Bailey’s claims over LCF dossier inaccurate, says Gloster
Dame Elizabeth Gloster, who wrote the report into the collapse of savings firm London Capital & Finance (LCF), has said that Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey was wrong when he told a parliamentary hearing that he did not seek to keep his name out of the dossier. Mr Bailey was in charge of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) when LCF went bust. The former judge shared with MPs an extract of representations made to her on behalf of Mr Bailey, which she said show his “primary position... was that references to him (or any other individual) having personal responsibility for the FCA’s regulation of LCF should be deleted”.
New business account customers left out in the cold
The Mail reports on the ongoing problems entrepreneurs are having opening business account with high street banks. Many limited new applications after the pandemic started but now Kevin Hollinrake MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, is urging lenders to get their act together. The Conservative MP states: “It is a terrible message to send at a time when people will be made unemployed and may be wanting to work for themselves. They are being deterred from doing that.”
Private equity firms bid for sandal maker
CVC Capital Partners is vying for a majority stake in German sandal-maker Birkenstock. L Catterton is understood to be the favoured bidder but the company has yet to finalise its offer.
BlackRock makes Lord new Asia chief
BlackRock has announced that Rachel Lord, the head of its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will take over as the new chair of its Asia- Pacific operations from May 1st. Ms Lord will replace Geraldine Buckingham, who will remain with BlackRock as a senior adviser.
Hong Kong stock exchange names JPMorgan banker as chief executive
The chief executive of JPMorgan’s international private bank, Nicolas Aguzin, has been appointed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing as its new chief executive. He will take up the role in May.
BPCE in talks to take full control of Natixis
A formal offer to take full control of corporate and investment bank Natixis could be made by French co-operative bank BPCE, with talks resuming after initially collapsing in 2020.
Honda/Nissan: exhaust manifold
Honda and Nissan have both reported positive operating profits for the fourth quarter, but the FT says the outlook is bleaker for the pair than for European rivals which are farther ahead in the shift to electric vehicles. Separately, US autonomous driving start-up Aurora International has agreed to a long-term strategic partnership with Japan's Toyota and its supplier Denso.
Bellway set building record
Bellway built a record number of homes over the past six months with completions up 6.3% compared with the same period a year ago. Revenues climbed by more than 12% to £1.72bn due to the rise in completions, as well as a 5.8% increase in the average sale price to £303,200.
Financial services contribute record taxes
Financial services firms contributed a record £75.6bn in tax to the Treasury in the past fiscal year, according to a report for the City of London Corporation. The contribution included £34.1bn in taxes borne directly by finance firms and an extra £41.5bn collected from staff and customers through employment taxes and VAT. The importance of the sector to the economy is underlined by data showing insurers, banks and pension funds account for 3% of the workforce - over a million jobs - but contribute one in every 10 pounds in employment taxes. William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, will today call for the UK to maintain its reputation for high regulatory standards. He is expected to say: "Now is the time to be entrepreneurial, to look again at how we do things, to consider how to take full advantage of our position. This emphatically does not mean pushing for sweeping deregulation and tax cuts, in what has often been called the 'Singapore on Thames' model - which rather misrepresents Singapore and the reasons for its success."
Nucleus to be acquired by James Hay
Investment platform business Nucleus is to be acquired by James Hay for £144.62m, with a financial planning and retirement adviser platform with AUA of £45bn to be formed from the merger. James Hay CEO Richard Rowney remarked: “We admire much about Nucleus and the skills within its team, and look forward to working with them to better serve the growing needs of advisers. By joining forces, we can combine Nucleus’ reputation for great digital user-experience and James Hay’s pension specialism, creating greater strength and a platform with the scale to invest and deliver real value for advisers and their clients.”
Numis to open an office in the EU
Numis has said it will open an office in the EU to sign deals that would otherwise be cut off after Brexit. The London-based broker plans to have a presence on the continent within the next 12 months. Ian Smith in the FT suggests that Numis’ decision to open an EU office represents a “grudging recognition” that the City of London has been left to largely fend for itself following the Brexit deal.
German finance ministry lambasts regulator over Wirecard
BaFin has been rebuked by the German finance ministry which said the regulator’s ban on the short selling of Wirecard shares in 2019 was based on poor and insufficient analysis.
Fallen angel ETFs face potential fall from grace
A potential return to inflation could negatively affect the market for fallen angel ETFs this year, Morningstar and VanEck analysts have suggested.
Silver Lake and Nestlé lead €3.5bn investment in vet group IVC Evidensia
Silver Lake and Nestlé are leading a €3.5bn investment into Europe’s biggest veterinary group, IVC Evidensia, a move that will result in EQT abandoning plans to list the business on the London market.
MGC Pharmaceuticals announces LSE float plans
Medicinal cannabis company MGC Pharmaceuticals has announced plans to float on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
LEISURE & HOSPITALITY
Hotel quarantine rules will kill off summer holidays
The travel industry has warned that any prospect of summer holidays abroad has been effectively “killed off” after the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced tough restrictions for travellers arriving in Britain from Monday. Meanwhile, regional airports have warned they face financial disaster after being frozen out of the Government’s hotel quarantine plans.
Tui reports bookings at 56% of levels seen in 2019
Tui bookings are at 56% of 2019 levels, despite the firm increasing its prices by 20%. The travel operator said 2.8m bookings had been received for summer breaks, with over half made by UK-based customers.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
Reddit sees valuation double to $6bn
Social media site Reddit has seen advertising revenue double to $6bn (£4.4bn) in the wake of much-publicised retail trading on its platform recently.
Tech firms could be forced to pay for news in EU
Laws that would see tech firms forced to pay for news content are being considered in the EU, with the bloc currently drafting the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act.
Nikkei Group names Okada as chair
Naotoshi Okada has been appointed the new chair and chief executive of the Nikkei Group, with chairman Tsuneo Kita having announced his intention to step down.
G4S in positive trading update
Security firm G4S has reported a "strong" fourth quarter, retaining contracts worth £5.5bn amid an “exceptional commercial performance.” A trading update from the firm revealed that its cash flow benefited from COVID-19 payroll and indirect tax deferrals of some £110m.
Ocado to invest £700m in new projects as earnings jump by two-thirds
Ocado has announced that it plans to invest £700m into new projects for its technology clients in 2021. The company is building dozens of automated fulfilment centres similar to the three facilities in the UK that handle its own retail joint venture, with two more third-party client warehouses to open in the first half this year. The announcement came alongside the news that its full-year group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were £73m, up from £43m a year earlier but £10m below an average of analyst forecasts compiled by the company, partly due to heavy investment. Group sales rose by a third to £2.3bn.
Notonthehighstreet.com bought by private equity firm
Online marketplace notonthehighstreet has been bought by Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners. Notonthehighstreet saw its revenue increase by 50% over the last year.
Sharp fall in global migration threatens economic recovery
The global collapse in skilled migration resulting from pandemic-driven border controls will hamper the economic recovery, particularly in countries whose growth was fuelled by high levels of net immigration.