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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 2nd June 2020

Posted: 2nd June 2020


Judge orders Barclays to hand over documents ahead of trial

The High Court has ordered Barclays to hand Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners more than 1,000 documents ahead of a £1.5bn trial focused on the bank’s 2008 emergency fundraising. Ms Staveley claims Barclays, which raised emergency capital from Abu Dhabi and Qatari investors, cheated her out of profits she should have gained from bringing in investors.

Lloyds services hit by technical issues

A technical issue hit Lloyds Group’s online and mobile banking services yesterday, leaving some customers unable to log-in. The firm, which also comprises Halifax and Bank of Scotland, did not say how many customers were affected but confirmed the issue had caused problems across all of its brands. With the problem arising on the first of the month, the Telegraph notes that for many people, this is typically “bills day”, when payments go out and checking on finances can be especially important to account holders.

Metro Bank names chief transformation officer

Metro Bank has named Martin Boyle as its new chief transformation officer. Dan Frumkin, Metro's chief executive, said Mr Boyle, who joins from the same role at Nationwide Building Society, will bring "invaluable transformation and change expertise".

Investor plans £15bn support for UK companies toiling with crisis loans

Business Growth Fund, which is backed by UK banks, is planning a £15bn fund to help businesses that struggle to repay money borrowed under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Banks to be drawn into tensions?

The Telegraph’s Lucy Burton looks at tensions between China and the US, saying HSBC and Standard Chartered investors will hope the lenders stay out of the “escalating showdown”. She says there is a hope that bank bosses can avoid being drawn into the matter “while keeping Beijing on side behind the scenes.” Ms Burton notes that HSBC, which makes almost all its profits in Asia, was founded in Hong Kong to support international trade between China and Europe, highlighting that Jefferies this week downgraded it from "buy" to "hold" because of its exposure to the unrest.


Private equity trio eye MasMovil buyout

Providence Equity Partners, Cinven and KKR are looking to snap up Spanish telecoms operator MasMovil, offering €22.50 a share in a deal that will give the firm an enterprise value, including debt, of almost €5bn.

Cinven fears being stuck with big stake in Thyssenkrupp lift business

Cinven, which usually holds no more than 15% of its fund in a single company, may need to hold a larger stake in Access Solutions for more than a year.


Credit Suisse wins control over Chinese securities joint venture

Credit Suisse has taken a majority stake in its Chinese securities joint venture, increasing its share of Credit Suisse Founder Securities from 33.3% to 51%. The move came after the China Securities Regulatory Commission granted the bank the approval to become the majority shareholder in April.


FCA readies business interruption insurance court case

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has selected 17 samples of insurance wording, used by 16 insurers, ahead of a court case that will assess whether the industry should pay out on business interruption policies for COVID-19. “Given the representative nature of the policies and wordings we have selected, we expect the test case to provide guidance for the interpretation of many other business insurance policies that are not in the representative sample,” the City watchdog said, meaning that other insurers will be affected by the test case. Eight insurers will take part in the action: Arch, Argenta, Ecclesiastical, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE, Royal & Sun Alliance and Zurich.

Watchdog launches Amigo Loans investigation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has opened an investigation into subprime lender Amigo Loans' creditworthiness assessment process and its governance oversight, covering the period from November 2018. In an update to the London Stock Exchange, Amigo said that the investigation would focus on whether or not its credit checks on borrowers were carried out in line with lending rules.

City regulator pledges to get smarter over fraud

In an interview with the Times, interim Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Chris Woolard says the watchdog will “get smarter” about cracking down on investment scams and protecting consumers. Mr Woolard also said the FCA would have “some painful lessons” to learn over a scandal centred on unregulated minibonds sold to savers. The Times says the matter has drawn attention to the authority’s regulatory powers and “regulatory perimeter”, which are set by the government. Mr Woolard comments: “At the moment I think we don’t look enough at activity that is going on beyond the perimeter and then think about how the harm crosses back over.”

Firms see passporting rights removed

The Financial Conduct Authority has, for the first time, used powers to revoke the passporting rights that enable overseas financial firms to do business with customers in Britain. It has blocked four Cypriot businesses from selling high-risk derivatives to customers in the UK.

Fintech firms facing 'capital scarcity', OakNorth warns

Rishi Khosla, chief executive of challenger bank OakNorth has warned that fintech firms seeking funds during the pandemic are battling against a “scarcity of capital”. He also suggested that there could be “great opportunities” for mergers and acquisitions in the wake of the virus.

Women-led hedge funds beat male rivals in coronavirus crisis

Chicago-based data group HFR’s Women Access index reveals a small cluster of hedge funds managed by women has outperformed those run by men in the first four months of 2020.


Travel firms urge lockdown end

Over 200 travel and hospitality firms, including Claridges, the Mandarin Oriental hotel group and luxury tour operator Scott Dunn, have urged the UK government to cancel proposed quarantine plans in favour of ‘air bridges’ between low-risk countries. The group, which together accounts for over £5bn of sales in the sector, has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel warning that the "unworkable" plans are damaging the travel industry.

Hollywood Bowl asserts reopening strategy

Stephen Burns, chief executive of Hollywood Bowl, plans to reopen all of the tenpin bowling operator's 61 sites on July 4. Customers will be offered gloves to use in alternate lanes, while balls and playing areas will be sanitised after each game.


Manufacturing data picks up amid virus pain

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply’s latest activity index rose to 40.7 in May, up from April’s 32.6, as the besieged manufacturing sector began clawing its way back from the deepest downturn in recent times last month. Firms laid off staff for the fourth consecutive month, while the few pockets of growth were mostly linked to healthcare or personal protection products such as gowns and masks.

New Raytheon boss named

Jeff Lewis is to take over as chief executive of Raytheon's UK subsidiary. The defence giant, which employs around 1,700 people in this country, has played a key role recently in producing ventilators for the NHS after converting its Glenrothes manufacturing centre in Scotland and setting up a new facility in Fife.


Google rejects calls to fund Australian news firms

Google has rubbished suggestions in Australia that it shares advertising revenue it generates from including news on media companies' sites with publishers of the content. The country is currently drafting rules which would force firms such as Google and Facebook to help fund its news media companies and the chairman of Australian media firm Nine Entertainment last month said internet sites should be paying around A$600m each year to news companies.


Capco bites into Shaftesbury

Property management outfit Capco has acquired a 26% stake (£436m) in London-focused property rival Shaftesbury from a trust set up by Hong Kong tycoon Samuel Tak Lee. Separately, Tak Lee, who in January voted against resolutions to reappoint some of Shaftesbury's key management figures, has withdrawn legal proceedings against the landlord related to a 2017 fundraising.


Ted Baker in £95m cash call

Ted Baker has raised £95m in an emergency fundraising designed to see it through the coronavirus crisis. The proceeds from the placing, which excluded individual shareholders, will be used to cut debt and pursue a “digital first” strategy that will see it invest in online sales.

Monsoon in rent warning

Retailer Monsoon Accessorize has warned landlords that unless rents are waived, it will have to shut down stores. Founder and owner Peter Simon intends to buy the business back after putting it in administration.


Pandemic hit to economy may be short and sharp

A report from Oxford Economics suggests a strong recovery following the coronavirus pandemic is likely, with the economic impact of the crisis potentially set to be sharp but short. The report says that as GDP has declined due to a planned, partial shutdown of the economy, activity and demand should in theory rebound as the economy reopens, with fiscal and monetary support rolled out by the Government and the Bank of England amid the pandemic helping drive an upturn. The study forecasts that further easing of lockdown measures in the coming months could deliver economic growth in the second half of the year. The report says GDP could dip 14% in Q2, while unemployment is likely to climb 3% from 4% at the start of 2020 to 7% by year end. The deficit, the report adds, is likely to hit £290bn in 2020 – around 14% of GDP.

Government spending to exceed £1trn

Public spending is set to pass £1trn for the first time this year, with taxpayer money being pumped into efforts to support the country amid the coronavirus crisis. Cara Pacitti, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The unprecedented fall in economic activity, combined with the Government’s bold and necessary measures to support firms and workers through the crisis, are inevitably taking their toll on the public finances.” Isabel Stockton, an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said that if the Government continues to spend in a similar fashion, it will eventually need to generate more tax revenue. Government borrowing is this year expected to hit £300bn, or 15% of GDP, according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates based on a three-month lockdown.


CEOs call for green recovery plan

Lloyds Banking Group is among a group of more than 200 British businesses that have called on Boris Johnson to focus on a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that such a move will strengthen economic growth. CEOs have written to the Prime Minister, urging him to ensure that any stimulus measures fit in with Britain's climate change goals. They said: "With the UK facing major economic and social concerns including the risk of high unemployment and rising regional inequality, we believe that an ambitious low carbon growth and environmental improvement agenda can do a lot to address these concerns."

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