Activists pressure Bank to link climate risk to capital requirements
The Bank of England is being urged by campaign groups to use upcoming climate stress tests to force financial institutions to reduce business that is damaging to the environment. Although the Bank's exercise is intended to be exploratory, climate activists insist it should serve as a springboard for tougher action on banks' fossil fuel investments. They want to see higher capital requirements for lending to large polluters. HSBC and Barclays have both been singled out for their high levels of fossil fuel financing.
Lloyds staff to choose where they want to work
Lloyds Banking Group is to introduce a three-tier plan to home working after the pandemic, following the example of rivals including NatWest, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Lloyds has told staff that from October they can either work at home, in the office or a mix of both depending on their role with the expectation being that about 80% of the bank’s workforce will partly work from home in future.
City bankers reject EU relocation demands
The Mail reports that US investment banks are finding it difficult to persuade their London-based bankers to relocate to Frankfurt or Paris as rule changes following Brexit demand. Recruitment firms report a flow of bankers willing to quit rather than move to the EU with children and lifestyle the key reasons for the reluctance to relocate.
Jenkins close to selling stake in 10x Future Technologies
Former Barclays chief Antony Jenkins is set to sell a stake in his fintech venture 10x Future Technologies to BlackRock in a fundraising which will value the company at well over £500m. Mr Jenkins is expected to hold a stake of approximately 40% in the company, worth more than £200m, after the fundraising.
Metro Bank opens Bristol call centre
Metro Bank has opened a new call centre in Bristol creating more than 100 new jobs. The site, whose opening was delayed by the pandemic, is to be named Amaze Direct by the bank and will be based above the its Broadmead store.
Coutts-managed funds made available to junior investors
Coutts owner NatWest has made some of the private bank's managed funds available to a wider and younger audience through its Junior Isas. Investors can buy into them using the online investment platforms NatWest Invest or RBS Invest.
Watchdog criticised over plans to combat dominance of big banks
The Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns with its plan to use proposals drawn up by UK Finance as the basis for a consultation on the future of so-called open banking rules.
Chinese central bank governor backs push for climate risk disclosure
Central bankers met last week to discuss moves to introduce regulation for climate-related reporting. The Chinese central bank indicated it would throw its weight behind the development of a standardised international climate reporting framework, aligning with the ECB and putting pressure on the US to join in the effort. Meanwhile, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday that any policy action on climate change by central banks must be "carefully assessed" against their monetary policy mandates.
Morgan Stanley hires Rizzo for European client push
Morgan Stanley has hired former Bank of America banker Luigi Rizzo for a new client-facing role overseeing a drive to win business from a wide spectrum of companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Rizzo, who was at the helm of Bank of America's European corporate and investment banking and quit in late 2019, will become Morgan Stanley's vice chairman of investment banking for EMEA.
HSBC splits Asia leadership
HSBC is set to split the leadership of its Asian business with David Liao and Surendra Rosha to share the role. Peter Wong, who has led HSBC in Asia for a decade, will retire and be replaced by David Liao, who will oversee operations in China.
Car sales accelerate in May
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show car sales in May jumped eightfold on the same month last year to 156,737 vehicles, following this year's first full month of showroom openings. However, they were still 13.2% down on the 10-year average for May. Chief executive Mike Hawes said demand for electrified vehicles is encouraging people into showrooms and sales were "as good as could reasonably be expected" but the post-Covid recovery still has a long way to go.
Booming construction sector feels cost pressures
Construction output is currently rising at its fastest rate since 2014 with the latest IHS Markit/CIPS PMI Index rising to 64.2 from 61.6 a month ago. “Despite severe challenges with materials availability, construction firms remain highly upbeat about their near-term growth prospect,” said Tim Moore, economics director at survey compiler IHS Markit.
Insurers stand fast as cyber claims soar
The recent surge in cyber-attacks is denting profits for cyber insurance underwriters, the Telegraph reports, with many policies covering cyber extortion, meaning the insurer will pay out to cover the cost of a ransom payment to unlock a company’s systems. Claims are rocketing and while insurers grapple with the reputational issues paying hackers can bring, some cyber security professionals are warning that making ransomware payments is only fuelling the rise in cyber-crime. Ciaran Martin, the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has called for ransomware payments to known criminal groups to be banned outright. “What we have at the moment is a pro-criminal business model, and that needs to change.” In the meantime, insurers are sticking with cyber cover despite the hit – raising premiums and becoming tougher on clients to prove they have basic cyber health when writing policies.
Klarna eyes US float amid crackdown on buy now, pay later firms
Swedish buy now, pay later giant Klarna could list in the US, its boss Sebastian Siemiatkowski has said, in what would be a blow to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's efforts to make London more attractive for flotations. Siemiatkowski said he would consider the UK capital if it was made more attractive but denied the charge that leaving this option open was an attempt to weaken regulation of the sector. A review for the Financial Conduct Authority concluded that there was an urgent need to regulate the buy now, pay later sector.
PM and chancellor to meet with financial services chiefs
- Johnson and Rishi Sunak are to hold talks with City bosses today to discuss how best to maintain the global competitiveness of Britain's financial services industry and its role in supporting the UK's economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England governor, is also expected to attend alongside the CEOs of Aviva, Nationwide, HSBC, Legal & General and others.
LMAX boss: Make Britain a crypto capital
David Mercer, the CEO of crypto exchange LMAX Group, thinks the Government should use its post-Brexit freedoms to make the UK a global hub for fintech businesses, by cutting corporation tax and investing in technology. Mercer is adamant that the future of currencies will be digital and blockchain technology will transform settlements and payments and release blockages in capital markets.
AstraZeneca appoints new finance director ahead of Alexion takeover
AstraZeneca has named Alexion's executive vice president Aradhana Sarin as its new CFO with current finance chief Marc Dunoyer set to take on a new senior executive role at the group. The moves are conditional on AstraZeneca finalising its purchase of the US biotechnology company.
Private equity groups near deal to buy Medline for $34bn
A consortium of private equity groups including Blackstone and Carlyle has acquired medical supply group Medline for about $34bn making it the largest buyout of the year.
Chip shortage to last until at least mid-2022, warns manufacturer
The world’s third-biggest chip maker, Flex, has warned that the global semi-conductor shortage will last for at least another year and possibly into 2023, forcing manufacturers to re-examine their supply chains.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
UK and EU to co-operate on Facebook investigation
The European Union has launched an investigation into whether Facebook is using its dominant position in online advertising to unfairly squeeze out rivals. The probe will run in parallel with a UK investigation being conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority with the regulators saying they will work together on the issue.
Home movers overtake first-time buyers to drive housing market
Mortgage completions for home movers jumped 82% in the Q1 of 2021, compared with the same period last year, while completions for first-time buyers increased 31%, according to UK Finance.
One in 10 shopping centres face demolition
Analysis suggests that up to 70 of Britain's 700 shopping centres could be demolished after being hit by the pandemic, on the back of the rise in online retail.
Britain attracts most new FDI projects
Britain expanded its market share of foreign direct investment for the second year running last year closing the gap on France, which took the crown from Britain in 2019. During 2020 the UK secured 975 inward investment projects compared with France's 985 projects. This was down by 12% on 2019, but was smaller than the 13% decline registered in the rest of Europe. France registered an 18% drop and Germany, which ranked third, fell by 4% to 930. Britain had attracted the most new projects of any European country, rather than relying on reinvestments.
Confidence surges to 7-year high
Business confidence hit a seven-year high last month, fuelled by the successful vaccine rollout and a return to indoor trading for the services sector. The optimism index jumped from a score of 99.85 in April to 109.71 in May, significantly above the long-term average of 100.