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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday 4th April 2018

Posted: 4th April 2018



Morgan Stanley tops UK M&A advisory rankings

Morgan Stanley has topped the UK M&A table for the first three months of 2018, according to Thomson Reuters data, advising on 10 deals worth $159bn. UBS hit second place, up from eighth last year, advising on $136bn worth of deals. By way of M&A which completed in the first quarter of 2018, rather than just being announced, Barclays claimed top spot, advising on completed deals worth $23bn.

Monzo retains users after upgrade

Monzo will announce today that 94% of the active users of its prepaid card have upgraded to a full current account, although 98,000 customers have not upgraded and will therefore be unable to use the digital challenger bank's services. It launched the current account only in October, after gaining a banking licence last April. Monzo also revealed new user numbers, with 568,000 total current accounts, 362,000 of which switched from the prepaid card.

RBS pushes back against invoice fraudsters

Royal Bank of Scotland and Vocalink have developed a new system to detect invoice fraud. The system scans transactions by about 1m small and large business customers to identify fake invoices and prevent customers from paying fraudsters. NatWest, RBS’s main business banking brand, adopted the new technology last year and says that to date the system has prevented more than £7m of losses to customers.

Millions would switch bank over pay gap

Around 23m people would consider ditching their bank if it had a large gender pay gap, new research has revealed. More than 51% of women who responded to the Opinium Research study said a large gender pay gap would make them likely to switch, compared with 37% of men.

Banks must look to the future

Britain's biggest banks face fundamental questions about the future of banking, including how financial technology start-ups will evolve, whether payments will move away from banks to the likes of Amazon, and even whether there will be banks in 100 years' time, writes Katherine Griffiths for The Times. “So much effort and energy is being expended on solving problems from the past and on the looming future of Brexit that these important issues are being side-lined,” writes Ms Griffiths.

Bank alarm Libor-OIS spread rises more than 30 basis points this year

The Libor-OIS spread has jumped more than 30 basis points since January. Potential causes include higher US Treasury bill sales, repatriation of foreign earnings by US companies and the planned phasing out of Libor itself.


Private equity funds receive record amounts of capital

Private equity funds are receiving record amounts of capital: “The current speed of fundraising is in my experience unprecedented,” said Jason Glover at law firm Simpson Thacher.

Gulf cash boost for start-up specialist

Venture capital firm 500 Startups has a major new investor after Abu Dhabi Financial Group bought most of the stake of founding partner Dave McClure and several other employees.


Investors criticise Deutsche Bank chairman

Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner has been criticised by two of the bank’s major investors over its performance and his handling of a search for a new chief executive. "He makes too many excuses for strategic mistakes that fall under his responsibility," said the source, who requested to remain anonymous.

Reserve Bank of Australia holds interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia opted to hold interest rates at 1.5%, as forecast by economists. “The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. Further progress in reducing unemployment and having inflation return to target is expected, although this progress is likely to be gradual,” said governor Philip Lowe.

Qatar backs three-way Islamic bank merger

Qatar's central bank has given its support to a planned merger between three local Islamic banks and expressed hopes that the deal can proceed this year. “A successful merger will create a solid lender with more than 180bn riyals ($49.5bn) of assets," said governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani.

Investors turn up heat on Citi and Goldman over lobbying

Citi and Goldman are facing pressure from shareholders to say more about their lobbying of public officials amid persistent concern over "dark money" spending.


Fidessa receives rival bids

Fidessa has revealed that two parties had tabled takeover offers for the UK fintech firm to rival a £1.4bn approach from Switzerland's Temenos. Fidessa said both of the new approaches were at a premium to Temenos' bid. One was 5% higher with no further details provided on the second.

Fintech fears Brexit is hitting staff levels

British fintech companies have warned that Brexit is causing a shortage of software engineers and pushing up salaries in the sector, prompting some to open offices elsewhere in the EU.

RAC flouts insurance rules

More than a million car drivers insured by the RAC may receive compensation after the roadside recovery company failed to meet the rules on insurance renewals. The FCA criticised the group over how it had displayed customers' previous premiums in renewal documents, as well as over its handling of a statement encouraging policyholders to shop around.

Trading platform launched by Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank has launched a new professional trading platform, as it attempts to boost its market share around the world. Saxo Trader Pro is aimed at sophisticated individual and institutional traders, and aims to provide a more complex platform than the trading apps and sites used by retail investors.

Walmart to expand cash transfers with MoneyGram partnership

Walmart is expanding its money transfer operation to 200 countries as it continues to push into financial services, allowing people to deliver money from US stores in under 10 minutes.


Pfizer supplier nets £5.9m cash funding

HEL, a lab equipment manufacturer which counts Pfizer and Glaxosmithkline among its clients, has secured £5.9m worth of investment from Connection Capital. "It was seen to be an investment with a lower than normal private equity risk but with strong investment fundamentals of a recurring paid interest stream," said Connection's Luke Matthews.


UK factories ramp up March output

Britain’s manufacturers increased growth in March, allaying concerns about a possible slowdown in the first quarter of this year. The purchasing managers’ index by IHS Markit edged up from 55.0 in February to 55.1 in March. Companies said the weak pound, combined with strong marketing campaigns, have helped to boost overseas sales.


Murdoch proposes Sky News sale to Disney

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has said it would sell off Sky News to Disney or ring-fence it to allay regulatory concerns over its proposed acquisition of Sky. The Standard's James Moore suggests much depends on just how “punchy” the CMA is feeling, but concludes "it’s probably safe to put a few quid on Murdoch, all things considered".

Spotify valued at $30bn

Spotify saw its value soar to $29.5bn yesterday after it went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares began trading at $165.90 – a 34% increase on the initial set reference price. The opening price makes it one of the largest US listings for a tech company in history.


OakNorth backs Shoreditch apartments

OakNorth is backing two new developments of luxury flats in East London. The small business lender is providing £10m to Nicole Bremner, founder of property firm East Eight, and Avi Dodi, after last week completing a £17.5m refinance package with Ankor Property Group for two student accommodation buildings in Ealing and Greenwich. OakNorth director Priya Harley said: “Pre Brexit vote, our loan book stood at £98m with about half of the portfolio being in property. By the end of 2016, our total loan book had tripled to £300m and by the end of last year, it was £1bn”.


Hornby seeking lender reprieve

After revealing falling profits amid delivery problems, model railway maker Hornby has appealed to Barclays, its main lender, for relief on its financial obligations. The firm said sales have improved in recent weeks but expects full-year profits and revenue to be down as a result of earlier problems.

Chinese firm is front runner in Conviviality bid

ZQ Capital has emerged as a front runner in the bid for Conviviality after pairing up with a team of the Bargain Booze owner’s management, including Conviviality’s group corporate finance director Bruce Casely.

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