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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 31st August 2018

Posted: 31st August 2018

Banks ranked on ease of PPI claims

A report from consumer group Which? has identified Nationwide, RBS and Lloyds Banking Group as the most difficult financial institutions to deal with when making a PPI claim. The poll saw 24% of respondents say RBS group banks were the hardest with which to make a PPI claim, with 19% saying the process was difficult at Nationwide and 19% saying the same of Lloyds. HSBC was found to be the easiest to make a PPI claim with, with 64% of those polled deeming the bank’s process straightforward, while 56% said the process at Barclays offered a positive experience. The survey saw 31% of respondents say they had been successful in their claim, with an average compensation payout of £1,500.

Consumer loans see slowest growth in three years

Bank of England (BoE) figures show that unsecured consumer credit grew by 8.5% in July, down from 8.8% in July. This marks the slowest growth rate in nearly three years. July saw the net amount of new consumer borrowing decline to around £800m, from £1.5bn the month before. Consumers put the second lowest amount of cash on their credit cards since April 2016 during July, at £213m. Meanwhile, BoE data shows approvals for house purchases fell to 65,000 in July with remortgaging approvals down to 45,000. In June British lenders approved 65,619 mortgages, rising 1.5% from 64,684 in May and reaching the highest level since January. John Eastgate, sales and marketing director at OneSavings Bank, said consumers are "putting the brakes on home buying decisions" amid fears of current political volatility.

Shareholder: Barclays board ‘may be open to change’

Activist shareholder Edward Bramson says Barclays’ board “does recognise the company's continuing low valuation and that the current approach to remedying it is not proving to be successful.” In a letter to his investors, he added: “This may result in receptiveness to the need for changes that could materially enhance shareholder value, as well as the company's long-term ability to be competitive."

NS&I increases rates on three products

National Savings & Investments is increasing interest rates by between 0.05% and 0.15% on income bonds, its investment account and its direct saver product, with this falling short of the 0.25% base rate increase introduced on August 2. Charlotte Nelson, personal finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: "Being Government-backed, many would assume that NS&I would lead by example and pass on the full 0.25% base-rate rise to savers."

MBS pays out £2.3m to auditor

Manchester Building Society has paid out £2.3m in damages and legal expenses to its former auditor, helping the building society to a £1.6m loss. MBS lost a claim against the firm over its audit and advice between 2006 and 2013, when it was forced to restate its accounts.


Spate of female hires at top Valley start-up funder

The FT looks at moves by venture capital firms to add female talent to their upper ranks, highlighting Andreessen Horowitz’s addition of Angela Strange as a general partner.


Argentina raises interest rate to 60%

Argentina has raised its interest rate by 15% to 60%, with the country’s central bank saying rates will stay at this level until at least December. The central bank has also raised the amount of reserves local banks have to hold. A financial crisis in the country has seen the peso lose 45% of its value against the US dollar this year.

Fed gives extensions on living wills

The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is giving Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS an additional year to submit "living wills" detailing how they could be safely dissolved in a crisis. Plans had been due to be submitted by July 1, 2019, but this has been extended to July 1 2020. Prudential Financial has also been handed a new deadline of Dec. 31, 2019, a year later than the original cut off.

Goldman Sachs to move jobs out of UK after Brexit

Wolfgang Fink, CEO for Germany and Austria at Goldman Sachs, has claimed it is a “necessity” to support the European project as he announced the bank plans to move hundreds of UK jobs to the continent after Brexit.

Solid profits posted by Chinese banks

China’s biggest bank ICBC reported that net profit climbed almost 5% to 160.4bn yuan ($23.5bn) between January and June compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, China Construction Bank said its net profit grew 6.3% to 147bn yuan, while Agricultural Bank of China reported a 6.6% jump to 115.8bn yuan and Bank of China said net profit was up 5.2% to 109.1bn yuan in the first half.

GAM shares drop 10% after Credit Suisse cuts price target

Analysts at Credit Suisse have cut their target price in half for Swiss asset manager GAM. Its new target for the stock is SFr7, down from SFr14.20.


Car production declines in July

A total of 121,051 cars were produced in July, falling from 135,954 cars in the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The figures from the SMMT show year-on-year domestic demand plummeted 35%, while exports fell by 4.2%.


Wonga collapses into administration

Wonga has announced its intention to go into administration. In a statement Wonga said: "Customers can continue to use Wonga services to manage their existing loans but the UK business will not be accepting any new loan applications.” Wonga’s overseas businesses will continue to trade, the company said. The Financial Conduct Authority said it will “continue to supervise Wonga once it is in administration and is in close contact with the proposed administrators with regard to the fair treatment of customers.”

Amigo Loans increases sales

Amigo Loans has recorded a 50% increase in sales cross the first quarter of its new financial year. Revenues for the three months to June 30 were £62.9m. However, profit before tax increased just 15%, to £17m. The guarantor loans business continued to grow its net loan book 37% to £638m, and also counted a customer base of 194,000, up 40%.

Profits decline for Chesnara

Chesnara posted profit before tax for the first six months of £26.5m - a fall of 48.6% from £51.6m in the same period last year. The insurance and pensions administrator said operating profit increased significantly to £27.3m, from £16.6m, but the company suffered a loss of £0.8m on economic profit. Chesnara boosted its interim dividend by 3% to 7.21p per share.

Arrow Global doubles profits

Arrow Global has revealed that profit after tax rose by more than 100% to £8.5m in the first half of this year, compared to £3.7m in the same period in 2017. In the six months to 30 June 2018 total income from the European asset manager’s portfolio investments has risen by 8.6% to £125.5m from £115.6m in the first half of last year, and the portfolio asset base increased to £1.03bn from £951.5m.

Deutsche Börse cools post-Brexit euro clearing ambitions

The CEO of Deutsche Börse has said that the marketplace’s chance of increasing its market share in the post-Brexit clearing market for euro-denominated derivatives is “50-50”.


Hays shareholders enjoy payout

Hays has reported a 17% rise in pre-tax profits to £238.5m for the year to June. The recruiter paid £128.4m, including a £72.9m special dividend.


First-time buyers take advantage of slump

Figures from the NAEA show the number of first-time buyers joining the property ladder jumped by 23% year-on-year in July to record an eight-month high.


Morgan Stanley downgrades retail sector

Morgan Stanley has downgraded the European property sector, citing a fall in valuations of retail property. It said it would “continue to shy away” from investing in property stocks. It offered that logistics warehouses, in demand among online retailers, were one of a few areas where it was bullish.

Amazon shares reach $2k

Amazon shares exceeded $2,000 for the first time yesterday, lifting its market value to $975.8bn. This brings the business closer to Apple, which recently became the first company to hit the $1tn milestone.

Garden centre sale

Garden centre chain Wyevale, owned by Terra Firma, has sold five sites, reports the Mail.


Brexit uncertainty holding back investment

A Lloyds Bank survey of more than 1,000 firms has found a fall in confidence in August with firms in the UK's dominant services industry the least optimistic about the coming year, with Brexit concerns highest in the wholesale, hospitality and leisure and public sectors. Business confidence fell this month by six points to 23%. Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, said: "Business confidence was resilient in the first half of the year, but has eased back recently. This reflects changes in perceptions of Brexit risks, which underscores the importance of current EU-UK negotiations."

Foreign investors ditch UK bonds at record pace

Foreign investors are turning away from UK Government bonds at a record pace as concerns grow over Brexit negotiations. Foreign investors sold a net £17.2bn of gilts in July, the biggest monthly outflow since 1982.

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