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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 5th February 2019

Posted: 5th February 2019


Silver savers miss out on best rates

A study by Moneyfacts suggests pensioners face savings discrimination because more than one in three of the best deals on bank accounts are only available online. Research by the consumer website found that 34% of easy access accounts on offer at banks and building societies are online only deals. Since 2014 the proportion of deals without branch access has risen from 29% to 34%, suggesting savers who do not feel comfortable with online banking are increasingly losing out.

Third of Britons expect tech giants to launch banks

Almost 30% of Britons expect technology companies such as Facebook and Amazon to offer high street banking services by 2023, while 20% believe online-only banks would "completely replace" high street banks over the same period. A survey commissioned by Israel’s Bank Leumi however showed that 87% of respondents were concerned about bank branches disappearing from the high street, while 51% trust physical branches more than digital banks.

New York firm takes stake in Metro Bank

New York-based Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb has taken a £63m stake in Metro Bank. The investment firm, which manages the Sequoia Fund and has ties to Warren Buffett, has amassed a 5.2% stake in the bank.

Bosses pressured to hide sheikh’s Barclays holding

Prosecutors for the Serious Fraud Office claim Barclays bosses were put under pressure by Qatari officials to mask the Gulf state prime minister’s holding in the UK bank as it rushed to close a multibillion-pound rescue package. Internal emails and phone calls were presented to the jury at Southwark crown court yesterday, detailing discussions on how the bank might disclose Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor al-Thani's planned stake in the bank via his British Virgin Islands-based investment vehicle.

Interest rates on higher-risk fixed mortgages fall

Figures from Moneyfacts show the difference between interest rates charged on high- and low-risk mortgages has narrowed sharply over the past five years, amid intense competition in the mortgage market.

Banks fret over investor inaction on Brexit

Investment banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have revealed most clients are yet to return paperwork allowing them to trade smoothly in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

MPs back campaign to prevent bank forgery

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking (APPG) is supporting the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign, which aims to prevent personal and business banking customers from becoming victims of forgery.


Ultimate agrees to $11bn investor buyout

Ultimate Software Group has agreed to be bought by an investor group led by Hellman & Friedman for about $11bn (£8.4bn). The investor group also includes Blackstone Group, GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and JMI Equity.


Australian bank executives could face criminal charges

A new report reveals Australia's financial sector charged dead people for financial advice and ripped off customers in a systemic manner. The year-long inquiry concluded that bankers were motivated by "greed" and put profit ahead of honesty after interviewing 130 witnesses and reviewing 10,000 complaints. "The financial services industry is too important to the economy of the nation to allow what has happened in the past to continue or to happen again," said the inquiry's commissioner Kenneth Hayne. Mr Hayne said executives deducting fees from customers without providing a service may amount to dishonest conduct and a breach of criminal law.

Deutsche scales back correspondent banking after scandal

Deutsche Bank’s global correspondent banking portfolio is now around 40% smaller than it was in 2016, an executive said yesterday. Stephan Wilken, its head of anti-financial crime and anti-money laundering, made the comments in reference to the business line that has dragged the German lender into a money-laundering scandal involving Danske Bank. Meanwhile, Danske is facing renewed pressure over the money-laundering scandal after shareholder rights group Deminor Recovery Services filed a motion for next month’s AGM calling for an independent investigation.

Julius Baer to cut jobs

Julius Baer is to cut 2%, or 134 staff, of its 6693-strong workforce by the end of this year as part of a Swfr100m (£77m) cost-saving drive, despite UK expansion "going well". The private bank is also set to conclude a three-year Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the US Department of Justice, agreed in 2016, by the end of this week.

Gross bows out

Billionaire investor Bill Gross has announced he is retiring from fund manager Janus Henderson.


Business secretary vowed to shield Nissan from Brexit fallout

Greg Clark, the business secretary, secretly offered Nissan support of up to £80m in return for the Japanese company to build its new models at its UK plant after Brexit. Mr Clark made the offer in a letter to Carlos Ghosn, then the head of Nissan, in October 2016, months after the EU referendum. The state aid package ultimately turned out to be worth £61m when it was formally awarded to Nissan in June 2018. On Sunday, Nissan said it would make the new X-Trail model in Japan, instead of Sunderland.


Ryanair posts first loss since 2014

Ryanair posted a net loss of €19.6m (£17.2m) for the last three months of the year, its first quarterly loss since March 2014. The airline carried 32.7m passengers compared with 30.4m for the same period a year earlier as revenue rose 9% to €1.53bn. But "excess winter capacity in Europe" cut its profit. Meanwhile, Michael O’Leary has signed a contract to spend another five years at the helm as group chief executive of a restructured Ryanair, but is expected to step back from the day-to-day running of the airline.


Construction sector declines prompt recession fears

UK construction sector growth slowed to its lowest level in 10 months in January, prompting warnings that the industry could slip into recession in the event of a "no deal" Brexit scenario. IHS Markit's purchasing managers’ index slipped to 50.6 in January, down from 52.8 in December and just above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction.


FCA orders improved disclosures from asset managers

The Financial Conduct Authority has asserted that asset management firms must provide greater clarity for investors to make more informed decisions. The FCA said managers must make fund objectives and investment policy descriptions more useful to investors, and explain how and why funds use particular benchmarks. The new rules will come into force on May 7 for new funds and on August 7 for existing funds, while performance fee rules will be introduced on August 7.

Shadow banking assets grow to record highs

Shadow banks have amassed their largest ever share of global financial assets, according to the Financial Stability Board's annual monitoring report. The FSB urged regulators to "remain vigilant" to financial stability risks after revealing that non-banks' assets grew to $116.6trn (£89trn) in 2017, representing 30.5% of global financial assets.

Banking app raises £8.5m

Financial admin start-up Anna Money has secured £8.5m in funding from Kinetik. The firm said it is preparing to launch several new tools in anticipation of HMRC's upcoming Making Tax Digital scheme. Separately, British start-up Aire Labs, which uses artificial intelligence to help people with credit checks, is raising $11m (£8.4m) from backers including Orange and Experian.

Lloyds of London hires Keese

Lloyd's of London has appointed Burkhard Keese as its chief financial officer after 14 years at German insurer Allianz Group.


Gannett turns down $1.4bn vulture offer

Newspaper publisher Gannett has turned down a $1.4bn takeover offer from vulture investor MNG, describing the $12-a-share offer as not “credible”.


UK city housing affordability mapped

UK city housing affordability is at its lowest level for 12 years, according to a new report by Lloyds Bank, which pegs the average UK city house price at £248,000, an increase of 37% over five years.


Finance industry’s confidence in economy drops

Confidence among financial services professionals in regard to the UK’s economic prospects is at its lowest level since 2012, according to a poll of its members by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI). Of the 1,062 respondents, 55% were less optimistic about the UK's economic prospects, up from 35% a year earlier.

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