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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 5th April 2019

Posted: 5th April 2019


Co-operative Bank eyeing second round of RBS competition fund

The Co-operative Bank, which has 85,000 SME business accounts, has turned its attention to the second round of the £775m RBS competition fund grants. Donald Kerr, the Co-operative Bank’s new managing director of SME banking, acknowledged the bank's disappointment on missing out in the first round , adding that it has had to “defer” a number of plans as a result. Mr Kerr said Pool B of the RBS fund - which will see one £50m and two £15m grants awarded - would help the bank focus on “making it easier for customers to do business”. The Co-operative plans to invest in its digital services enabling businesses to check invoices, pay bills and file tax returns through one platform.

Gender pay gap narrows at Monzo

The gender pay gap at Monzo is shrinking fast. Women employees at the challenger bank were paid 14% less than men in 2018 - a drop from 48% in 2017.


Unicredit waiting in the wings for Commerzbank

Italian lender Unicredit is waiting to strike a rival bid for Commerzbank should Deutsche Bank's merger talks fail. Deutsche has reportedly struggled in discussions and Italy’s second-biggest bank is planning to buy a large stake in Commerzbank and, under its ownership, merge it with another German lender.

HSBC hunting for new assets chief

HSBC has appointed headhunters to search for a replacement for current HSBC Global Asset Management chief Sridhar Chandrasekharan. The successor, who would be based in Hong Kong, is likely to come from outside the HSBC group.

Hong Kong regulator recommends cap on margin financing

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission is aiming to crack down on margin finance following a number of high-profile collapses in the share prices of traded companies.

Tradeweb IPO delivers $1bn bounty for Wall Street

Eight Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Barclays have shared in a $1.1bn bounty after Tradeweb Markets, the fixed-income and derivatives platform, made a strong debut on Nasdaq.

Japan’s Nomura to cut $1bn in costs and shut 20% of branches

Nomura is to slash $1bn in costs and close at least 30 of its 156 domestic retail branches after suffering heavy losses in the nine months to December 2018.

JP Morgan chief attacks socialism

JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon has attacked socialism in his annual letter to shareholders, saying it produces “stagnation, corruption and often worse”.


New car sales down amid Brexit uncertainty

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned that the continuing Brexit uncertainty and lingering confusion over diesel policies are taking their toll on the market. New car registrations dropped by 3.4% in March and SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “March is a key barometer for the new car market, so this fall is of clear concern.” Meanwhile, a report by the SMMT predicts self-driving cars could bring £62bn into the UK economy by 2030, but only if the UK agrees a favourable Brexit deal.

Drop in deliveries sends Tesla shares down

Tesla's share price fell nearly 9% after the electric carmaker warned on profits following a 31% drop in vehicle deliveries during Q1. The company said it had delivered 63,000 vehicles in the first three months of 2019, down more than 30% from 90,966 in the prior quarter and well below analysts' consensus of 71,350. Tesla blamed problems with shipments to Europe and China.


Intu finance boss confirmed as CEO

Shopping centre-owner Intu Properties has confirmed that Matthew Roberts, its chief financial officer since 2010, is taking over as chief executive from the end of the month.


Saga cuts dividend after bumper writedown

Over-50s travel and insurance firm Saga is more than halving its dividend following a £134.6m loss - sending its share price down over one third. Saga blamed a combination of “margin pressures and other factors" and said it was writing down £310m of goodwill ahead of expected underlying profits for 2019-20 of between £105m and £120m - down significantly from £180.3m in its latest result. However, CEO Lance Batchelor defended tearing up his previous strategy, saying he had "strong board support" to stay in the role and see the new plan through. The Times’ Ben Martin notes that Saga is one of a series of companies that were bought by private equity firms in the 2000s and then burned investors once they came to the stock market and the owners sold out.

Car insurance premiums fall ahead of whiplash reforms

Reforms to whiplash insurance payouts have helped to push down car insurance premiums in the past three months, according to Comparethemarket. The price comparison website found the average car insurance premium in December last year was £790 but has since fallen to £690. The new legislation will not come into force until April 2020 but according to Comparethemarket, insurers have already started to reduce premiums in anticipation of lower payouts.

Report backs expanding charity dormant-assets scheme

A scheme to reallocate dormant assets to charitable causes could be extended to the investment and wealth management sector following the publication of a government-commissioned report. It found that extending the scheme to other financial services, including the insurance and pensions sector, could "significantly expand the money available to good causes".

GAM to shake up board

Asset manager GAM has proposed that three women - former Syz Asset Management boss Katia Choudray, ex-Janus Henderson general counsel Jacqui Irvine and former AIG vice president Monika Machon - be elected to its board to replace Diego du Monceau, Ezra Field and Monica Machler. The money manager saw a large outflow of assets last year following the suspension of star fund manager Tim Haywood, who was sacked in February for "gross misconduct" relating to risk management and record-keeping issues.

Fintech worth £7bn to UK

The Telegraph’s Hot 100 supplement highlights the growth of the UK’s fintech sector. Figures from TheCityUK released this year suggest the industry is now worth £7bn to the UK, employing around 60,000 people.


Tighter rules proposed to stop tech giants snapping up start-ups

A research paper from the European Commission has concluded that US technology giants should be subject to stricter merger controls to block them from snapping up promising European start-ups and stifling competition. The paper calls for rules to cover the likes of Facebook and Amazon that imply a “heightened degree of control of acquisitions of small start-ups by dominant platforms”. The report also suggested changing the revenue threshold for mergers and buyouts of European tech companies so that more deals would be scrutinised by the regulator.

Snapchat expected to lose UK users

Analysts have predicted Snapchat's UK user base will decline for the first time in its history in 2019. This year 14m people in the UK will use Snapchat, down by 2.3% from last year, market research company eMarketer has claimed.


IMF waves red flag at overseas buyers

The IMF has suggested that Britain should consider imposing tougher mortgage limits and using deterrents against overseas buyers of UK property to prevent a housing bubble. In its second major study of house price risks in a year, the watchdog warned that property markets are increasingly correlated across countries, creating a potential weak spot in the global economy.


AO World spends millions on Brexit stockpiling

Online electrical retailer AO World has spent £15m on Brexit stockpiling, such as washing machines and ovens sourced from outside the UK, and expects to take a £2.5m hit this year as a result of changes made by returning chief executive John Roberts.


Spurs net record profits

Tottenham Hotspur have recorded the largest ever annual profit for a football club. Pre-tax profits in the year to June 30 2018 were £138.9m, beating the previous record of £125m made by Liverpool last season.

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