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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 15th February 2018

Posted: 15th February 2018


Banks under pressure to promote more women

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has demanded that financial institutions which do not join the Women in Finance Charter must explain their refusal. UBS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Vanguard, Pimco and BNP Paribas are among those which have not supported the initiative, launched nearly two years ago by the Treasury. Ms Morgan commented: "The progress of the... charter is to be welcomed… The aim, however, must be to see all firms in the financial sector sign up to the charter and make a concerted effort to improve their gender diversity, particularly in senior roles".

Ring-fencing concerns at Barclays

The Times writes on Barclays' ringfencing proposals, noting concerns that the bank's 200,000 pension fund members could be disadvantaged because the core UK retail bank will no longer have to honour pension promises. It concludes that moves by Barclays seem “far more aimed at keeping the Bank of England happy while maximising the chances it can lift the year-end dividend than in prioritising promises made to its former staff.”

One-year savings rate approaches 2%

Digital challenger Atom Bank has increased the rate of its one-year saver to 1.95%, from 1.9%, to better rival Secure Trust Bank's 1.86% to become the best rate on the market.

Monzo to expand into Ireland

Monzo plans a move into Ireland after gaining approval from the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority. The bank’s head of international Thomas George commented: "We're thrilled to have received official passporting permission to offer Monzo in the Republic of Ireland".

Al Rayan Bank raises first sharia-compliant bond backed by UK mortgages

Al Rayan Bank has raised the first sharia-compliant bond backed by UK mortgages, as the UK makes itself a hub for Islamic finance in the western world.


£400m extra raised by Shawbrook Bank backer

Private equity firm Pollen Street Capital, which was approved by shareholders to take over challenger bank Shawbrook in 2017, has raised a new £400m fund to invest in financial services firms.


$1.8bn fraud at single branch of Punjab bank

Punjab National Bank, one of India's largest banks, has uncovered fraudulent payments totalling $1.8bn made through a single branch in Mumbai. Shares in the bank fell 10.4% yesterday, valuing it at $5.5bn, down from its declared book value of $7.6bn. Srikanth Vadlamani, senior credit officer at rating agency Moody's, commented: "There are significant corporate governance issues in these banks, which have translated into operational issues. That's a structural problem, and not enough has been done to address it."

Credit Suisse positive on prospects

Continuing chief executive Tidjane Thiam's three-year overhaul, Credit Suisse is hoping to put its third straight annual loss behind it as its investment banking business is scaled back to focus on private banking. Mr Thiam also defended its exchange traded note (ETN), which played a role in major global stock market losses last week.

Environmental demands not met by majority of big banks

Fewer than 50% of 59 international banks surveyed by Boston Common Asset Management have done enough to prepare for climate change after a call by Bank of England governor Mark Carney to do so.



Car industry sales figures revealed

With the biggest car manufacturers posting sales figures for 2017, BBC News analyses the results and concludes that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is officially ranked number one, with 10.61m passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold last year.


Galliford Try to raise £150m to cover Carillion hit

Housebuilder Galliford Try has revealed a £150m capital raising, fully underwritten by Peel Hunt and HSBC, to help cover the impact of Carillion's liquidation. Galliford said over-run costs on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), along with the Carillion collapse, meant that its total cash commitments to the project had increased by more than £150m.

Canada’s Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions saves more jobs

Canadian property management company Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions has stepped in to buy a number of Carillion’s contracts, saving a further 2,500 jobs. This puts the total number of positions rescued since Carillion's collapse a month ago at over 9,000.

Persimmon boss bows to pressure over bonus

Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, is to use his controversial £100m bonus to set up a private Charitable Trust.


City grandees back company targeting high-growth SMEs

A trio of City grandees is backing a new company which plans to raise an initial £150m to fund promising entrepreneurs. The business, Ansor Ltd, has signed up Martin Morgan, the former chief of Daily Mail and General Trust, David Weaver, ex-chairman of Jefferies, and Tom Boardman, the chairman of Swedish investment company Kinnevik as non-executive directors. Akta Raja, co-founder and executive director of Ansor, commented: “The UK has countless small entrepreneurial businesses that are profitable and growing fast… As entrepreneurs who have built a number of small businesses, we know what life is like for them. We bring the operational know how and will share the risk to enable owners to focus on doing what they do best: be great entrepreneurs.”

EU seeks powers to raid financial firms after Brexit

The EU will demand the right to raid financial services firms in Britain after Brexit and hand sweeping new powers to its regulators. The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) will be given extra resources during the Brexit transition period, when Britain will be stripped of EU voting rights and be powerless to stop the changes. After transition, the ESAs will demand legal mechanisms allowing them to obtain information from British firms and perform “on-site inspections”.

Mifid II impact to be felt

The FT writes on the effects of Mifid II, introduced six weeks ago, noting that this week’s report from UK regulators shows they are serious about enforcing it.

Plus500 revenues rise

Revenue at online trading firm Plus500 has rocketed 33% to $437.2m (£314.7m) from $327.9m. In the year to 31 December, net profit was up 70% to $199.7m. The firm's total dividends per share came to $1.6867, an increase of 91% on the previous year.


Sky Bet prepares London float

Citi, Goldman Sachs and Barclays have reportedly been selected by CVC Capital Partners to oversee Sky Bet’s initial public offering, with Numis and Deutsche Bank acting as joint bookrunners. In the year to June 2017, revenue at the company increased from £374m to £516m, with earnings increasing 38% to £146m.


GKN to return £2.5bn to shareholders

Engineering giant GKN says it will sell off non-core parts of its business and return £2.5bn in cash to its shareholders over the next three years. The plans are part of its defence against a £7.4bn hostile takeover bid from Melrose Industries.


Hennes and Mauritz warns that sales are likely to fall

Hennes and Mauritz has warned investors that sales are likely to fall again this year. The retailer admitted it had “a tough start” to the year as a high volume of stock left over from previous seasons forced it to offer heavy discounts. UK sales fell by 5% in the three months to November 30.


Murdoch urged to increase Sky bid

Following Sky's successful Premier League rights auction, the Murdoch family are under increasing pressure to increase their takeover bid for the pay-TV firm. This comes after Sky held on to its status as the main Premier League broadcaster and reduced its annual bill by almost £200m.


UK must boost productivity to weather Brexit, says IMF

The IMF has warned the UK it must focus on improving productivity and international competitiveness in order to weather the shock of Brexit. The organisation’s latest country report says Britain must make sweeping reforms to pensions, the planning system, infrastructure, education and training, and research and development if it wants to boost economic growth in the years to come.

Wages set to rise 3.1%

British workers are set for the biggest pay rises since 2008, as the rising minimum wage and staff shortages finally begin to lift wages above inflation. The average private sector employer expects to give staff an extra 3.1% this year, according to forecasts from the Bank of England’s agents.


Munger calls bitcoin ‘totally asinine’

Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has described bitcoin as “totally asinine”. He said: “Our government’s lax approach to it is wrong. The right answer with stuff that bad is to step on it hard.”

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