies must outline the possible impact of Brexit on billions of euros in cross-border policies to new and existing customers, an EU watchdog has said. The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) said national regulators should make insurers aware of their duty to tell customers about the consequences of Britain’s departure from the EU next March.

French regulator fines IG Group €500,000 for compliance breaches

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the French markets regulator, has fined IG Group €500,000 for a number of compliance breaches, including misleading advertising.


Tobacco giant takes medical cannabis position

Tobacco firm Imperial Brands is investing in UK biotech company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT), which is licensed by the UK Home Office to research and develop cannabinoid-based compounds and therapies.

Amazon buys US online pharmacy

Amazon has agreed to buy US online pharmacy Pillpack. According to reports in April, Pillpack, which delivers medication in pre-sorted dose packaging, was previously in talks with Walmart.


Watchdog targets hotel booking sites

The Competition and Markets Authority has said that hotel booking sites must review the way they rank and display rooms. Some sites may be making misleading claims about discounts, the competition watchdog said. It is also examining whether sites are giving a false impression of room availability and “rushing” customers into booking decisions.


BAE wins Australian warship contract

BAE Systems has won a multi-million pound contract from the Australian government to build nine new warships, marking a significant victory for British military exports. BAE beat Italian and Spanish rivals to win a large slice of the £20bn spending programme. The ships will be built in Australia, but are based on the Type 26 design BAE is building for the Royal Navy.

JCB invests in new factory

JCB is investing more than £50m in a new plant which will create more than 200 jobs by 2022. The construction equipment firm is building the new factory adjacent to the A50 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, next to two existing JCB plants. It will build cabs to go on its machines and will be able to produce 100,000 cabs a year - double its current production.


WPP hires lawyers to hunt down source of leaked emails

WPP has hired two external law firms to investigate the source of several anonymous and intimidating emails sent to current and former employees after Martin Sorrell resigned as CEO.

Disney boosts Sky profit forecasts

Walt Disney has boosted its profit forecasts for Sky as it pursues a takeover of the broadcaster in a deal with 21st Century Fox. The upgraded estimates were published in a regulatory filing which also showed that Goldman Sachs will earn about $105m in fees if the deal goes through.


Allen & Overy launches regulatory consultancy arm

Allen & Overy is launching a new regulatory consulting business. It will focus on delivering regulatory advice to the firm’s existing financial services clients. The law firm has hired Sally Dewar, who is currently JP Morgan's head of regulatory affairs in London, to lead the business.


Park Plaza refinances London hotels

PPHE Hotel Group, whose shares have boomed 74% this year, has confirmed that Luxembourg's Banque Hapoalim is to refinance four UK hotels to the tune of £45m. The Park Plaza County Hall and the Park Plaza London Park Royal are part of the agreement, along with Park Plaza Leeds and Park Plaza Nottingham.


Brexit pessimism growing

British companies are becoming more pessimistic about the impact of Brexit on their sales, according to the latest report from the Bank of England’s regional agents. They found 49% of companies polled from February to April expect Brexit to have a negative effect on sales at home and abroad, compared with 42% in the same period a year ago.


BoE under fire for lack of diversity

The Bank of England will be forced to consider the gender of its most senior appointments after the chair of the Treasury select committee demanded that it improved diversity. Nicky Morgan said that she was concerned about the lack of diversity at senior levels. She has ordered Mark Carney, the governor, and Sir Tom Scholar, head of the Treasury, to produce an action plan for how they will address diversity in public appointments.

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