Dimon: Brexit leaves EU with the upper hand
Long-time Brexit critic Jamie Dimon has said all of JP Morgan’s bankers serving EU clients could be shifted out of London in the years to come. In his annual letter to shareholders, the US bank chief said: "Brexit was accomplished, but many issues still need to be negotiated. And in those negotiations, Europe has had, and will continue to have, the upper hand.” In the short term, Dimon continued, the state of EU–UK relations “cannot possibly be a positive for the UK's GDP”. This could change if “the UK has a comprehensive and well-executed strategic plan that is acceptable to Europe.” However, Mr Dimon did concede that the City “still has the opportunity to adapt and reinvent itself, particularly as the digital landscape continues to revolutionise financial services.”
HSBC shifts 1,200 staff to permanent home working
More than 1,200 call centre staff working for HSBC staff in Britain will be moved to permanent working from home contracts, unions have revealed. This equates to 70% of the bank’s total call centre workforce. The move indicates how banks are locking in changes to employees' work patterns as a result of the pandemic to cut costs, the Mail reports. Meanwhile, JP Morgan's chief executive Jamie Dimon revealed in a letter to shareholders published on Wednesday that 10% of the US investment bank's 255,000 employees may work from home full-time. Other staff will continue to work at home for some of the time.
HSBC’s painful retreat from France
HSBC’s sale of the remnants of Crédit Commercial de France is vexing labour unions, the FT reports. Private equity group Cerberus is likely to receive €500m from HSBC to take the bank off its hands.
Toshiba bid from CVC Capital Partners confirmed
CVC Capital Partners has offered $20bn to take Toshiba private, with the Japanese conglomerate stating that it “will ask for further clarification and give it careful consideration.” A Reuters report noted that Toshiba’s board is to discuss the proposal this week.
Russian bank announces 2022 IPO plan
Russian lender Otkritie Bank is on schedule for an initial public offering in May next year, the bank's president Mikhail Zadornov has confirmed. He noted that: "State banks and state companies should not participate - this is a clear stance of the central bank and the government. The same concerns ex-shareholders of Otkritie and B&N bank."
Bank of Israel reserves at record levels
The Bank of Israel has announced that its reserves reached a record $185.7bn after it bought $1.98bn of foreign currency last month. The central bank also confirmed the purchase of 4.1bn shekels ($1.2bn) of Israeli government bonds, while its balance of corporate bond purchases remains at 3.5bn shekels.
SocGen asset manager stake could be sold to Amundi
A majority stake in asset manager Lyxor could be sold by Société Générale for €825m ($979m), with buyer Amundi, a subsidiary of Credit Agricole, noting that such a deal would make it the leader in exchange traded funds in Europe.
Canadian banks shrink workforces
Canada’s largest banks are cutting their workforces by some 4.4% from a year ago - the second straight year of cuts – as the move toward leaner operations following massive investment in new technologies.
Piraeus gets approval for equity offering
Greek lender Piraeus Bank has been granted approval from shareholders for a $1.19bn equity offering, a move that will dilute the stake held by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund to below 33%.
Pod Point listing considered
Electric vehicle charging firm Pod Point is reported to be considering a stock market float, with Bank of America hired as an adviser. This comes as interest in EV charging infrastructure grows, with Pod Point maintaining a UK network of 3,700 public charging bays.
Ryanair damps hopes of breaking even this year due to faltering EU vaccine rollout
Ryanair has adjusted its expected loss for the year ended March to between €800m and €850m before exceptional costs, down from a previous estimate of €850m to €950m.
Asset manager and start-up to offer digital currency trading to banks
State Street has joined forces with London start-up Pure Markets to bring cryptocurrency trading to investment banks. State Street has agreed to provide its Currenex trading technology to Pure Markets to create the world's first liquid, over-the-counter wholesale crypto exchange, branded Pure Digital.
LV= in transparency failure
UK lawmakers have said the move by LV= to sell itself to Bain Capital in a £530m deal, that would mean abandoning its status as a mutual, disregards the interest of its members. A report from MPs and peers said LV= had shown a "cavalier attitude" on governance by not properly informing its members, adding that executives might "benefit from enhanced remuneration" if Bain increased profits.
Plaid valued at $13.4bn following collapse of sale to Visa
Fintech start-up Plaid has been valued by investors at $13.4bn in its first round of fundraising since the US government blocked its sale to Visa.
UK advises under-30s to take offer of alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine
A review of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the UK drugs regulator has concluded that the side-effects of the vaccine were "extremely rare" and more work was going to identify if the vaccine was definitely causing deadly blood clots. The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that 18 to 29-year-olds should be offered an alternative vaccine where available. Meanwhile, Vaccitech, the start-up that owns crucial biotechnology behind the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the US.
LEISURE & HOSPITALITY
Demand rises for slots at pubs ahead of reopening
Incipio Group, the restaurant and bar group behind some of London's biggest al fresco venues, has revealed it has already taken bookings for more than 300,000 customers in an "amazing" scramble for tables from April 12. Separately, Marston's is to reopen around 700 pubs with beer gardens and other outdoor spaces across England from Monday, when restrictions will be lifted to allow outdoor trading.
Saga posts pre-tax loss of £61m
Travel and insurance firm Saga has posted a £61m pre-tax loss for the year to January, with underlying pre-tax profits of £17m exceeding market estimates of £10m. The company also announced a working capital facility with chair Sir Roger De Haan, who acquired £100m of shares in a capital raising last year.
Holiday let mortgages increasing in popularity
Hodge Bank has reported that sales of holiday lets are rising amid growing interest in so-called ‘staycations’. The firm released figures showing that borrowers paid an average of £403,143 for a holiday home, some 62% higher than the average British house price which currently stands at £249,309.
Kurt Geiger to open nine new stores
Kurt Geiger has confirmed plans to open nine new branches when lockdown restrictions on non-essential stores end next week. The retailer, which is preparing to open all of its existing sites from Monday, will launch new branches in Stratford, Brixton, Cheshire Oaks, Swindon, Bridgend, Selby, Cannock and two in Leeds.
Confidence hits 15-year high
Business optimism is at its strongest since late 2006 according to the latest IHS Market PMI survey, with just 8% of companies predicting a fall in activity over the next twelve months. Britain's overall PMI rose to 56.4 in March, reflecting a resurgence in services sector activity after several months of slowdown. Separately, high street footfall was up 134% over Easter weekend compared to this time last year despite non-essential shops not being open yet.
Solid rebound will attract foreign workers back to Britain
International workers could flood back to Britain if the vaccine rollout encourages a more rapid reopening of the economy, Steffan Ball, an economist at Goldman Sachs said. “If jobs open up sooner in the UK than in the home countries of migrants who have recently left, then this would act as a strong force for them to return.” His comments come as a survey of employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found hiring activity picked up at its fastest pace in almost six years in March.