Mortgage lending hits three-year high
Mortgage lending rose to its highest level since the Brexit vote last month, as families shrugged off economic uncertainty. Figures from UK Finance show a total of 49,683 mortgages were agreed in May, up 9.1% on a year earlier, and the highest level since June 2016. Overall, £14bn was lent by High Street banks, up 3.5% from May 2018. The average price rose 1.4% in the year to April, and now stands at £228,903. Tomer Aboody, of MT Finance, commented: "Buyers are realising that they can't wait forever and delay their home move indefinitely while they wait for parliament to sort out Brexit."
Monzo losses mount as it chases after growth
Monzo chief executive Tom Blomfield has warned losses will continue to mount at the digital bank this year amid rising spending on technology and staff.
TDR snaps up car auctioneer
TDR Capital has agreed to buy BCA Marketplace, the owner of WeBuyAnyCar.com, in a deal that values the company at £1.9bn. The deal would also provide about £125m in cash to Woodford Investment Management, which has a 6.58% stake.
Shrinking share listings show radical shift to private sphere
The FT’s Richard Henderson says Axel Springer’s takeover by KKR is symbolic of a radical shift in capital markets that has changed the nature of European and US stock exchanges.
Tech investor raises $100m
London-based venture capital firm Talis Capital has secured a record $100m (£78.8m) to invest in tech startups across the UK, Europe and US in 2019.
Transferwise crosses the pond
Transferwise has expanded its borderless banking account and debit card to the US. One year on from its launch in Europe, the fintech firm’s Borderless banking account and debit card are now available to US users after a short beta-testing period last month.
JPMorgan fined €1.6m by Irish central bank
The Irish central bank has fined JPMorgan €1.6m for regulatory failings at its Dublin office. The bank admitted to three regulatory breaches between July 2013 and June 2016 in the outsourcing of fund administration. Separately, JPMorgan is reportedly close to buying a stake in 10x Future Technologies, the banking venture founded by ex-Barclays chief Antony Jenkins.
Abu Dhabi Financial Group to take over Dubai’s Shuaa Capital
Abu Dhabi Financial Group’s takeover of Dubai-listed investment bank Shuaa Capital will see ADFG’s shareholders own 58% of the merged entity.
Carmaking falls for 12th month in a row
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has revealed the number of cars built in Britain has fallen for 12 months running. Car production fell by 15.5 % in May compared to the same time last year. The decline follows a 44.5% annual fall in April, when many of the biggest plants shut down ahead of the original European Union departure date of March 29.
Ryanair to amend share buyback terms in case of no-deal Brexit
Ryanair has triggered block purchases of shares from investors under a month-old €700m buyback scheme, in a bid to keep the airline under majority EU ownership in a no-deal Brexit.
Oxford teams up with Legal and General to build £4bn of homes
Oxford University will receive up to £4bn to build thousands of homes for staff and graduates as well as research and laboratory facilities for spin-off companies. The university will provide the land and Legal & General will pay for the buildings and receive rent, before eventually handing the properties to the university.
Code of conduct planned for Help to Buy
Housing secretary James Brokenshire has suggested housebuilders could be forced to sign up to a code of conduct if they want to benefit from the revised Help to Buy scheme. He said the government was looking at “codes of practice” or “quality requirements” that housebuilders would need to meet to access the revised scheme, which will start in 2021.
Carney says illiquid investment funds are “systemic” threat
Speaking with MPs on the Treasury select committee on Wednesday, Mark Carney said investment funds with high levels of illiquid holdings are “built on a lie, which is that you can have daily liquidity for assets that fundamentally aren’t liquid”. His comments follow the suspension of Neil Woodford’s flagship Equity Income Fund earlier this month. The Bank of England Governor added: “This is a big deal. You can see something that could be systemic.” Although globally co-ordinated action was needed to stop such funds offering investors the prospect of instant access, the Bank would co-ordinate with the Financial Conduct Authority in the meantime to ensure redemption terms were better aligned with the actual liquidity of the underlying investment, said Mr Carney. Nicky Morgan, chair of the Commons' Treasury Select Committee, has also called for greater regulation of the asset management sector following the suspension of Woodford’s flagship fund.
FCA pressed Woodford into being overseen by Link
Neil Woodford was reportedly pressured by the FCA to use Link Asset Services in 2014, despite the regulator having censured the management service over its role in two funds that had collapsed.
Gadhia drops board role to run start-up
Former Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia is stepping down from the board of Stagecoach so that she can become chief executive of financial services start-up Snoop. Potential investors in Snoop say the company is aiming to become a "sophisticated" price comparison site, pitting it against the likes of Comparethemarket and Moneysupermarket.
Crisis-hit H2O looks at shifting illiquid bonds into separate fund
H2O Asset Management could create a separate entity to ringfence the illiquid bonds linked to German financier Lars Windhorst, after investors pulled billions of euros out of funds.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
US growth on the menu for Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay is teaming up with Lion Capital, the former owner of Wagamama and Weetabix, to invest $100m on five different concepts across the US over the next five years. Lion Capital is acquiring a 50% stake in Gordon Ramsay North America for $25m and will provide a mixture of equity and debt funding to finance the opening of 75 to 100 restaurants.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Advertising squeeze hits Evening Standard
The Evening Standard has posted a loss of £11.6m for the year to the end of September, its second consecutive year in the red. Revenue increased by 2% to £65m, which the firm said came despite “tightening markets” for print display and classified ads, while operating losses narrowed by 5%.
Sales of £1m homes hit record high
Sales of homes worth more than £1m increased to a record high of nearly 15,000 in Britain last year, according to Lloyds Bank. The number of £1m-plus deals increased in Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and northern England. The number in London fell slightly but the capital and the south east combined still accounted for nearly eight in 10 of the sales.
Bonmarché embraces takeover bid
The directors of fashion retailer Bonmarché have changed their minds about a takeover bid from the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill. The chain recommended shareholders accepted Philip Day’s offer of 11.445p a share, despite previously rejecting a mandatory takeover offer from Spectre Holdings, his Dubai-based bid vehicle, as “inadequate”.
Foreign investment into UK falls sharply
The number of foreign investment projects into the UK has fallen to its lowest number for almost six years, according to figures from the Department for International Trade. The number of new projects in the UK fell 14% in 2018-19. At the same time, there was a 24% fall in the number of jobs created. In the previous financial year, 75,968 new jobs were created. But in the financial year just ended, that number fell to 57,625, the lowest level for seven years.
Carney hints at no-deal rate cut
Mark Carney has given the clearest indication yet that interest rates may be cut in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Bank of England governor told MPs that there would be no “automatic” response if Britain crashed out of the European Union without a deal, but a package of stimulus measures would be the most likely outcome.