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Daily News Roundup: Thursday 5th April 2018

Posted: 5th April 2018

BANKING

Staley: Brexit will allow UK to take back control

Leaving the EU will allow Britain to dispense with Brussels rules and take back control of its future, which could benefit the economy and make the country more competitive, according to Jes Staley. The Barclays CEO added that any short-term economic hit from Brexit will be so minor that it will pass almost unnoticed. Mr Staley also stated that economic and political imperatives should prevent global trade wars, despite the barriers thrown up by Brexit and US trade tensions. Separately, Barclays has launched what it claims is Britain's first green mortgage, offering preferential rates for borrowers who take out a home loan on a new property which has an A or B energy rating from approved house builders.

New HSBC management mulls further cuts

New HSBC chief executive John Flint is considering reducing the countries that the bank operates in, with Bermuda, Malta and Uruguay believed to be on the block. Meanwhile, Spanish police have arrested Hervé Falciani, the former HSBC IT specialist who leaked data about thousands of wealthy customers, sparking a tax evasion scandal at the bank.

HSBC has largest gender pay gap

HSBC has reported the widest gender pay gap among large organisations in Britain, paying men on average 59% more than women. HSBC insisted it was confident in its approach to wages and made adjustments if it identified differences between men and women in similar roles which could not be explained by performance or experience.

RBS to train 1m people to identify bank scams

Royal Bank of Scotland staff will provide training on how to thwart scammers to a million people across the UK by 2020, chief executive Ross McEwan has announced. The Friends Against Scams training will be available to customers and non-customers of NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank, helping them to identify scams and arming them with information to help prevent relatives and friends becoming victims.

INTERNATIONAL

Deutsche Bank nominated US banker to supervisory board

John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, is being nominated to the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank. Germany’s largest lender announced two other new nominees, Mayree Clark, founder and managing partner of Eachwin Capital, and Michele Trogni, previously group CIO at UBS. The nominations for the supervisory board come amid questions over the leadership of the loss-making bank and the future direction of its investment banking division.

Latvia banking scandal leaves Europe’s regulators red-faced

The forced liquidation of ABLV following US assertions of “institutionalised money laundering” is “very embarrassing” for both Latvian and European authorities, according to the ECB’s Danièle Nouy.

AUTOMOTIVE

Vauxhall commits to Luton

Vauxhall owner PSA Group has announced an investment in its Luton van-making plant which could eventually see Peugeot and Citroen branded vans made in the UK. PSA said it will increase production capacity at its Luton plant by a third "despite Brexit uncertainties", while the government has made a financial contribution thought to be around £9m to help secure 1,400 jobs beyond 2030.

CONSTRUCTION

'Beast from the East' hits construction

The UK construction sector was hit by Britain’s freak cold snap in March, with the Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI falling to 47.0 last month, down from 51.4 in February. A score of 50 indicates that output is unchanged on the month.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

MPs propose default funds for pension savers

MPs have recommended that every company that operates pension drawdown should offer its customers a “go-to” or default fund, which would take the hassle of decision-making out of their hands. The Commons work and pensions select committee has proposed that all financial companies offering drawdown should provide a default option for customers with the same annual charge cap of 0.75% that applies to automatic enrolment schemes, in which employers must put staff into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. The committee also proposes that Nest, the scheme for those saving via auto-enrolment, should be able to offer its default drawdown option for its five million savers.

Insurers predict rising premiums

Eight out of ten insurers in the UK, EU and US predict rising motor premiums in the next two years, according to telematics company The Floow, which surveyed 280 insurance executives. Some 39% cited the rising cost of car repairs as a key driver, and many indicated that the under 25 and over 75 age groups are most likely to be affected.

FRC review to be led by ex-Treasury official

The government is set to appoint a former Treasury official, Sir John Kingman, to lead a review into the Financial Reporting Council that could result in an overhaul of the accountancy watchdog. "We intend to commission a review of the FRC's operations and will announce further details shortly," said a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Fidessa gatecrasher named

SS&C Technologies, a US-based financial services software provider, has been revealed as one of two unnamed parties that have gatecrashed a planned £1.4bn takeover of Fidessa by Switzerland's Temenos.

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

WPP probes Sorrell misconduct allegation

WPP has engaged an independent counsel to investigate an allegation that chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell misused company assets. The company is also looking into allegations of improper personal behaviour by Sir Martin, according to reports.

RETAIL

Mothercare appoints new CEO

Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Mothercare, has stepped down and been replaced by David Wood, former group president of US grocer Kmart Holdings. Mr Wood has also held a number of commercial, marketing and management positions at Tesco. Mr Newton-Jones joined Mothercare, which releases its latest trading figures next week, as interim boss in March 2014 and as permanent chief from July that year. In March, Mothercare warned that annual profits were likely to be near the bottom of its forecast £1m-£5m range.

Magners firm swoops for Conviviality

The owner of Magners cider and Tennent's lager has bought Conviviality's wholesale business, saving some 2,000 jobs. C&C Group has acquired the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses after the collapse of the drinks company, which plans to file for administration. The deal will be funded with the help of a loan from AB Inbev, rumoured to be between £10m and £20m.

ECONOMY

UK stocks most undervalued in five years

UK equities are more undervalued compared to their US and global counterparts than at any point over the last five years, new data has revealed. The biggest factor pushing down stocks has been the reaction to the UK's vote to leave the EU, according to a Reuters report. "Immediately after the Brexit vote in June 2016, we saw analysts downgrade regional airlines, home builders and banks, fearing a decline in property values and threats to London as a global financial hub," said Thomson Reuters senior research analyst Tajinder Dhillon.

Bank of England toys with the idea of greater transparency on rates

Policymakers at the Bank of England are considering whether to be more transparent about their future plans for interest rates, as they prepare for a vote on the cost of borrowing next month.

 

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