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Daily News Roundup: Thursday 22nd March 2018

Posted: 22nd March 2018


Bramson likely to avoid radical break-up of Barclays

Ed Bramson is unlikely to force through a radical break-up of Barclays’s banking empire, according to Aviva. The fund manager, which owns a near 15% stake in Bramson’s Sherborne vehicle, said changes such as a sell-off of the investment bank or Barclaycard were unlikely to be pursued. “Some of the talk around a radical change in direction of capital allocation and other changes at Barclays feels wide of the mark. That is not what the Sherborne’s investment criteria points towards,” said Aviva Investors head of UK equities Trevor Green.

Is financial services becoming 'app-only'?

Magnus Wheatley, managing director at Charles Stanley Direct, asserts that consumers increasingly expect apps from their financial services providers, making developments to enhance and personalise user experiences a priority for the industry. Noting “explosive growth” in use of the recently-relaunched Charles Stanley Direct app, with usage rising 542% in February alone, he says anything up to 80% of total traffic to its service is coming via the app during standard business hours. Meanwhile, OakNorth has reported a pre-tax gain of £10.6m after its second full year of operations, generating net interest income of £24.9m in 2017, up from £7.2m the previous year.

Virtual card will help tackle fraud

Revolut is to let customers pay for online purchases with disposable virtual cards from next week in a bid to prevent fraud. The digital bank’s customers will be able to create the cards, and the details will be destroyed and automatically regenerated in seconds after every transaction. Users will be able to access their virtual card and regenerated details via Revolut's app.

Metro Bank eyes Scotland

Metro Bank has revealed that from next month it will expand its mortgage business into Scotland. The challenger bank said that from April 5 it planned to grow both its direct mortgage business north of the Border via its seven-day-a-week mortgage helpline, and through brokers.

StanChart head of private and commercial banking to exit

Standard Chartered’s head of private banking and commercial banking operations, Anna Marrs, is stepping down to join an unnamed UK-based financial services company.


Deutsche Bank narrows price range for DWS listing

Deutsche Bank has narrowed the price range of the IPO of DWS - its asset management unit - meaning it will not raise the €2bn it was hoping for. The new price range of between €32 and €33 per share would raise maximum proceeds of €1.65bn and values DWS at up to €6.6bn. The bank plans to sell up to 25% of the business, or a maximum of 50m shares. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank shares fell after the lender warned that the rise in the euro and higher funding costs would cost it €450m in the first quarter.

Fed announces rate increase

The Federal Reserve has said it will raise its benchmark interest rate, citing a strengthened economic outlook. The US central bank said it had decided to raise the rate by 0.25% to a target range of 1.5% to 1.75%.

Europe’s banks told to keep planning for full Brexit in 2019

European banks have been told by the EU’s top financial supervisors to keep planning for Brexit without any transition arrangements, despite this week's deal to delay Britain's exit from the EU single market.

Global deals surge past $1tn at fastest ever pace

A wave of consolidation in the US and activity in UK, China, Germany and Japan, has driven global dealmaking across the $1tn mark in record time this year, according to data from Dealogic.


Ryanair wins court battle over delay compensation

A high court judge has rejected a claim against Ryanair by Bott & Co solicitors over flight delay compensation. The Cheshire-based practice, specialising in airline passengers’ claims, had sought to recover legal fees in cases where the airline had settled directly with customers, thus preventing the law firm recovering its fees from the settlement


Crest Nicholson faces potential shareholder revolt

Institutional Shareholder Services has recommended that Crest Nicholson shareholders vote against making chief executive Stephen Stone chairman. They cite concerns over corporate governance and Mr Stone’s ability to exercise proper scrutiny of the company.


UK fintech expecting exponential growth

UK fintech firms expect 88% growth over the next three years, according to a global fintech survey by the London Stock Exchange Group and TheCityUK, which says 85% of companies surveyed said they were very or reasonably likely to raise funds on public markets within the next three years. Thirty-eight per cent chose London as their top destination, second only to New York. Meanwhile, a new “crypto assets task force” is to be created by regulators in a bid to put the UK at the forefront in the development in technology that exploits the moves of virtual currencies into the mainstream. Separately, Sir Geoffrey Vos, chancellor of the High Court, has warned of the “considerable scope for fraud in the brave new world of fintech”, calling for a global approach to regulation.

Lloyd's of London reeling

Lloyd's of London has reported its first annual loss in six years after “one of the costliest years for natural disasters in the past decade”. The insurance market said pre-tax losses reached £2bn last year - a sharp reversal of the £2.1bn profit in 2016. It paid a total £18.3bn in claims, £4.5bn of which was for the disasters. “To date, the market has paid more than 50% by value of the claims notified in relation to Harvey, Irma and Maria, and is in the process of paying the rest,” Lloyd's chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said.


GKN brands Melrose management as 'novice'

GKN has called Melrose a “novice” and “high-risk” and accused it of making misleading claims about its strategy and pension scheme. Melrose claims it has “the best team to realise GKN's full potential” and has called GKN's plan to merge its automotive business with US rival Dana “hasty and ill-thought-through”.


Interserve agrees new lending deal

Interserve has agreed up to £291m of new borrowing facilities with its lenders. The lenders are led by the Scottish tycoon Alan McIntosh, founder of Sun Capital and the pub company Punch Taverns.


US fintech investor chooses Canary Wharf

US growth investor Motive Partners, which focuses on fintech projects, has chosen Canary Wharf for its new European hub. “You can’t claim to be an important investment management or private equity player in financial technology if you’re not at the epicentre, which is London,” said Motive’s Rob Heyvaert.

Goldman Sachs and Wellcome Trust bid for rail property

Goldman Sachs has made a joint bid with the Wellcome Trust charity to buy the commercial property portfolio of Network Rail. The two organisations have made a £1.2bn bid for about 5,500 premises owned by the state-backed rail operator.

Daily Mail


Tricky trading weighs on Kingfisher

A troubled European trading environment impacted home improvement group Kingfisher last year. Pre-tax profits in the 12 months to the end of January declined 10% to £682m, while like-for-like sales were down 0.7% at constant currencies, to £11.7m. Total sales increased to £11.66bn, from £11.23bn. Chief executive Véronique Laury acknowledged Kingfisher’s performance had been “mixed”, adding “next year will be another big year in our transformation plan”.


Wages up, unemployment down

Wages grew by 2.6% in the three months to January, according to new data from the ONS, as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% from 4.4%. The number of unemployment benefit claimants rose by 9,200 to 838,000 in February however, its highest level in more than three years.


Global investors braced for shrinking UK returns

Global investors are reasonably confident that Brexit negotiations will end in a trade deal, according to new research from the CFA Institute, but 80% fear Brexit will hit returns from UK investments. Some 67% of investors surveyed expect their firms to reduce their UK presence, while 64% of UK respondents expect Brexit to negatively impact their firm’s ability to attract the best talent.

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