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“Daily News Roundup: Tuesday 11th December 2017

Posted: 11th December 2017


End of an era for free cash machines

Which? has called for an urgent review into free ATMs after research revealed that one in five cash machines now charge customers to withdraw money. The consumer group said it has "significant concerns" and has written to the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), calling for it to conduct an urgent market review on the potential impact on consumers. The call by Which? comes after a consultation launched by Link into the interchange fees paid by card issuers such as banks and building societies to ATM operators. Link's plans include a drop in interchange rates over the next four years, from about 25p to 20p per withdrawal. Link has said that the plans would help to retain an extensive network of free ATMs for consumers.

Banks shares rise after Basel rules prove softer than feared

Shares in UK banks rose on Friday after new rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, known as Basel III, proved to be softer than investors had initially feared. Lloyds led the banking stocks rally on the FTSE 100, its shares rose 3.6%. Barclays also rose strongly, up 2.5%, while RBS and HSBC shares ticked up 2.1% and 1% respectively. The key new rule is a so-called "output floor" preventing banks from risk weighting an asset too far below the level calculated by regulators under standardised models.

Increase in 10-year fixes as rates halve

The number of 10-year fixed-rate mortgages has soared in recent months. Research by Moneyfacts shows the average rate for a 10-year fix has halved over the past decade, from 6.07% in 2007 to 3.04% today. This means such deals are only a little more expensive than five-year fixes, which have an average rate of 2.88%.

Labour would move BoE to Birmingham

Large parts of the Bank of England may be moved to Birmingham if Labour wins power. A report setting out considerations for the party's next general election manifesto recommended such a move as well as locating a new National Investment Bank in Britain's second biggest city.


Wall Street lobbies against measure hitting high-tax states

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would hit high-tax states, are being opposed by Wall Street executives, who argue they could damage New York's financial industry by driving out bankers.


Construction falls

Figures from the ONS show that construction output fell 1.7% on the month in October, with a 1.4% dip in the three-month period to October. However, contracts linked to the £56bn HS2 rail line saw new orders up 37% between July and September.


City of London sticks to Brexit plan

The City has welcomed progress on a divorce deal with the EU but said it saw little reason to alter preparations for when Britain leaves the bloc. Lloyd's of London was among the first to respond, saying that it would press ahead with its plans to establish a foothold in the EU. Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK, said: “For the financial and related professional services industry, our critical issues must now be progressed. The sand in the timer is running out.” Barclays’ chairman John McFarlane added that many questions remained unanswered. “Good progress on the key political issues and good to see likelihood of a transition period. What ultimately matters for our sector is ‘grandfathering’ of existing contracts, and continued market access,” he stated. Meanwhile, European banks and insurers including Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas could learn this week whether they will be forced to create separate entities in the UK post-Brexit.

Aviva latest to back LSE chairman

Trevor Green, head of UK equities at Aviva Investors, is the latest LSE investor to come out against Sir Christopher Hohn and his campaign to oust chairman Donald Brydon. Sir Christopher, who runs The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), claims CEO Xavier Rolet was wrongly forced out by Brydon. Earlier this week, investor advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis urged shareholders to vote against Sir Christopher's proposals.

The Daily Telegraph

Alternative finance market boosts to £4.6bn

New research has revealed that the UK’s alternative finance market grew by 43% in 2016 with interest from start-ups, SMEs and institutional investors helping to boost demand for services such as peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding. Around 72% of the year's market volume, or £3.3bn,

Coinbase warns of run on bitcoin

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase has warned that its systems may collapse if there is a run on the digital currency, leaving investors unable to cash out their holdings. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO, said fears of wild swings in the value had led the platform to restrict how much customers can sell "to protect client accounts and assets".

Prohibition Orders lowest since 2008

Research by RPC reveals 18 people have been banned from working in the financial services industry in the past year - down from the 25 people in 2015-16 and the lowest since the financial crisis.

Marshall Wace profits down

Marshall Wace made a profit of £155m for the year to February 2017, according to the hedge fund’s latest accounts, down almost 60% on the £370.6m recorded a year earlier.

FCA urges asset managers to report Mifid implementation struggles

Asset managers have been urged to notify the Financial Conduct Authority if they are struggling to implement new Mifid II rules that come into force on January 3.


Four Seasons could win an eleventh-hour reprieve

Four Seasons Healthcare is set to be granted a reprieve from its largest creditor, heading off the potential collapse of the care home operation. The company is in talks with the H/2 Capital Partners this weekend, according to the paper.


Airbnb closes in on UK holiday operators

Airbnb is close to agreeing a $1bn takeover of a number of UK holiday operators. The room-sharing website is leading a pack of bidders for brands including Hoseasons, James Villa Holidays and, plus dozens of other brands letting homes in Greece, Croatia and Italy. The portfolio of property rental sites has been put up for sale by Wyndham Worldwide Corporation.


Manufacturing continues to grow

ONS data shows October saw a sixth consecutive month of expansion for Britain’s manufacturing industry, with growth of 0.1% compared to September. It is the longest unbroken expansion of its kind for at least 20 years. Annual growth in factory output also hit 3.9% in October - the biggest increase since December 2016. The figures were boosted by higher production levels from British carmakers on the back of increased export orders in recent weeks. ONS statistician Kate Davies also said, "the longer-term picture is one of strong growth."


Investors to block windfall

Sports Direct investors are set to vote this week on whether to approve an £11m payout to the brother of Mike Ashley. Independent shareholders will be asked to decide on Wednesday whether John Ashley should receive the windfall, which Sports Direct says he is owed after being underpaid for previous work.

Young’s owners eye sale

Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners (UK), the owners of Young’s, are reportedly exploring multimillion pound sale of the British seafood brand. Young’s recorded turnover of £496.5m last year and booked earnings of £21.2m. The private equity groups are understood to be working with Stamford Partners on an exit.

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