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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 3rd July 2018

Posted: 3rd July 2018


Doubts over cashless society

With recent IT problems affecting TSB, Visa, Tesco Bank and insurer Hiscox, Lloyd's of London chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown has said: "The risk of an IT meltdown has rapidly risen up the boardroom agenda… While no business is immune to attack, our research shows that banks and other financial services firms are among the most exposed.” Financial firms are increasingly reluctant to update IT systems for fear of encountering issues which can result in fines, reputational damage, litigation and loss of competitive edge.

Banking sector needs reform

Andy Mielczarek, chief executive of Chetwood Financial, writes in City AM on the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent statement that the traditional banking model “thrives on inertia and cross-selling”, and notes that most so-called challenger banks are in fact little different to traditional lenders. He states that Chetwood Financial is not a traditional bank, “but a manufacturer of financial services products that serve specific market groups.”

Barclays begins job transfer to Germany

As part of its plans to continue doing business in the EU after Brexit, Barclays has begun moving up to 50 investment banking jobs from Britain to Frankfurt, forming part of up to 200 roles lined up for transfer.

MSPs call for customer consultation over bank closures

The Scottish government's economy committee has said that banks should be required to consult customers, businesses and the wider community before local branches are shut. A report noted: "Whatever is put in place in the future, the access to banking standard is not succeeding in its current form and should be replaced with a statutory model which includes the requirement to consult before a decision is made to close a branch."

Separate strategy for HSBC

A standalone entity for HSBC’s high street banking business has been created, as the lender fulfils a legal requirement designed to prevent taxpayer bailouts that occurred a decade ago from happening again.

LendInvest profits from mainstream move

LendInvest posted statutory pre-tax profits of £1.8m for the year to March 2018, compared to a £1m loss the previous year, after expanding into offering more mainstream mortgages.

Hampden & Co expands into mortgages

Hampden & Co is entering the intermediary mortgage market after agreeing a partnership with Paradigm Mortgage Services. Chief executive Graeme Hartop commented: "Working collaboratively as part of a client's advisory team is core to what we offer at Hampden & Co… Under Paradigm's umbrella are a large number of directly authorised intermediary firms, many of whom specialise in supporting the unique needs of high net worth clients, so it was a natural fit."

New PPI bill threat follows ruling

A new PPI bill could threaten British banks after a court ruling that even if a PPI policy was not mis-sold, buyers may still be able to claim because the commissions paid were excessively high. Simon Evans, chief executive of the Alliance of Claims Companies, remarked: "This ruling is hugely significant and sets a new precedent".

Shadow banking sector worth £2.2trn

The Office for National Statistics has calculated that the country’s shadow banking sector is larger than the annual output of the UK economy, at £2.2trn. However, the organisation admitted that the true figure could be far higher.

Digital bank Monzo’s losses more than quadruple

Losses at digital bank Monzo more than quadrupled in its first year with a full licence, to £33.1m, as 80% of new customers do not deposit their salaries with it.


EQT buys Micro Focus' open source unit for billions

Micro Focus is to sell its open source subsidiary Suse to Swedish private equity house EQT for £1.93bn. The software provider and IT management consultancy believes that the sale price of Suse, which is used by Linux software-serving companies around the world, represents around 7.9 times its revenue for the year ending October 2017.


Barclays prepares to re-enter South African and South Korean markets

Barclays International is reportedly examining ways to re-enter the South African and South Korean markets, after retreating from some international locations a few years ago.

Swiss cryptocurrencies could gain full banking access

Heinz Tännler, finance director of Zug canton in Switzerland, has said the country’s fast-growing cryptocurrency industry could see full access to conventional banking services by the end of this year.


Nissan battery unit sale scrapped

After GSR Capital failed to come up with the required funds, Nissan has abandoned the $1bn sale of its rechargeable battery business to the Chinese firm.


Plus500 raises profit expectations in volatile market

With fears of a US trade war resulting in market volatility, online broker Plus500 has again raised its profit forecast. Asaf Elimelech, chief executive officer, commented: "Plus500 has performed strongly in the half year period and we are pleased to announce a material increase in expectations for the full year”.

Zopa back in the black

Zopa's profit after tax for 2017 hit £1.5m, taking the peer-to-peer lender back into the black. Zopa, which has lent more than £3bn in total since it was set up in 2005, reported a revenue increase of 40% to £46.5m in its annual report for last year.

Cambridge Innovation Capital looks to boost portfolio

Cambridge Innovation Capital is seeking to raise a "substantial" amount of money from international investors as it undertakes a global fundraising round for the first time.


US drugmaker Pfizer raises prices on 100 products

Pfizer has raised the prices of 100 of its products in the US, including its best-known drugs like Viagra, by, in most cases, just over 9%.


Rising costs hitting manufacturing growth

UK manufacturing output fell to its weakest in a year and a half during the second-quarter, according to IHS Markit's latest manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), which rose slightly to 54.4 in June. Some firms said that "cost increases were being exacerbated by shortages of certain raw materials", IHS Markit said.


Dell in $21bn Wall Street deal

Technology entrepreneur Michael Dell will bring Dell computers back to the public market in a $21.7bn deal, with the company trading on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since 2015.


Lifetime mortgage risks spark concern

The Prudential Regulation Authority has warned that lifetime mortgages could become rarer and more expensive, with the Bank of England fearing that lenders are under-valuing the risk of a house price fall. David Rule, head of insurance regulation at the Bank, noted: "Insurers need to assess whether risks associated with the no negative equity guarantee have been properly taken into account in the amount of matching adjustment benefit claimed".


Fortnum & Mason suffers data hack

Fortnum & Mason has been hit by a major data hack, with personal information of 23,000 customers exposed. The data had been gathered by survey company Typeform for Fortnum and Mason’s food and drink awards, with data of those who voted in the store's TV Personality of the Year category possibly exposed, including their name, email address, social media handles and home address – although no financial data has been accessed as a result of the hack. The retailer has taken down all forms powered by the tech company until their security measures have been improved.

Poundworld bid ‘ignored’

Poundworld's founder Chris Edwards has accused administrators of paying "lip service" to his plan to save 186 stores and 3,000 jobs - warning that "just days" remain for the retailer to be rescued.

EE and Vodafone in deal to make tough phones

Bullitt Group has reached deals with EE and Vodafone, which will see the networks sell Bullitt’s hard-to-break handsets in their shops. Peter Stephens, Bullitt's chief executive, remarked: "The UK's a very carrier-driven market. We've got to get closer to our customers and the carriers are a real link to that”.

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