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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 8th October 2019

Posted: 8th October 2019


UK to be hit by HSBC job cuts

Analysts have warned that London could take the brunt of HSBC’s cost-cutting plan to shed 10,000 jobs. Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec, said it is reasonable to assume the UK and Europe will take the bulk of the cuts, while Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets, said HSBC's UK investment bank could be heaviest hit. Reacting to news of the cuts, union Unite said: "Unite is appalled by press reports of 10,000 job cuts globally and has raised urgent questions with the management of the bank in order to get vital answers on behalf of our members working within HSBC." HSBC’s move to trim the workforce comes alongside Deutsche Bank cutting 18,000 roles worldwide, Commerzbank reducing headcount by 4,300 and 1,600 roles set to go at Société Générale.

Savers hold onto protections after merger

Kent Reliance, part of One Savings Bank, and Charter Savings Bank have completed their merger. Savers with money in both have been told their compensation scheme coverage limits are to be protected following the tie-up. Under the terms of most similar mergers, savers would see their Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) coverage reduce but savers who hold money with both Charter Savings and Kent Reliance brands will retain the protection limits for each as the banks plan to retain two separate banking licences. This was not the case when Virgin Money was bought by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group, with some savers losing some of their FSCS protection as the brands moved to share a single banking licence.

Tesco Bank confirms Kingman appointment

Tesco Bank has appointed Sir John Kingman, former chairman of Legal & General and the businessman who oversaw Britain’s bailout of its banks in the financial crisis as chief executive of UK Financial Investments, to its board as a non-executive director. Sir John is being tipped to become the next chairman of Tesco Bank once regulatory approval is secured.

Natwest biometric fingerprint credit card launched

Natwest has launched a biometric credit card allowing contactless payments using fingerprint verification. A three-month trial with 150 customers will offer contactless payments for transactions of up to £100, with the bank working with Mastercard and digital security company Gemalto to further roll out the service.

Oaknorth names new tech chief

Oaknorth has hired former Google executive Sunil Chandra to run its credit-scoring platform. The technology platform, which uses machine-learning to assess the credit-worthiness of borrowers, informs its lending decisions and is licensed to other banks.

Contractors at Lloyds face loss of jobs or pay cut in tax crackdown

Lloyds Banking Group will tell freelance workers they face pay cuts or losing their jobs due to HMRC’s crackdown on tax avoidance through disguised employment.

Barclays blow for Post Office users

Barclays customers will not be able to withdraw cash at local Post Office branches from January, the Mail reports. Campaigners are urging the bank to reconsider, with Natalie Ceeney of the Access to Cash Review, commenting: “The cash system that supports communities must be cherished, not undermined.”

Boden: Crisis flagged need for change

The Telegraph interviews Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, who says she felt ashamed to be a banker after the financial crisis. She said this drove her motivation for Starling, suggesting that after the crisis “most people in banking seemed to want to forget that and set about putting it all back the way it was before.” “I felt you couldn't do that. Things had changed,” she adds.


China’s central bank continues to load up on gold

The People’s Bank of China increased its holdings of gold to 62.64m ounces in September, meaning China has added almost 100 tonnes of the metal to its reserves in 2019.

Deutsche Bank turns to tech

Deutsche Bank is establishing a new division in a bid to improve its technology. Bernd Leukert will head the division and oversee tech security, data and innovation functions

Credit Suisse’s potential damages mount in RMBS cases

Investor lawsuits over mortgage debt could see damages exceed Credit Suisse’s $681m litigation reserves by up to $1.4bn. The firm signed a $5.3bn RMBS settlement with the US Department of Justice in 2017.

Invesco cuts 1,300 jobs as it grapples with passive challenge

Invesco, which absorbed OppenheimerFunds earlier this year, has cut 1,300 jobs, with the figure representing 12% of the headcount across the two firms.


Mercedes-Benz sales rise to record on back of boost from China

Mercedes-Benz saw record sales in Q3 as global deliveries hit just over 590,000, with a near 13% increase in sales from China contributing to the record.


Strikes hit BA passenger numbers

British Airways lost more than 300,000 passengers throughout September, a month which saw strikes that forced it to cancel 2,325 flights. Passenger numbers last month fell to 3.85m, an 8% dip and down by 4.19m on September 2018.


SPW names Hetherington as CEO

Schroders Personal Wealth has named Peter Hetherington, former chief of online trading platform IG Group, as its new chief executive. He replaces James Rainbow, who returns to Schroders as head of UK distribution and Latin America. Schroders also announced that it has completed its 49.9% stake in the joint venture, with the remaining 50.1% owned by Lloyds Banking Group.

Barclays launches first zero-fee gold investment product

A price war in the gold investment market has seen Barclays launch the first zero-fee precious metals exchange traded products. Competitors such as BlackRock and State Street are expected to cut fees.

Broker goes into administration

Investment and broking business Reyker Securities, which has been banned from moving or receiving any new client money by the Financial Conduct Authority, will go into administration.

BlackRock replaces ousted HR boss

BlackRock has appointed Manish Mehta as its global head of human resources. He replaces Jeff Smith, who was dismissed after he “failed to adhere to company policy.”


Pizza Express set for talks over £1bn debt pile

Hony Capital-owned Pizza Express has reportedly hired financial advisers ahead of a meeting with lenders to review its debt situation. The firm's net debt stood at £1.1bn in 2018, with £465m due to be repaid in less than two years' time.

Thomas Cook collapse may see higher payment processing costs

Experts have warned that holiday firms and airlines face increased costs in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse, with firms that handle the transfer of money from customers’ credit cards expected to review the risk profile of their relationships. This could see higher charges or may see the payment processors opt against working with tour operators.


De La Rue names new boss

Banknote printer De La Rue has named Clive Vacher vas its new chief executive. With the firm looking to address challenges stemming from issues including a profit warning and Serious Fraud Office investigation, De La Rue chairman Kevin Loosemore said Mr Vacher’s experience of business turnarounds “will be invaluable”.


Podcast business booming

Podcast firm Audioboom saw revenue hit a record $5.7m in the three months ending in September, marking a record quarter. Revenues for the first nine months of the year more than doubled from the same period in 2018, from $6.8m to $15.5m.


Halifax says house price growth at six-year low

Mortgage lender Halifax has said house prices increased 1.1% in the year to the end of September, the slowest rate since April 2013, and asserted that for as long as economic uncertainty in Britain continues price growth would remain "subdued". The cost of the average home in September was down by 0.4% compared with August, at £232,574.

Commercial property investors spend £50bn in London in two years

Real estate research firm Datscha has calculated that property investors have spent nearly £50bn on central London buildings since 2017, with buyers from Asia accounting for 33%. This comes amid ongoing concern about the effects of Brexit, which appear not to have dented investor appetite in London real estate, with Citigroup spending nearly £1bn on its London HQ at 25 Canada Square.


BRC warning on 'spectre of no-deal Brexit'

The latest report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that retailers last month saw the worst September since records began in 1995. Total retail sales fell 1.3% year-on-year. Online sales climbed but by just 0.7%, the slowest growth on record. Lower spending is attributed to “the spectre of a no-deal Brexit”, with the BRC’s Helen Dickinson stating: “With four months of negative sales growth since March, the ongoing political gridlock surrounding Brexit is harming both consumers and retailers.”


IFS in no-deal debt warning

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that the UK’s national debt would hit its highest level since the mid-1960s if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. Describing the scenario emerging from a “relatively benign” no-deal Brexit, the IFS said borrowing would likely climb to £100bn and total debt would soar to 90% of national income. The report also warned that Boris Johnson’s proposed public spending would see the Chancellor overshooting the Government's borrowing limit by £5bn in 2020/21 – leaving tax cuts pledged by the Prime Minister unaffordable.


UBS backs London shares

UBS has said some of London’s biggest companies are undervalued compared with their overseas peers. Its analysts said: “The recent move in sterling and outperformance of domestic shares has refocused investors on the potential for significant moves under the surface of the UK equity market.” It advised investors to look at companies whose valuation was low compared with their ten-year median, pointing to British American Tobacco, Barclays, International Airlines Group and builders Berkeley and Persimmon as examples.

More Brexit 50p coins to be minted

The Treasury is to mint three times as many commemorative Brexit 50p coins as previously planned. Plans to have 10m of the coins struck rather than 3m are set to be signed off today at a meeting of the Queen with her Privy Council. The coins will be marked with the words "Friendship with all nations".

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