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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 15th May 2018

Posted: 15th May 2018


Global banks signal pragmatism over post-Brexit EU access

Global banks based in London have begun lobbying to improve the EU’s existing system of market access after the bloc’s officials dismissed the prospect of a bespoke Brexit deal. Despite the opposition in Brussels, the UK government and financial lobby groups TheCityUK, City of London financial district and UK Finance banking lobby, are backing a “mutual recognition” blueprint for EU market access after Brexit. This involves Britain and the EU agreeing to accept each other’s financial rules in return for two-way market access for banks, insurers and asset managers under a bespoke trade agreement.

Moody’s warns bondholders on end of Libor

Uncertainty surrounding the phasing-out of Libor could have an effect on bondholders, Moody's has warned. The transition of financial contracts to new reference rates will be broadly credit negative, the ratings agency said. "The essential issue for financial market participants is that creditors will hold contracts that no longer 'work' as expected when Libor is retired," added senior vice president Simon Ainsworth.

Hackers finding banks’ security flaws

Banks and law enforcement agencies are unable to keep up with a global cybercrime wave, the boss of Standard Chartered Bank has warned. Bill Winters claims more than £750bn of dirty money flows through the financial system every year, with just 1% of it frozen or confiscated. Although banks are ramping up spending on the problem, it is not improving, he warned.

City standing by as officials sound out brokers on RBS share sale

Officials overseeing the government's stake in Royal Bank of Scotland are reaching out to City brokers to gauge interest in a potential share sale, only days after the lender agreed a provisional deal with US prosecutors over the sale of toxic mortgage-backed bonds. Meanwhile, RBS CEO Ross McEwan has been awarded shares worth approximately £540,000 based on last night's closing price, the state-backed lender has announced.


Livingbridge backs Coversure buyout

UK private equity firm Livingbridge has backed the management buyout of insurance broker Coversure Insurance Services Group.


Goldman begins consumer banking push into Europe

Goldman Sachs has chosen Germany as the next market for its Europe consumer banking push after the launch of its Marcus brand in the UK.

Two Goldman securities heads to step down

Two of Goldman Sachs' three securities division bosses are to stand down, ending a period of turmoil for a division that was once the bank's largest and most powerful growth engine.

JP Morgan floats plan to set up Chinese securities trading firm

JP Morgan Chase has submitted an application to China's securities regulator to set up a new brokerage firm in which the bank would own a 51% stake.


Nissan downbeat on year ahead despite record sales

Nissan has given a downbeat forecast for the coming year, despite posting record net profits thanks to tax breaks in the US. Underlying earnings fell as the Japanese car firm experienced a series of problems, prompting the firm to predict that operating profit would be 540bn yen, some 75bn yen below automotive analysts’ consensus forecast - even though Nissan expects to sell 5.9m vehicles in 2018.

Tesla ejects senior staff amid cutbacks

Elon Musk is clearing out senior management at Tesla as part of a cost-cutting exercise. It emerged over the weekend that Doug Field, Tesla’s chief engineer, is on a leave of absence while another senior executive, Matthew Schwall, has joined Alphabet, the parent company of Google.


Equity finance can set high-growth firms free

The London Stock Exchange Group has published its annual “1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain” report, which identifies the UK’s fastest-growing SMEs and high-growth companies. Writing in the Telegraph, LSE chief executive Nikhil Rathi says the report presents an optimistic picture, with six out of 10 private sector workers across the UK employed by SMEs. However, he also warns that over-reliance on debt means too many entrepreneurs are scaling back their ambitions rather than scaling up their businesses. Mr Rathi says firms would benefit from a more supportive tax environment for equity growth finance, noting that when the government made shares in high-growth companies eligible for Isa inclusion, £4bn flowed into them.

BoE advises City to invest in 'green' firms

The Bank of England has told investors to back ‘green’ companies or risk huge losses from climate change. BoE executive director Sarah Breeden said efforts to stop global warming require substantial changes to the structure of the economy, rendering older technologies worthless and rewarding companies that are more environmentally friendly.

Aviva backs ban on pension transfer advice charges

Insurer Aviva has joined calls for a ban on the contingent charging model used by advisers dealing with clients transferring out of defined-benefit pension schemes providing guaranteed retirement incomes.

Equinix to expand UK algorithmic trading hub

The UK's largest high-frequency algorithmic trading hub in Slough is set for a multi-million pound expansion amid booming demand for ultra-fast connections. Russell Poole, US data centre provider Equinix's UK boss, said the data centre was the world's biggest single hub for high-speed financial services trading.


US lifts ban on sport betting

The US Supreme Court has made a landmark ruling that could allow states across the country to legalise sports betting. The ruling, by seven votes to two, starts a race among British bookmakers to win customers in the lucrative US market.


BAE Systems picks up £2.4bn nuclear submarine contract

The Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems with a new £1.5bn nuclear submarine contract with a further £900m pledged for one of its existing programmes as the defence secretary repeated the need for the UK to have a deterrent.


British Land submits Canada Water redevelopment plan

British Land has submitted a planning application to redevelop a 53-acre site at Canada Water, which includes the Surrey Quays shopping centre. According to the masterplan, the property group wants to create a new town centre and include 3,000 homes. The plans are also expected to deliver 2m square feet of workspace and 1m square feet of leisure and retail space. Work will begin next year with the project expected to be completed in 2033.

IWG shares soar as private equity firms pursue takeover

Serviced office provider IWG's shares have jumped more than 20% after it was revealed that the company has received three takeover offers. IWG said it had received approaches about possible cash offers from Lone Star Europe, Starwood Capital, and TDR Capital. The board is evaluating the offers, but said there is no certainty that any formal bid would be made for the company, which provides flexible work space in more than 100 countries around the world.


Mothercare set to reveal rescue plan

Mothercare has said it is finalising a “comprehensive” reorganisation and refinancing of its business, which it intends to announce on Thursday when it releases annual results. The reorganisation is likely to be a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Burberry acquires Italian leather factory

Burberry has announced that it will acquire Italian luxury leather goods business CF&P for an undisclosed amount. CF&P employees will transfer to Burberry on completion of the transaction. Burberry said the deal would give it greater control over quality, cost, delivery and sustainability of its leather goods.


Activist investor presses First Group for sale

First Group is facing mounting pressure from an activist campaign to offer itself for sale in the wake of a failed takeover bid by a US private equity firm. A letter from leading shareholder West Face Capital accuses the board of failing to address underperformance.

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