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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 3rd December 2019

Posted: 3rd December 2019


Metro Bank backer sells down stake

Billionaire Steve Cohen, Metro Bank’s biggest backer, has sold down a chunk of his stake, offloading 3.8m Metro shares for around £7m. He has sold 5.9m of the bank's shares since November 22. Despite the sales, he remains Metro's biggest shareholder with a 7.65% stake. The move comes just days after Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal snapped up a stake in the bank worth almost £15m.

TSB bonuses cut over gender targets

TSB has scrapped a commitment to raise the number of women in senior roles to 45-55% by 2020 after an internal review found it had not made enough progress. The number of women in senior roles has fallen to 38% from 41% in 2017, despite the bank appointing its first female chief executive, Debbie Crosbie. It is reported that a failure to hit the targets will mean bonuses for executives and managers will be docked.

Banks urged to clean up government bond sale practices

The FICC Markets Standards Board has flagged potential conflicts of interest for banks operating in the government bond markets which could “lead to behaviours that may be detrimental to fair and effective markets.”

Coventry Building Society names new boss

Coventry Building Society has named Steve Hughes as chief executive. Mr Hughes, currently boss of Principality Building Society, is replacing Mark Parsons, who announced his retirement in October.


Private wealth leads VC funding

A new report for Talis Capital has found that private wealth is now the main source of funding for European venture capital. The research showed that a fifth of fundraising by European VC firms in 2018 came from family offices and private individuals as opposed to institutional money. Talis Capital co-founder and managing partner Matus Maar said the increase was driven by "a new generation of ultra-wealthy individuals and families who made their money through tech and want to keep investing in the sector”.


Deutsche's role in Danske scandal scrutinised

Deutsche Bank’s role in a money laundering scandal at Danske Bank is reportedly facing deeper scrutiny, with the US Department of Justice probing whether Deutsche helped transfer money from Danske into the US. Danske, Denmark’s biggest lender, is under investigation in several countries over suspicious payments totalling €200bn that were moved through its small Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

Nomura chief executive steps down

Japanese investment bank Nomura has named chief operating officer Kentaro Okuda as its new chief executive. He will replace Koji Nagai, who led a seven-year restructuring effort, on April 1 2020. Proxy advisers recommended shareholders vote against Mr Nagai’s reappointment after the group posted its first full-year loss in ten years. Mr Nagai is due to become chairman when he steps down at the end of March.

Deutsche Bank dealmaker leaves

James Ruane, Deutsche Bank's head of corporate M&A, has left the company to join hedge fund Bayview International. Deutsche’s Chief Accounting Officer Andreas Loetscher steps into the role left vacant by Mr Ruane.

Wells Fargo names Powell COO

Wells Fargo has named Scott Powell, the former chief executive officer of Santander Holdings USA, chief operating officer. The position has been vacant since October 2016, when Tim Sloan was promoted to CEO.

Monzo taps Anil to lead drive for US bank licence

Monzo has hired T.S. Anil, Visa's global head of payment products and platforms who was previously with Standard Chartered, to lead its US business.

Fintech lands bank deal

Digital banking services provider EedenBull has received a funding boost from Norwegian bank Eika Group. The fintech firm, which offers a payments and spending management platform, has secured an undisclosed investment under an agreement which gives Eika's member banks access to EedenBull's payment services.


Cerberus eyes taxi firm

Cerberus Capital Management is among bidders for minicab business Addison Lee, having submitted a bid for the firm ahead of a recent deadline for offers. Addison Lee is currently owned by Carlyle, which is looking to offload the company before the end of the year but has reportedly yet to receive an offer that values the company at more than its £230m of outstanding debt. Insiders have told Sky News that this could mean Addison Lee undergoes a debt-for-equity swap or pre-pack administration.

Nissan chief halts talks on structure of Renault alliance

Nissan chief executive Makoto Uchida has shelved discussions on the capital structure of its alliance with Renault, saying the carmakers will focus on reviving their businesses as they struggle with earnings.


City UK: Britain should not be a rule taker

The City UK says Britain cannot be allowed to become a financial “rule taker” after Brexit. This comes after Valdis Dombrovskis, who is set to become a vice-president of the European Commission, suggested the City could be cut off from continental markets if its regulations do not stay closely aligned. Access to the post-Brexit market will depend on Britain "not starting to engage in some kind of deregulation", said Mr Dombrovskis. City UK chief executive Miles Celic commented: “As a premier global financial centre, the UK can't become an automatic rule taker with no say over its own rules." He added: “Close regulatory and supervisory cooperation will be essential to minimise unwarranted fragmentation of financial markets".

Hundreds of jobs under threat at GAM

Swiss asset manager GAM is overhauling its operating model as new chief executive Peter Sanderson looks to cut costs, with job losses reportedly on the cards.


Apps deliver an extra £400m for restaurants

Analysis suggests that food delivery apps such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats are contributing an extra £400m in revenue for European restaurants. Figures show that £1.6m of extra meals were sold each week over a year in Paris, London, Madrid and Warsaw - with independent restaurants accounting for almost half of the additional sales. London restaurants saw revenue climb £323m and profit increase by £189m.


Manufacturing sector employment dips

Factories are laying off workers at the fastest rate in seven years, the IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing shows. The analysis shows employment dipped for the eighth month in a row and the pace of job losses hit its steepest level since September 2012. November also saw new orders fall for the seventh consecutive month. The PMI slipped to 48.9 in November from 49.6 in October, with a reading below 50 indicating that a majority of businesses reported falling output. Brexit uncertainty, attempts to cut costs, and redundancies were cited as contributing factors for the dip.


Tech giants to spend £25bn on advertising

Eight of the world’s largest tech firms will spend £25bn on advertising this year, according to new research by media investment company Groupm. It suggests that Google parent company Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, Netflix, IAC, Uber and will account for 5% of global spending in the industry this year. The analysis also predicts that digital-only businesses will account for almost three quarters of all advertising in the UK by 2024. Groupm estimates that the UK’s advertising industry will grow 7.8% in 2019, hitting £22bn.

CMA to probe Google’s Looker takeover

The Competition and Markets Authority is to probe Google's £2bn purchase of analytics firm Looker, which uses a visualisation tool that helps clients spot patterns in data. While the tech giant wants to expand its cloud data offerings, the competition watchdog fears the merger could “substantially” reduce competition in the UK’s cloud computing market.


Co-working firm to pull out of UK

WeWork rival RocketSpace is planning to exit the UK market. The San Francisco-based firm, which rented out space to London freelancers and start-up businesses at a shared office in Islington, said it has decided to “cease operations in the UK” and close the space by April next year. Filings showed that the subsidiary had debts of more than £9m due this year.

The Crown Estate adds to St James’s portfolio

The Crown Estate has increased its ownership in central London’s St James’s district with a £70m purchase of the lease interest of 130 Jermyn Street from US private-equity group Blackstone. The Estate, which runs the Queen’s land and property empire, already owned the freehold, but wanted complete control.


Ted Baker reveals accounting error

Fashion retailer Ted Baker has revealed an accounting error that saw it overstate the value of its inventory by between £20m-£25m. Law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is to carry out a review and independent accountants are to be appointed to investigate.

Retail sales up in November

British Retail Consortium data shows that retail sales grew 0.9% in November from a year ago. Stripping Black Friday sales from the data shows sales were down 4.4% and 4.9% on a like-for-like basis.

High Street store credit schemes pushing customers into debt

An investigation by the Times claims that Britain’s biggest stores have pushed consumers into record debt as they collect hundreds of millions of pounds from credit schemes that charge up to 30% interest. Analysis of accounts shows how retailers have become increasingly dependent on profit from credit.


UK's six richest people control as much wealth as poorest 13m

Analysis by the Equality Trust shows that the UK’s six richest people control as much wealth as the poorest 13m. The study found that the six richest people in the country have a combined fortune of £39.4bn, a sum equal to the assets of 13.2m Britons. The Equality Trust report also highlights that about 14m people in Britain live in poverty, with 4m said to be more than 50% below the poverty line and 1.5m deemed destitute.


ECB could act on climate crisis

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde has suggested that the bank may incorporate the threat climate change poses into its economic forecasts and in its capacity as the financial system’s watchdog.

60% use cash at Xmas

Research by the Post Office shows that six in 10 people are likely to use cash instead of cards when spending during the festive season. The poll of 2,100 adults shows that nearly half are likely to give cash as a gift this Christmas.

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