Chase launches new savings account
JP Morgan Chase’s digital offering in the UK has launched a new savings account providing a rate of 1.5%. Customers will be able to deposit up to £250,000 and access their funds as often as they like with no fees, charges or loss of interest. Shaun Port, the managing director of Savings and Investments for Chase in the UK, said: “Savers can set up multiple accounts via the Chase app, each with a unique account number, making it easy to organise their savings for specific goals.” Chase also looks set to launch business current account after the app-based bank posted a job advert last week for a “head of business operations” for Chase UK.
RBS staff to get net zero training
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to train thousands of staff in how to help business customers profit from the shift to net zero. Under a three-year £1.5m deal, the University of Edinburgh will help deliver a training programme to more than 16,000 staff with other experts also being drafted in to provide specialist input.
Advent acquires Italian dessert ingredients maker
Advent International is to acquire Italian dessert ingredients maker IRCA from Carlyle. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Reuters reports that the transaction valued IRCA at around €1bn. That is roughly twice what Carlyle paid in 2017, when it bought an 80% stake in IRCA from the Nobili family and investment firm Ardian, later raising its ownership to 97%.
Warburg Pincus puts RimRock up for sale
Warburg Pincus has put RimRock Oil & Gas up for sale as it looks to take advantage of the upswing in commodity prices to offload the Bakken gas producer. RimRock owns assets spread over 29,500 net acres in the Bakken shale play of North Dakota.
SocGen sells Russian bank stake to sanctioned oligarch
Société Générale is offloading its entire stake in Rosbank and its Russian insurance subsidiaries to Interros Capital, a company founded by Vladimir Potanin. The Russian oligarch was placed on Canada’s sanctions list last week but has so far not been sanctioned by the UK, EU or the US. The French investment bank is taking a €3.1bn hit from the sale. Jerome Legras, the head of research at Axiom Alternative Investments, told Reuters: “It’s a bit distressing that ultimately this is an enormous gift to one of the wealthiest oligarchs.”
Stark Bank raises $45m in investment round
Brazilian financial solutions platform Stark Bank has secured $45m in an investment round from funds including Ribbit Capital, Lachy Groom and Bezos Expeditions, led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Reuters notes that the announcement comes about four months after the fintech, created in 2018, raised $13m from venture capital investors in an initial round, at a time when investments in Brazilian startups are waning as their dispute with large banks grows.
Investor sells major stakes in Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank
An undisclosed investor is selling stakes in Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank that amount to more than 5% in Germany's top two lenders. The sale is for 116m shares of Deutsche Bank and for 72.5m shares of Commerzbank, a bookrunner said on Monday.
Canadian banks double financing of tar sands oil
Top Canadian banks more than doubled their financing of highly polluting tar sands oil to $16.8bn in 2021, despite signing up to the UN’s net zero banking alliance on greenhouse gas emissions.
Goldman Sachs buys Dutch investment firm
Goldman Sachs has bought Dutch investment firm NN Investment Partners from the NN Group for €1.7bn (£1.4bn). As part of the deal, Goldman Sachs Asset Management will manage around $180bn (£138bn) of assets for the NN Group taking Goldman’s European AUM to over $600bn (£460bn). Goldman Sachs CEO and chairman David Solomon said: “We are excited to welcome the talented team at NN Investment Partners, a centre of excellence in sustainable investing, to Goldman Sachs and together we will focus on delivering long-term value to our clients and shareholders.”
Former Citi Bank execs launch crypto focused asset manager
Three former Citi execs have set up Motus Capital Management, an asset management firm that is seeking to raise $100m for a pair of crypto focused funds. Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole, formerly the co-heads of Citi's digital assets group, exited the bank alongside Frank Cavallo. “We will bring our decades of combined experience advising and managing clients' wealth to this rapidly-developing market, leveraging a robust knowledge of, passion for, and deep network across the ecosystem to drive our research and investment process,” wrote Kriete in a Friday LinkedIn post on Friday.
FCA approves latest rescue plan for Amigo Loans
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that it will not oppose the latest rescue plan for Amigo Loans. The FCA said it will not go to court to object to Amigo’s new proposal, “which represents an improvement on last year’s failed proposal and has the support of the Independent Creditors Committee, which was set up to advance the interests of those customers owed redress.” Under new plans, vulnerable Amigo Loans customers who were mis-sold loans could receive up to 41p in the pound in compensation.
VPS hires banks for IPO
Middle Eastern hospital operator VPS Healthcare has hired the investment banking arm of Dubai lender Emirates NBD and JP Morgan for an Abu Dhabi initial public offering in the second half of the year. The operator of the Burjeel hospitals in the United Arab Emirates has a network of 24 hospitals and 125 clinics across the Middle East and India.
Low consumer confidence hits sales growth
Retail sales growth rose by 3.1% in March, significantly down on the 6.7% rise seen in February. The BRC data showed that like-for-like retail sales were down 0.4% against March 2021. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "As consumer confidence continued to sink, March saw sales slow, and while spend remained above last year this likely reflects higher prices." Ms Dickinson added: "Ultimately, consumers face an enormous challenge this year, and this is likely to be reflected in retail spend in the future." Elsewhere, Barclaycard's latest credit card data showed that consumer spending was still significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels as people spent more on hospitality, but still highlighted some pressure on consumer confidence.
Morrisons overburdened by debt, says Fitch
Fitch ratings has downgraded Morrisons warning that the supermarket giant is struggling under the weight of debt from its private equity takeover. Were it not for the grocer's strong management team and profitability, Fitch said its “speculative” debt rating would be even lower. The warning was echoed by Moody's which cut Morrisons' credit score.
UK economy grows just 0.1% in February
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show growth slowed to just 0.1% in February as declining construction and production output stalled the economic recovery. This compares with a 0.8% monthly rise in January and comes in below the 0.3% predicted by economists. Output in the services sector grew 0.2%, down from 0.8% in the previous month while manufacturing production fell 0.4%, leading to a 0.6% fall in industrial production. Overall, the economy was 1.5% bigger in February than its pre-pandemic level. But 1.8% of the growth was generated by spending on test and trace and vaccinations alone. Alpesh Paleja, lead economist at the CBI, said: “Following the bounce at the start of the year, it’s no surprise that economic growth slowed in February. Near-term challenges to the outlook have ramped up since, with a growing cost-of-living crunch set to weigh on growth.”