Mortgage completions at Co-op hit five-year high
The Co-operative Bank has enjoyed its best quarter for mortgage completions in five years, with the total on course to exceed £3.2bn. Despite this, the lender posted a pre-tax loss of £87m for the first nine months of 2018, with this figure marking an improvement on the £107.7m loss for the same period the previous year. Co-op Bank posted an operating profit of £14.3m in the year to date. Chief executive Andrew Bester, who joined from Lloyds in July, said the lender is to prioritise investing in digital banking. He also said that the bank is “well placed to move forward towards future success,” adding: “The building blocks are good and it's nice to see an operating profit, but I'm under no illusions that there's a way to go.”
Lloyds confirms workforce overhaul
Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed plans to cut 6,240 jobs and create 8,240 new ones as part of a "digital overhaul". The bank says that while some specialist roles will be filled by staff from outside the business, 75% of the newly created positions will be taken by existing employees. The lender said the move, part of a three-year strategic plan that includes a £3bn commitment “to invest heavily” in its technology and people, will strengthen its capability to offer customers “new leading-edge digital banking products and services.” Rob MacGregor, national officer at union Unite, said the news would "undoubtedly hit the morale of staff," adding that the union will be “pressing” Lloyds to guarantee no compulsory redundancies.
FCA: Lenders must help mortgage prisoners
The Financial Conduct Authority has called on lenders to offer greater help to “mortgage prisoners” and the 140,000 homeowners stuck with mortgages from inactive or unregulated lenders - so-called zombie banks. The watchdog’s Chris Woolard said that while lenders have helped customers with active mortgage lenders remortgage onto cheaper deals, “the question of customers of inactive or unregulated lenders is a harder nut to crack.”
HSBC executive probed by FCA
Paul Watson, head of regulatory compliance at HSBC’s global banking and markets division, is under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority. The probe is believed to be centred on Mr Watson’s competency to carry out the role, with there no suggestion of any misconduct or wrongdoing. The investigation is said to be part of a wider inquiry into systems and control at HSBC.
Barclays boss did not divulge rival loan
It has been revealed that Tim Throsby, chief executive of Barclays International, failed to divulge to investors that he had taken out a "personal credit facility" with JP Morgan in September. A spokesman for Barclays said: We discovered that, out of a series of transactions which were correctly notified to the company and disclosed to the market, one was not and we have corrected it."
Fox leaves M&S Bank for HSBC
Sue Fox, chief executive of M&S Bank since 2014, is leaving to join HSBC where she will run its Channel Islands and Isle of Man operations.
Banks to introduce plastic notes
Danske Bank and Bank of Ireland are to switch to polymer £5 and £10 notes in Northern Ireland, with the currency to enter circulation in February 2019. Both banks will also introduce polymer £20 notes in 2020 or 2021.
Halifax in loan pay-off draw
Halifax has launched a prize draw for new mortgage customers that will see three winners have the balance of their home loan - up to a maximum of £300,000 - cleared.
Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim chastises Goldman Sachs over 1MDB scandal
Malaysia's leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim has accused Goldman Sachs of "inexcusable" behaviour over allegations billions of dollars were siphoned out of wealth fund 1MDB.
Thoma Bravo eyes Symantec
Thoma Bravo has approached Symantec over the possible acquisition of the software firm. A deal for Symantec, which has a market value of about $15bn and total debt of about $5bn, could mark the year’s largest leveraged buyout.
Albion’s £36m bid
Investment manager Albion Capital is planning to raise £36m to top up its six venture capital trusts.
HSBC suffers data breach
HSBC has suffered a data breach at its US business. The bank says hackers accessed online accounts last month, with customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, account numbers and balances exposed. HSBC says less than 1% of customers in the US had been affected, noting that it had suspended access for some users to prevent fraud. “HSBC regrets this incident, and we take our responsibility for protecting our customers very seriously,” a spokesman said, adding: “We have notified those customers whose accounts may have experienced unauthorised access, and are offering them one year of credit monitoring and identify theft protection service.”
Shareholder ousts Danske chairman
Danske Bank's largest shareholder, the Maersk family, has ousted the lender's chairman Ole Andersen in the wake of a money laundering scandal at the bank’s Estonian branch. The family’s A.P. Moller Holding, which holds 21% of the share capital in the bank, has nominated Karsten Dybvad, who currently heads the Confederation of Danish Industry, to replace Mr Andersen as chairman. Mr Andersen has agreed to step down from the board at an extraordinary general meeting to be held within two weeks.
Russian lenders wrestle over capital rules drive
Russian central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina has encountered resistance to plans to shake up state banks, with VTB and Gazprombank saying regulation is already onerously strict.
BofA to strengthen investment bank ranks
Bank of America plans to hire a number of dealmakers, with chairman and chief executive Brian Moynihan authorising head of corporate and investment banking Matthew Koder to recruit managing directors and mid-level support staff.
Morgan Stanley says fixed-income business had ‘quieter’ October
Morgan Stanley’s fixed income revenues were flat at $1.2bn in Q3, with investment bank boss Ted Pick saying business was a “little quieter” in October. “Clearly volatility had some impact on client behaviour,” he added.
Wells Fargo CFO sees loan headwinds abating in 2019
Wells Fargo CFO John Shrewsberry has said the bank’s divestment of legacy loans should tail off by mid-2019. He added that the bank has room to increase revenue in credit cards.
Provident Financial appoints new finance boss
Simon Thomas has been appointed chief finance officer at Provident Financial. This comes as the firm turns the corner after a difficult 18 months during which it was hit by one of the biggest one-day sell-offs in FTSE 100 history when its Vanquis credit card division was found to have not properly informed customers about the cost of its Repayment Option Plan.
Keydata boss loses appeal over fine
Stewart Ford, the former boss of failed investment firm Keydata, has had an appeal against a record £76m personal fine dismissed by the Upper Tribunal in London. The tribunal upheld a lifetime ban from financial services imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority. The matter relates to the mis-selling of £450m of death bonds to pensioners.
GAM boss steps step down
Swiss asset manager Gam Holding’s chief executive Alexander Friedman has stepped down after the firm saw an $18bn (£13.8bn) decline in the value of its assets.
Fall in premium income at Direct Line
Battling tough market conditions, Direct Line has reported a slump in premium income by 6%, alongside falling policy numbers, in the third quarter.
AstraZeneca sells trio of respiratory drugs for $350m
As it focuses on new medicines to drive profit growth, three of AstraZeneca’s respiratory drugs are to be sold for $350m to Swiss pharmaceutical firm Covis Pharma.
HOSPITALITY & LEISURE
William Hill online profits to take a hit
In the wake of the government crackdown on the gambling sector, William Hill has revised down expectations for its full-year profits, with operating profit expected to be £225m to £245m. Chief executive Philip Bowcock noted: “Adverse regulatory and tax changes will impact online profit growth in 2018 and 2019, including enhanced customer due diligence processes and an increase in remote gaming duty to 21%”.
Pub operator Greene King says long-time chief to step down
Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King, has announced plans to step down in April 2019 after 14 years in the role.
German manufacturer closes UK plants
More than 550 UK jobs are at risk after German automobile and industrial firm Schaeffler announced plans to close plants amid "uncertainty surrounding Brexit". Plants in Plymouth and Llanelli, Wales, are earmarked for closure, with the firm proposing to relocate production to plants outside the UK. In Plymouth, 350 staff are employed in the factory. Schaeffler will not be closing its largest plant in Sheffield, while the work of its two logistics centres in Hereford and Sutton Coldfield will be combined at Hereford.
Challenging market fails to dent Purplebricks’ revenue growth
Purplebricks increased UK revenues by approximately 20% in the six months to October, as the online-only estate agent said it was on track to meet full-year guidance. Chief executive Michael Bruce commented: “The challenging UK housing market is driving a shake-out in the industry, highlighting weaknesses in both some traditional and online agents’ business models.”
Invesco grows stake in Patisserie Valerie
Invesco has more than quadrupled its stake in Patisserie Valerie to 7.76%. Shareholders have been forced to invest £15m into the cake chain through the issue of 30m new shares.
SME growth set to stall
Growth in domestic orders for smaller firms has "ground to a halt", according to a CBI survey. Research among 331 SMEs suggested that growth may stall in the coming months, with domestic orders set to fall and exports "flat" for the rest of the year. Business optimism has deteriorated at the fastest pace since the EU Referendum, and over the next year, firms expect to cut back "significantly" on investment, it added.
PM forms industry councils
Theresa May has established five business advisory councils, with Paul Manduca, chair of Prudential, and Shriti Vadera, chair of Santander UK, to co-chair the financial, professional and education services council. The groups, which will advise the Prime Minister on post-Brexit business conditions, will meet three times a year, twice with Mrs May in attendance and once with a senior cabinet minister - expected to be the Chancellor or the business secretary.