Nationwide delays Open Banking launch
Nationwide Building Society has been given a last-minute extension to prepare for Open Banking, which began on January 13. A maximum of six extra weeks preparation time had already been given to Barclays, Bank of Ireland, RBS and HSBC by the UK's competition authority, leaving just Allied Irish Bank, Danske and Lloyds Banking Group fully ready to start on time. Santander-owned Cater Allen will miss the deadline by a year as it needs to rebuild its IT system.
Global banks slash chance of Brexit “no deal”
Analysts at JP Morgan and UBS have said the likelihood of the Government failing to reach a Brexit deal is plummeting, which should reduce the risk facing the UK’s economy and inject more confidence into businesses and investors. UBS Wealth Management said “the progress made on Brexit negotiations will likely have lessened uncertainty” for business investment and hiring, as “the UK looks set to enter a transition agreement” in which “little should change operationally for most firms”. Meanwhile, JP Morgan has slashed its estimated probability of Brexit negotiations failing to reach a conclusion, cutting its probability from 25% to 15% as the UK and Brussels move towards trade talks.
Questions emerge over Barclays’ pension plan
The Times reports that a war of words has broken out over plans to rely on Barclays’ investment banking division to honour staff pension promises. Former Barclays’ officials and pension fund members have criticised the move, fearing that it could prevent them from receiving their full pensions. Peter Goshawk, the chairman of Barclays’ pension scheme, said the move was the best way of ensuring that the 250,000 members of the scheme received their promised retirement incomes in full.
BNP launches hiring spree
BNP Paribas has launched a hiring spree in London in an attempt to break into the top rank of City banks. The development comes after Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan dismissed reports that his firm could move 4,000 jobs out of the UK after Brexit.
Banking app for millennials wins approval
The Financial Conduct Authority has approved Emma Technologies, a mobile-only banking app, to provide payment services. Emma, which calls itself the "banking app for millennials", helps consumers avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, and track debt, with the aim of saving money.
Barclays climbs on talk of investment bank cutbacks
Investec has given Barclays a price target of 215p, which helped the bank rise by 0.5% to 195.5p.
Private equity firms hope flying nannies will help retain women
Private equity groups are introducing new policies to try to retain female staff, including offering to freeze eggs for free, as part of efforts to increase the proportion of women in senior positions.
Citigroup bows to activist and discloses gender pay data
Citigroup has become the first big Wall Street bank to disclose internal data on gender pay, following a campaign by activist investor Arjuna Capital. Citi said it had conducted a survey in the three countries, where it found that women and minorities are paid only slightly less than their male and nonminority counterparts. On average, Citi found, women and minorities are paid 99% of what men and non-minorities are paid, respectively.
Bitcoin bank halts transfers
Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp has reportedly ceased all international wire-based, cryptocurrency-related money transfers. The bank has yet to comment but customers have been notified that it has responded to the risk of an inability to verify international cryptocurrency transactions.
Ford to boost investment in electric vehicles
Ford says it will boost its investment in electric vehicles to $11bn (£8bn) in the next five years, more than doubling a previous commitment. Chairman Bill Ford said the car maker would have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its range by 2022.
Airbus could end A380 production
European planemaker Airbus will stop making its A380 “superjumbo” if the plane's main customer, Dubai’s Emirates airline, does not place another order. Airbus said Emirates was probably the only airline to have the ability to take a minimum of six planes a year for a period of eight to 10 years.
Carillion has gone into liquidation, threatening thousands of jobs. Carillion ran into trouble after losing money on big contracts and running up debts of around £1.5bn, leaving the Government to provide funding to maintain the public services it runs. Several building firms say they will be hit by the collapse, with Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty, who were working with Carillion on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project in Scotland, now likely to have to pay between £60m to £80m between them to finish the job, according to Galliford. Balfour says it expects to see a hit of up to £45m from Carillion’s collapse, suggesting the likely “cash impact” is estimated to be an “outflow in the range of £35m to £45m” in 2018. Meanwhile, banks from the UK and overseas are facing a £2bn hit from Carillion’s collapse. Sky News has suggested that the total bill for banks will be more than double the £900m headline debt figure for the group.
Lloyd’s of London to open Brussels office
Lloyd’s of London is to open an office in Brussels ahead of Brexit, by the beginning of 2019. Chief executive Dame Inga Beale said: “That is ahead of the actual official exit, but we run a market and we want to be ready for all of our businesses and syndicates that operate within the market. That's why we are really pushing ahead.”
Rothesay Life appoints new chairman
Rothesay Life has appointed Standard Chartered deputy chair Naguib Kheraj as its new chairman. The new chair, a former group chief finance officer at Barclays, will succeed Ray King.
NHS Scotland pays £192.9m in negligence claims
New figures have revealed that NHS Scotland has paid a total of £192.9m in medical negligence claims to patients over the five years between 2012-17. In 2016-17, £38.3m was paid out - up from £9.4m in 2006-07.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
BrewDog tops £10m in crowdfunding
BrewDog has surpassed its £10m crowdfunding target, raising more than £11.4m in 90 days from a total of 24,000 investors.
Strikes announced at shipyard
Workers at shipbuilders Cammell Laird are to stage two 24-hour strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions. The GMB trade union said up to 500 of its members at the Birkenhead shipyard will walk out on 26 and 29 January, with more strikes planned next month. Union official Albie McGuigan said a series of meetings with management had failed to break the deadlocked row and its members were “angry”. Management said GMB's claim, equating to 10% per annum, was “unaffordable”.
Rolls-Royce considers sale of L’Orange unit
Rolls-Royce is considering a sale of its German-based L’Orange unit, which makes fuel injection systems for large diesel engines used by trains and ships. According to reports, Rolls-Royce is aiming for a £700m price tag for the business. Potential suitors are said to include industry rivals as well as private equity groups.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Xiaomi taps banks to lead $100bn float
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has tapped CLSA, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as joint sponsors for its proposed IPO which could value the company at up to $100bn.
Virgin Trains to resume Daily Mail sales
Virgin Trains is to reverse its decision to stop selling the Daily Mail on its West Coast services. Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson said he instructed the firm to restock the paper while a review takes place. The Daily Mail said it welcomed the “support for freedom of speech”.
First-time homes see biggest price rises
Analysis by Rightmove shows that first-time buyer homes have seen the biggest rise in asking prices between December and January. Homes deemed the most likely to attract new entrants to the property market – those with two bedrooms or fewer – saw prices climb 1.1%. The average asking price for a first-time buyer rose by over £2,098 to hit £188,024. Second-stepper homes were up 0.4%, while those typically attracting top of the ladder buyers rose 0.8%.
More Boohoo shares offloaded
Shares in online fashion retailer Boohoo dropped 4.6% after Jalal Kamani, the brother of one of the firm’s co-founders, Mahmud Kamani, sold around £14.8m worth of shares. The sale comes after another Boohoo co-founder, Carol Kane, sold £10m worth of shares in September and Mahmud Kamani and his siblings Rabia Kamani and Nurez Kamani sold £80.5m worth of shares in June.
Brexit ‘harming productivity’
Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro has warned that uncertainty surrounding Brexit means companies are holding off from investing, hampering Britain’s ability to close its productivity gap with other leading developed countries. Ms Tenreyro said 75% of the decrease in growth of output per worker since the financial crisis a decade ago was due to manufacturing and financial services. However, the monetary policy committee member is also positive that there is scope for the UK to catch up with competitor nations by “adopting technologies and processes that enhance productivity and are already tested and in place in other countries.”
Debt fears for low-income households
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that a third of the lowest-income households in the UK have loans and credit card debts that outstrip the assets that they hold. The IFS’s report found that about half of British households have some unsecured debt. Some 43% of this is loans from banks and other financial institutions, with credit and store card debt (25%) and hire purchase debt (21%) the other major contributors. The report found that the majority of this debt could be repaid. However, the problems emerged for households that were already behind on making debt repayments or that spent a large amount of their income on servicing debts.
Lloyd’s tackles thrill-seekers
Insurance market Lloyd’s is seeking to ban thrill-seekers from “entering or climbing” its Lime Street headquarters, according to court documents published on its website. Over the last five years there have been around 50 instances of people attempting to scale the building and the injunction application notes the “commercial viability” of the practice, which can be monetised on sites such as YouTube.