Rural communities urged to campaign for better banking
The Telegraph’s Adam Williams talks to the people of Hawes in Yorkshire who fought back after the town lost its two bank branches, a Barclays and an HSBC. A campaign resulted in Newcastle Building Society opening a branch last week while Barclays was persuaded to leave the cash machine outside its former branch. In the same paper, Ross Clark, the author of The War Against Cash says that lobbyists for a cashless economy know abolishing physical money would earn fintechs billions in payment fees. The lack of cash machines for those in rural areas should ring alarm bells for a government committed to “levelling up” the regions, says Clark, who demands the government puts “out a universal service obligation on the banks to provide us with free access to our cash.” Elsewhere, the Herald reports that Scots are paying £9.5m a year to access their cash from ATMs.
Barclays bends to demands on fossil fuels
Following rising threats of an investor revolt Barclays is to draw up stricter rules on financing the oil industry. The bank has promised to engage with shareholders seeking to force it to stop financing projects that are not aligned with the Paris climate agreement. Separately, Barclays is set to close 20 branches over a 13-week period after it announces annual profits of £6bn on Thursday. The rise in profits from £5.7bn the previous year has been driven by an uptick in the investment bank's performance. Meanwhile, campaigners against deforestation have said HSBC had failed to cut funding to companies engaged in the destruction of rain forests despite a pledge in 2017 to sever ties with unethical palm oil producers.
Bankers risk investor ire over pay
With banks required to report on how much their bosses will earn if they hit targets they are likely to face shareholder anger this spring when they publish their annual reports. The Times suggests Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays and António Horta-Osório, CEO at Lloyds, could each earn about £10m, while Alison Rose, the new boss at Royal Bank of Scotland, could receive about £5m. Separately, Mr Horta-Osório could be facing a £1m pay cut as the bank considers replacing its LTIP bonus scheme with one that pays out a set number of shares. Separately, a survey conducted by the Unite union has found that nearly 30% of Lloyds Bank staff are struggling financially, with 3.6% saying they faced serious difficulties. Nearly 50% of respondents said they feared losing their job.
RBS to announce rise in profits
Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to say on Friday that its profits rose 20.4% last year to £4bn and will likely declare a dividend of 23.17p per share, compared with just 3.5p last year. CEO Alison Rose is expected to announce a raft of cost cutting measures when she presents the bank’s results.
MPs urge FCA to help mortgage prisoners
MPs from the Conservatives and Labour will lobby the Financial Conduct Authority this week to encourage the regulator to do more to help 170,000 borrowers stuck on high interest rates. The prisoners are barred from switching under tougher affordability rules despite being up to date with repayments.
Virgin’s new savings account for the hard up
Virgin Money is to launch a new bank account for people with poor credit histories in the spring, with credit cards expected to include a new feature allowing customers to pay for large purchases in instalments.
Digital banks have poor service record
The Times reports on the increasing number of complaints sent to the paper about digital banks, with criticisms over poor communication and difficulties accessing funds. The Financial Ombudsman Service had considered 190 complaints about Revolut and 140 about Monzo as of September last year, the paper notes.
Starling raises £60m to spread wings
Starling Bank has raised £60m in a deal led by Merian Global Investors. CEO Anne Boden said the cash will help with expansion in Ireland and continental Europe.
Elliott’s $2.5bn gamble that SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son will play ball
Activist investor Elliott Management has put pressure on SoftBank after acquiring a $2.5bn stake, demanding a share buyback, greater transparency and governance changes.
Private equity and Britain’s care home crisis
The FT takes a long look at the role of private equity in the social care industry; even PE veterans such as Jon Moulton are calling for reforms.
Thiam resigns over spying scandal
Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Credit Suisse, is to step down months after it emerged that two former employees of the Zurich-based bank had been placed under surveillance. Mr Thiam said he had no knowledge of the spying but acknowledged the scandal "undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place." Thomas Gottstein, the head of Credit Suisse's domestic business in Switzerland, will take over as chief executive.
The rise of group microcredit firm Ujjivan
The Economist tracks the growth of microfinance unit Ujjivan which now has 552 branches in India and phenomenal returns. The Economist says with much of the rest of India’s financial system “in a slow-boil crisis” Ujjivan’s success is at least one bright spot.
Kia in electric car push
Kia has said it is aiming to sell 33% of its pure electric or hybrid vehicles in Britain, nearly three times what the UK trade is forecasting. The move comes off the back of the announcement by the UK government that it plans to ban the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines from 2035.
ADS seeks cash to develop green flights
Aerospace trade body ADS is calling on the government to provide more funds to help the industry "invest in innovation" and "put the UK at the leading edge of the electric age of flight".
Bellway builds 6.3% more homes
Bellway says it built a record number of homes in the six months to the end of January. The housebuilder said that 5,321 homes were finished in the half - a 6.3% rise on the year before.
FCA in funds transparency drive
The Sunday Times’ Holly Thomas highlights new Financial Conduct Authority rules requiring fund houses to make clear which funds offer good value - and which don’t. Asset managers have now started to publish their reviews, which the FCA says must address quality of service, performance, costs, economies of scale, comparable market rates, comparable services and classes of units. The regulator does not, however, compel asset managers to flag these documents to consumers - only that they should be "made available and published".
Chase de Vere advisers earning more than FTSE bosses
An investigation by the Times has found that advisers at Chase de Vere, which manages £10bn for about 16,000 savers across Britain, are earning more than some FTSE 100 bosses as a result of the high fees charged for selling pensions and investments to savers. The paper questions the industry’s culture, with the compounding of fee rates decimating client profits and customers paying for guidance on investments which do not necessarily serve their long-term interests.
Financial services key as UK reasserts itself on world stage
Writing in City AM, William Russell, the lord mayor of London, calls on the government to prioritise the financial services sector as talks with the EU and other countries get under way. He talks about potential partnerships with Gulf states on green finance and the opportunity to work with old friends and new on the world stage “in a way that ensures the UK's financial services sector can continue its global success story for decades to come.”
Deadline to rescue Woodford portfolio fails
The Sunday Times reports that a £550m deal to rescue a portfolio of Neil Woodford’s stakes in biotech start-ups has collapsed. WG Partners had been attempting to assemble a group of international investors to save most of Woodford’s illiquid holdings and return money to investors trapped in his equity income fund in the process. But the boutique investment bank is understood to have missed the deadline to complete the deal.
Santander fintech guru trades punk rock for asset management
The FT profiles Santander AM’s Mariano Belinky, who joined soon after the bank brought its asset management unit back in house. Mr Belinky outlines his strategy and the advantages of the funds being bank-owned.
Payments groups join forces to survive
The FT reports on consolidation in the payments services industry, noting fears in the sector that the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple could skirt current global payment systems entirely.
KKR mulls NMC Health bid
US private equity giant KKR is reportedly in talks with NMC Health about a £2bn plus takeover of the hospital operator.
LEISURE & HOSPITALITY
Tui sells off its cruises business
Tui has sold its cruises business to a joint venture it already owns with Royal Caribbean. Selling Hapag-Lloyd Cruises into the joint venture netted the holiday firm £594m which it will spend improving its online operations and further tapping into the luxury cruise market.
Germany’s industrial output tumbles
German industrial output suffered its sharpest fall in more than a decade in December, with production down 3.5% in the month. Analysts had forecast a drop of 0.2%.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
William Hill close to US media deal
William Hill is close to signing a media deal with CBS Sports, owned by ViacomCBS, in a move that will give the bookmaker access to millions of potential customers in America.
House price growth fastest in two years
UK house prices are rising at their fastest annual rate for nearly two years, jumping 4.1% year-on-year in January, according to Halifax. From December, prices rose 0.4%, and climbed 2.3% on a quarterly basis, Halifax’s house price index revealed.
Retailers shut stores amid coronavirus fears
British fashion retailer Burberry has temporarily closed 24 of its 64 Chinese stores as demand for luxury goods plummets amid the coronavirus outbreak. On average, Chinese spending accounts for around 40% of luxury retail sales. Other brands to have closed stores in the region as a result of the virus include Estee Lauder, Michael Kors, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Nike and Apple.
New finance chief for M&S food
Former N Brown finance boss Craig Lovelace has been drafted in to help Marks & Spencer’s food division as the retailer fights against declining sales. Lovelace replaces Nick Hewitt, who is understood to have helped with the search.
Premier League hatches streaming plan
The Premier League is planning a Netflix-style streaming service to broadcast matches direct to consumers, CEO Richard Masters has said. Eventually, the Premier League will move to a mix of direct consumer and media rights sales, he added.
Q4 figures expected to show zero growth
Fourth quarter growth for 2019 was zero, ONS statistics are expected to reveal on Tuesday. The estimate will leave full-year GDP growth at 1.3%, down 0.1% on 2018's growth rate. It is the lowest growth seen since 2009. The uncertainty surrounding Britain's future relationship with the EU is blamed for the weak GDP figures but analysts say post-election optimism should be maintained throughout 2020.
Business activity leaps in the capital
New purchasing managers' index figures from NatWest and IHS Markit show London businesses recorded the strongest output growth of any region in the UK in January, rising from 51.6 in December to 56.5 - the sharpest rise in private sector output for 33 months.
Former Pimco boss goes to prison
Douglas Hodge, the former chief of investment giant Pimco, has been sentenced to nine months in prison for paying bribes of $850,000 to get four of his children into elite universities.