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Daily News Roundup: Thursday 23rd May 2019

Posted: 23rd May 2019


RBS-backed Loot enters administration

Loot, the digital current account for students, has called in administrators after it was unable to secure funding following the collapse of a potential sale to the RBS. RBS owned a 25% stake in the fintech through NatWest’s digital bank Bo, which is currently under development and invested a total of £5m in the start-up. Loot had not secured a full banking licence but was able to operate through a partnership with Wirecard.

TSB unveils new leadership team

TSB has further bolstered its leadership team following the arrival of new CEO Debbie Crosbie, who replaces Paul Pester. Robin Bulloch, who is currently managing director of Lloyds Community Banking, will take up the role of customer banking director later this year. Suresh Viswanathan, a former chief operating officer of Barclays UK, has been hired as COO, and Liz Ashford is joining as HR director from Aviva Investors.


N26 criticised in money laundering probe

The German banking regulator Bafin has ordered fintech firm N26 to step up its anti-money laundering policies, after a probe found the firm was deficient in several areas. Bafin said it had issued an order against N26 to “take appropriate internal safety measures” in order to comply with rules on customer due diligence obligations, and sufficiently monitor accounts for money laundering and terrorist financing. The probe followed reports of fraudulent transactions and problems with N26’s communications structure, which first emerged last October.

Deutsche Bank glitch blocked reporting of suspicious transactions

Deutsche Bank has blamed a software glitch for it missing potentially suspicious activities on its system. The bank's financial intelligence unit found that two of 121 application parameters were incorrect. Meanwhile, it is reported that many investors are set to call for Deutsche’s chairman, Paul Achleitner, to step down at today’s annual meeting.

China prepares to open up bond futures market to domestic banks

China’s securities regulator, the CSRC, is preparing to open up trading of bond futures to domestic commercial banks in a bid to attract more foreign investors into the country’s bond market.

Judge rejects Trump effort to quash bank subpoenas

A federal judge has ruled that President Trump cannot block Capital One and Deutsche Bank from providing financial records to investigators in Congress.


McLaren reveals roaring road car sales

Woking-based McLaren built 1,289 road cars in the first quarter, with revenue up 17% on a year ago on the back of strong demand in all regions. Overall group turnover, including racing, rose from £241m to £284m, while underlying profit almost trebled - from £8m to £22m.


Chinese airlines seek compensation from Boeing for faulty planes

Some of China's biggest airlines, including Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, are chasing Boeing for compensation over the grounding of their 737 Max fleets.

Virgin Atlantic to relaunch London to Mumbai flight

Virgin Atlantic has become the latest airline to seek to capitalise on the grounding of the Indian carrier, Jet Airways, by relaunching its link from Heathrow to Mumbai.


NFU Mutual defends pay deal for boss

NFU Mutual has defended a £2m remuneration package for its CEO Lindsay Sinclair, despite the rural insurance firm posting a quarter of a billion pound plus loss. The insurer’s annual report shows Mr Sinclair received a basic pay of £577,458, benefits worth £108,407, a bonus of £619,005 plus £699,966 from a long-term incentive plan giving a total of £2,091,454 in 2018 - marginally down on his 2017 package of £2,123,111. A spokesperson for NFU Mutual stated: “We need the right person in place to lead NFU Mutual and we believe people should be paid the market rate and that includes the full range of remuneration including a benefits package.”

Transferwise becomes Europe’s most valuable fintech

Transferwise has doubled its valuation to $3.5bn after a funding round in which investors gave it almost $300m in return for shares in the company. The funding means that the firm has become the most valuable financial technology start-up in Europe. Investors in the latest round included Blackrock, Lead Edge Capital and Vitruvian Partners.

Intermediate Capital beats fundraising target with record inflows

Private debt specialist Intermediate Capital Group raised €10bn in the year to March, up from €7.8bn the prior year, taking assets under to management to €37.1bn - a 29% rise.

Close Brothers expects solid results

Close Brothers has promised a “solid” result for the full year to July, in spite of low activity levels in parts of its banking division and its Winterflood stockbroking unit. Close Brothers said its loan book grew by 1.5% in the quarter to £7.5bn, while credit performance remained strong. Total assets under management rose by £500m to £12.5bn.

Hedge funds target Jupiter Fund Management

Hedge funds have increased their bets against Jupiter Fund Management making it one of the most shorted UK companies. Jupiter’s shorted stock has increased to 10.55%, up from 7.37% at the beginning of April.


Government rescue plan for British Steel after collapse

Business Secretary Greg Clark has drafted a rescue plan for British Steel after the firm collapsed into liquidation, threatening thousands of jobs. Calls for a state bailout were originally rebuffed due to EU state aid rules, but Mr Clark has sought legal advice on whether his new proposal might be acceptable. The plan would see the Government act as a cornerstone investor alongside a collection of private companies.

One-off costs sink Babcock's profits

Defence firm Babcock’s profits fell by almost 50% to £196.5m last year amid the “challenging” market environment. The company was hit by £161m of exceptional costs as it battled with Brexit, restructuring plans and the new pension reporting rules. Revenue was £4.47bn, 4% down on last year’s £4.66bn.


UK house prices picked up in March

Average UK-wide house prices increased 1.4% in the year to March, according to HM Land Registry figures, though fell 1.9% in London - to £463,000. Homes in the capital fell 0.4% month-on-month in March, in the run up to the anticipated Brexit date of March 29.


Retail stores to close

Sir Philip Green has announced plans to close 23 stores, putting 520 jobs at risk. Under the proposal, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop stores will close and rents will be cut at another 194 stores at the Arcadia group.


Borrowing steady as tax receipts fall slightly

ONS figures show the Government borrowed £5.8bn in April, down £33m or about 0.5% compared with the same month of last year. Tax receipts in April were 2.4% higher than a year earlier, below the full-year OBR forecast of 2.8% for the full year. The figures suggest the Chancellor is on course to hit full-year public finance targets.

Higher energy prices push inflation above Bank of England target

Rising gas and electricity prices pushed inflation above the Bank of England’s target to 2.1% in April, according to the Consumer Prices Index, its highest level this year. Electricity prices rose at their fastest rate since 2011 last month, though air fares also contributed to the rise in inflation, soaring by more than 30% over the Easter period.


Tech and finance pay best

According to jobs site Glassdoor, the highest paying companies in the UK are in the finance and tech sectors. Financial services company Credit Suisse, software firm SAP and Deutsche Bank topped the pay list. John Lamphiere of Glassdoor said: “Culture and career progression help people stick around in the long term.”

Bank chiefs join UK business call for HS2 line to be built in full

A total of 113 executives, including the bosses of HSBC and Virgin Money, have demanded that the government commits to building the full HS2 rail line.

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