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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday 13th January 2021

Posted: 13th January 2021


UK will never have full banking rights

France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune has said Britain will never have passporting rights while outside EU. Beaune did however say that the UK may be granted equivalence but this would not be guaranteed and would be on an ad-hoc basis. Elsewhere, City of London Corporation boss Catherine McGuinness has criticised Boris Johnson's government for overlooking the City of London during the last two years of Brexit talks. ON a more upbeat note, McGuinness added: “We've got to take our destiny into our own hands, we've got to look at the best way forward to the future and what I'd say to the rest of the world is don't underestimate the UK.”

Britain predicted to keep saving

Experts have predicted that Britain’s shift into a nation of accidental savers will continue during the third national lockdown. Close to £17.5bn a month was saved into current and savings accounts each month between March and June 2020, while households collectively added another £17.6bn last November. “I'd be surprised if the savings ratios for the last three months of 2020 and first three months of 2021 did not remain in the high teens”, Simon French, chief economist at investment bank Panmure Gordon said. Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, echoed his view, saying: “Assuming the third lockdown ends in March, I expect we will see a continuation of the recent spike in savings and fall in debt.”

Self-employed being locked out of the mortgage market

Banks including Santander and NatWest have tightened their criteria for freelancers with Santander now requiring a 40% deposit while NatWest is reportedly routinely declining applications from self-employed customers who have claimed money from Government support schemes. Jonathan Harris of Forensic Property Finance commented: “Some lenders are indiscriminately bashing the self-employed by applying draconian criteria for no other reason than an applicant works for themselves.

HSBC accounts will be 'withdrawn' if customers fail to wear masks

HSBC is threatening to close customer’s accounts if they refuse to wear a face mask. Jackie Uhi, head of branch network for HSBC UK, said: “If individuals put themselves or our colleagues at risk, without a medical exemption, we reserve the right to withdraw their account. "


Private equity, private jets and a take-private tussle

Despite Signature Aviation reaching an agreement on a £3.4bn bid from Global Infrastructure Partners, boss Sir Nigel Rudd said either Blackstone and Cascade or Carlyle could still table a counter offer.


Deutsche Bank ‘severs Trump ties’

Deutsche Bank has reportedly announced that it will no longer do business with outgoing US president Donald Trump in the wake of a violent protest last week in Washington DC. This comes as several US banks announced the suspension of donations from their political action committees, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Christina Riley, head of Deutsche’s US operations, stated last week on LinkedIn: “We are proud of our constitution and stand by those who seek to uphold it to ensure that the will of the people is upheld and a peaceful transition of power takes place.”

Commerzbank warned BaFin about Wirecard in early 2020

Germany’s financial watchdog was warned about money laundering risks at Wirecard by Commerzbank in early 2020. the bank had conducted a review in January last year.


Toyota's warning on green plans points to tensions in Japan Inc

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has issued a warning over Japan's green energy plan saying it risked collapsing the automotive industry's business model.


“Zero-Covid world” an impossible task, airlines say

Airline bosses have hit out at politician’s ambitions for a “zero-Covid world” saying such aspirations risked "severe consequences" for the aviation industry. Alexandre de Juniac, the head of airline trade body Iata, said: "A more balanced public policy approach is needed - one that is based on testing as a replacement for quarantines so that we can begin addressing the severe side-effects of COVID-19 policies."


M&A activity down in financial services sector

City AM reports that “M&A in the UK’s financial services industry dropped amid the pandemic as management’s priority shifted away from deals to the preservation of cash,” citing data which show that the UK financial services industry saw 136 deals in 2020, a decrease from the previous year’s figure of 211. It is also noted that the banking sector saw deal values fall from £30.7bn to £11.9bn within a year.

Share rise fails to help Woodford investors

After shares in fund manager Neil Woodford's former investment trust Schroder UK Public Private were up 10% after a pharmaceuticals deal this week, Woodford Equity Income fund investors “missed out on the windfall,” reports the Telegraph. Ryan Hughes, analyst with AJ Bell, commented: “The reality is that it was always a process that wouldn’t please everybody with some investors frustrated Link didn’t hold on to get a better price. Others are just grateful they were able to get some of their money back having seen savings trapped since June 2019,” while a spokesman for fund administrator Link noted: “Link takes these responsibilities very seriously and considers that it has at all times acted in accordance with applicable rules as well as in the best interests of investors and will continue to do so.”

Rathbones confirms new appointment

Rathbones has appointed former CEO of Phoenix Group Clive Bannister as non-executive director and chairman designate, replacing Mark Nicholls.

BlackRock and Vanguard face heavy burden of US sanctions on China

BlackRock and Vanguard have massive exposure to Chinese firms now blacklisted by a US executive order and must now offload billions in investments in those companies.

Visa drops planned acquisition of Plaid after DoJ lawsuit

Visa’s $5.3bn acquisition of fintech start-up Plaid has been called off after the US Department of Justice sued to block the transaction on antitrust grounds.


GSK's drugs pipeline will generate billions

New vaccines and medicines could make GlaxoSmithKline billions over the next five years as it prepares to spin off its consumer health business, the company’s research chief Hal Barron has said, pointing to 10 “blockbuster” drugs set for launch.


Restrictions ‘threaten leisure industry’

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has heard that the leisure sector is at serious risk of collapse due to the third lockdown, with PureGym managing director Rebecca Passmore warning that: “I fear that the sector will suffer from an economic long COVID. Over prolonged periods of time, you will see operators go out of business, and the public will have less places to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”


Rishi Sunak vows to keep housing, construction and manufacturing open

The Chancellor is arguing against any further lockdown measures that could impact on the housing market, construction and manufacturing. His allies claiming factories and building sites are “safe” when operated in a COVID-19-secure way.


Bauer Media releases new magazine titles

Bauer Media is launching two new puzzle-based magazines as lockdown restrictions see a resurgence in popularity of the pastime. This comes as magazine advertising fell 12% to £490m in 2020, according to media buying agency GroupM, with 6% growth at £521m expected in 2021.

Zoom share issue launches

Video conferencing app Zoom could raise $1.5bn (£1.1bn) in a share sale, which could be expanded by a further $225m. JP Morgan is acting as sole bookrunner for the share issue, while Zoom has not given any indication of its plans for the fresh capital. The firm is now facing competition from Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts, among others.


QuadReal announces London investments

Almost $1bn has been spent by property group QuadReal on acquiring a majority stake in seven of Realstar UK’s London assets. QuadReal and Realstar now have 10 sites across the Square Mile under a joint portfolio.

Landsec collects just a third of rent owed by retailers

Land Securities has received just a third of the rent it is owed by retailers in its properties for the 3-month period from December 25, while British Land collected less than half the rent owed for the same period.


New Zealand rugby could sell stake to Silver Lake

Silver Lake is in negotiations to acquire a minority stake in New Zealand Rugby’s commercial activities, according to reports. Charlotte McLauchlan, Director of Communications for New Zealand Rugby, said the organisation was now “on a path to look at what an investor partner for New Zealand Rugby might look like - which is a very exciting prospect for us.”


Economy faces 'darkest hour' warns Bailey

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, has warned that the economic recovery will be delayed by the third lockdown and surging Covid cases. Although the economy was facing its “darkest hour”, Mr Bailey told the Scottish Chambers of Commerce that a recovery is in sight at last after almost 3m people were vaccinated against COVID-19. The Governor also suggested the jobless rate is probably closer to 6.5% than the current 4.9% shown by official figures. The MPC meets early next month to discuss how the central bank can help to protect the economy during the lockdown, including whether interest rates should be cut to below zero - a move that could ease borrowing costs on households and businesses.

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