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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday 4th May 2018

Posted: 4th May 2018


TSB’s IT problems could rule it out of RBS funds

Bank analyst John Cronin of Goodbody has said TSB’s computers crisis could rule it out of getting £775m of funds being handed out by Royal Bank of Scotland, which has been ordered to give out £425m to aid investment by rivals in business banking and £350m to encourage account switching. “The decision-makers are sure to have kept a watchful eye on the continuous stream of negative publicity for TSB in particular,” Mr Cronin said. Meanwhile, the FCA has said that it is likely to be months before the bank is able to fully fix the computer issues.

Barclays Africa drops KPMG amid corruption scandal

Barclays Africa has withdrawn its recommendation to reappoint KPMG as one of two joint auditors. Concerns over KPMG's connections with the Gupta family, friends of former South African president Jacob Zuma, who have been subject to reports of dubious business dealings, have been building recently. KPMG's UK arm is the group auditor of Barclays and Thursday's announcement will not affect its ability to continue in the role.

Lloyds fraud-fighting team nets £1m

A Lloyds Banking Group team in Leeds formed earlier this year to stop the movement of money taken by scammers and shut down their ability to shift the cash has already frozen £1m from fraudsters trying to trick people into receiving and transferring cash. The success of the scheme is such that the bank plans to share its secrets with its rivals, Paul Davis, the firm’s retail fraud director, said.

Bank of America to move 125 jobs to Ireland

Bank of America Merrill Lynch will relocate up to 125 jobs from Britain to Ireland in preparation for Brexit, according to a corporate filing. It is also possible that a second phase of relocations to France, Ireland and Germany could happen, depending on the outcome of Britain's negotiations with the EU, the bank has said.

StanChart seeks to avert green protests with coal vow

Standard Chartered is to reduce the threat of environmentalist protests at the bank's annual meeting by increasing the meeting’s security and promising new rules on financing coal power stations.


Richard Branson aims to raise $500m fund with Metric Capital

Virgin billionaire Richard Branson is looking to enter into private equity, as he aims to raise a $500m (£368m) fund co-managed with Metric Capital. Metric, which specialises in funding European SMEs, currently owns assets such as the Grand Hyatt Cayman hotel and residential development project in the Cayman Islands and Laurel Funerals. Branson will become a partner in the new fund, which will pursue investments in consumer businesses in Europe and the US valued at up to €2bn.


Goldman Sachs to open crypto desk

Goldman Sachs is launching a bitcoin trading desk in response to client interest in cryptocurrencies. The investment banking group will not initially buy or sell actual bitcoins, but it will trade contracts linked to price. eToro analyst Matthew Newton said: “Any forward-looking financial institution needs to understand this technology and accept its enormous potential.

Danske Bank censured over weak money laundering controls

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has scolded Danske Bank over poor anti-money laundering controls, related to its Estonian operations. It must raise DKr5bn ($800m) in capital to cover compliance matters.

UBS in Chinese joint venture deal

UBS is hoping to cash in on a relaxation of Chinese ownership laws by asking to take control of its Chinese joint venture. The bank has asked regulators in the country for permission to lift its stake in its Chinese investment bank to 51% from 25%.

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Venezuela arrests 11 Banesco executives

Venezuela said on Thursday it arrested 11 top executives of the country's leading private bank, Banesco, for allegedly hurting the OPEC nation's ailing currency, the latest move against the private sector that President Nicolas Maduro blames for a deep economic crisis.

Daily Mail

Société Générale proposes new 4-year term for CEO Oudea

Société Générale has proposed to re-appoint chief executive Frederic Oudea for a new four-year term as from 2019.


Vauxhall fires face criminal investigation

A criminal investigation has been launched into Vauxhall Zafira fires, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed, after the Transport Committee last year said the carmaker was too slow to react. Though 92% of the affected models have been recalled, the DVSA has now partnered with Luton Borough Council's trading standards officers to investigate.


Wizz Air gets UK licence in preparation for Brexit

Budget airline Wizz Air has obtained a licence to set up a UK-based subsidiary at Luton airport, partly to ensure it can keep operating in the UK after Brexit. “Brexit may give legal uncertainties so we need to plan legal contingencies – it’s safer to have a UK airline to make sure we preserve the rights we have been enjoying,” said chief executive József Váradi.

Rival Heathrow expansion scheme revealed

Arora Group has unveiled its rival plan to expand Heathrow airport, which it says would cost £14.4bn, roughly the same as the scheme proposed by Heathrow Airport Holdings.


City should form alliances with rivals post-Brexit

Shanker Singham has argued that the UK should team up with other major financial hubs to strengthen its post-Brexit position. A report by Singham and fellow Institute of Economic Affairs economist Catherine McBride suggests forming an alliance with markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland would enable "further and deeper integration opportunities", while a UK regime of multilateral mutual recognition "would allow the UK to strengthen its involvement in global regulation formation and dispute resolution." Bilateral alliances could also be formed with Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories in sectors such as banking, asset management, insurance and reinsurance while new regulation and tax regimes for domestic SMEs and fintech companies would further boost the UK’s financial services industry.

Esure slips as ice triggers claims

Esure has warned that disruption from the recent icy weather had triggered £8m of claims in its home division - £6m more than it had expected. The insurer said that it remained on track to deliver profitable growth this year, and maintained its target of three million in-force policies by 2020. Direct Line and Hastings have said in the past few days that they too have been hit by the freeze in late February and early March.

Lancashire Q1 profit up nearly 48%

Lancashire Holdings has reported a near 48% jump in Q1 pre-tax profit, with claims paid out lower than the premiums brought in. The company said pretax profit rose to $42.4m in the quarter ended March 31, from $28.7m a year earlier.


Smith & Nephew lowers expectations

Artificial hip maker Smith & Nephew has lowered its outlook for sales growth in a "disappointing" start to the year. Reported revenue rose 5% to $1.2bn (£883m) on the back of forex tailwinds however, and the firm said: "Trauma and arthroscopic enabling technologies were weak (down 2% and 5% respectively). In wound care, bioactives were disappointing, down 12% underlying, which the company attributes to deepening seasonality in sales patterns".


Private equity thirsty for more

Patron Capital and May Capital have bought The Laine Pub Company for an undisclosed sum. The two private equity firms last year completed the £1.8bn acquisition of Punch Taverns, and now own around 1,300 pubs across the UK.


Manufacturing investment plans hit highest level in four years

While investment intentions remained sluggish overall in the first quarter of this year, in manufacturing they reached their highest level for four years, according to Bank of England surveys.


Slow services sector growth cools rate rise

The IHS Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index rose only slightly to 52.8 in April, potentially lowering the chances of an interest rate increase next week. "The disappointing services data will add to expectations that the MPC will take its finger firmly off the rate hike trigger," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

Brussels issues warning over Trump’s trade policies

The European Union has claimed that US tax cuts and the rise of protectionist policies around the world are putting economic growth in the eurozone under threat. However, European Commission economists left their GDP forecasts unchanged from February with the bloc expected to expand at 2.3% in 2018 and 2% in 2019.

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