Challenger banks drive up fixed rates
Challenger Tandem Bank has launched a new best buy three-year savings deal paying 2.4%, alongside one and two-year fixed rate bonds paying 2.25% and 2% respectively. Figures from independent advice site Savings Champion show that fixed-rate bonds are at their highest levels since 2016. This has been driven by offerings from smaller banks such as Tandem, Charter Savings Bank and Atom. Savings Champion co-founder Anna Bowes said: “The lesser known challenger banks have continued to inject much needed competition into the savings market over the last couple of years in particular.”
Data breaches used to target bank accounts
Experts have warned that criminals are using information stolen in data breaches to gain access to victims' bank accounts. Action Fraud says that fraudsters are increasingly using name, location and phone number data to obtain further information on the victim, and, in some cases, using this data to answer security questions that enable them to secure replacement sim cards for the victim’s mobile phone. With this they are able to access text messages used to verify identity as part of two-factor authentication for online and mobile banking.
Analysts cut Metro Bank target
Analysts at Berenberg have cut their price target for Metro Bank to £25, from £30, saying: “We believe lagging returns reflect persistent tension between growth and profitability, which should drive disappointment both against 2020 targets and in the longer term.”
A year until PPI deadline
The FCA’s deadline for making claims against lenders who mis-sold PPI is now a year away. The final PPI claims must be made by 29 August 2019, and the FCA is using an advertising campaign featuring an animatronic effigy of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head to remind people to check if they have a case. £31.9bn has been paid out in compensation so far, and banks have set aside another £10bn to cover remaining dues.
Investors relish prospect of Yum China buyout
The FT looks at a bid for the China operations of Yum Brands from an investor group including KKR, saying if a sale goes ahead it will be China's largest private equity deal.
Deutsche Bank to uphold global presence
Deutsche Bank has vowed to maintain its commitment to global investments outside of Europe, despite pressure to consolidate its investments arm and merge with Commerzbank. Chief executive Christian Sewing also urged negotiators to reach a “constructive answer” on Brexit, to allow “continental Europe to develop strong financial centres” while giving access to the “important financial centre” in London. He also called for eurozone countries to adopt identical banking rules to make it easier for banks in different countries to merge. “It is very clear: the pressure to consolidate in Europe will rise substantially,” he said, adding: “Europe does not need as many banks as possible; Europe needs strong banks above all”.
Turkish banks downgraded as economy struggles
- lira fell again on Wednesday, as 20 of Turkey’s leading banks were downgraded and faith in the authorities’ capacity to support the currency sank further. Ankara’s central bank has now changed borrowing limits for overnight transactions to help tighten monetary policy, but investor confidence remains low.
Nigeria’s central bank issues fines
The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered South African telecoms firm MTN and four banks to bring $8.134bn back into the country that MTN illegally sent abroad. The central bank fined the four banks, saying they breached foreign exchange rules by failing to verify that the telecoms firm had met all the requirements necessary for transferring the funds. Standard Chartered was fined 2.4bn naira, Stanbic IBTC Bank 1.8bn naira, Citibank 1.2bn naira and Diamond Bank 250m naira.
Fed risks backlash over bank buffers
The FT looks at calls for the Federal Reserve to increase big banks' capital requirements to rein in financial risks, with some policymakers suggesting the countercyclical capital buffer should be lifted.
Aston Martin moots London float
Aston Martin says it may float on the London stock market, completing a turnaround that has seen the firm boost sales and profits. Analysts say the firm, which also on Wednesday posted half-year profits of £42m, would be worth up to £5bn. The carmaker, whose main shareholders are an Italian investment fund and Kuwaiti investors, said that it would initially float a minimum of 25% of the company. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs will lead the listing, while HSBC, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Unicredit will also be involved.
Accountants present proposals to shake-up the audit market
The Competition and Markets Authority is considering proposals by Britain’s nine biggest accounting firms to shake-up the audit market and end the dominance of the Big Four.
UBS closes robo-advice service
UBS has announced the closure of its Smartwealth robo-advice service, stating that while it’s commercial progress had been satisfactory, its “near-term potential” was limited. Money will continue to be invested up to a maximum of six days, after which the investments will be sold and proceeds returned to a nominated bank account. Sig Fig has acquired the intellectual property associated with the platform.
Non-EU financial centres will benefit if EU punishes City
The Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said that financial centres outside the EU will benefit if the EU sought to punish the City of London as Britain prepares to leave the bloc. He said he did not believe the EU would try to punish London’s financial sector, but that if they did, “the only winners would be the other financial centres in the top 10 like Tokyo and New York.”
Wonga holds crisis talks with FCA
The Financial Conduct Authority has held crisis talks with Wonga that could potentially delay its collapse into administration. FCA officials are understood to have met representatives of the payday lender in recent days to discuss concerns about the impact the closure of Wonga could have on customers who use its short-term, high-interest loans.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
Johnston Press revenues drop
Revenues at Johnston Press have slipped by 10% in the first half of 2018, after changes to Google and Facebook’s algorithms hit digital advertising income. However, the firm did report a pre-tax profit of £6.2m thanks to sales of its national paper I. Shares fell by as much as 21% yesterday.
Capital housing market anticipates further falls
London house prices could fall a further 1.6% this year, according to a survey of housing market specialists by Reuters, and a further 0.1% in 2019. Participants in the poll also warned that a potential no-deal Brexit next March could drag down house prices further.
Homebase creditors owed £1bn
Homebase owes around £1.2bn to employees, landlords, suppliers and other creditors - but only has £151m reserves, High Court documents seen by the Mail reveal. If the retailer fails to win backing for a CVA, it could plunge into administration, owing creditors £1.2bn.
BHS sites struggle to find occupiers
More than half of BHS's former sites remain vacant two years after the retail chain's collapse, new data has revealed. Some 84 of the 164 stores remain empty, according to the Local Data Company.
Land values raise UK’s wealth to £10trn
The net value of all of the UK’s assets topped £10trn for the first time in 2017, thanks to surging land and house prices. The ONS said almost all of the rise to £10.2trn from £9.75trn was fuelled by a £450bn rise in land values. Housing wealth now makes up 17.8% of the UK’s net worth, and added to land this takes the two to a total of 70.7% of net assets. The steady increase in land values is expected to trigger further calls for a land value tax or new rules allowing local authorities to benefit from the rise in values by allowing them to buy land earmarked for development.