Lloyds tops table of UK taxpayers
Lloyds Banking Group paid £2.3bn in tax for 2016, making it’s the biggest single corporate contributor to the Treasury. The figure is £500m more than the previous year and exceeds those of its main rivals HSBC, Barclays and RBS, who each paid £1.7bn, £1.4bn and £1.3bn in UK taxes in 2016 according to their annual reports. The bank outlines in its tax strategy report, published today, that: “As a responsible business, we share public interest that ‘big business’ contributes its fair share to the UK’s prosperity, which is why we aim to be open and transparent about our approach to tax – including our overall strategy and payments.”
Barclays hit by Trump's tax reform
European banks and corporates have said they will take an initial hit from US tax reforms but expect the changes to have a positive impact overall. Royal Dutch Shell expects a $2bn writedown of tax deferrals, Credit Suisse predicts a $2.3bn charge and Barclays a $1.34bn writedown. The banks said they expect the reforms will have a positive impact on the US economy and their activity levels in the US. However, the FT reports that the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (Beat) element of the reforms will impose an extra levy on the interest foreign banks pay from their US offshoots to their parent companies.
Global number of IPOs highest since financial crisis
This year saw global exchanges attract the highest number of IPOs since the financial crisis, led by a resurgence in US activity and a record number of Chinese deals. Almost 1,700 companies floated in 2017, up 44% on 2016.
IWG confirms takeover bid
Shares in International Workplace Group (IWG) rocketed yesterday after the serviced offices provider confirmed a takeover approach from private equity firms Onex and Brookfield Asset Management. Under takeover rules, the pair have until 20 January to make an official offer.
Goldman Sachs moving European unit to Dublin
Goldman Sachs will move its European asset management business to Dublin post-Brexit, alongside already announced hubs in Frankfurt and Paris. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also moving to Dublin.
Mitsubishi picks up stake in Indonesia lender
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the Japanese banking group, is to acquire 73.8% of Indonesia's fifth-largest lender, Bank Danamon.
London black cab maker buys Volvo trucks stake
Chinese firm Geely, which makes London's iconic black cabs, has taken an 8.2% stake in the Volvo truck business. "We are delighted to have reached agreement with Cevian to acquire its holding in AB Volvo, making us the largest shareholder by capital in a company that leads the world in many aspects of commercial vehicle development, manufacturing and sales," said Geely Holding chairman Li Shufu. Geely bought British car maker Lotus earlier this year, plus a US startup developing flying car technology.
Boston boost for Balfour
The Times notes that Balfour Beatty's American operations are to pick up a significant share of a $1bn extension to Boston's oldest subway line.
Mifid II favouring large asset managers?
Large investment firms could crush their smaller rivals because of new Mifid II regulations. All asset managers have been ordered to reveal how much they charge savers for research bought from investment banks - leading many large players to announce they will pay for this research out of their own budgets in future. But smaller companies do not have enough cash to easily do this, sparking concerns that they will be shunned by investors and therefore lose business.
Europe’s exchanges clash with banks and traders over increase in data fees
BME, Nasdaq, Euronext and Deutsche Börse have angered their customers by raising prices for vital trading information just days before the arrival of rules that monitor market data costs.
Brussels to offer pan-EU fintech licences
In an attempt to tackle America and Asia’s dominance of the Fintech industry, Brussels is to offer pan-EU licences to help some fintech companies operate across the bloc.
Smart beta funds pass $1tn in assets
Smart beta funds have hit the $1tn of assets milestone, which the FT says is a testament to the increasing popularity of the hybrid investment strategy.
UK firms going global
The Bank of England says UK businesses are looking to take advantage of a weak pound and global economic growth by exporting more goods and entering new markets. Data gathered between August and November shows growth in goods exports strengthened further to a “robust pace” across various industries, with demand coming not only from Europe but also, Australia, the US and the Far East.
Professional services driving global moves by UK firms
The Bank of England says UK businesses are looking to take advantage of a weak pound and global economic growth by exporting more goods and entering new markets. Data gathered between August and November shows growth in goods exports strengthened further to a “robust pace” across various industries, with demand coming not only from Europe but also, Australia, the US and the Far East. "Professional services firms across law, accountancy and consultancy reported robust demand for advice related to acquisition of UK assets, or to the establishment of UK operations by EU clients to retain market access," the BoE report said.
Britons borrow £8.5bn to pay for Christmas
A survey by uSwitch has found that Britons borrowed an average of £452 on credit cards to cover the cost of Christmas festivities – nearly £8.5bn in total – and half worried they would still be paying off the debts in December 2018. Nearly one in 10 said they were still paying off debts dating back to last Christmas. Last month a survey found the UK’s cheapest supermarket Christmas dinner cost 18% more than last year. Tashema Jackson, at uSwitch.com, said: “January should be a time for looking ahead but up and down the country millions of Brits will be looking over their shoulder at the cost of their festive spending.”
Gloomy outlook on wage growth
The Resolution Foundation predicts that people will see no real wage growth before the end of 2018, while 27% of working age households expect their financial situation to worsen in the coming 12 months, almost equalling the 28% who think it will get better. Separately, a survey by Lloyds Bank has found that men expect their annual income to grow by £770.50 by this time next year, while women only expect their pay to rise by £429.70. The Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report also found 66% of people feel negative about the UK economy, up five percentage points on a year earlier. A further survey of leading economists by the Times has also found that households face higher borrowing costs next year regardless of whether the Bank of England raises interest rates.
FTSE bosses killing the golden goose
The Mail’s Alex Brummer says FTSE 100 chiefs are serial under-achievers and that despite years of reforms pay abuse continues. He adds that investors and the public might be more sympathetic to massive pay awards if bosses were delivering new wealth, but they’re not, and neither are they bringing their employees with them. The divisive culture bred by an “immoveable sense of entitlement to riches, reinforced by weak remuneration committees and self-serving pay consultants” is making the work of left-wing agitators at Momentum, and Jeremy Corbyn, easy, says Brummer.