LGIM to vote against Metro Bank’s Hill
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) has said it will vote against the re-election of Metro Bank chairman Vernon Hill at the bank’s AGM on Tuesday, amid rising corporate governance concerns. LGIM is Metro’s biggest European shareholder. However, Mr Hill has insisted he is “committed to the future of Metro Bank.” Meanwhile, Metro has said it is cutting its links with the architecture firm owned by Mr Hill’s wife amid criticism over £25m worth of payments made by the lender to the business. In a prospectus published on Friday the bank said it has decided to end the relationship with InterArch by the end of next year. Separately, the Times reports that Metro has paid £13m in fees to bankers and other advisers for its £375m capital raising, which it launched after its shares lost three quarters of their value this year. Elsewhere, the Sunday Telegraph’s Lucy Burton looks at some of the highs and lows Metro has experienced since it was founded nine years ago. She says Metro insiders have voiced concern over Mr Hill’s “autocratic rule,” while analysts have suggested poor corporate governance standards need to be overhauled.
Banks facing big bill to tackle debt advice shortfall
Sir Hector Sants, chairman of the Money and Pensions Service (Maps), has warned banks and other credit providers that they face an increase of up to £100m in the levy they pay to fund advice services for people who get into debt difficulties. Sir Hector says every person who wanted it should have access to free impartial debt advice. He said that the levy and Fair Share, another scheme financed by banks, together produced about £80m debt advice but "probably another £100m" was needed.
Sub-postmasters warn of network closures
The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters has warned that many of its 8,000 members have reported such significant drops in income that up to 2,500 sub-post offices are at risk of closure. A survey found that 22% intend to scale back or shut their branches in the next year, with those in rural locations most at risk. The federation has called on the government to prevent a "mass exodus" of sub-postmasters by guaranteeing to continue subsidies to branches beyond 2021, return some government services to post office branches and develop a broader range of banking and other financial products for them to offer.
Lloyds to build Edinburgh tech hub
Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to create 500 high-skilled jobs over the next 18 months at a new digital tech hub in Edinburgh. The bank has started recruiting software engineers and data scientists for the hub, which will be based at its Scottish Widows' headquarters.
Barclays and Co-op Bank held takeover discussions
The Sunday Telegraph reveals that Co-op Bank approached Barclays late last year about a potential takeover but talks did not progress beyond the exploratory stage.
Starling’s Anne Boden interviewed
The Times interviews Anne Boden, founder of app-based bank Starling. She argues that the difference between her bank and mainstream banks is that Starling offers lower or non-existent charges for things such as overdrafts and foreign transactions, clear visuals showing how and where customers are spending money, and tools and graphics to help users save more money.
Bankers creating ‘toxic’ culture for women
The daughter of one of Britain's richest men has accused bankers of creating a "toxic culture" for women in business. Shanu Hinduja, whose father, Sri, and uncle Gopi, head the latest Sunday Times Rich List, said female entrepreneurs were frozen out by a "deeply patriarchal" system that often refused to fund their ventures. Shanu, 55, who is the chairwoman of Hinduja Bank, said women “are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system."
Monzo hits 2m milestone
Monzo's current account is set to surpass 2m customers today, as it races to catch up with rival Revolut’s 4m users. Monzo said the figure means 3% of the UK is now signed up to the bank, less than 18 months since it first launched its current account in October 2017.
FCA boss attacked for not probing whistleblower case
A whistleblower has criticised Financial Conduct Authority head Andrew Bailey for failing to investigate her complaints against Lloyds Banking Group, despite his assurances about the seriousness of the case.
British Steel owner blasted for French deal
Greybull Capital, owner of British Steel, has come in for criticism for pumping £42m into a French steelworks whilst at the same time seeking a government bailout to save its Scunthorpe plant.
Canada pension plan chief warns over illiquid private assets
The head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has warned that investors are becoming too exposed to private assets which may prove difficult to sell in the event of a downturn.
Trump and Kushner finances led to suspicious activity alerts
According to the New York Times, financial dealings by legal entities that were controlled by Donald Trump and Jared Kushner from 2016 to 2017 triggered suspicious activity alerts at Deutsche Bank. Former Deutsche employees told the paper that, while in the team combating money laundering, they were alerted to possible illicit activity, and advised notifying the federal government.
‘Site checks’ warning as Ireland and Luxembourg probe local entities
Regulators in Ireland and Luxembourg will review asset management companies in their jurisdictions to ensure they have sufficient substance and are not operating as letterbox entities.
Easyjet suffers worst winter losses
Easyjet has plunged to the worst winter losses in its near-25-year history amid Brexit uncertainty, a tough competitive market and rising fuel costs. In the half year to the end of March, the airline reported a £275m loss compared with £18m in the same period in 2017-18.
Lloyd's expects survey to foster inclusive culture
Lloyd’s of London has said a confidential market-wide survey to be carried out by the Banking Standards Board will help to foster “an inclusive and innovative culture” at the insurance market. Lloyd’s said the BSB had developed “robust” questions to help it better understand what is working – and what can be improved. Separately, Lloyd’s members have settled a decade-long legal battle in America over alleged price-fixing. Thirteen insurance syndicates have agreed to pay $22m (£17m) and reform their business practices to end the dispute over claims of collusion on prices.
FCA investigations into City directors rise sharply
The Financial Conduct Authority is investigating 58 directors of City firms as of December 2018, compared with 24 in 2016, amid rising complaints about ‘non financial’ behaviour at insurers and banks.
Fintechs raise millions
London-based fintech Wagestream has closed a £15m series A funding round, co-led by venture capital investors Balderton Capital and Northzone. Elsewhere, business payments disruptor Modulr has secured £14m in scale-up funding to accelerate development of its payments platform, expand into new markets and boost headcount at its offices, including its Edinburgh hub.
Provident facing pay revolt
Advisory group ISS has told Provident Financial investors to vote against the pay report at its annual meeting on Tuesday, because bonuses are not “fully aligned with performance”.
JPMorgan buys healthcare payment firm InstaMed for over $500m
JPMorgan Chase has reportedly agreed to purchase healthcare payments and billing processor InstaMed for over $500m, the bank’s biggest acquisition since the height of the financial crisis.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
Citigroup warns Thomas Cook shares are 'worthless'
Thomas Cook’s shares fell by 40% on Friday after Citigroup said they were worthless. The bank produced a research note advising investors to sell shares in the tour operator, which reported a £1.5bn loss last week following a drop in holiday bookings. Thomas Cook has moved to reassure customers that their summer holidays will go ahead as planned amid fears that the company could collapse.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Netflix takes chunk of Pinewood studios
Netflix has reportedly stuck a deal to lease a third of the space at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, with estimates suggesting it will spend £6m a year on the new production facilities.
NME sold to Singapore’s BandLab
The NME brand has been sold to BandLab, a Singapore technology start-up which provides music composition software.
More workers move into professional roles
Higher numbers of highly-paid managers and professionals are pushing up the average salary as more workers move into top jobs, according to the ONS. Figures show more than 2.5m people now work as managers, directors, senior officials, professionals and in technical jobs, with these roles making up more than three quarters of the rise in employment and helping drive pay growth to more than 3% in the past year.
House prices rise
The average UK house price has risen to £308,290 - £2,841 or 0.9% higher than in April - according to figures from Rightmove. The average price of a house new to market in London is £621,589, up 1.2% from April but down 2.5% from 12 months ago.
Value of retail landlords plummets
Britain’s biggest retail landlords, Land Securities, British Land, Hammerson and Intu, have all reported losses of more than £100m in their latest results, wiping £3bn off their valuations.
Business investment may be stronger than thought
A senior Bank of England official has suggested levels of business investment in Britain could be stronger than they appear, because official measures underestimate spending on intangible assets such as software, data and branding. Jonathan Haskel, an external member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee, said that although a slowdown in business investment in the UK has been linked to Brexit uncertainty, weaknesses began to appear before the referendum and “intangibles appear to be part of the story.”
Inflation back up
ONS figures due out on Wednesday are expected to show inflation has climbed back above the Bank of England's 2% target, paving the way for a potential interest rate hike. Economists expect inflation to have jumped from 1.9% to 2.2% in April due to an increase in the energy price cap.