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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 29th March 2018

Posted: 29th March 2018



Fewer finance jobs to be moved by Brexit

A Reuters survey of 119 companies has found that the number of financial services jobs to be moved out of Britain or created abroad by March 2019 as a result of Brexit has decreased by 50% compared to six months ago. The figure now stands at 5,000 positions. Peter Hahn, a professor of banking at the London Institute of Banking and Finance, commented: “The idea of London’s demise was overdone because it will retain most of the advantages that made it a great financial centre”. The survey suggests that Deutsche Bank will now initially move fewer than 200 jobs, after an initial estimate of 4,000; UBS is planning to relocate 200 staff to Frankfurt from London, down from 1,500; and Goldman Sachs expects to move fewer than 500, after it considered moving about 1,000 staff.

BoE gives Brexit transition assurance

Following last week’s agreement on a Brexit transition period, the Bank of England has told City firms they do not need to make sudden efforts to change operations ahead of the Brexit deadline next March. The BoE, joined in a separate statement by the FCA, said that any firm using passporting rights can carry on their business activities in “much the same way as now” during transition. The BoE has also raised the threshold for insurers who have to create an independent subsidiary, rather than operating via the UK market with a branch of their existing organisation, from £200m to £500m.

Cryan remains loyal

Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan has spoken out following reports indicating that the lender is looking to replace him, saying he is "absolutely committed" to his role. In a memo sent to staff, and published on the bank's website, Mr Cryan said: "I just wanted to reaffirm that I am absolutely committed to serving our bank and to continuing down the path on which we started some three years ago".

Arbuthnot reveals surge in lending

Arbuthnot Banking Group has reported a 38% surge in lending at its private banking arm, along with pre-tax profits of £7m, up from £0.2m a year earlier. Arbuthnot said "associated turmoil" resulting from Brexit would create investment opportunities: "The greater risk must be that of a hard left Labour government. This could have a significant impact on our clients and business," chairman Henry Angest added. Pre-tax profit at Arbuthnot Latham rose 21% to £11m, while customer loans jumped 38% to £1.05bn.

More staff goal for small Yorkshire firms

The latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking reveals that the number of Yorkshire businesses expecting to employ more staff increased during March, with confidence climbing 10 points to reach 37%.

Secure Trust lending doubles, leading to Yorkshire office plan

Secure Trust Bank’s asset-based lending division has announced plans to open a Yorkshire office after its lending doubled over the past 12 months. John Gribbon, regional director for Yorkshire at Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, commented: "Doubling our lending balances two years in a row is a massive achievement, and is indicative of how far we have come as a lender."


Buyout funds buoyed by strong demand

Private equity deals worldwide have had their strongest start in five years, boosted by record funds being invested in the sector.


UBS shakes up banking teams

UBS has begun to adopt a unified global wealth management structure, merging teams responsible for its private banking products. This comes after it announced at the start of the year that it would merge its businesses servicing American and international clients into one division.

FCA fails to use Brussels rules in tackling money launderers

Statistics show that the Financial Conduct Authority has not yet pressed criminal charges against Deutsche Bank for breaching EU rules on money-laundering that took effect over a decade ago.

Morgan Stanley leaps to top spot in M and A rankings

The world's mergers and acquisitions rankings have seen Morgan Stanley dethrone rival Goldman Sachs in the first quarter of 2018, with a series of significant deals.

Global takeovers pushed beyond $1.2tn

Global dealmaking volumes exceeded $1.2tn in a record-breaking quarter, with over $50bn of takeovers being lined up yesterday.

Extreme energy projects see increase in lending

The world’s largest banks have committed $115bn to fund projects in "extreme fossil fuels", such as tar sands, Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil extraction, liquefied natural gas, coal mining and power.


Demand for cars falls again

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that domestic demand for UK cars fell for the seventh consecutive month in February as the industry struggles with declining sales and the uncertainty around Brexit. The SMMT said production in the UK in February fell by 17% to 28,336 vehicles. Overall year-to-date output declined by 2.3%, with 292,956 vehicles produced in the first two months of 2018, while domestic demand fell 11.9%. Exports rose by 0.3% on 2017.


Aviva faces questions over preference shares

The FCA is examining whether Aviva’s shelved proposal to cancel £450m (€513.5m) of preference shares earlier this month breached market abuse rules. FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey wrote to Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury select committee, that some holders or former holders of the preference shares “may have lost out financially as a result of these events”.

Solar fund sees $200bn invested between Softbank and Saudi Arabia

Softbank is partnering with Saudi Arabia to construct the world's largest solar power generation project, investing a total of $200bn (£142bn) by 2030. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son have confirmed they have signed a memorandum of understanding on the project.


Sky Bet failed to protect customers, watchdog says

Sky Bet is to pay £1m for "failing to protect vulnerable customers", the Gambling Commission has said. Richard Watson, Gambling Commission programme director, said: "This was a serious failure affecting thousands of potentially vulnerable customers and the £1m penalty package should serve as a warning to all gambling businesses".

Debt reckoning for Fulham Shore

Restaurant chain owner Fulham Shore has blamed slower trading at its suburban restaurants for a profit warning that has seen shares fall more than 40% since late January.


Exporters plan to avoid Brexit disruption

British factories have begun setting up distribution hubs in Europe to ensure that they can maintain sales on the Continent after Brexit. The Bank of England agents’ report found that as well as building warehouses in Europe, manufacturers are “considering investing in infrastructure to gain or maintain [trusted trader] status for UK facilities after EU withdrawal”. This month the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply found that one in seven EU businesses with UK suppliers had moved part or all of their business out of Britain “to reduce their exposure to any complications resulting from Brexit”. The agents’ report also shows factories are stepping up investment to capitalise on booming global trade. Strong demand has raised foreign sales, while the weak pound has made imports more expensive, boosting domestic demand. However, the cost of imported goods is now rising at the slowest pace since late 2016, with annual inflation falling to 2.7% in the year to February.

Inquiry called for over GKN hedge fund share tax

MPs have called for an investigation into whether hedge funds involved in the £8.1bn takeover of GKN are avoiding payment of tax on their shares. Labour MP Jack Dromey said during parliamentary questions: “Disturbing evidence has come to light of a hedge fund scam to buy shares in GKN while avoiding paying tax on shares. Will she, the Prime Minister, agree to condemn this outrageous practice and investigate as a matter of urgency?”


Cook critical of Facebook’s privacy standards

Apple CEO Tim Cook has criticised Facebook in an interview saying that privacy is a human right and a core American value. When asked by Recode's Kara Swisher and MSNBC's Chris Hayes what he would do if confronted by the problems facing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he said: “I wouldn’t be in this situation”. Mr Cook added that Apple has never believed that detailed online profiles of people should exist. “We can make a ton of money if customers were our product. We have elected not to do that … We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty,” he said.

AT and T at risk of $1.1bn payout due to debt clause

AT and T’s acquisition of Time Warner may see it have to pay up to $1.1bn to finance the deal, which is currently facing an antitrust challenge from the US government.


Conviviality heading for administration

Administrators will likely be appointed to Conviviality Retail as early as today, according to Sky News. The firm has fallen into dire straits this month after an accounting error and the discovery of an unpaid £30m tax bill. Some 2,600 people work across Conviviality's brands, which include Matthew Clark, Bibendum, Catalyst, Bargain Booze and Wine Rack.

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