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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 12th November 2019

Posted: 12th November 2019


Martin Gilbert to take Revolut chair in January

Former co-CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen, Martin Gilbert, has been appointed Revolut’s inaugural chairman. Mr Gilbert will join other recent hires aimed at boosting the digital bank’s corporate governance ahead of a potential fundraising. The FT’s Lombard says however that the lower level, operations-based appointments are the ones that will decide Revolut’s future.


Balderton Capital debuts new $400m fund

Balderton Capital has launched its seventh early-stage fund for European start-ups at $400m (£311.1m). Approximately a third of the fund will be put towards investing in UK companies, while the rest will be spread out across Europe. Balderton partner Suranga Chandratillake said: “The UK is a great place for entrepreneurial investment. Europe is part of that recipe, but it is only one of the ingredients.” Chandratillake added that 20% of Balderton’s last fund went into fintech, and that a similar percentage would be invested this time.

Walgreens set for biggest private equity buyout

Private equity group KKR has reportedly made a buyout offer for global drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance, which would be the biggest private equity transaction on record. KKR would need to collaborate with other investors to pull off the reported $70bn deal.


Jamie Dimon chastises greedy bankers

Jamie Dimon has admitted there is a “huge problem” with wealth inequality in the US, decrying bankers who overpaid themselves since the financial crisis adding that they had “let the American people down”. The boss of JP Morgan recently came under fire from Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren who said Dimon and his “billionaire buddies” should pay more tax so others had a better chance to succeed. But Mr Dimon said Nazis should be vilified, not “people who worked hard to accomplish things.” Mr Dimon, who was awarded a $31m pay packet last year and $248m since the financial crisis, said his pay was set by the board and has nothing to do with him: “I'm going to leave it to the board to set my comp. Not you, not the press."

UBS fined in Hong Kong for overcharging

Hong Kong regulators have hit UBS with a HK$400m (£40m) fine for overcharging thousands of clients - the joint-largest ever fine to be levied on a bank in the territory. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said the lender had overcharged clients on "post-trade spread increases" and charges in excess of standard disclosures and rates during a period of almost a decade.

Credit Suisse veteran to lead investment banking

David Miller, who currently serves as the Swiss bank’s global credit boss, is to lead Credit Suisse's struggling investment banking arm, which swung to a pre-tax loss during the third quarter. The bank has underlined the quiet IPO market for the poor performance, while a drop in M&A advisory fees contributed to a 6% drop in third-quarter revenue within the division.

Australia banks brace for tighter regulation and weaker economy

Brian Hartzer, the chief executive of Westpac, has warned that overzealous regulation in the wake of scandals risks damaging the profitability of Australian banks.

Central bank group BIS taps Benoit Cœuré to lead digital currency push

Benoît Cœuré has been appointed to run a new unit of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) looking at public alternatives to private digital currency initiatives such as Facebook’s Libra coin.


Construction sector swings back to growth in third quarter

The UK construction sector returned to growth in the third quarter, according to the latest ONS data, with output up by 0.6% (£253m) in the three months to September. Private industrial work was especially strong, with firms enjoying a 7.2% rise in work across the segment. Private housing and commercial rose 1.8% and 1.5% respectively over the period.

Kier Group shares fall 9% after Jefferies lowered target price

Shares in Kier Group fell nearly 9% yesterday morning after Jefferies lowered its recommended price to 100p. Analysts said Kier’s debt reduction progress had been slow and that it needed to find ways to accelerate this.


Apple Card investigated after gender discrimination complaints

An investigation into Goldman Sachs Group's credit card practices has begun after a tech entrepreneur's tweet alleged gender discrimination in determining credit limits for Apple's new credit card. David Heinemeier Hansson spoke out on Twitter that even though his spouse, Jamie Hansson, had a better credit score and other factors in her favour, her application for a credit line increase had been denied. The tweet prompted New York state regulators to open an investigation into the algorithm used by Apple Card to determine the creditworthiness of applicants. The news comes as Mick McAteer, a former board member at the Financial Conduct Authority, warns that new banking technologies were putting vulnerable customers at risk of discrimination because lenders and insurers could now identify unprofitable customers, increasing the risk of exclusion for some.

Pease appointment controversial

The Times’ Patrick Hosking complains that Jupiter Fund Management has omitted to mention that its new chair, Nichola Pease, worked at Northern Rock from 1999 right up to the effective collapse of the bank in September 2007. Mr Hosking says Pease should not escape the blame for the debacle and voices his incredulity that she will not even be covered by the Senior Managers Regime whilst at Jupiter, and that the Financial Conduct Authority did not even have to approve the hire.

Dame Inga Beale attacks “toxic culture”

The former CEO of Lloyds of London, Dame Inga Beale, says she could go to her grave without seeing much change in the toxic culture in the insurance market. Dame Inga, who is openly bisexual, has previously spoken out about the abuse she received from male brokers but says proactive measures now need to be taken to improve the situation.

Finablr posts 20% earnings rise

Global payments platform Finablr posted earnings of $182.3m (£142.2m) for the year to date yesterday, up 22.1% year on year. A number of commercial partnerships, including those with Samsung, Airtel Africa and China Union Pay helped drive the company’s strong performance.

AllianzGI chief to depart after 3 years at the helm

Andreas Utermann is to leave asset manager Allianz Global Investors after just three years. Current global distribution boss Tobias Pross will take over in Munich.


Novartis agrees Aspen generics acquisition

Swiss drugmaker Novartis is to buy Aspen Pharmacare’s Japanese generics unit. Aspen’s Japanese portfolio is focused on anaesthetics and speciality brands and boasts a portfolio of 20 off-patent medicines with annual sales of around €130m and the deal is thought to be worth around €400m (£343.8m).


Carr's Group beats expectations

Carr’s Group has narrowly beat full-year expectations, posting a 0.2% rise in revenues to £403.2m and adjusted profit before tax up 9% to £18m. The agriculture and engineering firm also reported that net debt in the year to 31 August was £23.8m, an increase of £12m due to the acquisition of Animax and NW Total during the year.


London's weak pound ushers in hundreds of new hotels

Over 200 new hotels are planned for London, according to new research by law firm Boodle Hatfield, as investors rush to welcome the increasing numbers of tourists leveraging the weaker pound. The UK’s hotels market is said to be one of the few sectors to have benefited from the Brexit-related slump in sterling.


UK growth slows to decade-low

Annual UK economic growth slowed to its lowest growth rate in nine years in the third quarter of the year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Though the economy avoided falling into recession, UK GDP grew by just 0.3% between July and September, compared to the previous quarter, and just 1% year on year - its slowest rate since 2010.

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