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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday 2nd May 2018

Posted: 2nd May 2018


Barclays searches for new chairman

Barclays has started the process of selecting a new chairman, despite incumbent Barclays chair John Macfarlane insisting speculation around his potential exit was “somewhat premature”, as the bank held its AGM. Meanwhile, chief executive Jes Staley received more than 99% of investor votes supporting his re-appointment as a director.

TSB hit with standing order issues

TSB customers have been hit with standing order issues, with some complaining of failed instructions and others that money has been debited from their accounts for previously cancelled standing orders. TSB chief executive Paul Pester and chairman Richard Meddings will be questioned by MPs on the Treasury Committee today over the bank’s move from the Lloyds Banking Group platform to its own system.

Virgin Money unveils strong credit performance

Virgin Money said yesterday that its strong first-quarter credit performance should help it hit full-year targets. The firm said gross mortgage lending reached £1.4bn at the start of 2018 while net lending stood at £200m and credit card balances stood at £3bn, up 13.9% on last year. Claiming that the new partnership with Aberdeen Standard Investments would drive significant growth in AUM, chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia added: "We have seen a stronger than expected customer response to the launch of our first Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer cards, demonstrating the strength of customer affinity with the Virgin brand. And we continue to make good progress in the development of our digital bank".

First woman to head City bank

Morgan Stanley's Clare Woodman is set to become the first woman to lead a major investment bank in the City after the US lender appointed her its new head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ms Woodman replaces Rob Rooney, who will take over as the investment bank's head of technology.


Private equity investment in Europe reaches decade high

Private equity investment across Europe has reached its highest level in ten years at €71.7bn - a 29% year-on-year increase, as investors face renewed pressure to deploy capital.

Cisco sells video software unit to Permira

US IT giant Cisco has sold its video software business to London-based Permira, the private equity owner of Dr Martens.


Goldman currency unit fined $110m

The Federal Reserve and the New York Department of Financial Service have ordered Goldman Sachs to pay $110m for "unsafe and unsound" practices in its foreign exchange trading business.

MetLife finance chief leaves after reserves debacle

MetLife CFO John Hele is being replaced with immediate effect, months after the US insurer warned of issues with its reserves and financial reporting.


Qantas expects record annual profit

Australia's Qantas Airways has said it is expecting a 10.7% rise in full-year underlying pretax profit, despite an expected increase in fuel costs of some A$200m ($149.7m).


Davis: expect Brexit tussle over financial services

David Davis has told peers that there would be “something of a tussle” over financial services as part of negotiations with the EU over Britain’s future relationship with the bloc following Brexit. Speaking to the House of Lords Exiting the EU committee, Mr Davis also reiterated the commitment of the UK Government to leave the EU’s customs union. “They [the EU] want a tariff-free arrangement that’s the first step [to trade]. The second step is how we deal with regulation. That’s not even a customs union issue, that’s a single market issue,” he said.

Plus500 riding cryptocurrency wave

Online trading platform Plus500's new cryptocurrency offering has helped revenues increase by 284% to a record $297.3m (£216.3m) in the first quarter. "Having a flexible business model and a lean cost structure enables us to optimise our performance as necessary despite the recently announced regulatory changes," said Plus500's chief executive Asaf Elimelech. Active customer numbers rose 204% and 72,960 new customers joined.

Cryptocurrency platforms submit regulation plans

British cryptocurrency platforms have called on MPs to support proposals to regulate the industry in the UK. In a submission to the Treasury select committee, Crypto UK said that platforms should require licenses to show they have made appropriateness checks on investors, have followed anti-money laundering rules and have met basic operational standards.

Aviva announces historic share buyback

Aviva has unveiled its biggest share buyback plan in recent history. The insurer has promised to buy back up to £600m worth of its shares, its biggest repurchase in well over a decade.

John Parry to step down as Lloyd’s CFO

Lloyd’s of London CFO John Parry is to leave after 17 years with the insurance company.


UK manufacturing growth remains slow

The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index fell to a 17-month low of 53.9 in April, down from 54.9 in March, as UK manufacturing growth remained slow. Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing at Barclays, stressed: "Growth in output continues to tick up, albeit slower than in previous months, and new orders and employment remain in positive territory".


Regulator delivers Fox Sky verdict

Following a year of scrutiny, the Competition and Markets Authority has delivered its final report on whether 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky should be blocked. The government's final decision will be announced by June 13, MPs have been told.

Bank of England may use Spotify to assess consumer behaviour

The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane has suggested that people’s Spotify downloads may be a useful tool to understand their mood and behaviours. “To give one recent example, data on music downloads from Spotify has been used, in tandem with semantic search techniques applied to the words of songs, to provide an indicator of people’s sentiment,” he said.


BoE figures show dip in home loan approvals

Bank of England figures show that mortgage approvals fell more than 1% to 62,914 in March. This is a 2018-low and is the second-lowest total since August 2016, after December 2017. Approvals in March were 22.7% below their long-term average of 81,404. The figures show that approvals for house purchases fell to 62,914 in March from 63,781 in February and a six-month high of 67,018 in January.

ZPG sells Hometrack Australia for £71m

Zoopla owner ZPG has sold the Australian division of property valuation firm Hometrack to local operator REA Group for £71m. Chief executive Alex Chesterman said: “ZPG acquired Hometrack Australia as part of our acquisition of the wider Hometrack business in the UK last year and we have always been clear that our core markets are the UK and Europe.”


Pensions Regulator in talks over Sainsbury’s £7.3bn Asda tie-up

The Pensions Regulator is in “active discussions” with all parties involved in the proposed £7.3bn merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda over the impact on the companies’ retirement schemes.


Snow freezes consumer spending

March endured the weakest consumer spending in more than five years, according to the Bank of England’s latest data, which shows just £254m was spent on credit cards and personal loans over the month, blighted by blizzards in much of the UK, the lowest since November 2012. City analysts have warned that the economy is facing a "credit slump" after the drop in loans.

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