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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 27th November 2018

Posted: 27th November 2018


Barclays hit by cyber attacks ‘every day’

Paul Gillen, head of cyber security operations at Barclays, has revealed that the bank comes under attack from cyber criminals every single day. Mr Gillen, who is also former Europol cybercrime centre head of operations, said that the number of attempts against the lender each day was “substantial”. The hackers' goals are to “stop [Barclays] ability to trade and steal money and data”, with malicious emails to Barclays staff the most common method of attack. “We have gone for a holistic approach [to cybersecurity],” Gillen said, speaking at a Cyber Security Challenge UK event at the bank’s Canary Wharf headquarters, “to make sure that all the systems of the bank are working properly”. “We play an instrumental role in improving the security of the supply chain...and other people benefit from that,” he said. “We do see what we do as a service.”

Shoppers switch to credit cards

Shoppers are increasingly using their credit cards for day-to-day spending rather than one-off purchases, UK Finance has said. Credit card spending saw a sharp rise of 12.1% in October compared with the same month in 2017, according to the trade body. The greater protection offered when buying bigger purchases and the temptation of loyalty points has led to their increased use. Over the past 12 months, the outstanding level of borrowing on cards issued by the High Street banks grew by 5.7%, UK Finance found. Total spending on these bank-issued credit cards was £11.3bn in October.

Monzo plans record-breaking UK fintech crowdfunding round

Monzo is seeking to raise £20m through crowdfunding in the last chunk of its series E fundraising round. The raise would be the largest fintech crowdfunding round in the UK to date. The bank has already raised more than £4m through two other crowdfunding rounds, with its last round in 2016 breaking the record for the fastest equity raise with £1m funded in 96 seconds.

Britons saved less than £100 each last year

Britons saved just £96 each on average over the past 12 months, according to data from bank and building society accounts. Overall, individuals have a total £843.8bn of cash in the bank, or £12,800 per person on average, with the £96 in extra savings over the past year amounting to a rise of just 0.75%. It amounts to the worst savings rate since 1999 and is well below the 20-year annual average of £376.

NatWest accused of 'mocking' fraud victim

NatWest has come under fire from a victim of fraud who was scammed out of £40,000 and then seemingly mocked by bank staff. The internal email, joking after the scam, was accidentally forwarded to the victim by staff at NatWest. Dozens of other scam victims have also told the BBC that they were unhappy with NatWest's response to their losses after being tricked out of large sums by fraudsters posing as their bank.

RBS offers largest digital business loans

Royal Bank of Scotland has launched a digital platform to offer loans of up to £750,000 for business customers. The bank said it will allow customers to complete the loan application process "in a matter of minutes", communicating a decision within 24 hours, or sometimes immediately.


Polar Capital chilled by tech sell-off

Polar Capital's funds fell by £1bn last month as investors dumped shares in technology giants including Amazon and Google. Funds under management had fallen to £13.6bn by the end of October, from £14.7bn a month earlier.

Private equity puts £100m price tag on foster care agency

Sovereign Capital Partners has put Partnerships in Children's Services up for sale for £100m. Potential buyers include Stirling Square Capital Partners and Graphite Capital.


China banks pose lower global risk after curbs on shadow banking

The Basel-based Financial Stability Board (FSB) believes Chinese banks pose less risk to the global banking system following the crackdown on China’s Rmb62.9tn ($9tn) shadow banking industry. Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve governor Randal Quarles has been named the next chair of the FSB for a three-year term beginning next month.

Democrats vow to put banks through their paces

Senior Democrats intend to subject the financial services industry to greater scrutiny than it has faced in the past two years once they take control of the House of Representatives.

French insurer Axa takes full control of Chinese venture

France’s Axa has bought the 50% of Chinese venture Axa Tianping that it did not already own, in a €584m deal.

Draghi confirms plan to end QE despite weak economic data

Mario Draghi has said the European Central Bank still plans to halt its €2.6tn stimulus programme at the end of the year, arguing that inflation is set to “gradually rise”.


GM to cut jobs and close plants

General Motors has announced plans to halt production at five factories in North America and cut more than 14,000 jobs. The US carmaker has also announced it will close three plants outside North America by the end of 2019.

Nissan chief says alliance with Renault is 'not equal'

Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa has used a company-wide meeting to tell employees worldwide that the Japanese carmaker's relationship with Renault is “not equal” and needs to be reviewed.


Flybe shares head skyward

Flybe shares rose by over 23% yesterday morning on reports it has landed at the centre of a bidding war between International Airlines Group and Virgin Atlantic.


Paypal and iZettle merger bad for consumers, says CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority has warned that Paypal’s $2.2bn acquisition of Swedish start-up iZettle could mean higher costs for customers. The CMA said the deal could lead to Paypal facing “insufficient competition in the UK”. It added that had iZettle not been taken over, it could have “provided strong competition for Paypal and potentially benefited customers by driving innovation and lower prices”.

Liberum in £100m sale talks

Australian bank Macquarie is in talks to buy City broker Liberum for a rumoured £100m. The Standard notes that high-quality small cap brokers are seeing their revenues hit by Mifid II rules that force investors to pay directly for research. One broker at a rival firm said: “Mifid is putting pressure on everyone."

Asset managers under fire over costs and profits

Research from Accenture warns that asset managers and investment banks risk destroying shareholder value unless they do much more to cut costs and improve their profits.


Is the UK’s new industrial strategy starting to work?

The FT reports that business lobby groups and industry executives say progress has been made with the industrial strategy launched one year ago by ministers, but more work needs to be done.


WPP to merge J Walter Thompson and Wunderman agencies

WPP is to merge its J Walter Thompson and Wunderman agencies to streamline the services the marketing and communications group offers clients. The merged entity will be known as Wunderman Thompson.


Vectura abandons asthma drug trials

Vectura has scrapped a late-stage drug trial aimed at helping severe asthma sufferers, with the pharmaceutical company warning the decision will hit its loss before tax by £40m.


Closing time for pubs

Research from the ONS reveals the total number of pubs across the country has shrunk from 52,500 to 38,815 since 2001, with more than 11,000 closing in the past decade.


Mortgage approvals rising

British banks approved the most mortgages for house purchase for four months in October, figures from UK Finance have revealed. The number of mortgages approved for house purchases rose to 39,697 from a five-month low of 38,712 in September but was down by about 1% compared with October last year.

House prices would be hit by no-deal Brexit, say ministers

Senior government ministers warn house prices will fall and mortgages become more expensive in the event of a no-deal Brexit. "It will become much harder for people to get a mortgage, so it’s bad for those who are on the property ladder and for those who want to get on it," said one of the ministers who support close trading ties with the EU.


UK has weakest wage growth among advanced G20

The International Labour Organization has produced analysis of UN data which indicates workers in Britain have had the weakest real wage growth among the nine most advanced nations in the G20 since 2009. The figures also revealed that real wage growth in Britain began to recover from the 2008 financial crisis in 2014, but this came to a sudden stop around the time of the Brexit vote in 2016 – which economists attributed to the sharp rise in inflation after the referendum. However, real wage growth did return earlier this year as pay rises increased and inflation began to wane.


Thatcher could be face of new £50 note

Margaret Thatcher has been named by the Bank of England on a longlist of candidates to appear on the new £50 note. Other contenders include computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, Professor Stephen Hawking, Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, paleontologist Mary Anning, and British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole.

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