Barclays chief’s penalty leads to criticism of regulators
Barclays will avoid any sanctions by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority after the regulators decided to fine chief executive Jes Staley for trying to unmask a whistleblower. Mary Inman, a lawyer at Constantine Cannon who represents whistleblowers, commented: “Jes Staley has flouted two of the key stop-guard measures regulators put in place to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. The response to not take action against the bank and to fine Jes Staley an unspecified amount feels very weak.”
Investor anger at Metro Bank
After new details emerged about corporate expenses at Metro Bank, investor anger is increasing over chairman Vernon Hill’s use of company money to fund his lifestyle. It is reported that Mr Hill uses a £120,000-a-year company expense account to fly him and his wife by private jet from their home in Pennsylvania to London, and rent a Park Lane flat.
Charles Donald to head UKGI selling down of 71% RBS stake
UK Government Investments has appointed Charles Donald as head of its financial institutions group. Mr Donald will be responsible for managing and selling down the government's 71% stake in RBS. Separately, the Liberal Democrats are expected to support calls for "collective banking hubs" to address ongoing concern at RBS branch closures across Scotland.
B&B mortgages to be sold off by Treasury
Taxpayers will be a step closer to recouping money spent on bank bailouts, with the government close to finalising the sale of most of Bradford & Bingley's mortgage book.
JP Morgan comes in last with Charter commitment
JP Morgan will be the last big investment bank to sign the government-backed Women In Finance Charter which commits companies to achieving gender balance at all levels in their hierarchy. JP Morgan told the Sunday Times that it was in talks with the Treasury about joining and that it intended to be in the next round of signatories.
Savers missing out on £1bn
The Bank of England has said that failure to switch accounts from high street lenders to more generous smaller banks is costing savers £1bn per year, with Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland controlling 70% of the personal current account market.
Analysts say Lloyds on course for profit rise
Analysts at UBS believe Lloyds Banking Group is on course to post another rise in profits on Wednesday, predicting a 9% increase in underlying pre-tax profits to £2.3bn for the three months to 31 March, with bottom line profits up 40% at £1.8bn.
Rates cut on key accounts at Lloyds
Lloyds Banking Group is reducing the rates of two key current accounts by 25% while increasing packaged bank account fees from 1 July. The firm did not explain these and other changes, saying that it regularly reviews its accounts.
TSB completes migration from Lloyds
TSB will finally complete a computer migration from former owner Lloyds Banking Group today. Management had previously spoken of potential cost savings of £100m annually from using their own platform.
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Open banking opportunity for Clydesdale owner
CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, plans to help customers link their various bank accounts in one place via a smartphone app.
Coventry Building Society names Garry Hoffman as chairman
Garry Hoffman is to become chairman of Coventry Building Society, eight years after leaving his post as head of Northern Rock.
Young’s bid considered by Bonmarche owner
Sun Capital Partners, owner of women's fashion chain Bonmarche, is believed to be considering a bid for British frozen food firm Young's Seafood.
Deutsche Bank advises investors to look beyond figures
A new study by Deutsche Bank reveals that ethical investors make greater profits than those who place less emphasis on environmental, social and governance issues. The lender’s Markus Müller, Enrico Börger and Michele Bovenzi compiled the report, which noted: “Based on data spanning from 1991 to 2004, a period that includes both market booms and recessions, the findings showed that model portfolios of stocks with a high ESG grade (known as a best-in-class portfolio) did not suffer from any loss of performance compared with their peers”.
Wells Fargo fined $1bn
Wells Fargo has been fined $1bn (£700m), the highest penalty imposed by regulators so far during the Trump administration, following an inquiry into its car financing and mortgage lending practices.
Laundering claim rejected by ABLV
After the US government found that Latvian bank ABLV "institutionalises money laundering" and helps evade sanctions, the lender has rejected the accusation, saying old practices have been changed.
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AMP manager resigns over lying allegations
Craig Meller, head of Australia's largest wealth manager AMP, has resigned after a public inquiry heard that the firm charged clients for services not received and lied 20 times to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
A potential exodus of bankers from the City of London to Europe has been prevented by the Brexit transition deal, with firms stopped from implementing "irreversible" contingency plans, according to chancellor Philip Hammond. At the International Monetary Fund's spring meeting in Washington, he commented: “We have dammed the flow and avoided what could have been a haemorrhaging of jobs from the UK into the EU”. Meanwhile, LinkedIn data indicate asset managers have reduced hiring in London by half since the Brexit vote, ramping up hiring in Paris and Luxembourg instead. Dublin and Frankfurt have also suffered a drop in recruiting.
Fidessa chooses higher Ion £1.5bn offer
Fidessa has abandoned a deal with Switzerland’s Temenos, choosing instead a higher offer of £1.5bn from Ion Investment Group. John Harmer, chairman of Fidessa, commented: “Ion shares our vision of driving workflow automation in the world's financial markets and has a highly complementary business to ours”.
Investors failed by new Mifid II rules
Analysis by City veteran Alasdair Haynes, who set up European exchange Aquis in 2013, indicates the new Mifid II rules, which came into force in January, are doing nothing to save investors from unnecessary trading costs.
Hermes directors pay bonanza
Hermes Investment Management paid its six directors a total of £8m last year, with the top figure of £2.5m thought to have gone to its chief executive Saker Nusseibeh.
The EIB has cut funds to UK tech start-ups by 69% since the vote to leave the EU, blaming reduced demand and increasing complexity due to Brexit uncertainty.
Japanese bid £43bn for Shire
Takeda has made a fourth bid for Shire, valuing the latter at £47 a share, or £42.8bn, nearly £500m more than its previous bid. Takeda commented: “Takeda believes the improved proposal represents a highly compelling opportunity for Shire shareholders.” However, Shire's shares fell 3.9%, or 153.5p, to 3821.5p, wiping £1.4bn off its value. The Mail on Sunday reveals that Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov could take home up to £40m if the company is taken over by a rival.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
Prezzo to be taken over by Carlyle Group
As Prezzo negotiates with creditors, Carlyle Group has bought more than a third of the restaurant's senior loans. Prezzo is expected to soon present a restructuring plan for its £154m loans, which would give Carlyle the chance to try and take control of the business with a debt-for-equity swap.
Pizza Hut managers’ £100m deal for restaurant chain
Rutland Partners, which bought the UK franchise of Pizza Hut from Yum Brands in 2012 for £60m, has taken control of the brand in an estimated £100m deal.
Stars Group in £3bn buy-out of Sky Betting and Gaming
Canadian gambling firm Stars Group has agreed a $4.7bn (£3.36bn) deal to buy Sky Betting and Gaming, which would create the world’s largest publicly-listed online gaming company.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Toshiba chip unit sale at risk
Toshiba will cancel its planned $18.6bn (£13.28bn) memory chip unit sale if approval from China's anti-monopoly regulator is not received by next month.
Mortgage lenders predict base rate rise
Research by comparison site uSwitch has revealed that many mortgage lenders have been increasing their rates recently, with Barclays changing 60 products. Tashema Jackson of uSwitch commented: “Average mortgage rates have spiked at various points in the past few years, but this recent jump could be just the beginning as providers prepare for the expected base rate rise in May”.
Debenhams and House of Fraser prepare to shut stores
Suffering from falling sales, high rents, business rates, the rise of internet retailers and decreasing consumer spending, Debenhams and House of Fraser are facing the real possibility of having to close branches as they seek to stay afloat. House of Fraser is exploring restructuring options, while Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher said that the firm’s first half pre-tax profits were down 84.6% to £13.5m.
Storm stalls growth in UK
The so-called Beast from the East affected economic growth during the first quarter, with sterling strengthening and consumer confidence waning, according to preliminary Office for National Statistics figures. UK gross domestic product for the first three months of 2018 increased by 0.3%, compared to 0.4% for the previous quarter.
Sterling drops as Carney questions May rate rise
Sterling fell below $1.40 as traders reacted to remarks from Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney which cast doubt on a May rise in interest rates.