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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 11th December 2018

Posted: 11th December 2018



Co-operative Bank to bid for RBS bailout fund

The Co-operative Bank has formally announced that it will compete for a share of Royal Bank of Scotland's £775m business banking fund aimed at increasing competition in Britain's banking sector. The lender will initially target grants worth up to £120m to develop its business current accounts. Co-op Bank will also apply for the £350m incentivised switching scheme part of the fund that aims to encourage small business customers to ditch their RBS account for rival banks. Metro, Starling, TSB, CYBG and Nationwide have already indicated that they will bid for a slice of the fund, to be distributed by the Banking Competition Remedies body.


Barclays customers invited to 'switch off' spending

Barclays has become the first High Street bank to allow its customers to "switch off" certain types of spending on their debit cards. The idea is to help vulnerable customers, particularly problem gamblers, or those in serious debt. All account holders can now block their own spending in a number of categories, including supermarkets, restaurants, pubs and petrol stations. Customers are not able to block specific retailers, but instead can decide which categories of spending are allowed.


Brexit takes bite out of bank jobs

Morgan McKinley says Brexit is taking a "considerable bite" out of banking jobs. The recruitment firm said there was a 39% fall in jobs available in November compared with the same month a year earlier, and a 4% decrease in jobs available compared with October.


Banks should partner with fintechs to survive disruption

Lu Zurawski, consumer payments practice lead at ACI Worldwide, and Todd Latham, chief marketing officer and head of product at Currencycloud, debate whether banks should become fintechs to survive disruption in the sector. Zurawski argues yes, suggesting that becoming a fintech and modernising their "ageing IT infrastructure" is the only way for larger banks to adequately improve customer service, while Latham suggests not, asserting that by partnering with fintech firms - banks can provide "the best of both worlds".


Shareholder group backs financial services tribunal

The Mouchel Shareholder Group has given its support to calls for a new financial services tribunal. The group has added its backing to a campaign being led by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking.





Avant Homes owners mulling sale

Private equity houses Alchemy Special Opportunities, Angelo Gordon and Avenue Capital, owners of housebuilder Avant Homes, are exploring a potential £600m sale with the help of investment bank Moelis. The firms bought Avant, formerly known as Gladedale, from Lloyds Banking Group in 2014 for £175m.


Activist investor Elliott to buy Travelport in $4.4bn deal

Elliott Management is teaming up with Siris Capital to buy Travelport, a UK-headquartered provider of technology services to travel companies, in a $4.4bn deal.





Societe Generale to open Paris hub

Societe Generale has revealed that it will this month open a Paris hub for EU customers to clear derivatives ahead of Brexit. Christophe Lattuada, the French bank's global head of prime services, said: “Societe Generale works with clients daily on listed derivatives and OTC clearing by adapting its offering to their changing needs within the current uncertain regulatory environment.”


Trump’s tinkering threatens bank safeguards

The Telegraph’s David Millward says the US Dodd-Frank Act is under threat from the Trump administration, which has launched an assault on two of its key measures - the Volcker Rule and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


BNP Paribas given panda bond licence in show of openness by Chinese regulators

BNP Paribas has received a licence to underwrite bond sales by foreign companies in China, as Chinese regulators continue to increase foreign participation in mainland debt markets.


Deutsche Bank needs a bold and swift restructuring

An FT editorial argues that Deutsche Bank risks sleepwalking into a systemic collapse and warns that its long-rumoured merger with Commerzbank does not offer a solution to its problems.


India’s central bank governor Urjit Patel resigns amid tense stand-off

Reserve Bank of India head Urjit Patel has resigned in the midst of a dispute with the prime minister over the institution’s independence.





Disrupting car ownership with Drover

Katherine Denham profiles car subscription service Drover. Founder Felix Leuschner hopes that the startup will create a new ownership category entirely, which sits between buying a car outright and signing up to a finance deal.





Pressure builds on Kier

Kier Group saw shares fall deeper below the price at which the company is seeking to sell new stock yesterday. It comes after the construction and outsourcing specialist unveiled a surprise £264m rights issue last month. Meanwhile, analysts have downgraded four of the UK's largest housebuilders - Barratt Developments, Berkeley Group, Crest Nicholson and Taylor Wimpey - after trimming expectations for house price growth from 2% to zero in the year ahead.





Bosses urged to brush up on cyber security

A Financial Conduct Authority review of investment managers and wholesale banks has warned that the industry has only a limited understanding of cyber risk. The FCA said bosses tend to dump responsibility on their IT departments and called for firms to not see cyber security as the sole responsibility of their IT function "but as a part of a firm's activities and business as a whole".


Royal London to appoint Parry as chairman

Royal London is expected to appoint Standard Life Aberdeen board member Kevin Parry as its chairman this week. Mr Parry will replace former Bank of England deputy governor Rupert Pennant-Rea, who has been in the role for five years. The appointment will see Mr Parry step down from his role on the board of Standard Life Aberdeen after joining in 2014.


Bank capital rules boost Just Group

Just Group shares rocketed on Monday after the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulatory Authority released its final decision on equity release mortgages (ERMs). Under the new rules, expected to take effect at the end of next year, Numis estimates Just will need to increase its capital requirements by £100m, way down on estimates of £160m–£876m floated in July.


Brexit anxiety mounts for UK clearing houses and EU banks

London clearing houses are weighing up whether to issue formal notices to European banks to begin closing £45tn of derivatives positions amid Brexit uncertainty.


Entrepreneur unveils plans for Scottish stock exchange

Plans to launch a Scottish stock exchange next year have been unveiled. Bourse Scot, headed by Interactive Investor founder Tomás Carruthers, would be the first Scottish stock exchange since the early 1970s.





Four Seasons seeks rescuer

Care homes operator Four Seasons Health Care is expected to launch a formal sale process in the hope of attracting a rescuer, having attempted to engineer a restructuring of its £525m debt for more than two years.





Hollywood Bowl on a roll

Hollywood Bowl has paid out a special dividend of 4.33p per share on the back of revenues rising 5.8% to £120.5m in the year to September 30. The tenpin bowling operator saw pre-tax profits rise 13.4% to £23.9m.





Vodafone to install 4G and 5G equipment under manhole covers

Vodafone is planning to place 4G and 5G equipment under its Cable & Wireless-branded manholes to boost coverage - the installation of which does not require planning permission.


Softbank in Japan's biggest ever listing

Softbank will raise 2.65tn Japanese Yen (£18.5bn), in the country's largest ever initial public offering (IPO), when it lists on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19. Over 80% of the shares have been allocated to Japanese retail investors.





London third for house sales over £20m

More than 150 homes around the world changed hands for more than £20m ($25m) each in the past year. The highest number of ultra-prime sales were in Hong Kong, where 47 homes priced at £20m or above changed hands, followed by New York with 39. London - which topped the rankings in 2015, slipped to third place with 38 transactions.





UK economic growth still slowing

Growth slowed to 0.4% in the last quarter, according to the latest ONS data, as professional services expansions failed to dent falling car sales and drug manufacturing cuts. Construction continued to fall back, down to 1.2% growth, while the manufacturing sector saw a 0.9% drop in growth.

Pound plummets after Brexit vote delayed

The pound dropped to a 20-month low yesterday after Theresa May confirmed she would defer the vote on her Brexit deal. Meanwhile, the domestically focused FTSE 250 share index fell 2%, hitting its lowest since December 2016.

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