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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 4th June 2019

Posted: 4th June 2019


HSBC cuts broking ties with Goldman Sachs

HSBC has reportedly told Goldman Sachs that its corporate broking partnership is set to come to an end, following a review by the bank’s new CFO Ewen Stevenson. Sources close to HSBC described the decision to replace Goldman as “a standard one led by a new CFO”, but acknowledged that it would be interpreted as a signal of Mr Stevenson's determination to inject fresh impetus into the bank. HSBC has used Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse as joint corporate brokers since 2011 but it is unclear whether the Swiss bank will also lose out following the review. Goldman’s replacement as HSBC’s joint broker has not yet been determined, according to Sky News. Meanwhile, writing in the FT, David Crow suggests the case for HSBC to move its HQ to Hong Kong is looking stronger than ever. He notes that last year, Asia accounted for 90% of group profits.

Santander backed Asto joins forces with eBay

Online marketplace eBay has teamed up with Asto, the Santander-backed fintech that aims to help small businesses run and grow through a range of financial and non-financial services, to offer cash flow loans to small businesses. Sigga Sigurdardottir, CEO of Asto, said: “I am excited by the opportunity for Asto, as a fintech start-up, to partner with eBay, a global ecommerce platform that shares our ambition to help small businesses grow and thrive. Asto is built on the belief that no good business should fail for want of time, insight, support or access to finance.”

Metro fundraising approved

Metro Bank's shareholders have approved the bank’s £375m fundraising deal, after it raised cash to drive its recovery following an accounting mishap in January. More than 92% of investors voted in favour of the deal at its general meeting yesterday, which will let the lender plug a £350m gap in its balance sheet.


Tech breaks record with $4.8bn venture funding

According to new data from Tech Nation and Dealroom, the UK has already broken past its half-year record for venture capital investment, reaching $4.8bn of funding across the tech sector in five months. It topped the previous record set in the first six months of 2017 of $4.2bn. Fintech more than tripled its previous record to hit $2.3bn of venture capital funding so far this year, up from the sector's earlier record of $1bn in 2017.


Analysts warn of potential US recession

Wall Street’s biggest banks have warned of growing recession risks from the escalating trade war between the US and China. Morgan Stanley said that a global recession could start within nine months if President Trump imposes 25% tariffs on an additional $300bn of Chinese exports and Beijing then retaliates. Meanwhile, JP Morgan said the probability of a US recession in the second half of this year had risen to 40% from 25% a month ago.

NY Fed pushes banks to step up preparation for Libor’s demise

Randal Quarles, the Federal Reserve’s vice-chair for supervision, has urged the finance industry to prepare for the demise of Libor, suggesting that speculation it might survive beyond 2021 was “fanciful”.

Credit Suisse names former CLSA chairman Tang as China chief

Credit Suisse has named Tang Zhenyi as chief executive officer of its China operations. Tang left his role as chairman of CLSA, the Asia-focused brokerage, in March.

Big banks gear for digital coin release

The world’s top banks plan to launch digital versions of global currencies in 2020 after extensive research has convinced them that blockchain technology could make trading cheaper and less risky.

Danske Bank to offload Estonian loans

Danske Bank has agreed to sell its portfolio of Estonian private loans to LHV Pank in a deal worth €410m (£363m) before the end of the year.

Piraeus partners with Sweden’s Intrum to tackle €7bn in bad loans

Piraeus Bank has revealed that it has teamed up with Sweden’s Intrum to set up a platform to service its €27bn ($30bn) bad loan portfolio.

We should extend EU bank data sharing to all sectors

Carlos Torres Vila, group executive chairman of BBVA, contends in the FT that Open Banking rules should be extended to all sectors.


Boeing warns of potential wing faults on some 737 jets

Boeing has warned airlines about potential flaws on the wings of some 737 aircraft, including on the new-generation 737 Max that was grounded after two crashes. The company has identified possible faulty parts on more than 300 aircraft worldwide. The parts, called wing slats, help reduce drag on take-off and landing.


Kier shares fall 40% following profit warning

Shares in Kier Group fell by more than 40% in early trading yesterday after the construction and services outsourcer announced a profit warning - £25m lower than previously forecast. The firm also indicated that the cost of its “Future Proofing Kier” company reform programme will be around £15m higher than expected.


Woodford suspends flagship fund

Neil Woodford has suspended trading in his largest fund as rising numbers of investors ask for their money back. Mr Woodford said after “an increased level of redemptions”, investors would not be allowed to “redeem, purchase or transfer shares” in the Woodford Equity Income fund. Investors have withdrawn about £560m from the fund over the past four weeks. Although it was a request from Kent County Council to withdraw £250m that led to the suspension. The firm said the suspension would give it “time to reposition the element of the fund's portfolio invested in unquoted and less liquid stocks, in to more liquid investments”.

FCA must stop Provident bid – Brummer

Writing in the Mail, Alex Brummer argues that the FCA must block Non-Standard Finance’s bid to take control of its larger rival Provident Financial. He notes that several of the UK’s top long-investors are opposed to the deal, while NSF would need to strengthen the capital of Vanquis, an authorised bank owned by Provident. He adds that there are also regulatory reasons for blocking the deal and suggests NSF may struggle to oust the Provident board and seize full control of the group.

Tatton Asset Management unveils new contracts

Tatton Asset Management's investment arm has secured two new contracts - as investment manager for Ascencia Investment Management and for the provision of a managed portfolio service to financial advisory firm Tenet for three years. Tatton also announced that adjusted operating profit was up 12.3% to £7.3m in the year to the end of March, revenue increased 12.9% to £17.5m, while assets under management rose by 24.5%.

London Stock Exchange acquires sustainable finance data provider

The London Stock Exchange has acquired ethical and sustainable data provider Beyond Ratings, which provides environmental, social and governance (ESG) data for fixed income investors, to boost its capabilities around sustainable finance.


UK manufacturing growth falls into contraction

Preparations for a no-deal Brexit provided merely a one-off boost for UK manufacturers, according to IHS Markit’s latest data, as factories have fallen back into contraction amid global trade tensions. The headline index fell to 49.4 in May, down from 53.1 in April, as fresh export orders fell at the sharpest rate in four and a half years.


Video-on-demand subscriptions to soar

The total number of global subscriptions to on-demand video platforms will soar 86% from 439m last year to 947m in 2024, according to London-based Digital TV Research. The net subscriber count is forecast to reach 531m by 2024, meaning the average subscriber will pay for 1.78 services, up from 1.43 last year.


DWF reveals solid revenues

In its first trading update since becoming the first law firm to float on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in March, DWF grew revenue 15% in 2019. International revenue for the year to April 30th rose by 70%, while connected services - its collection of ancillary legal businesses - increased over 20%.


Axel Springer doubles Purplebricks holding

Media group Axel Springer has doubled its stake in Purplebricks, from 12.4% to 26.6%, just weeks after the online estate agency ousted its boss and reigned in its international expansion plans.

Blackstone secures warehouse deal

Blackstone has agreed to buy the US warehouses portfolio of Singapore-based GLP for $18.7bn, including debt. Blackstone said that the deal, covering 179m sq ft, meant that it had acquired more than 930m sq ft of logistics assets worldwide since 2010.


Retail sales suffer their worst month in 24 years

UK shoppers shunned the high street last month leading to sales plunging in May faster than at any time in the past 24 years, new data shows. Sales dropped 2.7% in the four weeks to May 25 compared with a month earlier, according to the British Retail Consortium Retail Sales Monitor, making it the biggest fall since records began in January 1995.


Boris pledges tax cuts and no deal Brexit as campaign starts

Boris Johnson formally launched his leadership campaign yesterday with a pledge to win back Conservative voters who backed Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the European elections. The former foreign secretary used a campaign video to pledge to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October and promised to both cut taxes and increase spending on schools and the police and boost the use of stop and search powers in England.

Bosses in financial sector most trusted

A report by the Institute of Leadership and Management has found that bosses in the financial services sector are the most trusted despite overall confidence in CEOs falling by 8% since 2011. The financial services sector came out on top in 2018 with an index score of 62%, while chief executives in local and national government and the public sector were the least trusted by their workforce. The report also found that female leaders across all industries were more trusted than their male counterparts.

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