Banks urged to keep paper billing
The Office for National Statistics has called on banks to keep paper billing despite the digital revolution, as it revealed that more than five million adults still do not use the internet. A report by the ONS said that while there are clear benefits to using the internet, certain groups such as older people and disabled people are not always able to enjoy them. A separate study by Clarabridge has found that bank customers are becoming more comfortable using online services but still want to speak to a human for more complex issues such as loans and mortgages. The research revealed more than 58% of people are happy to carry out transactions digitally, but 60.2% of respondents said they needed to interact with a person on important issues. More than a third said they still preferred going to a branch.
Ex-Barclays banker refused to take hit for bosses
The former European head of Barclays’ financial institutions group said he did not want to take the hit to save former boss John Varley's job if a side-deal with Qatar collapsed during the financial crisis, a court heard yesterday. Mr Varley is one of four former Barclays bankers accused of hiding fees paid to Qatar in exchange for a cash injection during the 2008 crisis. The jury heard that defendant Richard Boath had worried about the legality of the "horrible" deal and suggested all investors should be paid the same rate.
Metro founder snaps up shares
Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill spent more than £750,000 on shares in the lender after its value crashed over an accounting error. Chairman Mr Hill snapped up 82,000 shares for £752,000 on Friday, while chief executive Craig Donaldson spent £100,000 on 11,100 shares. Meanwhile, Metro is seeking a firm of architects to oversee the fitting out of some of its new branches after criticism of multimillion-pound payments to the wife of its founder for such services.
YBS seeks to encourage saving
Yorkshire Building Society is setting up a project to encourage more people to save money after research showed the UK to be among the worst nations in Europe for financial resilience. YBS said that some 11m people in the UK aged between 16 and 64 do not save, while just 4.5% of gross household income in the UK is saved. YBS has now launched an internal financial well-being programme alongside Salary Finance to give staff a direct-from-salary savings option, and is encouraging other firms to follow suit.
Savers lose out on £188bn in a decade
Savers have missed out on £188bn of interest on their nest eggs in the decade following the financial crisis as a result of record-low interest rates and quantitative easing. Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented: “We've lived through a miserable decade for savers.”
Deutsche and Commerzbank: why Berlin is backing a merger
The FT looks at the rumoured merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, amid suggestions that the move has increasing support among German politicians.
Invesco lobbies SEC over Mifid II implementation
Asset Manager Invesco is lobbying for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow it to implement Mifid II rules on paying for investment research.
Nordea hit by new money-laundering allegations
Nordea has been accused of handling about €700m in suspicious money flows from Russia and other former Soviet states.
FCA to crack down on motor finance costs
The Financial Conduct Authority is mulling a ban of some methods lenders use to reward car retailers after uncovering use of commission models which allow brokers discretion to set customer interest rates - and therefore higher commissions. Jonathan Davidson, Executive Director of Supervision – Retail and Authorisations at the FCA, said motor dealers are "over charging unsuspecting customers more than £1000 in interest charges in order to obtain bigger commission payouts for themselves”.
Insurers prepare to issue emergency motor papers to UK drivers
The Motor Insurers Bureau plans to open new offices in the UK’s busiest ports to supply emergency documents to drivers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Budget airlines enjoying healthy loads
Ryanair and Wizz Air both boosted traffic year-on-year in February, with a total of 9.3m customers flying with Ryanair in February, an increase of 13% from 8.6m the previous year. Wizz Air had 2.54m customers last month, up from 2.33m in February 2018.
UK construction activity drops
UK construction activity fell in February for the first time in eleven months, according to the IHS Markit / CIPS Construction purchasing managers’ index, to 49.5, led by a drop in commercial building work and civil engineering work. Residential construction continued to grow, for the 13th consecutive month, though IHS Markit said firms had cited Brexit uncertainty for the slowed decision-making and subdued client demand.
No-deal Brexit financial services bill pulled
The government has abandoned plans for key legislation to protect the financial services industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Ministers pulled the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill, which was due before the Commons yesterday, as it faced defeat in a vote on increasing transparency in offshore territories. A group of MPs had hoped to amend the bill to force greater tax transparency in Britain's Crown dependencies.
Aviva appoints veteran new CEO
Aviva has named company veteran Maurice Tulloch as its new boss, five months after sacking former leader Mark Wilson. Mr Tulloch has worked for Aviva for 26 years in various roles and runs its life insurance and general insurance operations in France, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Turkey and India. He will earn a basic salary of £975,000, as well a bonus worth up to 200% of his salary.
Revolut boss addresses ‘toxic culture’ at startup
The chief executive of Revolut has acknowledged the company “hasn’t always gotten things right” in an open letter, after fresh allegations of a toxic culture at the company emerged last week. Nikolay Storonsky said in the letter that Revolut had been investing in its internal culture over the last 18 months, now holding biannual staff satisfaction surveys and upping its number of performance reviews.
Ex-Which director joins FCA
Richard Lloyd, the former executive director of Which magazine, will become a non-executive director of the Financial Conduct Authority from 1 April.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
888 acquires Bet Bright’s sports betting platform
Online gambler 888 has bought Bet Bright’s sports betting platform for £15m. The deal will give 888 full control over Bet Bright’s technology and product development to enhance its long-term prospects in sports betting.
Rolls-Royce pulls Turkish jet bid
Rolls-Royce has rolled back on its attempts to join a programme to build a new Turkish fighter jet. The firm underlined concerns over the sharing of intellectual property with Turkey’s Kale Group and the potential involvement of a Qatari-Turkish company.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Daily Mail owner announces Euromoney giveaway
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) is to return its 49% stake in business media group Euromoney, along with £200m in cash, to certain shareholders. DGMT said the redistribution, which will boost Lord Rothermere’s control over the company, will increase its portfolio focus and allow its management to spend more time on its core business.
Digital ad spend to hit £15bn
Spending on digital advertising in the UK is set to grow to more than £15bn this year, according to the latest forecasts by Barclays Corporate Banking.
HMRC targets estate agents
HMRC has launched a crackdown on money laundering in the property industry which has seen a number of estate agent branches targeted in unannounced inspections. Those which have been found to be failing to comply with regulations could face fines or criminal proceedings. The crackdown saw Countywide fined £215,000 for "failing to ensure policies, controls and procedures at group level; and for failures in conducting due diligence; timing of verification and proper record keeping".
Sports Direct takeover bid for Findel rejected
UK shopping website Findel has rejected a £140m takeover bid from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, saying the mandatory offer "significantly undervalues" the company. Sports Direct was already the biggest investor in Findel and its purchase of 6m further shares from City Financial Absolute Equity Fund triggered a bid under the UK’s takeover code.
Spending dips in February
Analysis from Barclaycard shows that consumer spending growth dropped to 1.2% year-on-year in February, down from 3.8% in the previous 12 months.