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Daily News Roundup: Thursday 6th December 2018

Posted: 6th December 2018


Monzo hits crowdfunding target in under 3 hours

Monzo has hit its crowdfunding target of £20m after raising about £18m in less than three hours when current account customers were able to buy shares. The challenger bank, which raised £2m from 2,457 existing investors, raised £18m in two hours and 45 minutes, with the first five minutes seeing £7m raised. Around 36,000 customers invested in the online-only lender, with an average transaction size of £537, in what was the largest ever crowdfunding round for a British fintech company.

TSB staff to get IT reward

TSB will give most of its employees £1,500 each as a reward for handling the fallout from its IT meltdown earlier this year. The December payment will represent a 7% bonus for frontline staff, with part-time and new staff to receive a smaller amount while senior executives will not share the pre-Christmas payout. A TSB spokesperson said the payout was to thank staff and reflect “the exceptional team effort across the business to put things right for our customers”. The payout will cost the bank £11m and temporarily replaces its profit-linked March bonus, with the bank set to report a loss.

BoE ready to loosen bank buffers

The Bank of England will lower banks' capital buffers in the event of a disorderly Brexit to maintain £250bn of lending to the UK economy.

Barclays customers call for investment pledge

A number of Barclays customers have called on the bank to promise not to invest in pipelines for oil from tar sands. Greenpeace, which occupied a branch of Barclays on Wednesday morning, said 30,000 customers signed a petition calling on the lender not to fund tar sands projects, with 6,000 saying they would close accounts unless Barclays made such a pledge. A spokesman for Barclays said it was “not currently providing any project finance to oil sands pipeline projects”.

NatWest reverses refund decision

NatWest has refunded a customer who had £20,000 stolen after a violent mugging. The bank initially declined a fraud claim but following an investigation by BBC One’s Watchdog Live, it reversed its initial decision and apologised for a “lack of clarity” in its original ruling.


SoftBank Vision Fund sets up in China

Sources close to the matter say SoftBank's Vision Fund is setting up an investment team in China, with Eric Chen, formerly of Silver Lake, lined up to lead the team.

MJ Hudson Data group acquired

Asset management consultancy MJ Hudson has bought data and analytics business Amaces, giving it its first presence in the US and expanding its client base to more than 700 managers, pension funds and other firms.

Blackstone planning Alight IPO

Blackstone Group is planning an IPO for healthcare and retirement benefits services provider Alight Solutions, according to sources. The listing, which could come in H1 2019, could value the firm at more than $7bn including debt. Blackstone acquired Alight from insurance broker Aon almost two years ago in a deal that valued it at up to $4.8bn. The sources say Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have been hired to underwrite the IPO.


Raids hit Deutsche Bank shares

Shares in Deutsche Bank hit a new low yesterday, although they later made a recovery. This comes in the week after authorities raided the bank's offices for a second time over money laundering concerns. Shares dropped 2.4% to €7.90 as trading opened on Wednesday, the second time they have dropped below €8 after prosecutors raided the lender’s offices on Friday.

Barclays expects Swiss private banking growth

Barclays expects to have seen growth of more than 10% in its Swiss private banking business this year and is looking to expand further in Switzerland in 2019. Swiss head Gerald Mathieu said Barclays plans to add six to 10 relationship managers in the year ahead.

WiZink float on the cards

Sources close to the matter say investment firm Varde Partners is planning to float its Spanish online bank WiZink next year. They add that UBS and Goldman Sachs are likely to be selected as coordinators of the IPO, which would come in Q3 2019.

Turkish bank shares hit following Akbank rights issue

The Istanbul Borsa banking index fell on Wednesday after Akbank, one of Turkey's largest private lenders, revealed a rights issue amid the country's wider economic slowdown.


Car sales decline in November

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data shows that new car registrations dipped 3% last month, hitting 158,639 in November compared to 163,541 in November 2017. However, demand for plug-in and hybrid vehicles is up 24.5% on November 2017. Total new car registrations throughout 2018 are 6.9% down on the same period last year. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes believes Brexit uncertainty has contributed to the dips, saying: “It’s now critical that a Brexit deal is secured to boost consumer confidence and provide a stimulus to the new car market as we enter the new year.”


Ryanair faces legal action after rejecting compensation claims

The Civil Aviation Authority is seeking to discipline Ryanair after the airline ended its relationship with Aviation ADR, the body designed to resolve customer complaints, over the budget carrier's refusal to reimburse customers over strike disruption this summer.


Citi says it will fall short on efficiency target

Citigroup says market volatility means it will miss its 2018 efficiency target, with fourth-quarter revenues in fixed-income trading and investment banking hit. CFO John Gerspach said he felt “very good” about Citi’s longer-term efficiency targets.

Talent investment dents Numis' profits

Staff costs at Numis rose 10.6% to £64.7m for the year ended September 30, resulting in profit before tax falling 17% to £38.3m. Co-chief executive Ross Mitchinson noted that Numis thought that the new Mifid II regulations would create opportunities: “It is always right to hire brilliant people,” he said.

Watchdog to probe Paypal's iZettle takeover

The Competition and Markets Authority is to launch an investigation into Paypal’s $2.2bn merger with Swedish payments start-up iZettle over fears it could drive up prices for customers. The CMA is concerned the deal could negatively impact future competition for mobile payment services.


Takeda shareholders back Shire takeover

Takeda Pharmaceutical has won shareholder approval for a £46bn ($59bn) takeover of UK-listed drug maker Shire, clearing the way for Japan's largest corporate acquisition. The takeover would make Takeda one of the world's top 10 drug makers.


Thomas Cook fundamentals 'robust'

Thomas Cook’s biggest shareholder Invesco has spoken out in defence of the firm, rubbishing the stock market sell-off as an “overreaction”. Invesco global equities fund manager Stephen Anness asserted: “The market has taken fright but from what we see, the fundamentals remain robust."

Patisserie Valerie appoints interim finance boss

Café chain Patisserie Valerie has announced the appointment of Nick Perrin as interim chief financial officer, a month after the resignation of Chris Marsh in the wake of the chain being rocked by accounting irregularities. A £40m black hole in its books was later uncovered.


Financial services firms lead City office demand

Financial services firms are looking for more new office space in the City than at any time since 2015. The sector is seeking 2.4m sq ft of office space, a figure that represents 37% of total demand and puts it ahead of any other sector. Figures show City of London office leases agreed by banks and financial services companies fell from 1.6m sq ft in 2016 to 1.3m sq ft in 2017, with take-up in 2018 set to marginally beat last year's total.


Brexit fears raise recession risk

Business activity fell to its lowest rate of growth since the Brexit vote, according to IHS Markit's UK services purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which hit 50.4 in November, down from 52.2 in October, after many companies delayed investment decisions over Brexit uncertainties. As firms nervously await the outcome of negotiations, business optimism was recorded at its lowest level since July 2016.


JP Morgan: Brexit reversal likelihood increases

JP Morgan says the chance of Britain opting out of Brexit has increased on the back of parliamentary defeats for PM Theresa May. The bank raised the probability of Britain staying in the EU to 40% from 20%. JP Morgan economist Malcolm Barr, in a note to clients, said a no-deal Brexit had a 10% probability - down from 20% - and an orderly Brexit has a probability of 50%, down from 60%.

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