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Daily News Roundup: Monday, 6th August 2018

Posted: 6th August 2018


RBS will pay first post-crisis dividend

Royal Bank of Scotland is to pay its first dividend since the taxpayer-funded bailout 10 years ago. The group intends to pay shareholders a dividend of 2p per share, with payouts expected to "materially" increase as its fortunes improve. Ross McEwan, chief executive, commented: "We are clearly signalling that we do need to get capital back into the hands of our shareholders”. He went on: "It's been a long decade, but the turnaround of the bank is almost complete."

Phone banking U-turn for Nationwide

Following a backlash from customers, Nationwide is to allow use of its full telephone banking service until at least the end of this year. The lender had originally planned to do away with the facility to pay bills by phone on October 8. A spokesperson said: "Following feedback from members, we have decided to extend the service until at least the end of this year. This gives members time to make alternative arrangements.”

Barclays charges may be reinstated

Barclays has said it will defend itself against fresh charges after the Serious Fraud Office sought to have a case against the lender reinstated. The case is centred on a loan to Qatar of more than $3bn (£2.2bn) made by Barclays a decade ago.

Virgin Money merger leads to £57m payday for City

The £1.9bn tie-up of challenger banks Clydesdale and Virgin Money will result in tens of millions of pounds in fees for investment bankers and other financial advisers, including Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Extra security check for lenders

Banks in Britain will implement additional security measures to prevent card payment fraud for online shoppers, with HSBC and First Direct among other already writing to customers on the issue.

New bank launch by Zopa

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa has raised £44m to help it launch a new bank, as it plans to roll out savings deposit accounts, personal loans, car finance and other services.

New boss for Leeds Building Society

Leeds Building Society chief executive Peter Hill is to stand down in February 2019, with Richard Fearon, currently chief commercial officer, promoted to the role of chief executive.

Investors in dispute with HSBC
A dispute over legacy capital instruments has seen HSBC in conflict with investors about whether these should still count towards lenders' regulatory requirements.

Financial Times, Page: 18 City AM, Page: 5

CYBG wary of Branson association

Ahead of CYBG’s proposed £1.7bn takeover of Virgin Money, the firm has noted that an association with Richard Branson could bring Clydesdale Bank's brand into "disrepute".


Deadline looms in office firm pursuit

Private equity bidders Starwood, TDR Capital and Terra Firma have until Tuesday to make an offer for the serviced office provider formerly known as Regus.

Rescue bid for Gaucho

Carlyle Strategic Partners has put in a cut-price rescue bid for restaurant chain Gaucho after it went into administration last month.

Private equity study reveals $400bn fee

A study claims that over the past 12 years, US private equity managers extracted $400bn from investors, but generally failed to beat the returns from an S&P 500 tracker fund.

Wave of closures hits Chinese private equity

As China cracks down on debt and financial risk, record numbers of private equity and hedge funds have closed recently due to new fundraising regulations.


Accounting revamp attracts US lenders’ ire

Representatives of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup among others are campaigning to neutralise the effects of accountancy reforms.

BofA prepares for European move

Bank of America research analysts are to be relocated to Paris from London, as fears about the effect of Brexit on the City linger.

Deutsche to expand US wealth management unit

Deutsche Bank’s head of Americas wealth management Patrick Campion has said the firm will "grow, grow, grow" its US wealth management division this year.


Dublin selected by Baillie Gifford for post-Brexit work

Asset manager Baillie Gifford is to establish a branch in Dublin to continue servicing its increasing number of European clients after Brexit. Andrew Telfer, joint senior partner at the fund house, commented: "Baillie Gifford has seen growing demand from clients from across Europe”. He went on: "We are committed to servicing our existing EU-based clients, as well as expanding further. We have been exploring various options to allow us to continue this development ahead of the UK's planned exit from the EU."

Investors raise £10m cash lifeline for Wonga

A £10m cash injection from investors has rescued payday lender Wonga, as venture capital funds Accel Partners and Balderton Capital participated in an emergency fundraising over the past few weeks.

Berkshire Hathaway posts surge in profits

A change in accounting rules has meant Berkshire Hathaway has been forced to recognise gains on its multibillion-dollar stock portfolio, the FT reports.

Swiss Re plans to list its UK life assurance unit next year

Swiss Re plans a stock market listing of ReAssure next year. The unit, which specialises in managing the closed books of life assurance companies, could be valued at over £3.5bn.

Peer-to-peer lenders concerned over retail investors block

Rhydian Lewis, of peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter, has said of proposals to block access for many retail investors: "They are looking to restrict this new industry and it is wrong.”

Firms accused of accelerating US foreclosures

Pimco and BlackRock have been accused of speeding up foreclosure actions against subprime borrowers in the US in the wake of the financial crisis.


EU buyers enticed back to London

For the first time since the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in 2016, London's housing market is seeing a return of European buyers, with the proportion of homes in the city sold to such clients increasing to 13% in the first six months of the year. According to Aneisha Beveridge, an analyst at Hamptons: "For an EU buyer, a home that would have cost £1m in the first half of 2016 now costs £885,450 due to sterling's depreciation". She continued: "This means it's 11% cheaper for an EU buyer to buy a home in the UK now than it was in 2016.”

Britons fixing mortgages for decade

Increasing numbers of Britons are fixing mortgage deals for 10 years to avoid price hikes, with a poll for the Mortgage Advice Bureau finding that one third of mortgage owners say they would consider fixing for that long.


Blue Skies profits hit

Blue Skies, which supplies fruit and tropical juices to retailers including Sainsbury’s and Asda, saw pre-tax profit fall 70% to £1.1m in 2017, with the weak pound a contributing factor. This fall comes despite a 12% increase in turnover, which hit £100m. The firm says it is planning more products under its own name, having recently launched Blue Skies-branded ice cream in Waitrose.


Carney's gloomy Brexit predictions send pound down

Mark Carney has been described as the “high priest of project fear” by Jacob Rees Mogg after he told BBC Radio 4 that the risk of a no-deal Brexit was “uncomfortably high” and that banks had been stress tested to ensure they could survive, in a worse-case scenario, a 4% recession, property prices falling by a third, interest rates increasing by four percentage points and unemployment hitting to 9%. The comments sent sterling down against the dollar and the euro. James Knightly, an economist at ING, said: “Mark Carney’s warning isn’t exactly going to help stimulate businesses into action” while former Brexit minister David Jones said Carney’s remarks were “ill-considered”. The Telegraph’s Ambrose Pritchard gently dismantles two key claims made by the Governor: that the UK had fallen to the bottom of the G7 growth league, and that there had been a 2% loss to GDP since the referendum, describing the former claim as “categorically false” and the latter as “sophistry dressed in pseudo-science.”

Eurozone retail sales miss expectations with 0.3% rise

Analysis shows that the volume of retail sales in the eurozone rose 0.3% in June, falling short of analyst forecasts of 0.4% growth. Year-on-year, retail sales were up 1.2%.


Warning on finance industry’s Libor reliance

Bankers and analysts have cautioned that ending the finance industry’s reliance on Libor could prove to be a challenge "bigger than Brexit".

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