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Daily News Roundup: Monday 1st October 2018

Posted: 1st October 2018


Banks urged to help more with fraud

A lack of specialist fraud investigators and banks' refusal to hand over details of suspect accounts is hampering police efforts to solve fraud cases, according to a report in the Sunday Times. Kevin Hollinrake, co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking, noted that the police "simply do not have the resources required to investigate the complex, mid-tier fraud cases. Banks need to stop hiding behind data protection rules and disclose information on fraudsters so the authorities can investigate and close them down." Separately, Paul Davis, retail fraud director at Lloyds Banking Group, has said scam texts are so sophisticated that he sometimes cannot tell if they are genuine.

Cashless revolution exaggerated

Research by the Post Office has found that despite claims of a cashless revolution, over 95% of people still carry cash, with fewer than 10% prepared to make the move solely to digital payments and online banking. Martin Kearsley, director of banking services at the Post Office, noted: "People of all ages, and in communities across the UK, continue to rely upon the flexibility cash offers alongside other forms of payment", while Ron Delnevo, executive director of the ATM Industry Association, stated that the "so-called cashless revolution was being massively exaggerated" as a result of a lobbying operations by banks as they seek to justify closing cash machines.

TSB and HSBC online apps disrupted

As IT problems continue to affect the consumer banking sector, both TSB and HSBC reported issues with their apps and Barclays had difficulties with online banking. A spokesman for HSBC said it would be "conducting an investigation" into the case, while Barclays said some customers had problems accessing online banking for approximately 30 minutes on Friday morning.

Solar panels bill for Barclays

Barclays subsidiary Barclays Partner Finance may have to pay £38.5m in compensation relating to solar panel loan mis-selling by firms that brokered its finance deals.

Decrease in global market share for British banks

The global market shares in equity capital market (ECM) trading and loan fees for UK banks have hit their lowest and second-lowest values on record respectively, according to data from Thomson Reuters. This comes as Brexit uncertainty continues to cause concern.


Private equity firms snap up public companies

With competition for assets intensifying, private equity firms are increasingly seeking to acquire public companies, with large deals this year including Blackstone's acquisition of Gramercy Property Trust and KKR's purchase of Envision Healthcare.

Food chain sold to Inverleith

Scottish private equity firm Inverleith has bought health food chain Planet Organic in a deal believed to be worth around £15m.


Bafin worried by loose lending

Bafin, Germany's financial regulator, is concerned over “loosening” lending standards by banks, with president Felix Hufeld telling Handelsblatt that some are “acting very aggressively.” He added: “If further risks arise, such as geopolitical risks or a downturn in the economy and property prices, then a perfect storm could threaten.” It is suggested that Bafin could tell banks to build extra capital reserves to guard against this. On speculation that Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank could merge, he commented: “Consolidation is an option, not a cure-all," adding: "It would be naive to believe that weak earnings can be structurally made to disappear with the wave of a magic wand."

Bank’s ex-boss has little sympathy for rogue trader

Oswald Grübel, former chief executive of UBS, has said that rogue trader Kweku Adoboli must "face the consequences" of his actions as the Ghanaian trader fights deportation from Britain.

Bank executive wins £80k after dismissal

John Marshall, a 61-year-old Commonwealth Bank of Australia executive at its office in London, has won almost £80,000 compensation after alleging ageism, racism and sex discrimination after his job was given to a woman 13 years his junior.

Lenders consider exit from UK derivatives

European banks are considering whether or not to begin closing out their derivatives positions in London ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.

Japan leads on blockchain cash transfers

Japan is to launch a domestic payments system built around blockchain technology, with three of its banks to start offering free, real-time money transfers to customers.

MEP warns that HSBC may have to withdraw from Malta

German MEP Sven Giegold has said that if Malta does not do more to confront money laundering, HSBC must pull out of its operations there. He stated: "If I don't see a change in attitude, backed up by demonstrable action, I will launch a campaign calling for HSBC to quit the island”.

Italian bank shares under pressure

A sharp drop in Italy’s sovereign debt led to Italian bank shares coming under pressure yesterday. Banca Popolare di Milano shares fell than 9%.

Australia probe finds faults due to greed and under-regulation

An interim report issued by a public inquiry into the Australian banking sector has noted evidence of greed and under-regulation.


Asian competition for British car battery factories

Chinese and Japanese battery makers BYD and Panasonic are considering opening factories in the UK to supply its electric-car market.


Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights after strike

A 24-hour walkout by pilots and cabin crew in Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Germany let to the cancellation of 250 Ryanair flights yesterday.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou claims Netflix comedy infringes his trademarks

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is claiming that Netflix comedy series Easy infringes his company’s European trademarks, calling it a “case of typically arrogant behaviour by a very large American tech company”.


Financial sector will be protected ‘whatever it takes’

City minister John Glen has said Britain will do "whatever it takes" to defend London’s place as a global financial centre against the challenges posed by Brexit. Meanwhile, the Association of Foreign Banks is pushing for tax cuts to keep the City competitive after Britain leaves the EU. This comes as reports claim BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase are poised to join Bank of America and Citigroup in quitting London for bases on the continent, while a key survey today suggests that optimism in the financial services sector fell in the third quarter as Brexit concerns increased.


Brexit warnings on City exodus wide of the mark

After earlier predictions that as many as 232,000 finance sector jobs could be lost in the UK as a result of Brexit, as few as 630 roles have so far been moved or created overseas, a Reuters study has claimed.


Inquiry launched into ‘penalty for loyalty’ practice by suppliers

An investigation by Citizens Advice has found that consumers who remain loyal to services providers for any length of time are being charged much higher bills than new customers. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is now announcing a formal probe into the ‘penalty for loyalty’ practice after a ‘super-complaint’ was brought by Citizens Advice. The combined cost of being loyal to services companies is believed to run to £4.1bn annually, or up to £877 per household.

Libor transition may see firms left behind

Francois Jourdain, a Barclays managing director and chair of the Bank of England's sterling risk-free reference rates working group, has said that a lack of awareness of the pressing need to move from Libor interest rates may result in some firms being left behind when the benchmarks become defunct.

TP Icap chairman replacement sought

Investors in TP Icap have said the likes of former London Stock Exchange chief Xavier Rolet would be an "inspirational appointment" to replace the outgoing chairman of the broker. One shareholder was quoted as saying: "As shareholders we have been pretty unimpressed by the outgoing chairman. The board has been asleep at the wheel whilst the Tullett Prebon and Icap businesses should have been integrated after merging in 2016".

Fintechs say rules exclude them from RBS funds

Digital start-ups say they have been largely frozen out of a contest for £775m of funding from RBS to boost competition in business banking. Oliver Prill, chief executive of Tide, commented: "The vast majority of fintechs have essentially been excluded from the funding. This is a once in a generation opportunity to change SME banking in the UK and open up competition. It's hard to follow why you'd design a contest where those who can bring the most competition are being frozen out."

LendingCrowd appointment

Sir Sandy Crombie, former chief executive of Standard Life, has joined Edinburgh-based fintech lender LendingCrowd’s board as chairman.

Balderton closes funding deal for start-ups, doubling profit

Venture capital firm Balderton Capital has closed a major funding deal for start-ups, while more than doubling its profits to £12.9m, with turnover increasing to more than £20m for the year ending December 2017.

London’s online trading groups hit hard by European crackdown

CFD providers are predicting the end of the good times as regulators crack down amid fears retail investors are suffering heavy losses on little-understood products.

Transaction fees take up 25% of investment costs

Research by CEM Benchmarking shows that transaction fees take up about 25% of the total cost of investing for the world's biggest asset owners.

US mortgage market in ICE crosshairs

The FT reports that Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, has nearly taken full control of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, which monitors some 30m US home loans.


Sir Martin Sorrell criticises WPP deal

Sir Martin Sorrell has told the Sunday Times that WPP’s strategy since he left the firm in April, including the sale of its stake in digital marketing company Globant, was “bordering on negligent”.

Bytedance heading for $75bn valuation

News and video-sharing app operator Bytedance is to overtake more established tech firms with a funding valuation of up to $75bn.

Sage reassesses priorities

Technology company Sage is trying to move past a difficult year by softening its focus on growth and performance and abandoning the process of ranking staff by performance.


Brexit mortgage competition

Lenders are competing on mortgage deals as they try to meet lending targets and make up for a shortage of buyers as Britain's departure from the European Union approaches. Rachel Springall of data firm Money Facts commented: "The lifeblood of these companies is lending, and this is becoming increasingly difficult for them". She continued: "This won't change. If you have that Brexit uncertainty around the corner and people are not prepared to move, you need something to entice them, so we expect these kind of deals to continue."


Selfridges boosts profits with revamp

Selfridges’ £300m revamp of its Oxford Street store has pushed profits to a record high for the fifth year in a row, defying the retail downturn. Sales at the chain increased by 11.5% to more than £1.75bn.

Greg Clark hints at business rates cut

Business rates in England could be changed to help high street retailers, Business Secretary Greg Clark has said at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference.


Newcastle bid by ex-Man Utd head Peter Kenyon

Former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is preparing a takeover bid for Newcastle United, and is believed to be working with Wall Street investment firm Rockefeller Capital Management.


More women sought for BoE posts

After criticism for a lack of diversity at the top of the Bank of England earlier this year, the Treasury is seeking female candidates for two impending vacancies on the Financial Policy Committee.

‘Collaborative solution’ required to fight financial crime

The prime minister of Latvia writes in the FT on the need to address financial crime, noting that his country and others, alongside major banks, have faced serious allegations.

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