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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 15th June 2021

Posted: 15th June 2021


Lloyds appoints chief operating officer

Lloyds Banking Group has hired David Gledhill, a former executive of Singapore's DBS Bank, as group chief operating officer. Mr Gledhill will join in August this year, subject to regulatory approval, leaving DBS where he was group chief information officer and head of technology and operations. Before joining DBS, Mr Gledhill spent 20 years with JPMorgan in a number of operational roles throughout Asia. William Chalmers, interim group chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, said Mr Gledhill is a “proven leader in our industry”. He went on to thank David Oldfield for overseeing the chief operating officer role on an interim basis.

Woods reappointed as BoE's banking regulator

The Treasury has confirmed that Sam Woods has been reappointed as deputy governor of the Bank of England (BoE) and as chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority. His reappointment gives continuity to the sector as Britain reviews its financial rules to underpin the City's global competitiveness after the UK's departure from the EU. BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said: "Sam has done an excellent job and his reappointment is important at a time when we are responding to the challenges of Covid and embarking on a significant period of regulatory reform".


Ares Management and Maven Capital Partners back acquisitive new business

Private equity firms Maven Capital Partners and Ares Management have teamed up with Titan Wealth Holdings to support the launch of an acquisitive new business in the UK wealth and asset management market. The new business will launch with two acquisitions, including Tavistock Wealth, a multi-asset executive with £1bn of assets for retail clients. The second acquisition is Global Prime Partners, which has £2bn of assets under management and provides clearing and custody services.


JPMorgan stockpiles cash

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says the bank is currently “stockpiling” cash as there is a “very good chance” inflation, which has hit its highest level in 13 years, is here to stay. He said that the US’ largest bank is not buying Treasuries or other investments due to a risk that inflation will see the Federal Reserve increase interest rates. Speaking at Morgan Stanley's US Financials Conference, Mr Dimon said: “We have a lot of cash and capability and we're going to be very patient, because I think you have a very good chance inflation will be more than transitory”.

DNB has 90% ownership of rival

Norway's largest bank DNB now holds a 90.9% stake in domestic rival Sbanken after additional shareholders accepted an improved voluntary offer. The planned takeover still remains subject to regulatory approval.

Alpha Bank set for shareholder backing for equity offer

Greece’s Alpha Bank is on track to secure shareholder approval for a planned €800m share offering, with its major shareholder, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund - which holds nearly 11% - said to be among supporters.


New car prices increasing five times as fast as wages

Research suggests that the prices of new cars have risen as much as five times faster than wages over the past 10 years. Paul Green, of Moneybarn, comments: "The overall increase in demand, combined with higher levels of electric and hybrid vehicles taking over the market, has led to an increase in production which in turn has led to an increase in prices. The UK average salary hasn't increased at the same rate as the price of cars, which means that many people now have to buy a new or used car on finance."

Used car firm sees investment from BMW

British used car sales start-up Motorway has seen a £48m investment from BMW and venture capital fund Index Ventures.


Stobart Air-owner to sell airport stake

Esken Group, the parent company of Stobart Air, which collapsed at the weekend, is in advanced talks to raise £120m from the sale of a stake in London Southend Airport. The firm has reportedly agreed a deal to sell a 30% interest in the airport to private equity firm Carlyle.


Exodus of EU workers leaves UK construction industry facing shortages

The construction industry has warned that an exodus of EU workers due to Brexit has led to an acute shortage of labourers in a number of specialist trades, undermining the Government’s “build back better” strategy.


FCA hunts online scams in real-time

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is making daily sweeps of the internet to warn about online scams in real time. Mark Steward, the FCA’s director for enforcement, says the warnings are a key part of its efforts to tackle a surge in financial scams after the pandemic sent more people online. He told the Treasury Select Committee that the City watchdog last year issued 1,200 consumer warnings about scams advertised on social media platforms by fake companies that are not regulated by the FCA. It is noted that while the proposed legislation on online harms does not require social media companies to check on the validity of firms advertising financial products, the FCA wants the law to make such checks obligatory. Mr Steward told the committee that the FCA will take legal action against Google and social media companies if they continue to accept advertisements for online financial scams, saying the regulator is now free to crack down on rule breakers, having previously been restricted by EU rules on financial adverts.

Aviva move could see fund managers let go

Top fund managers at Aviva could be let go as the firm pivots towards environmentally friendly investments, with a spokesman for the firm noting: "We have taken the decision to focus our Equities business on sustainable outcomes and core strategies where there is clear client demand, namely UK and global equities, while retaining sufficient coverage to support our multiasset strategies." He went on: "As a result of this decision, a number of roles have been put at risk in our equities team, and we have begun consultations with the impacted individuals."

Fund managers should reveal investments in own funds

Richard Wilson, CEO of Interactive Investor, wants individual fund managers to be forced to disclose how much they personally hold of the funds they manage. He argues that his 350,000 retail clients in funds and investment trusts deserve to know how much “skin in the game” the stewards of their money actually have.

Draper plans stock market switch

Draper Esprit, an Aim-listed venture capital firm, is planning to raise £111m from investors and intends to move into the main market of the stock exchange as it seeks to capitalise on a “golden era” of European technology investing.


GSK announces US biotech deal

GlaxoSmithKline is to pay Boston-based biotech iTeos Therapeutics $625m upfront to collaborate on a cancer treatment in early stage trials.

Investor behind Moderna raises $3.4bn biotech-focused fund

Moderna backer Flagship Pioneering has raised a $3.4bn fund, with founder Noubar Afeyan noting that it would allow for pioneering science, company creation and growth.


CVC moves for holiday parks firm

CVC is snapping up UK holiday parks owner Away Resorts for £250m, with the firm looking to cash in on the staycations boom that is seeing Brits opt for UK holiday locations. The deal follows a number of buyouts by private equity firms, with Butlins owner Bourne Leisure recently taken over by Blackstone.


Premier League clubs lose revenue for the first time

Calculations show that Premier League clubs have seen their biggest ever collective pre-tax loss amid the pandemic. Pre-tax losses were close to £1bn in the 2019/20 season, while clubs posted their first ever collective fall in revenue, with a 13% decline to £4.5bn compared with the previous season. While revenues fell, wages climbed 3% to £3.3bn, meaning that the wages to revenue ratio across top-flight clubs rose to a record high of 72%.


Central bank digital currency could transform the economy

Josh Ryan-Collins, head of finance and macroeconomics at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, reflects on a new Bank of England consultation focused on a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC) and the regulation of private digital currencies, arguing that the economy could be transformed by a central bank digital currency. Mr Ryan-Collins says that by a creating a CBDC, a central bank can considerably reduce the threat posed by non-bank currencies. He goes on to say that a CBDC could also provide the central bank with a new and potentially highly effective tool for monetary policy. Mr Ryan-Collins argues that a “well-designed digital cash with appropriate attention to the functioning of the banking system” could increase the resilience of the economy.

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