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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 6th February 2019

Posted: 6th February 2019


Bank staff stop scams

Bank staff helped stop scams totalling an estimated £38m last year, according to UK Finance. An average of nearly £9,000 per case was prevented from being stolen from elderly bank customers owing to a rapid response scheme. Under the protocol, introduced in October 2016, staff are trained to spot the signs of a scam and can request an immediate police response. A total of 231 arrests and 4,240 emergency calls were made through the initiative last year. However, separate figures from Action Fraud show victims of investment scams reported losing more than £197m in total in 2018, with the average loss over £29,000. The Financial Conduct Authority said the most commonly reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, the buying and selling of currencies and trading in crypto-currencies by firms that are not authorised.

PPI victims reminded to make another claim

Up to 150,000 people who were refused compensation after claiming they were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) will get letters urging them to try again. Following a 2014 court case called Plevin, these customers have been able to seek compensation on the basis that high commissions were secretly paid to the salesmen of their PPI deals. The Financial Conduct Authority is now ordering companies to write to customers, who may not know they have a second opportunity to claim.

Monzo discusses deposits with Post Office

Monzo has entered discussions with the Post Office to allow its customers to deposit and withdraw cash in branches across the country. The digital bank’s chief executive Tom Blomfield told MPs that while cash transactions were declining they were not “going away.” The Post Office is also in discussion with UK banks to renegotiate the deal to offer banking services after revealing it makes a loss from the current arrangement. Post Office banking director Martin Kearsley told the Treasury Select Committee its current deal with banks was not profitable.

Bramson targets seat on Barclays board

Edward Bramson has submitted an application for a seat on the board of Barclays for investors to consider at the bank’s AGM on May 2. Mr Bramson, who owns a 5% stake in the bank, wants Barclays to turn its main focus to consumer banking instead of corporate and investment banking to increase returns for investors.

Four in ten small firms shun business accounts

About four out of 10 small businesses only have personal current accounts, rather than a separate business account. Research from Nationwide Building Society found half of small firms think banks place too much emphasis on making a profit at their expense and feel they are being cheated by branch closures and hikes in fees.


A fair share of venture capital should go to female entrepreneurs

Samantha Smith, chief executive of FinnCap Group, suggests that improving female entrepreneurs’ access to venture capital funds could help boost UK GDP over the next decade.


Australian bank stocks stage relief rally on commission report

Australian bank shares surged yesterday, as investors judged the recommendations of the Royal Commission inquiry would not hit the finance sector’s long-term profits. Meanwhile, the FT’s leader says the Royal Commission report offers a good blueprint for industry reform.

JPMorgan calls for dismissal of Nigeria’s $875m corruption lawsuit

JPMorgan Chase has urged a London court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Nigerian government that accuses the bank of facilitating the misappropriation of state funds amounting to $875m.

Malpass tipped to run World Bank

David Malpass, a former chief economist at Bear Stearns, has been nominated by the White House for the World Bank presidency.


UK new car sales continue to fall

New car sales in the UK continued to slow in January, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), as demand for diesel cars collapsed while hybrid and electric cars grew in popularity. The 1.6% year-on-year drop follows a five month decline in sales, the SMMT said, though alternatively fuelled cars sales increased by 26.3% to grab a market share worth 6.8%. By manufacturer, Nissan sales declined 12% to 6,969, while Ford plunged more than 15% to 16,629 vehicles.


City loses just 2,000 finance jobs over Brexit

Brexit's impact on City jobs has been much smaller than initially feared, according to a Reuters survey. It found that just 0.5% of the 400,000 people who work in financial services in London have been relocated so far. The 2,000 roles lost are significantly lower than the 10,000 estimated in the first survey two years ago and a fraction of the London Stock Exchange's suggestion of 232,000 jobs at the same time. However, the City of London Corporation's policy chief Catherine McGuinness warned that the sector will likely experience a "slow burn" of talent over the next decade.

EU Brexit clearing pact agreed

The Bank of England has reached an agreement with EU regulators to avoid clearing disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Bank, along with the European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma), announced a memorandum of understanding allowing UK clearing houses to be recognised by EU regulators.

IA wants asset management sector to double

The Investment Association has set a target to double the level of assets under management in the UK to £15trn over the next decade. Fund firms that are already members of the association currently manage some £7.7tn of assets. The goal to increase that to £15trn forms part of the IA's response to the Treasury's Future International Strategy for Financial Services.

Numis blames Brexit for ‘paralysed’ deals

Deal-making at Numis stalled last quarter, with the stockbroker claiming Brexit uncertainty had put off companies from raising money. Numis did 25% fewer transactions between October and January, while money made from buying and selling shares for clients was also down by a quarter.

UK regulator urges tough regime for new pension superfunds

The Prudential Regulation Authority has said the new breed of so-called pension superfunds should be subject to tough rules that would limit the profits outside investors could extract.

Insurers seek comfort in catastrophe bonds

AIG, Axa and Allianz are among the groups that have started managing funds of catastrophe bonds and other insurance-linked securities, as low interest rates upend their business models.


LSL to slash branches

Estate agent LSL will close 124 branches and cut hundreds of jobs in a major shake-up of its main brands. The number of Your Move and Reeds Rains branches will fall from 404 to 280. Around 40 of the offices will be closed outright and another 81 will be folded into other nearby locations to create so-called “keystone branches”.


HMV sold to Sunrise Records

HMV has been sold to a company controlled by Doug Putman, the owner of Sunrise Records in Canada, for an undisclosed sum. The deal will see 100 stores remain open, securing 1,487 jobs, although 455 redundancies will come from the closure of 27 outlets.


Service sector stalls

The UK's service sector stagnated last month, with new orders falling for the first time in two-and-a-half years, according to the IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI). The figures showed a reading of 50.1 in January, lower than December's 51.2. Caution about hiring amid heightened Brexit uncertainty also saw the sector reduce staffing for the first time since the end of 2012.

UK ‘will avoid no-deal recession’

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research expects Britain to avoid recession in a no-deal Brexit if the government launches a £40bn emergency stimulus package and the Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold. The think tank said policymakers would respond to a no-deal with tax cuts and welfare spending amounting to around 2% of GDP.


Data breaches since GDPR underline new compliance risk

Almost 60,000 data breaches have been reported across Europe since GDPR laws were brought in last year, according to research by law firm DLA Piper, with the Netherlands, Germany and the UK topping the list of most reported breaches.

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