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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 10th December 2020

Posted: 10th December 2020


Bank transfer scam code inadequate

UK Finance has extended for a further six months to 30 June next year temporary funding arrangements for the voluntary code that compensates blameless bank transfer scam victims. However, the group said the code is not working as intended. Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said that there was a lack of consistency in customer outcomes and a lack of clarity for banks around how they should implement the code.

Recognise CEO interviewed on launch

City AM features an interview with SME lender Recognise’s CEO Jason Oakley, a former head of commercial banking. He discusses the launch of the new bank, noting that “the need among small businesses for a responsive, flexible, tailored banking service is so clearly there.” He also claims that: “Too often, SMEs are pushed through to online portals and call centres that automatically reject applications which don’t meet banks’ rigid criteria. This has especially been the case since 2008.”

Mark Sedwill to join investment bank Rothschild & Co

Mark Sedwill is joining investment bank Rothschild & Co as a senior adviser in a part-time role in January. Lord Sedwill stepped down as Britain’s top civil servant in September. He said of his banking job: "This is an outstanding institution with a proud history, strong values and an ambitious global agenda."

A million homeowners could become mortgage prisoners

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis warned MPs on the Treasury Select Committee yesterday that over 1m home owners could soon be trapped in mortgages they cannot afford. “We've got 250,000 mortgage prisoners now, but I dread to think how many we will have in a year-and-a half. It wouldn't surprise me if it was four or five times that number,” he said.

Bank capital buffers aren’t working

The governor of Denmark’s Nationalbank writes in the FT urging a review of regulations to ensure that capital buffers “genuinely allow banks to absorb losses when the next crisis hits.”


British fund receives backing from former Google CEO

Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt’s philanthropic initiative Schmidt Futures has provided grant funding to the Creator Fund, which trains students to become VCs. Jamie Macfarlane, founder and CEO of the fund, said a "huge amount of talent across the UK" had been discovered, noting that "There are especially PhDs, but also masters students, undergraduates and academics working on really great start-ups. We wanted to be able to deploy more capital, and we also wanted to be able to deploy that more broadly right across the UK."

Ada Ventures fund closes at $50m

Ada Ventures has announced the closing of its first fund for overlooked founders at $50m, with founding partner Check Warner noting of the coronavirus pandemic and black lives matter protests that “These events have provided the backdrop of the first year of deployment from Ada Ventures Fund I. In light of these events, the Ada Ventures strategy feels more poignant – and urgent – than it has perhaps ever been.”


UBS CEO to be investigated over money laundering at ING

UBS’s new chief executive Ralph Hamers has received the support of the firm even as a Dutch court orders a money laundering investigation related to his time as CEO at ING. Wealth manager UBS issued a statement saying: “UBS takes note of the decision of the Dutch court to order the public prosecutor to open an investigation of Ralph Hamers, in his capacity as the former CEO of ING. UBS has full confidence in Ralph Hamers’ ability to lead UBS.” ING meanwhile noted that “We… regret the decision to order the prosecution of our former CEO, which goes against the assessment of the public prosecutors that, based on the investigation, there are no grounds for a case against ING employees or former employees.”


Toyota targets renewed interest in hydrogen with new Mirai

Toyota’s new hydrogen-powered car, the second-generation Mirai, has achieved a 10-fold increase in production capacity, it announced as the vehicle is launched in Japan this week.

Honda closes UK plant after ports logjam causes parts shortage

Honda is planning to fly in car components amid port delays which led to its Swindon plant temporarily shutting down operations on Wednesday.


Boeing tariffs dropped by UK

EU tariffs on Boeing have been abandoned by the UK as it works on negotiating a post-Brexit US trade deal, following a ruling from the World Trade Organization that the aircraft manufacturer had received illegal state aid from the US. The WTO had earlier ruled that the UK, France, and Germany, among other EU governments, had done the same to European Boeing rival Airbus. The Department for International Trade noted that it had come to this decision as part of “an effort to bring the US towards a reasonable settlement and show that the UK is serious about reaching a negotiated outcome.”

Uber offloads flying taxi unit

Uber's flying taxi division Elevate has been acquired by Joby Aviation, with the ride-hailing firm’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi remarking: “Advanced air mobility has the potential to be exponentially positive for the environment and future generations. We’re excited for their transformational mobility solution to become available to the millions of customers who rely on our platform.” The two firms’ respective apps are to incorporate each other’s services to make it easier for customers to book both ground and air transport.


Balfour Beatty resumes dividend payments

Balfour Beatty has seen its order book grow to around £17bn this year, announcing that it is now ready to resume paying dividends again. Chief executive Leo Quinn commented: "As the impact of COVID-19 reduces, we are seeing positive momentum across the business.”


Record November inflows for ETFs

London-based consultancy ETFGI has reported that exchange traded funds attracted record inflows of $121bn last month, representing an increase of 14.5% on the previous best month for new business. Founder Deborah Fuhr remarked: “The ETF industry is on course for a record year. Investor inflows globally into ETFs have already surpassed the previous full-year record of $654bn registered in 2017.” The company found that ETFs linked to US equities registered record November inflows of $62.5bn, making up just over half of the total figure. Meanwhile fund network Calastone’s latest data reveal that optimism among investors resulted in a net £2.3bn added to equity funds in November.

Dealmakers set for LSE fee bonanza

City advisers working on London Stock Exchange Group's takeover of data provider Refinitiv are set to earn £835m in fees. The cost of financing the deal is expected to reach £477m on top of the £358m in advisory fees.

Future of the City: how London’s reach will shrink after Brexit

Jonathan Ford in the FT examines the potential impact of Brexit on the City, noting that the EU will look to clawback the financial business it lost to London.


Pfizer vaccine ‘not recommended for those with history of allergic reactions’

People with a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has warned, with two NHS staff members suffering such reactions after taking the injection.

Travellers face higher healthcare bills in EU

Insurance premiums may have to rise for UK travellers to the EU as the bloc seeks to pass on a £156m annual bill for medical treatment in mainland Europe. "Travel insurers will inevitably raise premiums to cope with the increased cost of medical claims," the Association of British Insurers said.


Tier 3 would be a killer blow for London

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, has warned that placing London into Tier 3 restrictions before Christmas will result in 150,000 job losses in the industry. Nicholls said closing the sector would deliver a “killer blow” to hundreds of businesses already struggling to survive. “We know that around 800,000 people work in the hospitality sector in London. Even without Tier 3, we think the workforce will shrink by around 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels. But if the Government puts us into Tier 3, we believe the number will drop to 60% or even lower. That would mean a loss of up to 150,000 more jobs.”


Manufacturers set for £24bn boost

New data from Barclays Corporate Banking suggests a boom in direct-to-consumer sales could give the manufacturing industry a £24bn boost over the next three years and help create 118,000 new jobs.


Ban on tenant evictions just delays the pain

The Times’ James Hurley comments on the Government’s decision to extend a ban on evicting commercial tenants until March 31 to help businesses to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the move was welcomed by tenants and the British Property Federation approved of the commitment that there would be no further extensions, experts say the move has simply delayed some difficult decisions.


Economy won’t fully recover until 2022

The CBI has forecasted that the Britain’s economy will bounce back from the pandemic next year, but a fifth year of weak business investment will delay a full recovery until the end of 2022. The CBI said a combination of Brexit uncertainty, which was expected to continue into next year – regardless of a deal – and the blow to business confidence during the first and second lockdowns would delay a bounce back in private sector investment.

Treasury initiates VAT review of sharing economy

The Treasury has launched a review into VAT and the sharing economy in a move that could lead to higher costs for people who use services such as Uber and Airbnb. The consultation comes amid concern that more services will move online, costing the Treasury as much as £20bn in lost revenue.


Roman Catholic Church links arms with Council for Inclusive Capitalism

The Vatican has announced a new partnership with capitalism as Pope Francis teams up with the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, a group founded by Lynn Forester de Rothschild which counts more than 100 of the world’s largest investors and companies as participants. Rothschild said in an interview that the body is focused on measurable actions for “true system change,” connected to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Saxo Bank predicts UBI will become permanent reality

Denmark's Saxo Bank has issued a list of predictions for 2021 which it says are “unlikely but underappreciated”. Among them is the mastery of fusion power, which the bank says will make the current young generation the last required to work by necessity. Saxo also suggests state-funded income, introduced through the pandemic, will become permanent bringing disaster to big cities.

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