Banks prepare for new EU financial safeguards
The City is preparing itself for Mifid II which comes into force today, aimed at making markets safer and fairer for investors. The directive will require banks, brokers, asset managers, stock exchanges and many other financial institutions to meet strict standards in everything from marketing to dealing in shares and bonds. Catherine McGuinness, the City of London Corporation's policy chairman, said the implementation will be a “real watershed moment” for financial regulation. She added: “It will be the last major piece of regulatory reform following the financial crash of 2008. Financial and professional services firms have worked hard in recent times to implement these onerous and complex changes.” Nils Pratley in the Guardian comments that if Mifid drives up the cost and hassle of investing directly, then it will become a charter for yet more financial intermediation – something he believes is unnecessary. Meanwhile, the FT reports that BaFin, the German financial regulator, has allowed Eurex, the Frankfurt-based futures exchange, a further 30 months to implement the new regulations.
Davis: Britain wants financial services included in EU trade deal
David Davis has said that Britain wants to include financial services in a trade deal with the EU which covers a full sweep of economic areas. Mr Davis said that any deal that left finance out would be “cherry picking”, after the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier cast doubt on the inclusion of financial services in a free-trade deal. "We are looking at the full sweep of economic cooperation that currently exists and determining how that can be maintained with the minimum additional barriers or friction," Mr Davis said, adding that the principles of a trade deal in goods could be applied to services too. “I do not believe the strength of this cooperation needs change because we leaving the European Union, so long as it
UBS Libor ‘chats were company policy’
The High Court has heard that staff at UBS were expected to take into account the bank’s commercial interests when setting the benchmark Libor rate. Lawyers for former trader Arif Hussein cited evidence to support that claim. They are seeking to overturn a FCA decision to ban him from the industry. The regulator, however, claimed it was "obvious" that the bank should not take into account the bank's commercial interests when setting Libor.
PAI Partners in talks to buy packaging group Albéa
French private equity group PAI Partners is in talks to buy packaging company Albéa for $1.5bn from Sun European Partners.
Brussels considers cut in bank levy to spur green investment
The European Commission is planning to reduce the capital charges levied on banks for their green investments in a bid to narrow the €180bn annual gap in the financing needed to ward off climate change.
Europe’s bank bosses see need for consolidation in sector
Frédéric Oudéa, chief executive of Société Générale, has told the FT that cross-border deals are only likely to return when the eurozone banking union is complete.
Japanese banks move into fintech investment
Japan's biggest banks are racing to adapt to changing business conditions amid the shrinking population and spread of online banking. Many have laid out plans to downsize their workforce and massive network of branches while investing in fintech to streamline their operations.
Ryanair seeks UK operating permit in Brexit move
Ryanair has applied for a British air operating certificate amid growing concern that Britain could leave the European Union without a deal on aviation. The carrier said the licence may be needed in the event of a hard Brexit to ensure it can continue to run its three domestic routes after March 2019. These routes account for around 2% of its business.
UK insurer Endsleigh has been sold by parent Zurich to private equity backed insurer A-Plan for an undisclosed amount. Zurich UK chief executive Tulsi Naidu said it was the “right time for it to move into new ownership”.
Strong end to year for manufacturing
The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for manufacturing shows the sector finished 2017 with the best quarter of growth in more than three years. There was a slight slowdown in December’s growth following rapid expansion in November, but the average reading of the PMI survey for the final three months of the year came to 57, the best performance since the second quarter of 2014. Firms are benefitting from the drop in sterling’s value and broader global economic growth. The survey showed that manufacturers continued to see a “solid increase” in export sales, especially from the US, Europe, China and the Middle East.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
Google saves £3bn in tax
Regulatory filings in the Netherlands show Google moved €15.9bn (£14.1bn) to a Bermuda shell company in 2016, saving at least €3bn in taxes that year. The amount of money Google moved through the “Double Irish” and “Dutch Sandwich” tax structure in 2016 was 7% higher than the year before, according to company filings with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
Spotify has been hit with a lawsuit that accuses the streaming service of infringing the rights of songwriters and publishers. Wixen Music Publishing is seeking damages of at least $1.6bn (£1.18bn). The California company represents artists that include Janis Joplin, The Black Keys and Tom Petty.
PM: Duty cut has helped thousands of first-timers
Theresa May says stamp duty cuts are helping 4,000 first time buyers a week to get on the housing ladder, with 16,000 property market entrants having taken advantage of the reform since it was outlined in the Autumn Budget. She said Conservative plans to “fix the broken housing market” stem from a “personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership for people up and down the UK.” Commenting on her party’s stance on delivering homes for young people, the Prime Minister said she wanted to make sure the housing ladder “is not just a dream of your parents' past, but a reality for your future.”
Economists warn over mortgages
Economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics believe new mortgage rates will jump in March when banks' new loans will no longer generate allowances from the Term Funding Scheme.
Poundland owner warns accounting scandal pre-dates 2015
Poundland owner Steinhoff has warned its financial irregularities stretch back before 2015, meaning it will have to restate more of its accounts. The South African group has seen its shares plummet over the past month after it announced a probe into its books.
UK economy set to overtake France
The latest World Economic League Table suggests the UK will bounce back from its post-Brexit referendum dip to overtake the French economy in 2020. The report, compiled by the CEBR, forecasted that the UK will fall from 6th place in 2017 to 7th in 2032 in the league table, overtaking France but being overtaken by India and Brazil.