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Daily News Roundup: Monday 12th March 2018

Posted: 12th March 2018


UBS to move London jobs to Europe

UBS says it will relocate London staff to EU offices including Frankfurt, warning that the lack of a Brexit transition deal will result in “significant changes” to its operations. The Swiss bank said it is expecting to merge its UK entity with its German-headquartered European bank ahead of the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019.

Ringfence at Barclays approved by High Court

The High Court has approved the ringfencing of Barclays’ day-to-day banking activities, with the lender becoming the first to obtain such approval. Geoffrey Vos, chancellor of the High Court, dismissed worries that the new structure could adversely affect members of Barclays’ pension scheme. Other lenders including Lloyds and HSBC are to have their ringfencing proposals examined by the High Court in the coming months.

New credit cards offer from Cashplus

Cashplus will offer small businesses credit cards as it seeks to enter the SME banking market, according to founder and chief executive Rich Wagner. Customers can apply online or via mobile app, while the firm plans to create 400 jobs over the next five years.


Equistone raises €2.8bn in four months

Equistone Partners has raised €2.8bn from investors in four months, its largest ever fundraising. The latest flagship fund is almost 40% larger than its predecessor, receiving demand of almost €4bn.


Blankfein to step down from Goldman

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, is planning to step down as soon as the end of 2018, according to reports. One of the firm’s two co-presidents, David Solomon and Harvey Schwartz, is expected to succeed him. However, Mr Blankfein has played down the reports.

Senior managers at Deutsche Bank go without

Following Deutsche Bank‘s €497m (£442m) loss for 2017, the firm’s most senior managers will forgo their bonuses for a third consecutive year. Investors have requested that chief executive John Cryan cut costs. Meanwhile, the bank’s bonus pool for 2017 will be above €2bn (£1.78bn).

Pekao considers UK expansion

Bank Pekao is looking at expanding into Britain, including opening an office and a digital bank as it seeks to attract custom from the million Polish nationals living in the UK.

UBS banned from sponsoring initial public offerings for 18 months

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has banned UBS from sponsoring IPOs for 18 months, following an inquiry into its role in certain listings.

Error sees BNP Paribas fail to book trades in Germany

A systems upgrade error by BNP Paribas prevented the firm from correctly booking structured-products trades in Germany for a week, with thousands of trades potentially affected.


Ryanair exchange rate criticised

Consumer group Which? has found when Ryanair converts fares into pounds it is using a poor rate that costs passengers more. Rory Boland, of Which?, advised: "Don't accept Ryanair's offer to convert payment. If you have to pay in euros, let your bank make the conversion to pounds."

Wizz Air spreads its wings

By February, Wizz Air had increased capacity by more than a fifth year on year, serving 29.1m passengers. This represented 25% more than a year earlier.


Construction output falls

ONS data shows that UK construction output fell at the fastest annual pace since March 2013 in January, with output down 3.9% year-on year and 3.4% between December and January - the largest month-on-month decline since June 2012. The month saw big declines in private commercial construction work, as well as in private housing.

MP: Persimmon bonuses ‘impossible to justify'

Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, has described the large bonuses at Persimmon as “impossible to justify”. In a letter to Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, who last month demanded an inquiry into the bonuses at Persimmon, Labour MP Ms Reeves said executive pay has been of concern to her “for some time.”

SIG sacks staff over accounting irregularities

Building supplies company SIG has sacked "a number" of employees, following the uncovering of accounting irregularities. SIG revealed on February 1 that an investigation found it had overstated its 2016 profits by up to £3.7m because rebates from suppliers were booked incorrectly, “in some cases intentionally”. It had also overstated profits by £400,000 in 2015 and by £2.5m in the first half of 2017.


FCA chief says Presidents Club a wake-up call for financial services

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Andrew Bailey has said that Britain's finance industry requires a cultural overhaul, in the wake of fresh revelations about gender pay gaps and the recent Presidents Club scandal. The regulator is to release a discussion paper on how bankers and investors behaviour can be changed in the City.

Up to half a million PPI victims denied payouts

Up to half a million victims of the PPI mis-selling scandal may have been cheated out of compensation by the Financial Ombudsman Service, according to reports. An investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches found that some employees relied on Google to find out about the financial products they were meant to be dealing with.

Amex to woo retailers with biggest fee cut in 20 years

American Express is to reduce the fees it charges retailers and other businesses in a bid to get more outlets to accept its credit cards.

£500m float for AJ Bell

Investment platform AJ Bell has appointed advisers to pursue a listing on the LSE, with a valuation of more than £500m expected. The company’s revenues grew 17% last year to £75.6m.

Creechurch Capital criticised by regulator

Following claims by a whistleblower that Creechurch Capital, part of the financial group led by investor Doug Barrowman, falsified client records, a regulator has criticised the company for "misleading or deceptive" practice.

Thorburn resigns from Prudential Regulation Committee

David Thorburn, former executive director at Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank, has stepped down ahead of schedule from the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Committee, "with a view to returning to the private sector".

Generous EIS schemes see end to tax breaks

From as early as next week, investors are to be banned from receiving generous tax breaks for low-risk business investments via tax-efficient schemes, with popular funds benefitting before the deadline.


Opcapita acquires Sebeto

Opcapita has announced the acquisition of Sebeto Group, owner of the Rossopomodoro pizza chain, from Change Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum, with Roberto Colombo, former chief operating officer of Autogrill, becoming chief executive of Sebeto.


C4 to move hundreds of staff out of London

Channel 4 has agreed a deal with the government that will see hundreds of the broadcaster’s employees move out of London and create a "national HQ" in another city. Channel 4 has laid out a plan to move 300 of its 800 staff next year. At present it has about 30 staff outside London. Next month it will invite pitches from UK cities to host its second HQ, as part of a plan expected to be approved by the government.

Presenters on course to sue BBC

A High Court bid to force the BBC to pay towards presenters’ tax bills is due to start within days, the Sun reports. The paper says eleven celebrity agencies are funding the case. The presenters say the corporation should pay tax bills from HMRC because they were pressed into setting up personal service companies and the BBC failed in its duty to explain the risks.


Average landlord made £87k gain on 2017 sales

Analysis by Countrywide has found that the average landlord who sold a rental property in 2017 did so for £86,651 more than they paid for it. It was shown that 88% of landlords saw sale prices higher than their purchase price, with 14% doubling their money – with this up to 28% in London. London landlords made the most, with average gains of £253,981, while at the opposite end of the scale those in North East England made £23,874 on top of the price they had paid

Manchester Arena sold

Secure Income Reit, an investment firm set up by property mogul Nick Leslau, has snapped up Manchester Arena as part of a £224m package of properties from investment group Mansford. Secure Income has also bought 59 hotels let to Travelodge for £212m from a consortium of investors including Goldman Sachs.


Farfetch ready for £4bn listing

Luxury fashion website Farfetch is preparing for a stock exchange listing expected to value it at over £4bn. The FT reports that Farfetch has appointed bankers from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to work on a US listing. The firm is also set to unveil a partnership with Harvey Nichols today.

Activist investor out of step

Colin Temple, CEO of Schuh, has dismissed the prospect of the footwear retailer being sold off, despite its US parent facing pressure from an activist investor to offload the business.


Consumers alter purchasing routines

A new survey has found that 54% of people have altered their purchasing routines, while 60% have also changed their eating or going out habits, since the start of 2018. Of those who have changed their spending habits, a third (34%) have reduced spending on clothes and personal care items, and a fifth (20%) are turning to voucher codes and discount websites, according to Lloyds Bank's spending power report. The average consumer tightening their belts claims to have reduced their spending by £21.53 a week since the start of the year. Meanwhile, separate data from Visa showed a 1.1% year-on-year decline in consumer spending last month, following on from a 1.2% fall in January. Consumer spending has now declined for all but one of the past 10 months. The Visa UK consumer spending index shows Britons have been in “belt-tightening mode” since last summer, according to Mark Antipof, Visa's chief commercial officer.

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