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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 6th June 2018

Posted: 6th June 2018


Pressure on Visa after system failure

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, has written to the chief executive for Europe at Visa, Charlotte Hogg, demanding answers regarding last week’s crash which saw users unable to use their cards. Ms Morgan said: “A third of all spending in the UK is processed by Visa. It’s deeply worrying, therefore, that such a vital part of the country’s payment infrastructure can fail so catastrophically. The consequences were sudden and severe. Many consumers and businesses were left stranded on Friday, unable to make or accept payments, with chaos reported in shops”.

City takes stock of Treasury sell-off of RBS

Royal Bank of Scotland shares fell over 3% on Tuesday following a Government share sell-off to institutional investors. RBS chief executive Ross McEwan commented: “I am pleased that the government has decided the time is now right to re-start the share sale process. This is an important moment for RBS. It also reflects the progress we have made in building a much simpler, safer bank.”

Post Office deposits increase as banks continue to close

Business cash deposits at Scottish post offices have increased by 25% as bank closures continue apace. Commenting on the findings, Martin Kearsley, the Post Office's director of banking, said: "Local businesses, they need a counter to pay cash over, and we've seen about a 25% rise in business cash deposits over the last year as a result of bank closures. If you look at the RBS closure plan, 45% of the branches that are closing are within 100 yards of a post office.”

Ferry fares warning for RBS

RBS will have to pay £200 to travel by ferry every time it sends a mobile bank to replace Barra’s only branch, according to Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. He said: "Closing branches is supposed to be a money-saving exercise but in the case of the island branches, the costs involved in a mobile banking service might prove otherwise.”

Tesco Bank latest to endure online banking issues

Tesco Bank customers were left unable to access online and mobile banking services for four hours on Tuesday. A spokesperson noted access to accounts through telephone banking, ATMs and payments had not been affected.

Loans almost double at Hampden & Co

Hampden & Co almost doubled its lending to clients in 2017, with losses increasing as its investment in building up the business continues. Chief executive Graeme Hartop said: "The fact that our recent capital raising was oversubscribed demonstrates the justified confidence that our shareholders have in the long term prospects for the bank”.

Probe into TSB failure confirmed

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed it will investigate TSB’s IT failure, after suggesting the lender's response could damage trust in the sector. FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey noted that the regulator was "dissatisfied with TSB's communications with its customers".

Banks may have to reveal insolvency plans

The Bank of England has hinted that UK banks could have to make their “living wills” public. The plans, which outline how they would be wound down without collapsing the economy in the event of failure, have so far been kept private but Sir Jon Cunliffe, the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, said making the assessments public would improve confidence in the sector.


Cartel charges filed in Australia against former Deutsche and Citi executives

Criminal charges have been filed in Australia against the former country chiefs of Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, alleging that cartel conduct occurred during a A$2.5bn (US$1.9bn) ANZ Bank share placement.

Alibaba and Tencent order their bankers to choose sides

Tencent and Alibaba are demanding that bankers working for them avoid doing so for their rival, with the effect of splitting investment banks into two camps. Ant Financial allegedly made a number of lenders sign agreements preventing them from dealing with Tencent businesses.


Car sales increase

Sales of new cars increased 3.4% last month, with Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, suggesting “the market is now starting to return to a more natural running rate”.


Heathrow expansion confirmed

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed that the government is pushing ahead with the expansion of Heathrow. He stressed that work would be carried out to minimise disruption and noise pollution for local residents, including "up to £2.6bn towards compensation, noise insulation and improvement to amenities". Josh Hardie, deputy director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it’s crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible.”

Record profits for Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport maintained its position as Scotland’s busiest with 13.4m passengers last year, with turnover up 13% to £185m and profits increasing 86% to £86.4m.


Crackdown against claims managers

Claims managers face tighter regulation, as the Financial Conduct Authority said that it would ensure that customers were treated fairly. Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, commented: "A well-functioning claims management sector can help to provide justice and redress to people who have suffered harm. But the market doesn't always work as it should and poor conduct persists across the sector."

Sultan invests in UK-listed firm

The Sultan of Brunei has invested £20m in Draper Esprit, a venture capital backer of Revolut, Transferwise and Seedrs, among other technology businesses.

Hudson Bay’s new Mayfair outpost

Hudson Bay Capital is opening a branch in Mayfair as the US hedge fund seeks to expand its activity in Europe.


Philips to buy EPD Solutions

Dutch healthtech firm Royal Philips is to buy EPD Solutions, which manufactures cardiac imaging and navigation systems, for $292.1m.

Shield Therapeutics chair steps down

Shield Therapeutics Chairman Andrew Heath will not be running for re-election following a tricky year in which the biopharma firm's lead product, Feraccru, failed pivotal regulatory trials that would open it up to the US market. Shield focuses on the development and commercialisation of late-stage, hospital-focused pharmaceuticals.


Culture minister confirms Sky-Fox deal will proceed

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has supported a plan to allow 21st Century Fox to buy Sky as long as Sky News is protected by splitting it from Sky.

Chinese chip unit to be run as joint venture

Softbank Group is to cede control of Arm's Chinese business, running the unit with Chinese partners as a joint venture. SoftBank said it sees the Chinese market as "valuable and distinctive from the rest of the world".

Johnston Press' debt restructuring drags on

Johnston Press' latest trading update reveals revenues for the year so far were down 9% on the same period last year, with GDPR blamed for hitting its advertising revenues. "We expect to see continued pressure on revenues in the second half of the year, and a requirement for cost savings," a statement said.

Toshiba stake funds raised by Sharp

Sharp will attempt to raise ¥200bn (£1.4bn) through issuing new shares, in order to buy back preferred shares from banks and fund an offer for an 80% stake in Toshiba's PC business.


Londoners need a 280% pay rise to buy a home

The National Housing Federation’s Home Truths report shows that Londoners need a 283% pay increase to afford to buy a home in the capital. The average annual income needed for a mortgage in the city, where the typical home costs £585,000, is almost £134,000, while London’s average annual salary is £35,610. In 26 of the capital’s 33 boroughs, more than £100,000 is needed to buy a home with an 80% mortgage. In the most affordable area, Barking and Dagenham, the average income is half of the £68,448 needed for a home loan. The most expensive mortgage is in Kensington and Chelsea, where the income required is £453,435. The report also shows that the average private sector rent in London is £1,748 a month.


Ocado executives awarded £14m

Neill Abrams and Mark Richardson, two senior executives at online grocery chain Ocado, are to split £14.3m after cashing in shares that nearly trebled in value in half a year.


Strong services growth supports August rate rise

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply’s snapshot of services firms jumped to 54 in May, from 52.8 the previous month. ING Bank’s James Knightley said the data releases keep the prospect of an August rate hike "firmly on the table.”

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