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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 10th July 2019

Posted: 10th July 2019


Authorities urged to investigate bank forgery allegations

Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan has called on the Financial Conduct Authority and National Crime Agency to investigate claims that banks have forged court documents. Her intervention comes after a campaign group was set up to expose the alleged "industrial-scale forgery" of signatures by banks, which in the US has led to $25bn (£20bn) worth of fines after 4m court cases were reviewed. Julian Watts, founder of the Bank Signature Forgery Campaign, claims to have evidence showing that British banks are forging signatures on court documents and loan agreements.

Europe’s fintechs can succeed in US

The Times’ Katherine Griffiths says European fintech firms such as Oaknorth, Monzo and Revolut are well placed to succeed in the US, because America’s domestic players “have been slow to adopt the technology, marketing and millennial appeal that has fuelled Europe’s extraordinary financial technology growth.”

Barclays on the front foot

Barclays will visit 25,000 small businesses today as part of the bank’s ‘On the Front Foot’ initiative. Some 1,500 business banking managers will personally visit SMEs to offer guidance and practical solutions for Brexit-related challenges.


Deutsche Bank’s retreat was late but necessary

The FT’s leader says Deutsche Bank’s decision to close its equities division, cut €6bn of costs and axe 18,000 jobs is an extreme but necessary plan of action.

Australia’s Big Four boosted as regulator eases lenders capital targets

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has said it will raise capital requirements for banks by less than originally planned, in a boost for the country’s big four lenders.

Piper Jaffray buys rival investment bank Sandler O’Neill + Partners

Piper Jaffray, the US investment bank, has agreed to buy its smaller rival Sandler O’Neill + Partners for $485m.

JPMorgan winds down Venezuelan debt in bond benchmarks

JPMorgan is all but removing Venezuelan debt from its emerging market bond benchmarks in the wake of US sanctions which froze trading in the country’s securities.


BMW confirms electric Mini production for UK

BMW has given a boost to the UK car industry by confirming that the production of its new electric Mini will start in Cowley in November. Deliveries of the brand's first fully electric car will start in March 2020. Meanwhile, BMW has indicated that it will move engine production to Germany ahead of Brexit to ensure that its South African-built cars meet "local content" trade rules.


Airbus set to overtake Boeing

Boeing is set to lose the title of the world's biggest plane maker to rival Airbus. The US aerospace giant yesterday reported 239 aircraft deliveries in the first half of the year, a drop of 37% compared with a year ago. Airbus is expected to report deliveries of about 390 planes, up 28%.


Bovis builds around Brexit uncertainty

Despite the continuing Brexit uncertainty, Bovis Homes is anticipating a marked improvement in profit for the first six months of the year. The housebuilder delivered 1,647 house completions in the six months to the end of June, up from 1,580 during the same period in the year prior. A trading statement, ahead of its half-year financial report in September, revealed that average selling prices edged up from £334,700 to £342,000 year-on-year.


FCA fines treble in a year, hitting £227m

The Financial Conduct Authority trebled the size of fines it dished out in the past year, issuing penalties totalling £227.7m in the year to March – up from £69.9m in the 12 months before. The total number of enforcement cases jumped 31% to 650, with misconduct across retail financial services climbing 29% to 101. The watchdog issued 521 warnings about unauthorised firms, up from 328 the previous year. The FCA also revealed that suspicious trades which can indicate insider trading occurred before 10% of takeover announcements in the UK in 2018 - the lowest level since at least 2006. Meanwhile, chief executive Andrew Bailey could see his 2020 bonus take a hit by the outcome of a probe into the regulator's oversight of collapsed firm London Capital and Finance. The regulator said the findings of the review are expected to be published next February and will "inform performance bonus decisions".

Woodford investors blocked from leaving Hargreaves platform

Customers who invested in Neil Woodford’s suspended flagship fund through Hargreaves Lansdown have been blocked from switching investment platforms. In evidence submitted to the Treasury Committee, Richard Wilson, chief executive of Interactive Investor, said that several Hargreaves clients who tried to switch platform providers had been blocked by Link Fund Solutions, the authorised corporate director of the £3.5bn Equity Income fund. In a letter to MPs, Mr Wilson said “Link’s decision appears to have no sound rationale or practical operational basis and given the number of consumers holding the fund this has a detrimental effect on choice and competition.” Separately, it has emerged that Saku Saha, one of three senior fund managers at Woodford, has left the firm.

H2O blames ‘unfair’ media for €8bn fund outflows

H2O Asset Management says “deeply unfair” media interest in its portfolio of illiquid bonds is to blame for €8bn of investor outflows from some of its funds.

Zurich Insurance appoints new head of European business

Zurich Insurance has appointed Alison Martin as head of its European business. She succeeds Amanda Blanc, who quit the company last week.


Marriott facing £99m fine over data breach

The UK's data privacy regulator has said it plans to fine the US hotel group Marriott International £99.2m. The penalty relates to a data breach that resulted in about 339 million guests having had their personal details exposed. The incident is thought to date back to 2014 but was only discovered in 2018.

BBC News Financial Times The Daily Telegraph

More Patisserie Valerie branches to close

Causeway Capital, the Irish private equity firm that rescued Patisserie Valerie from administration, is to close another 14 cafés following a detailed review of the estate.


Johnson pledges support for British Steel

Boris Johnson has said British Steel will continue to be bankrolled by the Government until a buyer is found, if he becomes prime minister.


WPP nears Kantar sale to Bain Capital

WPP is expected to announce the sale of its majority stake in Kantar to Bain Capital shortly - a deal expected to value the market research business at £3.2bn.


Robert Walters weathers Brexit storm

Listed recruiter Robert Walters has posted a 7% rise in gross profit for the quarter to the end of June, to £106.4m, despite taking an 8% profit hit from its UK home market due to the continuing Brexit-related economic uncertainty. Profits jumped 13% to £27.7m in Europe, said Robert Walters, which recruits for finance, engineering, legal and marketing roles.


UK commercial property struggling

Enthusiasm for UK commercial property has fallen further, as investors swing towards France and Germany. Just 27% of international professional real estate investors say the UK is their preferred market, according to real estate platform Brickvest, down 4% in the last 12 months as Brexit uncertainty continues to hurt the market.


Asda staff to share £62m Walmart windfall

Staff at Asda will share a £62m windfall this year thanks to the soaring share price of its parent company Walmart. The supermarket operates a savings scheme which gives its 25,000 workers the opportunity to put away money for three years and then allows them to buy Walmart shares at a 20% discount compared to their price at the beginning of the three-year period. Since 2016 Walmart’s shares have jumped by two-thirds, meaning staff could make a major profit.


Pound continues to slide

Sterling fell to as low as $1.245 against the dollar on Tuesday, the lowest level for more than two years barring a brief “flash crash” in currency markets in January. It means the pound has now fallen by 5%, or seven cents, against the dollar in the past two months.

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