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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 7th February 2019

Posted: 7th February 2019


Lending up at CYBG

Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank owner CYBG has recorded a rise in first quarter lending but warned that market conditions remain uncertain amid Brexit negotiations. CYBG reported a 1.4% rise in customer lending to £71.9bn in its first quarter to 31 December and said the group’s full-year net interest margin would now be at the upper end of previous guidance. First quarter mortgage lending lifted 1.5% to £60bn and small business lending rose 1.2% to £7.6bn, while customer deposits edged 0.2% higher to £61.1bn. CYBG has also upped its cost savings target after the £1.7bn takeover of Virgin Money. It now expects annual savings of at least £150m by the end of 2020-21, against the £120m previously announced.

RBS shareholders approve scheme to buy shares

Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders have approved a plan to buy back up to £1.5bn of shares from the Government. The taxpayer-controlled lender gained the backing of 98.7% of shareholders at a general meeting in Edinburgh on Wednesday. The government intends to cease ownership of RBS by 2024, but shadow banking minister Jonathan Reynolds has said Labour would put a stop to the privatisation of the bank if it comes to power.

Coutts banker loses sexism claim

A Coutts banker has lost her £400,000 sexism claim against the bank after telling a tribunal she deserved to be paid more than her bosses. The Central London Employment tribunal rejected Donna Ball’s claim after concluding that she “has a higher perception of her performance” than she could demonstrate with evidence.

RBS sued by council over complex loans

Newham council is suing Royal Bank of Scotland over the terms of about £150m in complex bank loans. The claim centres on terms of its lender option borrower option loans (Lobos). Newham’s legal team filed a separate legal claim against Barclays over its Lobo loans last year and proceedings are understood to be ongoing.

UBS to shift assets from UK to Germany

UBS has received approval to move up to £28bn in assets from Britain to Germany as part of plans to keep business in the European Union after Brexit.

Handelsbanken’s operating profits surge

Handelsbanken's operating profit in the UK for the year to December jumped by 55% to £228m, following a fall of 83% in bad debts and a rise of 22% in consumer deposits to £4.6bn.

Men’s pay packets at the top of banks are still out of whack

Sarah Gordon highlights the gender pay gap at UK banks and building societies, which is 35% - and 52% for bonuses. Between 2009 and 2017, the average gap in the top 10% of earners was 59%.


Blackstone goes to war with Italian media tycoon

A lawsuit between Blackstone and RCS MediaGroup over the ownership of the Italian company’s headquarters has sparked criticism about the influence of overseas private equity groups.


Money laundering scandal eats into ING profits

Higher commission and fee income boosted Dutch bank ING's full year profits, which were otherwise hit by its costly money laundering scandal. After paying a fine of €775m in the third quarter, to settle a court case after admitting criminals had been able to launder money through its accounts, the bank reported earnings of €1.27bn in the fourth quarter - a 25% increase on the same period in 2017.

Diamond steps down from Atlas Mara chairmanship

Amid a strategic review to improve performance, former Barclays boss Bob Diamond has stepped down as chairman of pan-African group Atlas Mara, which has lost more than 80% of its value since listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2013. The review, it is hoped, will see the firm boost digital banking and agricultural initiatives.

BNP Paribas pledges extra €600m of cuts

BNP Paribas has slashed its financial targets and pledged to cut an extra €600m of costs after “extreme market conditions” hit trading revenues in the fourth quarter.

Malpass nomination confirmed

Donald Trump has nominated David Malpass to lead the World Bank. Following the nomination, Mr Malpass’s son has offered to step down from a job as research analyst at the International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank. The FT describes Mr Malpass as a poor choice for the role, arguing that he lacks the qualities of previous heads.

Goldman and HSBC set out cost-cutting plans

Goldman Sachs is considering a plan to scale back its commodities trading business in an attempt to slash costs. The move follows reports that HSBC is making dozens of redundancies in its global banking and markets arm.

ECB to test how long banks can last without fresh funds

The European Central Bank is to launch a “sensitivity analysis” to judge how eurozone banks would handle an “adverse and extreme shock” to liquidity.


Toyota sticks with UK production plans despite no-deal Brexit fears

Toyota says it is not reconsidering its production plans in the UK, despite its concerns over the impact of a potential no-deal Brexit.


Strong results boost building sector

Barratt Developments has seen pre-tax profits rise by 19.1% to £408m for the six months of its financial year to the end of December. Meanwhile, housebuilder Redrow has announced record pre-tax profits of £185m in its first half, an increase of 5%.

HS2 awards station contracts worth £2.56bn

HS2 has tasked Mace, Balfour Beatty and Vinci with building the project’s London terminus and west London super-hub at Old Oak Common, in deals worth a combined £2.56bn.


FCA warns asset managers over fees

The Financial Conduct Authority has said it is prepared to force asset managers to improve disclosure of their pension charges if they fail to do so voluntarily. FCA chief Andrew Bailey said the regulator would “have to act” if the industry did not implement a voluntary scheme to improve transparency within a year. But he also told the Commons pensions committee he had been "pretty pleased" with the response so far from asset managers.

Royal London to transfer £1bn of assets to Ireland

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society (RLMI), is to transfer £1bn of its assets to Ireland amid concerns that it would lose its passporting rights in a no-deal Brexit. A Royal London spokesperson said: “This will allow us to continue to service all of our customers after Brexit, regardless of the type of Brexit.”

Half of pension records ‘filed incorrectly’

A new study indicates that about half of all pension records have been filed incorrectly, raising the prospect that companies may not be putting aside enough for workers’ old age. The research by Pensionsync found firms are passing pension providers false information, including inaccurate contribution rates.

Fintech marketplace raises $114m

Pan-European fintech marketplace Raisin has netted $114m (£87.9m) in series D funding, which will go towards financing strategic acquisitions and expansion. Existing investors Index Ventures, PayPal and Thrive Capital all participated in the round.


Glaxo hunts more deals

Glaxosmithkline is considering more acquisitions and tie-ups, after buying access this week to a cancer drug being developed by Merck of Germany in a deal worth up to £3.2bn.


Siemens and Alstom merger blocked

Siemens and Alstom's planned merger has been blocked by EU anti-trust regulators over competition concerns. “Without sufficient remedies, this merger would have resulted in higher prices for the signalling systems that keep passengers safe and for the next generations of very high-speed trains,” said EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager.


Spotify posts first quarterly profit

Spotify has revealed a 30% rise in revenues, to €1.5bn, in the fourth quarter, as it posted an operating profit of €94m. Spotify has also acquired podcast start-ups Gimlet and Anchor and said it plans to spend $500m (£385m) on further acquisitions this year.


London and South East lead on productivity

London and several areas in the South East continued to outperform the UK in terms of productivity in 2017. Workers in the capital are the most productive in the UK, creating 50% more output per hour than the UK average, according to figures from the ONS. Those in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire came joint second in the UK, 14% above the national average. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was the least productive region, at 32% below average.

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