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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 7th February 2020

Posted: 7th February 2020


Nationwide to refund customers for failing to warn of overdraft charges

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ordered Nationwide to refund customers £900,000 after failing to inform them that they would be charged for using an unarranged overdraft. Under the rule, which came into force in 2018, current account customers are meant to receive a text alert that they are about to be charged for entering into an unarranged overdraft. Around 70,000 Nationwide customers were affected by the building society's latest text messages failings. The CMA said Nationwide has already “begun refunding” affected customers and has appointed an independent auditor to “review its processes.”

HSBC needs ‘leader with guts’

The Times’ Patrick Hosking says it is imperative that HSBC’s next chief executive is someone “with the appetite and strength of character to take an axe to its runaway costs and bloated bureaucracy.” Elsewhere, the Telegraph’s Ben Marlow says there have already been two big overhauls in the last decade, but HSBC is “still far too big and bloated.”

Goldman hiring more staff for Marcus

Goldman Sachs is set to hire another 65 staff and to launch a mobile app to boost its consumer lending business, Marcus, in the UK.

Ulster Bank creates new jobs

Over 100 new jobs are to be created in Belfast by Ulster Bank between now and the end of April. The roles will be in the customer contact centre, which is re-locating from south Belfast to the bank's city centre headquarters this summer.


Hedge fund Elliott builds $2.5bn SoftBank stake

Elliott Management has built a more than $2bn stake in SoftBank and is reportedly pushing for changes at the technology company to boost share price and improve governance.


Societe Generale optimistic on 2020 profitability

Societe Generale has said it expects overall profitability to improve in 2020, but there was little chance of hitting a key target of 9%-10% return on tangible equity (ROTE) it had previously set. Its 2019 ROTE was 6.2%. Net income at the investment bank increased 63% to €291m in the fourth quarter, boosted by strong rebounds in fixed-income and equity trading. However, on an annual basis the unit’s profit fell by a fifth to €958m.

Capital Group acquires Deutsche Bank stake

Capital Group has become a major shareholder in Deutsche Bank after the investment group acquired a 3.1% stake in the German bank. Deutsche Bank’s largest shareholder remains the Qatari royal family, with a combined stake worth at least 6.1%, according to the bank’s website. The next largest investor is Blackrock with 4.49%, and Hudson Executive Capital with 3.14%.

Bad loan increase hits ING

ING has reported a 29% decline in year-on-year net profit, which fell to €1.2bn (£1bn) amid a sharp increase in bad loans during the fourth quarter. ING said that new provisions for bad loans had jumped 77% to €528m. This was driven by a spike in provisions in its wholesale banking division, where they increased fivefold compared to the same quarter in 2018.

Swiss investment adviser urges Credit Suisse chair to resign

Vincent Kaufmann, head of Swiss investment adviser the Ethos Foundation, has called on Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner to step down, as a boardroom battle sparked by the bank spying on executives escalates. Rohner has been locked in a power struggle with CEO Tidjane Thiam since the revelation in September that the Swiss lender had hired a corporate espionage agency to tail a former executive after he defected to UBS.


Jaguar suspends West Midlands production

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it will partially suspend production at two of its plants in the West Midlands. Some areas of production will be halted at the Solihull plant between now and the end of March, while the Castle Bromwich plant will see suspended production on some half and full days throughout March. The group saw a 5.9% year-on-year fall in sales during 2019.

Fiat warns of coronavirus disruption

Fiat Chrysler has warned that possible disruption to Chinese factories and suppliers could result in the suspension of production at one of its European car plants within four weeks. The announcement comes as car firms have been on alert over the potential worldwide impacts of the coronavirus epidemic.


Boeing 737 Max could return to skies within weeks

Stephen Dickinson, head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), indicated that the Boeing 737 Max could be certified to return to flight within the next few weeks. But the aviation regulator said that he would not clear the aircraft, which was banned from flying in March 2019 after two separate crashes killed 346 people, until he had flown the plane himself with his family on board.


IA: UK benefited from ‘Boris bounce’

Figures from the Investment Association (IA) suggest the UK has benefited from the ‘Boris bounce’, ending the year with December inflows of £3.6bn. The net retail sales for the month were more than double the November figure and the biggest monthly inflow since January 2018, according to the figures from the IA. On an individual fund sector level, UK All Companies was the best selling for the month with £772m in net retail sales, its best performance since June 2013. It is also the first time the sector has reached the top since March 2017.

Beazley profit hurt by adverse claims

Beazley has revealed profit before tax swelled 250% to $267.7m (£206.4m) year-on-year, boosted by strong performance of Beazley’s investment assets. However, the insurer’s combined ratio hit 100% to indicate no underlying profit as the amount it paid out on claims offset any gains. Gross written premiums rose 15% to $3bn while net premiums climbed 11% to $2.5bn. Beazley saw a 261% jump in earnings per share to 35p and hiked its dividend 11% to $2.5bn.

Strong inflows for Ashmore

Ashmore said profit before tax rose 42% on strong inflows to reach £132.4m for the six months to 31 December. The emerging markets asset manager said AUM increased 28% year-on-year to $98.4bn (£76bn). The company boosted its interim dividend 5% to 4.8p off the back of the strong profit performance.

Hargreaves Lansdown co-founder to sell shares

Hargreaves Lansdown's largest investor Peter Hargreaves will reportedly sell shares worth about £500m in the investment platform via a sale to institutional investors, Barclays Bank, acting through its investment bank, is bookrunner and Numis Securities is acting as co-bookrunner on the sale.

Free trading app Robinhood takes aim at the UK

Analysts say investment app Robinhood will find it tough to crack the UK market, with rivals and regulators having toughened up since the company’s emergence in the US.

Fintech firm in Scottish push

Fintech firm FNZ has outlined plans to create as many as 200 jobs in Scotland over the next two years.


Nokia posts surprise profit

Cost-cutting helped Nokia post a surprise profit rise for the end of 2019. Net sales were flat at €6.9bn in the three months to the end of December. But the Finnish telecoms company saw a rise in underlying earnings to €0.15 per share, up from €0.13 a year ago.

Twitter tops $1bn in quarterly revenues

Twitter has increased its user base by a fifth over the past year, with its quarterly revenues topping $1bn. The social media platform said that turnover rose 11% to $1.01bn between October and December.


Great Portland Estates asserts green agenda

Great Portland Estates has pledged to boost its green credentials after agreeing a £450m financing deal linked to meeting environmental targets. The London-focused property developer will work towards creating net zero carbon new buildings from 2030 and also look to slash energy use at existing and new properties by encouraging tenants to use heating and lighting more efficiently. Targets will be measured annually and, if the firm meets expectations, the interest it pays on the five-year environmental, social and governance-linked loan, backed by Santander, NatWest, Wells Fargo and Lloyds, will be marginally lower.


Retail rebounds at start of 2020

Like-for-like retail sales increased by 5.7% in January, compared with the previous year. The boost, which has been attributed to the “Boris bounce” following the December General Election, represents the best in-store sales performance for six years. The fashion sector saw a 5.8% rise last month, after two months of falling sales, while there was an 18.8% increase in online sales.

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