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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 14th September 2021

Posted: 14th September 2021


Impersonation fraudsters steal £130m in H1

A report from UK Finance shows that in the first six months of 2021, losses from impersonation fraud more than doubled to £129.4m compared to the same period last year. Impersonation fraud sees scammers contact victims while pretending to be from a trusted organisation, such as banks and building societies. They often claim the victim has to verify a payment or action a refund, tricking the customer into transferring money or handing over personal details. UK Finance said there were 33,115 impersonation fraud cases in the first six months of this year - more than twice the 14,947 reported over the same period in 2020 when £57.9m was stolen. Philip Robinson, retail fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, commented: "Fraudsters are sending phishing texts and emails to trick people into entering their banking details, then using them to get in touch and pretend to be their bank … It's easy for scammers to put a fake logo to make you believe it's a genuine organisation, so never ever click on links or fill in your banking and personal details - this is walking into a trap.” Research commissioned by Lloyds earlier this year found that an estimated 3.6m people have been scammed since the start of the pandemic.

Morgan Stanley to launch crypto research team

Morgan Stanley has announced that currency analyst Sheena Shah, a currency strategist lead for Europe, will head up a new team that researches crypto assets. The unit will be based in London and research cryptocurrencies’ impact on both equities and fixed income worldwide. A leaked memo said: “The launch of dedicated crypto research is in recognition of the growing significance of crypto currencies and other digital assets in global markets”. Morgan Stanley earlier this year became the first major bank to offer its wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds on the back of growing investor demand.


CVC to acquire Glendower Capital

CVC is to acquire Glendower Capital, creating a combined company with total assets under management of about €113bn. Glendower, which was founded in 2006 as part of Deutsche Bank's asset management business and spun out by the German lender in 2017, focuses on secondary buyouts, or buying assets from other private equity firms. 

Carlyle mulling sale or IPO for Novolex

Carlyle is mulling either a sale or IPO for packaging company Novolex Holdings, which it bought more than four years ago. The private equity firm has been interviewing banks for a strategic review of the company in the first half of 2022, according to reports. It is understood that Novolex could be valued at about $6bn should Carlyle choose to sell the company or opt for an IPO, although no final decision has been made and the firm could elect to keep the business.


Credit Suisse could pull out of Olam listing

Credit Suisse could pull out of Olam's listing in London, after turning down a loan request, according to reports. It is understood that the bank chose not to take part in loan facilities Olam raised in August. Credit Suisse was joined by Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co, as well as HSBC. The three other banks, and MUFG Bank, all participated in the $5.2bn loan facilities, which does not feature Credit Suisse, reports said.


Rolls-Royce and Babcock offload stakes in RAF fleet

Rolls-Royce and Babcock International have said they are selling their stakes in the fleet of 14 customised Airbus A330 passenger aircraft to Equitix, a City infrastructure investment firm. The Times notes that the deal means that Equitix now has a 38.5% stake in the RAF’s fleet of air tankers, which double up as transporters of military hardware and personnel.


FCA to crack down on fraud involving authorised firms

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Nikhil Rathi has said the watchdog will crack down harder on fraud risks that are outside the perimeter of regulation but involve authorised firms. In the regulator's response to a Treasury Committee report into its handling of the London Capital & Finance scandal, Mr Rathi said the FCA is “taking forward wider changes in our structure, culture and strategic investment programme to ensure that we are able to identify and assertively tackle misconduct in the financial services sector." Mr Rathi also said that the City watchdog will seek to improve its partnerships with government and law enforcement, commenting: “We need law enforcement partners to step in and step up. They have the necessary jurisdiction, and need to be supported with adequate resources if we are to work effectively together”.

Treasury Committee seeks ban on fraudulent online ads

The Treasury Select Committee has urged the Government to address fraudulent advertising for investment products in the upcoming Online Safety Bill. Committee chair Mel Stride said that while the Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are engaging with most of the recommendations MPs made following the collapse of London Capital & Finance, ministers have yet to detail what will be done to stop investment companies issuing fraudulent ads online. While the FCA has backed the call for a ban on the ads, Mr Stride said it is “not yet clear whether the Government will include fraudulent advertisements within the scope of the Online Safety Bill”. “To prevent fraud in the future, this is an issue which must be addressed”, he added.

UK trend could prompt takeover spree

CEOs of global companies are eyeing takeovers and mergers, with a trend seen in the UK set to expand to other markets. Data from Schroders suggests that the pandemic and Brexit have seen UK companies undervalued by around 30%, with this driving a surge in takeovers and mergers of UK firms. The $343.1bn worth of mergers and acquisitions completed since the start of the year has seen double the volume of deals recorded in 2019, with the total the highest since 2000.


Goldman Sachs hired by Telefonica

Goldman Sachs has been hired by Telefonica to sell its 50% stake in a mobile masts operator in the UK. The stake in Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited, which Telefonica shares with UK rival Vodafone, would be worth around €2bn, according to reports.


House price growth set to see North-South divide

House prices are set to rise by 0.7% over the next three months, with October expected to lead the increase with growth of 1.3%, according to the Reallymoving House Price Forecast. The report says prices are in line to fall 0.5% this month and, following a jump in October, slip 0.1% month-on-month in November, with the average price hitting £341,492 over the next three months. According to the data, prices will be 4.3% higher year-on-year in September, with a slight drop of 0.1% in October before a 1.9% increase in November. The Reallymoving study suggests the changes in house prices will see a North-South divide, with London set for a 0.1% increase in prices, while those in the South East climb 1.9%. However, prices in the East and West Midlands will dip 2.2% and 1.3% respectively, while the North East sees a 3.3% dip and prices in the North West fall 1%.


Profits to beat expectations at ABF

Profits at Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) are set to beat expectations in the fourth quarter, after trading improved at its retail and food businesses. The company said that Primark's like-for-like sales in the third quarter were 3% up on the same period two years earlier, in a trading update that also predicted that full-year operating profits at the clothing chain are expected to be up in the 12 months to September 18. ABF reported increased sales across its food divisions, which include AB Sugar, AB World Foods, Silver Spoon and Westmill.


PM: £650bn jobs scheme will help build back better

With the Government said to be looking to shift focus from the pandemic toward efforts to boost the economy and level up the country, Boris Johnson has launched a £650bn initiative which ministers say will deliver 425,000 new jobs a year over the next four years. The Prime Minister said the Infrastructure Pipeline will create opportunities for apprentices, technicians, graduates and skilled workers, commenting: “From entry-level roles and post university careers, we’re creating the jobs this country needs to build back better following the pandemic.” Commenting on the Government’s ambitions, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told BBC Breakfast: “Having done the jabs, we want to continue to try to get people into jobs”.

Household finances set for triple whammy of inflation, tax rises and benefit cuts

Tim Wallace in the Telegraph says households face losing £900 a year in 2022 as tax increases, benefit cuts and rising inflation squeeze household finances. He highlights that inflation is forecast to hit 3.5% in early 2022, a rate well above the Bank of England's 2% target, with this coming just as the 1.25% National Insurance increase comes into force. Those receiving Universal Credit are set to see their finances take an additional hit as a £20 per week increase added as a temporary measure amid the pandemic expires next month.

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