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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 27th October 2021

Posted: 27th October 2021


Post Office hubs to offset branch closures

John Glen, the City minister, is to unveil plans for Post Office hubs that will allow people to withdraw and deposit cash as banks close branches around the country. The hubs will be joint ventures between banks and the Post Office, but the Times reports that banks are resisting efforts by the Post office to open 200 hubs, saying they want to limit the number to between 20 and 50.

Monzo in talks to raise £300m in new funding

Monzo is in discussions with a number of investors about raising at least £300m in new funding, according to Sky News. The raise would be at a sharply higher valuation of £3bn reflecting substantial growth in Monzo's revenues.


Moody’s warns of ‘systemic risks’ in private credit industry

The “explosive” growth of private credit was storing up “systemic risks” in an opaque sector of the financial system, according to rating agency Moody’s.

Morrisons departs stock market after 54 years

Morrisons yesterday ceased trading on the stock market after 54 years, ahead of the completion of the acquisition by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).


U.S. regulators exploring how banks could hold crypto assets

The chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said on Monday that  a team of U.S. bank regulators is trying to formulate clearer rules for banks relating to how they hold cryptocurrency in custody to facilitate client trading, using them as collateral for loans, or even holding them on their balance sheets like more traditional assets. Jelena McWilliams said: “I think that we need to allow banks in this space, while appropriately managing and mitigating risk.” She added: "If we don't bring this activity inside the banks, it is going to develop outside of the banks…The federal regulators won't be able to regulate it."

Saxo’s crypto products bring in $2.5bn

Saxo Bank's turnover from crypto products exceeded $2.5bn (£1.8bn) for the year after demand for the platform's digital assets division, Crypto FX, exceeded expectations. Stanislav Kostyukhin, Commercial Owner for the Trader segment at Saxo Bank commented “the exceptional response and activity seen in the six months after the launch of our Crypto FX offering clearly shows that crypto is an increasingly important asset class for our clients.”

UBS: Wealth unit supports excellent result

UBS enjoyed a 43% rise in profits at its wealth management business while its investment bank increased its pre-tax profits by 32% compared with a year earlier. Overall, profits at UBS in the third quarter rose 11% to $2.9bn. In addition to revealing its third quarter earnings, UBS said wants to build a digitally scalable advice model for affluent clients in the Americas.

Deutsche Bank to speed up closing of Postbank branches

Deutsche Bank has said it will accelerate the closing of its Postbank branches, revealing a target of 550 by the end of 2023, 200 fewer branches than now.


Jaguar Land Rover teams up with Tesla to help meet EU emission rules

Jaguar Land Rover and Honda are paying to pool emissions from their vehicles with Tesla’s battery cars, helping them lower their average emissions figures and avoid fines.


Heathrow’s losses spur further demand for higher airline fees

Heathrow reported losses of £458m for the third quarter, compared with £516m in the summer of 2020, bringing the airport’s total losses over the course of the pandemic to £3.4bn. Heathrow repeated a call to the Civil Aviation Authority for permission to increase airline fees so it can “sustain service and resilience after 15 years of negative real returns for investors.”


Construction stalls as UK shortage of skilled workers bites

The construction industry is suffering from a severe skills shortage with wages rising as materials costs soar, putting home building targets out of reach with visa changes and a huge training push.


Consumers accumulate £4bn debt in 'buy now, pay later' deals

Research by financial website Credit Karma reveals that 7.7m UK shoppers are estimated to have accumulated "significant" outstanding balances with buy now, pay later (BNPL) companies, averaging £538 for each user, totalling £4.1bn. Consumer watchdog Which? said the research showed that shoppers were being "bombarded" with BNPL offers at online checkouts, "so it's very concerning to see such a huge amount of debt related to these schemes". Meanwhile, online payments processor Stripe has entered a strategic partnership with “buy now, pay later” company Klarna.

European ESG funds found not to charge higher fees

New research has contradicted claims that funds integrating environmental, social and governance factors charge higher average fees than their non-ESG peers.


Novartis launches strategic review of generics business Sandoz

Novartis has launched a strategic review of Sandoz, its generics business, which the Swiss drug maker is considering spinning off.


DraftKings drops bid for Entain

US sports betting company DraftKings has withdrawn its offer to buy British gambling group Entain, which rejected an approach from US casino operator MGM in January. In response to the DraftKings walking away, Entain said that it “strongly believes” in its future prospects as an independent company.

Saga chief vows to refresh group

The boss of insurance to holiday group Saga has admitted the company failed to modernise during years of private equity ownership. Euan Sutherland said he’s looking at a rebrand and to tap into the huge extra wealth saved by retirees over the pandemic.


French steel used for HS2

The UK’s steel industry has expressed its disappointment after HS2 revealed it is buying steel panelling for its tunnels from the French fabricator, Sendin. The Telegraph notes that French standards do not meet those required in Britain and Sendin also does not hold the necessary UK accreditation to provide the materials. Stephen Elliott, chairman of the British Association of Reinforcement, said: “HS2 is a major UK project being paid for by the UK public. It is, therefore, disappointing that HS2 is not ready to fully support the UK steel industry. We had hoped that UK major projects would work with, and not undermine, the UK steel industry.”


Segro sees surging demand for warehouses

The UK's supply chain crisis is poised to fuel more demand for warehouse space, industrial property giant Segro has predicted. The comment came as the landlord and developer published a trading update. Segro said it secured £26m of new headline rent in the three months to September 30, up from £16m in the third quarter of 2020. The vacancy rate across the firm's estate has reduced to 3.2% from 4.3%. Segro's chief executive David Sleath said: “We head into the final months of 2021 with confidence in our ability to drive further sustainable growth in rental income, earnings and dividends.”


THG reports 34% rise in third-quarter revenue

THG reported a 34.3% increase in group revenue to £507.8m in its third-quarter results, 86.2% higher than two years ago as the business continued to benefit from consumers spending more online. Its Ingenuity platform made £51.1m in revenues, a total £136.9m in the year to date. Despite the promising results, shares were down 13% on Tuesday over governance concerns and doubts over the value of its technology arm.

CBI reports mixed retail results

The CBI has revealed that retailers have reported a stronger than expected sales rise in October after a September slowdown, however it said that supply chain problems reduced stocks to the lowest level since records began in 1985.  Sales were expected to pick up further in November, although retailers are wary of rising Covid rates. The CBI said stock adequacy sank to -23 in October, the seventh month in a row it hit an all-time low.


Analysts predict rates will stay unchanged

Ahead of the Bank of England’s meeting next week, a Citi/YouGov poll found expectations that inflation will rise over the next year jumped to their highest since 2008 this month. Investors are pricing in a 15 basis points rate hike by the BoE to 0.25%. However, most economists polled by Reuters think the BoE will wait until early 2022 before moving. Analysts at HSBC concurred saying “our central case is that there will be a majority vote to keep the rate unchanged.”

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