Staley steps down as Barclays boss following Epstein probe
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley is standing down from his role in the wake of an investigation into his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Barclays said it had been made aware of the conclusions of the investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority – and Mr Staley's intention to contest them. While Mr Staley insists his dealings with Mr Epstein – a client of Mr Staley’s former employer JPMorgan - were professional, it is understood that the FCA has taken the view that the volume and tone of emails between the two suggest a closer relationship. Saying it had been made aware of the preliminary conclusions from the investigation, Barclays said: “In view of those conclusions, and Mr Staley's intention to contest them, the board and Mr Staley have agreed that he will step down.” It added that the investigation “makes no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Epstein's alleged crimes.” It is noted that Mr Staley is being treated as a "good leaver" by Barclays and will be given a £2.5m payout. Meanwhile, Mr Staley’s successor at Barclays, CS Venkatakrishnan, has told colleagues to expect more leadership changes at the top of the bank in the next few days.
Santander customers report £1m cryptocurrency scams a month
Santander says UK customers are reporting around £1m-worth of cryptocurrency scams each month. Chris Ainsley, head of fraud control at Santander UK, said: “We're seeing more and more cases where fraudsters use complex cryptocurrency jargon, high pressured sales tactics and fake celebrity endorsements, along with the promise of significant rewards, to lull people into a false sense of security.”
Boden: Starling not for sale
Starling Bank founder and chief executive Anne Boden has refuted suggestions that the digital bank is up for sale. In an updated version of her book Banking On It, she writes: “Starling is not for sale and I very much want to lead it to floatation and beyond.”
Credit Suisse to provide strategy update
Credit Suisse will provide an update on its group strategy review on Thursday, following a presentation of its Q3 results. Chairman António Horta-Osório has promised a new strategy for the lender, as well as a review of the bank's risk management and culture after a number of scandals involving the Swiss lender, including serious due diligence failings that resulted in a £147m fine from the Financial Conduct Authority. The review comes earlier than expected, with the bank having previously said it would be unveiled before the end of the year.
Jefferies and Cantor reach settlement in banker poaching battle
US firms Jefferies and Cantor Fitzgerald have reportedly agreed to settle a London lawsuit centred around a mass migration of bankers between the firms. The lawsuit came after 26 Jefferies bankers across its offices in New York, London and Hong Kong suddenly resigned on the same day in November 2017, with City A.M. saying they were “lured” to Cantor by former Jefferies' banker Sage Kelly. The sum of the settlement has not yet been disclosed.
Ryanair considers delisting from LSE
Ryanair is planning to delist from the London Stock Exchange in coming months due to a fall in trading volumes. The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said activity on the LSE had “reduced materially” as an overall share of the company’s trading during 2021.
Property regeneration firm to be bought by Landsec
Land Securities is to acquire U and I Group for £190m as it seeks to expand the number of mixed-use developments in its portfolio.
Google offers FCA advertising credits in scam battle
Google has offered the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) £2.19m worth of advertising credits to help fight online scams. The tech giant also pledged a further £1.46m in credits to support industry scam awareness campaigns. In response to a request for information on the policies in place to combat scams, Google director of trust and safety Amanda Storey wrote to Treasury Committee chair Mel Stride, saying the firm is “investing significantly in measures to prevent scams from taking place on our platforms”, adding that it has worked closely with the FCA over the last 18 months to do so. An FCA spokesperson said the watchdog “remains in discussion with Google about its offer to provide ad credits to off-set the future spend by the FCA educating consumers about online harms."
Pension schemes must face up to climate change, watchdog warns
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has warned that pension schemes “still have much work to do” in adapting to the risks and investment opportunities of climate change. It says too few schemes give enough consideration to the issue, meaning investment performance - and ultimately the financial results for retirement savers - could suffer. TPR’s progress report says that pension schemes could see a positive impact from considering climate change, including on expected returns for savers and the capacity to reduce risk.
Lazard in talks to buy hedge fund
Lazard is in advanced talks to acquire hedge fund firm Brigade Capital Management, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
Climbing costs see factories increase prices
Manufacturers have raised their prices by the largest amount in at least two decades after an increase in the cost of raw materials and energy, according to the IHS Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index survey. While the overall manufacturing PMI rose for the first time in five months in October to 57.8 from 57.1 in September, the output index fell to 51.3 from 52.7 in September, hitting its weakest level in eight months. IHS Markit director Rob Dobson commented: “This low-growth environment is occurring in tandem with a severe upshoot in inflationary pressures, with manufacturers reporting both a near-record increase in input costs and record rise in selling prices.” Fhaheen Khan, senior economist at Make UK, commented: “Shortages in labour, a supply chain crisis and input costs rising at record rates continue to hamper manufacturers, who are being stalked by the after-effects of a post-pandemic boom and a new trading environment.”
Sales data shows gulf in house prices
Analysis of property price data by the Daily Mirror shows the gulf between the lowest and highest priced homes across the UK, with the cheapest selling for 0.05% the value of the most expensive. Figures for home sales across England and Wales between July and September show that the most expensive home sold for £38m while the cheapest changed hands for just £20,000. London accounted for each of the five most expensive homes sold in the period, with a £38m mansion in the capital’s Holland Park leading the way while none of the top five costliest properties sold for under £10m. At the opposite end of the scale, County Durham saw the three cheapest sales, with a home in Bishop Auckland going for £20,000 and two others in the region selling for £21,000.
Homeowners face biggest rise in mortgage payments since 2008
Homeowners face the biggest rise in mortgage payments since the financial crisis as interest rates rise, according to new analysis. The Liberal Democrats calculated that an average borrower currently paying 3.26% on a standard variable mortgage will see their monthly payments go up by £42 a month, or £510 over a year. That would equate to a 13% increase in their annual mortgage payments. A borrower on a fixed rate mortgage of 2% would pay £300 a year more.
French Connection shareholders back takeover
French Connection shareholders have backed a £29m takeover of the fashion brand that puts the company back into private hands for the first time since 1983. Apinder Singh Ghura, who in February bought a 25% stake in French Connection from Frasers Group, has teamed up with business partner Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers to buy out the brand.
Chancellor warned over risk of missing deficit targets
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the 'wiggle room' - the spare money available to cut the deficit and simultaneously reduce national debt - is at the second-smallest level on record. OBR chairman Richard Hughes told MPs that the Treasury it could be in for a “wild ride” and may struggle to hit its new deficit targets, especially if interest rates rise. Treasury Select Committee chairman Mel Stride said there was a “strong risk” the targets will not be met, with modelling putting the likelihood of meeting the targets at between 55% and 60%. Mr Sunak, who also faced the committee, said that while hitting the targets would be a challenge, he would probably describe the chance of success outlined in the OBR forecast as “better than a cat in hell's chance.” Mr Stride also told the Chancellor his fiscal wiggle room appears “rather pale by comparison” to that of his predecessors, noting that “the headroom he set aside to reach those targets is the second-lowest headroom that any Chancellor has had when setting fiscal rules.” Meanwhile, OBR board member Charlie Bean told MPs growth in household incomes, after taking inflation into account, is set stall over the next two years, with households likely to remain worse off than before the pandemic until 2023.
Lloyds: Business sentiment edges down
A survey by Lloyds shows that British business sentiment fell slightly in October, having reached its highest since the start of the pandemic in September. The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer fell to 43% in October from 46% the month before. While confidence has dipped slightly amid rising energy bills and supply chain disruption, the reading remains well above the long-run average of 28%. The study shows 45% of firms expect to increase their prices, up from 37% and passing the previous high of 44% seen in March and April 2018. The poll also found that 60% of the firms surveyed plan to bring all their remaining furloughed staff back to work, while a further 30% expect more than half of their furloughed workers to return. Reflecting on the findings of the survey, Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While economic optimism saw a slight dent in October due to rising costs and the on-going supply chain issues, it is clear that firms are still feeling relatively buoyant.”
Confidence dips among business leaders
Research carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that concerns around supply chains, inflation and worker shortages have hit the confidence of UK businesses, with optimism about the prospects for the economy falling from -1% in September to -6% in October. This marks a steep dip on the 27% recorded in June. The report also reveals that a third of firms expect staffing costs to increase in the next year. It was also shown that 77% of business leaders think costs will stay high in the long term.