RBS' executive reshuffle detailed
The new Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss Alison Rose is moving to make her own mark on the bank with a reshuffle at the top. Chief executive of digital banking platform Bó Mark Bailie, who was considered a potential challenger to Rose before her appointment in the autumn, is one of a number of executives set to step down. Chief executive of personal banking Lee Matheson, marketing chief David Wheldon and Chairman Sir Howard Davies are also expected to handover to successors.
Central banks partner for digital currency 'groupthink'
The Bank of England has teamed up with several other central banks to pool knowledge about potentially creating their own digital currencies. The group is comprised of the BoE, the ECB and the central banks of Canada, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and also the Bank for International Settlements. A central bank-issued digital currency would let businesses, households, and financial institutions other than banks, store value and make payments in electronic central bank money.
Lloyds in forex cutback
Lloyds Banking Group has said it plans to scale down its foreign exchange business this year, restricting its directly managed FX offering to G10 currencies such as the dollar, pound and euro. The bank also pledged to cut its financing of carbon emissions by more than 50% over the next ten years.
Ambitious leader required for Metro
The Times’ Katherine Griffiths says Metro’s board needs to sell the opportunity for turning the bank around to decent prospective CEO candidates as the challenger approaches 12 months since it revealed an accounting error that wiped 40% off its share value.
Monese set to announce £100m fundraising
PayPal-backed digital bank Monese is looking to raise £100m as it seeks to increase the pace of its growth. Monese targets customers who struggle to open a traditional bank account. The fundraising would value the fintech at more than £1bn.
Goldman joins move to regions
Goldman Sachs is looking for a new office outside London in which to create a technology hub. Analysts say financial and professional services firms were among those growing their businesses in the regions, attracted partly by the graduates who have decided to stay put rather than move to London.
Revolut customers locked out
The Daily Telegraph reports on a number of Revolut customers who have had their accounts suspended for reasons unknown. The digital bank is accused of failing to respond to complaints.
Snyk valued at $1bn in funding round
UK cyber security start-up Snyk has been valued at $1bn (£770m) after a $150m funding round led by New York fund Stripes. Snyk’s software lets companies check their open source software for vulnerabilities. Snyk has already secured the backing of Google's Venture capital fund, Salesforce Ventures and venture capital fund Accel.
Blossom launches a $185m Europe-focused fund
Blossom Capital has launched a second $185m (£142m) fund to invest in European tech start-ups at an early stage, taking the total raised by the company to $270m.
Warburg Pincus eyes Quilter
Shares in Quilter rose yesterday amid rumours that American private equity firm Warburg Pincus was mulling a takeover bid.
UBS lowers targets after profit falls in 2019
UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti has come under further pressure to improve performance at the Swiss bank after it missed its financial targets for 2019 and cut its future goals. Annual profit fell 50% at the investment banking unit while overall net income fell 5%. UBS shares fell 4.9% on the news. The FT’s Lex says UBS “remains a strong franchise” but is “beset by the common European banking nightmare of low rates and hefty regulation.”
Davos 2020: Bankers push back against climate action calls
The bosses of Citibank and Goldman Sachs have said they won’t stop working with companies involved with fossil fuels, insisting changes in the way capital is allocated will take decades.
Eurozone corporate loan demand slides for first time in six years
Demand for bank loans from European companies has fallen due to lower investment needs and wider availability of alternative finance, according to an ECB survey.
Sabadell sells asset management arm
Banco de Sabadell has agreed to sell its asset management arm to Amundi Asset Management for €430m (£365.5m). The sale should generate net capital gains of €351m for the Spanish bank.
NAB faces class action over fees
National Australia Bank is facing a class action on behalf of over 300,000 superannuation members who were charged excessive fees after the bank failed to move them into a no-frills retirement savings product.
EasyJet raises first half guidance
EasyJet has raised its first half revenue guidance after revenue for the quarter rose nearly 10% to £1.43bn, up from 1.3bn in the same period last year. Shares rose over 4% in early trading yesterday.
Airbus adds new production line for A320
Airbus is adding an extra production line at its Toulouse base for its bestselling A320 family of airliners. The company is hoping to capitalise on Boeing’s 737 Max jet woes. Meanwhile, Boeing has suspended its shares after warning that its Max jet will not be certified to fly until at least mid-2020.
FCA warns advisers over pension transfers
The Financial Conduct Authority has warned financial advisers that they must do more to stop consumers being harmed by unsuitable advice, investment scams and excessive fees. In a ‘Dear CEO’ letter to advisers published yesterday, the regulator said it was seeing an increasing number of cases where the actions of firms were resulting in “significant harm to consumers’ financial well-being”. The FCA highlighted the failure of advisers to reduce the number of people being persuaded to transfer out of valuable defined-benefit pension plans. “We remain concerned firms are recommending large numbers of consumers transfer out of their DB pension schemes despite our stance that transfers are likely to be unsuitable for most clients,” it said.
The power of UK financial services
A report from the City of London Corporation outlines how the City continues to dominate other financial centres. Lord mayor of the City of London William Russell said: "Ten days away from our formal exit from the EU, this important report reiterates the UK's strengths in financial and professional services. It is essential we continue to reaffirm why firms should come here to do business."
Economists say state pension age must rise
Credit Suisse economists have warned that the state pension age must rise dramatically to reduce pressure on a creaking benefits system. With life expectancy increasing among developed nations, analysts say benefits for those who retire early must be removed and governments should pay bonuses to workers who delay retirement.
Sir Adrian Montague quits after boardroom bust-up
The chairman of Aviva, Sir Adrian Montague, has quit the company a month after news emerged of a row at the top over a plan to split the insurer in two. Insiders say Sir Adrian intended to leave after five years and that is what he is doing.
Vodafone pulls out of Libra plans
Facebook’s effort to create a new global currency has suffered a further blow after Vodafone withdrew support for Libra, the social network’s cryptocurrency. The telecoms company said it instead planned to focus its efforts on its mobile payment system, M-Pesa.
British biotech funding falls due to Brexit uncertainty
Investor concerns over the US-China trade war, the Woodford scandal and Brexit uncertainty caused a 40% fall in funding for British-based biotechnology firms last year, to £1.3bn, down from £2.2bn the previous year, according to the Bioindustry Association. Venture capital investment was down for the year from £1.1bn to £679m, while funds raised from stock market floats and other public sources were collectively down £430m to £660m in 2019.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
Facebook likes London
Facebook is to create 1,000 new jobs in London by the end of the year, taking its number of employees in the UK to more than 4,000. Most of the new jobs will be in technology, although other roles will be in the “community integrity” team, which aims to detect and remove harmful content. Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for EMEA at Facebook, which is still looking for greater certainty about Brexit, said that London’s appeal was "undimmed."
CityFibre buys TalkTalk’s FibreNation unit
Broadband provider Cityfibre has announced the acquisition of Fibrenation, Talktalk’s fibre networks business. The takeover was delayed over fears a Labour government could have won the UK general election.
Disney Plus to launch in the UK
A new subscription service from Disney is to launch in the UK in March. Disney Plus will take on competitors such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and cost £5.99 a month or £59.99 for a year.
Election result prompted property transactions to soar
The latest HMRC data shows that UK property transactions soared at the end of last year, as buyers moved quickly following the General Election result. Residential property transactions increased 6.8% year-on-year in December to 104,670, up 6.2% on November’s number, while the total number of non-residential UK property transactions hit 10,690 during the month - up 13.4% on the month prior.
UK employment hits record high
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals the strongest jobs growth in almost a year, pushing the employment rate to a new record. The unemployment rate held at 3.8%, its lowest since the 1970s, but the number of people in work rose by 208,000. In the September to November period, the employment rate hit a record high of 76.3%, the ONS said, up 0.5 percentage points on the previous quarter. When bonuses were stripped out, pay growth slowed to 3.4% in the three months to November.
Carney: Businesses must plan for a green transition
Mark Carney has warned businesses to plan for a transition to a green economy or face extinction. Speaking at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, the outgoing Bank of England Governor said: "From where I sit, there is a fundamental reshaping of the system under way ... It means not just profitability going down, it means companies going out of business in sectors that have become sunset industries."