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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 31st May 2019

Posted: 31st May 2019


HSBC set to cut investment bank jobs

HSBC is reportedly planning to cut up to 500 investment banking jobs. One source said "several hundred" bankers will be made redundant this year as part of a wider restructuring programme dubbed Project Oak. The cuts come months after Greg Guyett became the sole head of the investment bank after co-head Robin Phillips left the banking giant. Earlier this week it emerged that HSBC is planning to boost its number of wealth management staff in Asia by 300.

US law firms launch Metro Bank probes

Two more US law firms have indicated that they are investigating whether Metro Bank committed securities fraud. Pomerantz and Levi & Korinsky have launched probes into “possible violations of federal securities law” at the bank, joining Glancy Prongay & Murray, which began its investigation earlier this month. A spokesman for Metro said that some reporting of the law firms' investigations was "highly sensationalist and essentially provides free advertising to these legal firms in the US who have issued notices as a means of advertising for claimants".

Raphaels fined over service failures

Private bank Raphaels has been fined £1.89m for poor controls over its outsourcing arrangements between April 2014 and December 2016 - £775,100 by the Financial Conduct Authority and £1.1m by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Almost 3,500 customers were unable to use their prepaid cards and charge cards, while almost 5,500 customer card transactions could not be authorised.


SoftBank’s Vision Fund looks to borrow $4bn against tech stakes

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is in discussions with banks, including Goldman Sachs, to borrow $4bn against its stakes in Uber and two other Silicon Valley groups.

The surprising rise of private capital

The FT’s Gillian Tett highlights that between 2000 and 2018 the number of private equity-backed companies in America rose from less than 2,000 to nearly 8,000.


JPMorgan pays record settlement over paternity leave

A group of fathers have secured a $5m settlement with JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s failure to uphold policies giving men and women equal access to parental leave.

How Deutsche Bank is rehashing the same old mistakes

The FT’s Olaf Storbeck says Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing has failed to usher in strategic change at the bank during his time in the top job.

Irish lender Permanent TSB fined €21m after overcharging scandal

Ireland’s central bank has fined Permanent TSB €21m over an overcharging scandal, just days before outgoing governor Philip Lane moves to the European Central Bank as its chief economist.


Uber posts $1bn loss after stock market listing

Uber has posted a $1bn (£790m) loss as the taxi firm delivered its first figures since a disappointing flotation earlier this month. The quarterly loss came despite a 20% a rise in revenues to $3.1bn and increase in monthly active users to 93m. Meanwhile, Uber has partnered with US insurtech start-up Inshur to offer digital insurance for its drivers. Inshur leverages big data concerning average trips, locations and driver ratings in near real-time to calculate the price of the driver's policy.


Woodford under pressure

Fund manager Neil Woodford has come under further pressure after investor withdrawals and struggling investments knocked £560m from his main fund. Data compiled by Morningstar shows the assets in the Woodford Equity Income fund slumped to £3.77bn from £4.33bn last month. Sources close to Mr Woodford say he believes his name is "toxic" as pressure mounts for him to turn around the fortunes of Woodford Investment Management.

Scottish fintech rolls out crypto service

Edinburgh-based personal finance app Money Dashboard has rolled out a new service for cryptocurrency users. The fintech firm, which last week raised more than £2m on the opening day of its latest crowdfunding drive, has launched an integration with Coinbase to help consumers see their cryptocurrency holdings alongside their day-to-day banking accounts. Meanwhile, the number of fintech firms north of the border has trebled to 75 over the 12 months since the formation of industry organisation FinTech Scotland.

Yapily keeps them happy

Shoreditch fintech Yapily, which helps businesses connect with retail banks through Open Banking APIs, has closed $5.4m (£4.3m) in seed funding, led by King’s Cross-based venture capital firm Localglobe and HZ Holtzbrinck Ventures. The founders of Transferwise and C-suite executives from Twilio and Unicredit also contributed.


Daily Mail parent’s shares rise most since 2012 on upbeat results

Daily Mail and General Trust's adjusted underlying pre-tax profits hit £100m in the year to the end of March - up 19%. Media business revenues hit £343m, up 3%.


Using Help to Buy at the wrong time can cost thousands

Users of the Help to Buy scheme could be paying up to £4,800 more than necessary for their property – by buying at the wrong time, consumer website MoneySavingExpert says. The scheme offers a five-year interest-free loan, after which homeowners are charged 1.75% in interest, rising each year by one percentage point plus RPI. But interest charges start to accrue the April after the interest-free period expires, meaning those buying at the end of the calendar year will be charged interest more quickly.

US buyers flock to London property

Buying agent Black Brick says that the number of Americans looking to buy expensive property in central London has soared, accounting for nearly a third of the firm's clients in the year to June. US buyers are taking advantage of a 40% discount on top-of-the-market prices, with prime London property prices down 15-20% and the value of the pound dropping.


Watch retailer valued at £647m

Watches of Switzerland bucked the trend of the UK’s troubled consumer sector by pricing its shares at the upper end of its target range on its market debut yesterday. The luxury watch retailer floated at 270p and closed at 306p, giving the company a valuation of £647m.


Orderly Brexit could support interest rate rise

The deputy governor of the Bank of England has said interest rates would need to rise if Britain leaves the European Union with a transition deal - in an orderly manner. Dave Ramsden said: “If we get a smooth Brexit with a transition deal… I expect growth to pick up, leading to excess demand and building domestic inflationary pressure, so that further monetary tightening is appropriate to maintain monetary stability.” But Sir Dave also suggested economic growth could be slower than forecast by the BoE because of weaker productivity growth and sluggish business investment.

Yorkshire business confidence bucks trend

Business confidence in Yorkshire and the Humber rose five points to 23% in May, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. In contrast, the UK average dipped to 10%.


De La Rue profits down as boss quits

Pre-tax profits at banknote printer De La Rue have fallen to £25.5m for the year ended March 31, down from £113.6m the prior year. Its revenue from customer contracts rose 14% to £564.8m from £493.9m, though net debt rose to £107.5m in 2019, from £49.9m a year earlier. Chief executive Martin Sutherland has also announced that he will be stepping down from the firm.

CBI warns of no-deal damage

The Confederation of British Industry has warned Conservative leadership candidates over leaving the EU without a deal. In an open letter to all the MPs running to lead the party, the CBI said a no-deal scenario would do "severe" damage to businesses, especially smaller firms.

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