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Daily News Roundup: Monday, 24th September 2018

Posted: 24th September 2018

BANKING

NatWest and RBS customers encounter problems online

MPs have criticised banks for failing to protect customers from IT glitches, after NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland's online services were affected on Saturday, less than 24 hours after Barclays faced a similar problem. Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury select committee, wrote to RBS and Barclays, stating: "It simply isn't good enough to expose customers to IT failures, including delays in paying bills and an inability to access their own money.” She went on: “High street banks justify the closure of their branch networks on the basis that they are providing a seamless online and mobile phone banking service. These justifications carry little weight if their banking apps and websites cannot be relied upon."

PPI claims turning Britons into fraudsters - Barclays chairman

Barclays chairman John McFarlane has claimed that the rush to claim PPI compensation has turned many Britons into fraudsters. He remarked: “The percentage of fraudulent claims is enormous. We have turned portions of Britain into fraudsters”. He continued: “This is stimulation of the economy by buying flat-screen televisions.”

Goldman Sachs to unveil details of new savings account

Goldman Sachs is expected to reveal details of its Marcus brand savings account this week. Anna Bowes, a director of Savings Champion, says Goldman Sachs's arrival in the UK savings market could see it become a major challenger. Meanwhile, National Savings & Investments is to go ahead with its decision to cut interest rates for 387,000 Cash Isa savers. The organisation said the cut would allow it “to deliver positive value to taxpayers, while offering a fair rate to savers”.

TSB searches for new chief

TSB has hired City headhunter Odgers Berndtson to search for a successor to Paul Pester, who left the lender following its much-publicised IT troubles.

Barclays operations in EU bolstered

Barclays is bolstering its corporate banking operations in the EU ahead of the UK’s departure, as it seeks ways to better serve clients in continental Europe.

Clydesdale after RBS £833m fund

Clydesdale bank has entered the race for an £833m competition fund from Royal Bank of Scotland, after regulators forced RBS to carve out the funding in order to retain subsidiary Williams & Glyn.

Banks offer cheaper mortgages despite rate rise

Lenders including Barclays, HSBC, Halifax, TSB and Coventry building society are reducing the cost of their best mortgage deals, despite a Bank of England rate rise in August. Banks have been accused of failing to pass on the rises to increase their profits.

Lloyds axes thousands of jobs since privatisation

Lloyds Banking Group has announced almost 4,000 redundancies in the 18 months since it was taken fully private after the government sold off its stake.

PRIVATE EQUITY

Apollo criticised over fees

Apollo Global Management has come under fire from a former employee, regarding asset management fees charged to a life insurance company which it helped to establish after the financial crisis.

Seedrs says it exceeds most asset classes

Seedrs, the private equity investment platform, has claimed that its investments beat "most" other asset classes for returns.

INTERNATIONAL

Crime agency investigates UK entity linked to Danske Bank

The National Crime Agency has opened an investigation into a UK entity with links to the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, amid a €200bn money-laundering scandal. The Guardian’s Juliette Garside argues that the scale of the scandal at Danske highlights the need for stricter regulation and cross-border enforcement in Europe.

Polish bank office gives UK Brexit boost

Bank Pekao, one of Poland's largest lenders, has launched its first international office in Mayfair, London, in what has been described as a vote of confidence in Britain during the turbulent Brexit period.

Private banks see record profits

European private banks have seen their profits increase to an all-time high, despite concerns that reliance on the markets could affect the industry's ability to sustain profits growth.

AVIATION

Ryanair investors join demands for change

Two of Ryanair’s biggest shareholders have joined calls for an overhaul of corporate governance. One shareholder is quoted as saying: "We recognise that the company has a lot on its plate and the AGM has served as a bit of wake-up call - big holders are increasingly willing to intervene if they feel there isn't a commitment to change."

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Revolut to take on twice as many staff

Revolut is to double its staff in London over the next two years after its turnover increased by 500% to almost £13m in 2017. The firm has also applied for a licence in Luxembourg to cope with the potential complications of Brexit. Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that the French government has reportedly been trying to entice Revolut to move to Paris. The FT features a report on the firm and its fellow fintech Plum, which “have their sights set on disrupting the industry with cheap and easy-to-use investments that suit customers who traditional managers find hard to attract.”

Numis founder to take over NEX Exchange

Oliver Hemsley, founder of City broker Numis, is to take control of Michael Spencer's NEX Exchange in a £20m deal. Mr Spencer said Mr Hemsley will "take the business to the next stage of its growth".

Asset managers after $20bn for infrastructure funds

Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners are each competing to raise $20bn for what will be the world's biggest unlisted infrastructure funds.

Abraaj fund management rights to be transferred to investors

Abraaj's fund management rights will be broken up and transferred to investors which include the UK’s Actis.

LEISURE & HOSPITALITY

Just Eat’s shares slump amid Uber-Deliveroo talks

Just Eat’s shares have fallen by 5.5% to 669.4p following reports that Uber is in early stage talks with rival UK food delivery firm Deliveroo. Paul Hickman, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, said a combination of Uber Eats and Deliveroo could create "a killer brand". He said: “Uber has a comprehensive app-driven distribution system and an international reputation, while Deliveroo's business model encompasses ownership of the delivery function, unlike Just Eat which relies on restaurants' own delivery drivers.”

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT

Worldpay’s Jansen could be new BT chief executive

Philip Jansen, a close ally of BT’s outgoing chief executive Gavin Patterson and its former chairman Sir Mike Rake, is reportedly under consideration for the former position. The firm declined to comment.

Record $5bn buy for Adobe

Adobe Systems will buy marketing software developer Marketo for $4.8bn - its largest ever acquisition - from Vista Equity Partners.

Battle for Sky could see hedge funds make £1bn

A group of hedge funds comprising Baupost, Elliott and Odey Asset Management could make a profit of more than £1bn from the sale of Sky, according to reports.

WIG to invest in 5G mobile phone signal infrastructure

Mobile mast operator WIG has raised £220m as it seeks to accelerate investment in 5G mobile phone signal infrastructure.

REAL ESTATE

Fewer homes built than 10 years ago

Despite Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey being given millions from the taxpayer through the Help to Buy scheme, leading developers are still building fewer homes than they did before the financial crisis. Sam Dumitriu, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, remarked: “Help to Buy creates more demand for housing, which pushes prices up, without increasing supply. Simply adding more fuel to the fire, and more demand to the system, only makes Britain's housing problem worse.”

RETAIL

Lloyds in talks for Halewood

Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm is in discussions about taking a substantial stake in Halewood Wines & Spirits. The company could be valued at up to £300m. Lloyds Development Capital did not comment on the matter.

OTHER

Experts warn on Bitcoin risks

Experts have warned that Bitcoin-using millennials could be harmed throughout their investing lives by developing dangerous savings habits. Patrick Connolly of financial adviser Chase de Vere commented: “It is almost impossible for investors to understand the mechanics behind crypto investments and there is no protection in place if it all goes wrong.”

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