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Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, 9th October 2018

Posted: 9th October 2018


RBS name 'under review' as bank rebuilds reputation

Following recent reports that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is considering changing its name to distance itself from the financial crisis a decade ago, the Standard's Russell Lynch suggests RBS has a "perfectly decent name" in NatWest, which consistently scores more highly than RBS, HSBC and TSB in the Reputation Institute’s regular surveys.

Marcus off to strong start

Over 50,000 UK customers have signed up to Goldman Sachs’ high-interest savings account under its new Marcus brand in less than a fortnight. Des McDaid, managing director of the new bank, remarked that the figures send “a clear message to the market that savers are hugely frustrated with low interest rates”.

Santander appointment

Santander UK has appointed Susan Allen head of retail and business banking, from her current role as head of customer interactions within the retail division.


RPC takeover bid deadline extended

Private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital have been given an extended deadline to make takeover offers for plastic packaging maker RPC. The companies will now have until the 5th November to table a bid or walk away.


Debt costs in Italy lead to banking crisis warning

As Italy’s borrowing costs rise to a five-year high with tensions building between the government and the EU, the country is reported to be on the verge of a banking crisis. Banca Carige and BPM shares both fell over 6.5% yesterday, while Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo were down almost 4%.

Europe protests against moves to cut Iran off from Swift

European finance ministers oppose a US plan to cut Iran's access to global financial messaging service Swift, and will seek to persuade Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin not to pursue it.

Tighter lending rules give greener tint to China project finance

With other sources of domestic lending tightening, China is experimenting with more green financing while international investors' interest increases.

Conspiracy claims against Tchenguiz heard

Property mogul Robert Tchenguiz’s lawyers have accused audit firm Grant Thornton of conspiring to persuade the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to probe his business dealings with Icelandic bank Kaupthing.


Lancashire on the hook for almost £60m

Lancashire Holdings has indicated that it is vulnerable to net losses of up to $75m (£57.41m) after a series of natural disasters. The insurer expects net losses of $30m from marine events, and of $25m to $45m from exposure to recent weather events including hurricane Florence, and typhoons Jebi, Mangkhut and Trami.

Relocation probably not needed for UK fund managers

Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, has indicated that the possibility of British fund managers needing to relocate to the European Union to manage EU investments after Brexit is receding. He claims that the industry should take "great comfort" from recent statements by the European Securities and Markets Authority chair Steven Maijoor, who said that EU and UK regulators will sign cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding to supervise cross-border financial activity.

Legal & General completes £2.4bn deal for Nortel pension plan

Insurer Legal & General has taken on £2.4bn in pension liabilities from Canada-based telecoms group Nortel Networks. L&G has completed £8.4bn in bulk annuity transactions so far this year.

Panmure Gordon posts results

New results from City stockbroker Panmure Gordon have revealed that the firm made a pre-tax loss of £2.1m in 2017, compared with a £1.6m profit in 2016.

FCA proposes tough new rules to stop runs on retail funds

To stem potential mass sell-offs, the Financial Conduct Authority may force property funds to suspend trading if queries arise about the price of 20% of their assets.

Punter Southall expands financial planning operations

Wealth management and pensions company Punter Southall Aspire has acquired JDP Financial Services as it expands its financial planning division.

Mosaic Ventures closes start-up fund

Venture capital firm Mosaic Ventures has announced the close of its Mosaic II fund for start-ups at $150m (£115m).


Easyhotel reveals portfolio growth

Budget hotels operator Easyhotel has revealed a 42% increase in its portfolio size for the year ending September 30, with five new hotels and four new franchisee hotels. Total sales rose 25% to £37.5m, while revenue per advertised room at its owned hotels rose 11%.


High Court blocks Google data privacy case

The High Court has blocked a bid to sue Google for allegedly unlawfully taking data from 4.4m UK iPhone users. The legal case was mounted by a group called Google You Owe Us, led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd. It sought compensation for people whose handsets were tracked by Google for several months in 2011 and 2012. Separately, up to 500,000 internet users may have seen their personal data exposed following a security breach at Google. The firm is believed to have discovered the flaw in March but revealed it only last night. Google+, its social network which was the source of the flaw, is to be closed down.

Reach reveals falling like-for-like revenues

Daily Mirror owner Reach has reported like-for-like basis revenue dropped 7% in the third quarter, on the back of falling circulation revenues and print advertisement revenues taking a 20% hit.


Retail growth down in September

Figures from the British Retail Consortium show retail sales fell by 0.2% in September on a like-for-like basis compared with the same period last year.

French Connection shares rise on bid talk

French Connection’s share price jumped on Monday morning after the retailer revealed that it is reviewing its strategic options – with founder Stephen Marks understood to be looking to sell his 41.6% stake. The Telegraph considers potential buyers, saying Sports Direct, which already holds 27%, “has the strongest hand,” while also suggesting Philip Day, the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, could make an approach, with TFG London, owner of fashion brands Whistles and Phase Eight, also named as a potential bidder.

H&M in Klarna deal

H&M is to acquire a small stake in Swedish online payments services firm Klarna, paying around $20m for a stake of less than 1%. In a statement, the firms said Klarna's digital platform would be used across the retailer’s channels and will further integrate H&M's digital and physical stores. Klarna has similar deals with Asos and Ikea but the H&M partnership is its largest.

Former Tesco managers in court

Two former directors at Tesco have gone on trial, accused of manipulating figures that resulted in the firm's profits being overstated by £250m. Chris Bush, Tesco's former UK managing director, and ex-UK food commercial director John Scouler are each charged with one count of fraud and false accounting. Former UK finance chief Carl Rogberg, charged with the same offences, is not well enough to stand trial.


Consumers’ faith in economy dips

Consumer faith in the British economy fell in the second quarter of 2018, to a level of -28.4, according to the ONS. The organisation’s index records a neutral feeling about the economy as zero. Consumers were more sanguine about the state of their own personal finances, but still recorded a negative sentiment of -1.2 in June. A separate survey by Barclaycard shows nearly two thirds of Britons still lack confidence in the UK economy ten years on from the financial crisis.


Sustainable finance is a realistic way to mitigate climate change

Zoe Knight, managing director at HSBC’s Centre of Sustainable Finance, writes in the FT on how sustainable finance can address the issue of climate change.

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