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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 24th August 2021

Posted: 24th August 2021


First-time buyer mortgage rates could go as low as 2%

Banks are cutting rates for first-time buyers with experts predicting rates for those with smaller deposits could drop as low as 2%. Currently, NatWest has a 2.13% deal for those with a 10% deposit while Nationwide has an even lower rate of 2.14% on offer, but with a £1,499 fee. "Lenders are getting more comfortable with the outlook for the post COVID economy, particularly the employment situation as it is now clear filling vacancies is the problem rather than redundancies," says Raymond Boulger, senior mortgage technical manager at broker John Charcol. He adds: "Lenders have plenty of funds available, and with fewer mortgage applications they need to be more competitive to achieve their desired market share."

Muminoglu to lead Lloyds’ debt capital markets division

Miray Muminoglu has been appointed as the new head of Lloyds Bank’s financial institutions debt capital markets and securitised products group. He will join from Barclays where he currently works as managing director, head of term funding within the bank’s treasury unit.

HSBC to charge for charity bank accounts

HSBC has told charities and not-for-profit community groups that they will have to pay account charges amounting to £60 a year from November or look elsewhere.


Scottish private equity investment rebounds

A new report shows private equity investment in Scotland bounced back in the first half of the year as investor confidence returned and sellers brought their assets to market. The volume of deals across the country jumped 54.5% compared with the first half of 2020 and by 13.3% compared to the second half of last year. Meanwhile, the value of deals completed in the first half of 2021 rose 17.5%, year on year.


Dimon plans first UK visit since pandemic

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, will visit London next month for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. A previously scheduled trip in June was called off due to quarantine rules. City AM's Emily Hawkins suggests the trip could result in fresh momentum for workers to return to the City as Mr Dimon has advocated for office-working.


Stephen Hester appointed as easyJet as chair

The former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland Stephen Hester will become the chairman of easyJet at the end of the year. He will join the airline’s board as a non-executive director next month. Hester was most recently CEO of insurer RSA but is probably best known for leading the bailed-out bank RBS during the 2008 financial crisis.

Virgin Orbit brings Boeing on board for $3.2bn Spac deal

Boeing will invest in Richard Branson’s satellite launch company Virgin Orbit when it merges with the blank cheque entity NextGen Acquisition II in a deal that values it at more than $3bn.


Financial services vacancies jump 38%

According to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, recruitment within the financial services sector in England & Wales continues to rise rapidly with vacancies up 37.8% quarter-on-quarter. When broken down by profession, the data reveals that IT experts remain the most in-demand with over 15,270 new jobs advertised in 2021 – 1.5% more than 2020’s total. Meanwhile, the data reveals that out of the top firms operating within the financial services arena, JP Morgan leads the table with 2,246 new jobs this year, an 18.3% increase of its 2020 total. Citi follows in second place with 1,552 vacancies (up 39.2% year-on-year).

Survey finds digital assets seen as strong fiat alternative

A new Global Blockchain Survey has found that 76% of financial services industry (FSI) leaders thought digital assets will be “a strong alternative to or replacement for fiat currencies in the next five to ten years.” For those respondents whose organisations have already adopted blockchain solutions or digital assets - dubbed “FSI pioneers” - all agreed that digital assets would be important to their industry in the next two years while 94% saw digital assets as a strong alternative or replacement for fiat currency.


Pfizer to buy oncology biotech in $2.3bn deal

Pfizer has agreed to buy Trillium Therapeutics, an oncology biotech company, in a deal worth about $2.3bn. Trillium has two blood cancer treatments going through trials which could prove to be blockbusters.


Record stock shortages hit manufacturers

The Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) latest Industrial Trends Survey found that manufacturers are suffering the worst stock shortages on record, with carmakers particularly badly hit by the lack of availability of semiconductors. It reported 22% growth for the quarter to August, representing a slow-down from the 37% rise for the three months to July. This was driven primarily by the motor vehicles industry, which saw output drop from a near-record pace to being flat for the period. Alpesh Paleja, lead economist at the CBI, warned that ongoing disruptions “could choke off future manufacturing growth”. He said: “It’s therefore vital that businesses and the Government continue to work together to smooth over some of the frictions in supply chains and the wider sector, until activity settles back down to normal levels.”


Mitie sells document management business

Mitie Group has agreed to sell its document management business to Swiss Post Solutions for £40m. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of September.


Shaftesbury bets on workers returning to offices

Shaftesbury is banking on city staff returning to the office in the coming months, despite figures showing West End visitor numbers are still only half of pre-Covid levels. The landlord is predicting that London’s army of office staff will choose to come back to their desks in the early autumn, following the easing of restrictions in July. But so far they have stayed away, with Shaftesbury admitting that visitor numbers to the West End are still only 50-60% of pre-Covid levels. The firm said there has been a “strong recovery” at restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels since the lifting of lockdown and social distancing measures, but shops are lagging behind as consumers save their trips for the weekend.


Sainsbury’s shares leap amid takeover reports

Shares in Sainsbury’s jumped just over 15% to 340p on Monday following rumours of a takeover bid from private equity firm Apollo. The press reported on Sunday that the US firm has been scouting for targets in the industry after losing out last year in the race for the supermarket Asda. However, Sainsbury's did not issue a statement to the stock market on Monday, indicating that no approach has been made.


Staff shortages and supply chain issues slow UK recovery

Labour and supply shortages held back Britain’s economic recovery in August, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Flash UK Composite PMI, which gave a reading of 55.3 for the month - the lowest since February and down from July’s 59.2. IHS Markit said the number of companies reporting that shortages of staff and materials were hurting growth was a record 14 times the normal level. Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, added: “Rising virus case numbers are deterring many forms of spending, notably by consumers, and have hit growth via worsening staff and supply shortages."

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