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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 12th July 2018

Posted: 12th July 2018


BoE concerned by lack of auditor choice for banks

Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods has told MPs he is “worried” by the Financial Reporting Council’s view that some audits of banks are not up to scratch. Mr Woods told the Treasury Select Committee that there is too little choice of auditor for big banks who must switch book-keepers under European Union rules. He said he has “an issue with the ever more concentrated pool of large auditors” able to audit large firms that must meet the rotation requirements in Britain.

MPs call for new small firm bank dispute tribunal

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking will today call for a new tribunal system for small firms to challenge banks after a number of disputes. A tribunal system similar to the employment tribunal would aim to fill a “gap” in provision for small firms, with the legal power to force disclosure of evidence and to force witnesses to attend. The report calls for it to be funded by the Treasury via a levy on financial services firms. Meanwhile, East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield has said that entrepreneurs and small businesses are turning their backs on banks and using risky, unregulated online crowdfunding platforms in growing numbers to raise capital. He called for more regulation of crowdfunding.

European Investment Bank wants UK to remain a member

Werner Hoyer, the head of the European Investment Bank, says he would be “extremely sad” to see the end of the UK’s active membership of the organisation after Brexit.


Barclays Africa rebrands as Absa

Barclays Africa has changed its name back to Absa, in a rebranding aimed at underlining its South African roots as Britain's Barclays gradually retreats from the continent. The name change comes almost a year after Barclays sold most of its controlling stake in Absa, South Africa's third-largest lender

Banking M&A: the quest to create a European champion

The FT looks at how European banks are considering takeover deals in a bid to build scale and defend themselves against US rivals.

Danske Bank’s compliance head resigns

Anders Jorgensen, head of group compliance at Danske Bank, has resigned amid a major money laundering scandal at the firm, although he says his departure is not linked to the matter.

Morgan Stanley’s rising star moves closer to top job

The FT reflects on the promotion of Ted Pick at Morgan Stanley earlier this week. The paper says the move shows that CEO James Gorman is keen to ensure the bank’s succession is smooth.


Uber executive steps down after racial discrimination probe

Liane Hornsey has stepped down as head of Uber’s human resources department following an investigation into how she handled allegations of racial discrimination at the firm. Anonymous whistle-blowers at Uber have claimed Ms Hornsey systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination.


Boeing on course for record aircraft delivery

Boeing has reported that it sold 460 aircraft in the first half of the year, putting it on course to beat its previous record annual high of 763 units. The figure is also over twice the 203 sales for the same period announced last week by rival Airbus.


FCA warns of big data 'algogracy'

Charles Randell, the new chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has warned of the danger of a new “algocracy” - indicating that the rise of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with behavioural science insights, could require a new regulatory framework. Noting examples of firms hiking prices for customers less likely to shop around as early instances of potential abuse, he said: “Society in general and policy makers in particular need to think about how to mitigate the risk that an algocracy exacerbates social exclusion and worsens access to financial services in the way that it identifies the most profitable or the most risky customers.”

Brussels downplays BoE warnings on Brexit risk to derivatives

The European Commission has dismissed warnings from the Bank of England that the validity of vast numbers of financial services contracts could be put at risk if regulators do not put special measures in place before Brexit. “Overall, even after Brexit, the performance of existing obligations can generally continue,” Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference - a view the Bank of England described as “wrong-headed”. Meanwhile, Michel Barnier has moved to reassure American business leaders than the EU will not shut London-based US financial firms out of its market after Brexit. He said: “I want to be graphic. Open markets for financial services are an asset for the EU and will remain so in the

White paper points to looser financial links

Theresa May will today publish a white paper setting out the full details of the Chequers plan, which will outline a looser relationship with the EU in financial services after Brexit. The new approach to the City’s relationship with Brussels has been described as “cohabiting but without the same commitment as marriage”.

France seeks to lure firms from London

The French government has upped its efforts to lure financial institutions from the City of London by pledging to open places in English-language schools for the children of high-flying executives. The Times notes that French officials see the promise of an English-language education as key to drawing bankers and other senior financial service executives away from London.

Brexit uncertainty dampens hiring

A report by the recruitment agency Morgan McKinley has found that London’s financial industry suffered a 29% fall in job vacancies in the year to June as Brexit uncertainty continued to affect recruitment. The report showed that the number of people looking for jobs fell by 35%.

Nex reports rising revenues

Ahead of its acquisition by CME Group, financial technology and electronic trading company Nex has grown revenue by 7% on a constant currency basis in the period between April 1 and June 30 - 3% on a reported basis. Nex benefited from divisional performance and foreign exchange hedges, it said.

New boss for Arbuthnot Latham

Arbuthnot Latham has appointed Andrew Salmon as its new chief executive following the departure of Ian Henderson in April.


Pfizer to reorganise into 3 units after failed attempt to sell consumer health

Pfizer has announced a reorganisation of its business, following a failed attempt to sells its consumer healthcare business. Three divisions will be created under the restructuring: Innovative Medicines, Established Medicines, and Consumer Health.

German group expands UK R&D in post-Brexit vote of confidence

Qiagen, a German diagnostics firm, has announced that it plans to launch a global genomics campus in Manchester, which will create or support up to 1,500 jobs.


Fox ups stakes with improved bid for Sky

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has made an improved takeover bid for Sky, a 1400p per share offer worth £24.5bn. The bid is ahead of Comcast’s 1250p per share. Sky’s independent committee said the Fox offer was a “substantial premium” for shareholders.


Barratt expecting bumper year

Barratt Developments is anticipating record profits before tax for the year of around £835m, up 9% on 2017's £765.1m, boosted by a rise in mortgage lending and Help-to-Buy driving better-than-expected market data. Barratt also revealed that total home completions had risen 1.1% to a decade high of 17,579 for the year ending June 30, while the average selling price rose 5% to £289,000, from £275,200 pounds last year.


Burberry Q1 in line with forecasts

Burberry has reported that its first-quarter same-store sales rose 3%, in line with analyst expectations, with customers responding to its “more complete wardrobe offer”, and a collaboration with Farfetch proving successful.


Economists dismiss Labour’s plan for BoE productivity target

Labour’s plan to give the Bank of England a new target of boosting productivity by 3% per year has been rejected by economists as “absurd” and “crazy”. A survey of 50 economists by Chicago Booth revealed that none of them supported the idea. Jan Pieter Krahnen at Goethe University, Frankfurt, said the proposal is “quite an absurd suggestion, vastly overestimating what monetary policy can achieve – in the end frustrating central bankers and the public.” Professor Christopher Pissarides at the London School of Economics added that “monetary policy has nothing to do with productivity”.


Wealthy splash out on luxuries

According to the YouGov Affluent Perspective study, the proportion of households with an income of £100,000 or more who have bought luxury items in the last year has increased to 69%, from 56% last year. At the same time, only 13% of the households said they were confident in the global economy.

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