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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 13th February 2018

Posted: 13th February 2018


Starling Bank reveals app partners

Digital-only Starling Bank is to reveal its four new partners for its in-app marketplace: Pensionbee, digital investing service Wealthsimple, mortgage broker Habito and Kasko travel insurance. Customers may be able to buy insurance and have mortgages approved through the bank's app in the near future.


Akzo chemicals sale attracts Apollo

US private equity group Apollo is reportedly interested in bidding for Akzo Nobel. The €10bn (£8.9bn) sale has seen a number of private equity firms express an interest, including Carlyle Group, Advent and Bain Capital.

Platinum Stairlifts investment for NorthEdge

Private equity firm NorthEdge Capital is to announce an investment in stairlift maker Platinum Stairlifts, which is expected to have sales of £20m this year.


Deutsche Bank to settle claims

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has said that Deutsche Bank customers had overpaid for commercial mortgage-backed securities because they were misled by bank employees about the prices at which they were originally bought. Deutsche Bank is to pay $3.7m to settle the claims, while not admitting or denying the charges.

JP Morgan Chase’s Dimon doubles money

JP Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon has made £21m after betting on the success of his firm in 2016 when shares around the world were falling. Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at City trading firm IG, commented: “It was a great investment. Buying when others are selling is often a rewarding approach.”

$5bn funding ahead of Ant Financial IPO

China's Ant Financial is to raise around $5bn in a funding round which is expected to value the company at more than $100bn, reports suggest.

Share prices rally for Chinese banks

An index of Hong Kong-listed Chinese banks has risen 7% this year, compared with a 2% rise in a register of all Hong Kong-traded mainland companies.

False reports claim denied by Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse has said that claims it failed to disclose material information regarding US securities acquired by investors in 2015 and 2016 are “unfounded and without merit”.


Flotation preparations for LeasePlan

After another set of record profits, LeasePlan is preparing for a stock market float. Chief executive Tex Gunning noted that many customers are rejecting car ownership in favour of so-called “usership”, or the sharing economy. This comes as the company saw annual sales reach €9.4bn.


Another record for Heathrow

Some 5.8m passengers travelled through Heathrow in January, its 15th consecutive record month. Passenger volumes rose 1.1% on 2017, with domestic flights a key driver of growth, up 6.9%. Growth to South Asia and Latin America rose by 11.3% and 6.9% respectively.

BA owner invests in booking startup

British Airways owner IAG has invested in startup Volantio, from its own accelerator programme, which enables airlines to identify "flexible passengers" on high demand flights and offer them alternative seats with incentives. Volantio uses machine learning to identify passengers with the highest probability of acceptance who are then sent personalised offers.

Paid credit card fees to be refunded by airlines

KLM and Air France have said they will refund passengers after they charged credit card fees when tickets were booked. This comes after rules came into force last month outlawing the practice. The companies blamed a banking error for charges that were applied via its website.


Regulators crack down on algorithmic trading

Algorithmic trading faces greater scrutiny in the UK, after the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority joined forces to call for a senior role to be created at every institution to be responsible for how algorithms are used. Firms must also have a "kill" functionality included in their algorithm, which would force it to stop trading immediately.

Firms consider London exit due to rising costs

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that uncertainty over Brexit negotiations, increasing rental prices and steep business rates are driving hundreds of firms out of London. Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the organisation, commented: “What we have is a still unfolding picture of how businesses are reacting to cost pressures and uncertainties… Unless businesses see serious progress in trade talks, it is not unlikely that we could see this figure translate into even bigger losses.”

BNP chief sees possibilities in volatility

Yann Gérardin, head of corporate and institutional banking at BNP Paribas, has said volatility in global markets might trigger long-awaited revenue growth for his sector after years of decline.

Volatility here for long term

Writing in the FT, Lena Komileva of G+ Economics says that volatility and deleveraging will continue, and no asset class can resist ultraeasy financial conditions and strong global economic fundamentals.


House prices fall for first time in six years

Annual UK house prices fell for the first time in six years at the start of 2018, according to Acadata, which said values dropped 0.4% in January compared with a year earlier. London also suffered a 4.3% fall in the fourth quarter of 2017, the firm said, its worst performance since the financial crisis in 2009. Acadata chairman Peter Williams said: “This is the eighth consecutive month in which the annual rate of increase has been declining, and now the dial is in the red zone.” Month-on-month, values rose 0.2% from December to January, with the average UK house costing £301,477 and the London average £589,553.


Sports Direct to offer e-sports with Game Digital

Sports Direct plans to open e-sports areas in some of its stores as it increases its collaboration with specialist games retailer Game Digital, which has said Mike Ashley's firm had paid £3.2m for 50% of its Belong business, which provides gaming arenas.


Bank of England policymaker says interest rate rise a possibility

Gertjan Vlieghe, a member of the Bank of England's rate-setting monetary policy committee, has commented that there is “increased evidence that tight labour markets are finally starting to have some upward effect on wages”. He noted that the strength of the global economy and indications of an increase in wage growth in Britain have strengthened the case for higher interest rates. Ian McCafferty, another member of the committee, commented yesterday, however, that expectations that the Bank will raise interest rates could be affected by the Government's approach to Brexit and the impact it has on confidence.

Rise in rate will hit low-income families

The Bank of England’s plans to raise interest rates in May will affect millions of families living on cheap credit, according to the Resolution Foundation, which has warned that almost 50% of such low-income families are already struggling with debt. The rise in interest rates, combined with inflation, the Resolution Foundation said, will cancel out the benefits of rising wages.


Confidence high in Scotland

The Bank of Scotland’s latest PMI survey reveals that the country’s private sector experienced higher staffing levels and a return to growth in January compared with the previous month.

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