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NEWS - ACCOUNTANCY & FINANCE

Small fintech firms step up challenge to big banks

March 26 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

Small fintech firms step up challenge to big banks

Smaller fintech startups are continuing to compete with the individual services of bigger banks.

The banking industry is under attack from a swarm of smaller fintech firms who are not looking to usurp their places in the banking industry, but are challenging one of the many services that big banks provide.

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TSB agrees to £1.7bn takeover by Spanish bank

March 23 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

TSB agrees to £1.7bn takeover by Spanish bank

Lloyds and TSB have agreed to a £1.7bn takeover by the Spanish Banco de Sabadell.

TSB, which rejoined the stock market less than a year ago, has agreed to a £1.7 billion takeover by Spanish bank Sabadell. The deal will also see Lloyds sell its remaining 50 per cent stake in TSB to Sabadell for 340p per share.

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UK Treasury nets £500m from Lloyds share sale

March 10 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

UK Treasury nets £500m from Lloyds share sale

The UK government has sold further shares of Lloyds, raising £500m from the sale.

A further tranche of Lloyds Banking Group shares have been sold by the UK government as part of its plan to return ownership of the part-nationalised bank fully back to private investors.

The government took advantage of a recent jump in share prices to sell another one per cent of its stake for £500 million and lowering its overall ownership to 22.9 per cent.

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FTSE 100 index breaches 15-year closing record

February 24 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

FTSE 100 index breaches 15-year closing record

UK’s top 100 share index breaks above the record closing high from 1999.

Britain’s leading share index sailed past the 1999 record closing high, lifted on a generally upbeat tone in the markets throughout Europe. Investors now eye the all-time index high as the next target, which lies around 6,950.

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Negative inflation likely in Britain, reveals Bank of England

February 16 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Negative inflation likely in Britain, reveals Bank of England

Latest inflation report from the Bank of England forecasts negative inflation in the UK and the potential to cut rates further.

The UK is headed for negative inflation, growth forecasts have been upgraded, and the governor of the Bank of England (BOE) warns that rates could be cut further if downside risks prevail - the latest inflation report from the UK's central bank had it all.

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Bank of England keeps interest rates at historic low

February 09 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Bank of England keeps interest rates at historic low

The Bank of England has decided on no change and kept interest rates at 0.5 per cent.

For the 71st consecutive month, the Bank of England (BOE) held off from action to keep interest rates at the historic low of 0.5 per cent. The bank also decided to leave the quantitative easing (QE) program unchanged.

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Ryanair announces €400mn share buyback as it raises profit forecast

February 03 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Ryanair announces €400mn share buyback as it raises profit forecast

A surprise €400m share buyback scheme has been unveiled by Ryanair after the airline raised profit guidance for 2015.

Ryanair, the low-cost airline, recently announced an unexpected €400 million share buyback plan that comes not long after raising its profit forecasts for the full year. The airline said that due to a rise in the number of passengers and lower fuel prices.

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Coinbase launches first regulated US Bitcoin exchange

January 28 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Coinbase launches first regulated US Bitcoin exchange

After $75mn funding boost, Bitcoin services provider Coinbase has opened the first regulated US Bitcoin exchange.

Coinbase has opened the first-ever licensed US exchange for Bitcoin not long after netting around $75 million in funding. The company hopes to make the controversial cryptocurrency more official with the new exchange as it adds the US to its growing list of countries that offer these services.

The value of Bitcoin jumped on the news by around 20 per cent, briefly breaking above the $300 barrier versus the US dollar. However, since then the price has settled closer to the $250 level.

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European Central Bank to inject €1.1 trillion in historical bonds investment

January 23 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

European Central Bank to inject €1.1 trillion in historical bonds investment

The European Central Bank failed to disappoint this week as it unveiled plans to buy government bonds worth €1.1 trillion with new money.

At Thursday’s conference, Mario Draghi finally ended rampant speculation over quantitative easing plans, which had markets positioning themselves ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) conference.

The ECB bravely took the plunge and announced plans to launch a sovereign bond-buying scheme that will amount to more than one trillion euros, which exceeded market expectations.

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European stock markets rise on improved economic expectations

January 08 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

European stock markets rise on improved economic expectations

Stocks in Europe rose on mounting expectations that the ECB will commence quantitative easing.

European stock markets shares rose on Wednesday to end a three-day decline, following data that illustrated prices in Europe are falling.

 

Inflation in Europe was shown to contract by 0.2 per cent on a yearly basis, the first time inflation has been negative since October 2009, according to official statistics from Eurostat.

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KPMG Enterprise to help small businesses receive accountancy support

January 08 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

KPMG Enterprise to help small businesses receive accountancy support

KPMG aim to bring cloud based accountancy support to small businesses by investing £40m in its Enterprise program.

It seems that KPMG are now looking to bring their services to small businesses as they invested £40 million in the KPMG Enterprise programme, a subscription-based cloud platform for accountancy support.

This investment is designed to target growth in the mid-market, of which smaller firms hold the majority market share.

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UK is a good place to do business, say CFOs

January 07 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

UK is a good place to do business, say CFOs

CFOs see the UK as a good place to do business, according to Deloitte’s latest CFO survey.

Prospects for UK earnings growth and business investment in 2015 are positive, according to Deloitte’s latestsurvey of 119 chief financial officers (CFOs) of UK companies. The vast majority of those surveyed view the UK as a good place to do business.

Most of the CFOs surveyed expect wages to increase by around 2.9 per cent in 2015, which is much faster than current levels of inflation, meaning workers can expect their pay packets to be worth more.

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Metro Bank focuses business lending on SMEs

October 28 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Metro Bank focuses business lending on SMEs

Metro Bank’s strategy of targeting SMEs is paying dividends with an increase in business lending.

Metro Bank has been at the forefront of the challenger bank charge in recent years. As the first full-service bank to launch in a century when it took off four years ago, it has blazed a trail that is now being followed by the likes of Aldermore, and even TSB as it moves further away from Lloyds’ control.

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PwC launches initiative to help small businesses

October 28 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

PwC launches initiative to help small businesses

PricewaterhouseCoopers and invoice finance platform MarketInvoice have struck a deal that allows them both to help new small businesses.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) comprise well over 90 per cent of the UK’s companies and dictate the pace of economic growth. So it’s no surprise they represent a huge market that is being targeted by larger companies – not for acquisitions. With that in mind, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have struck a deal with MarketInvoice that will enable them both to break into that market more effectively.

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Islamic Bank of Britain set to be rebranded as Al Rayan Bank

October 27 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Islamic Bank of Britain set to be rebranded as Al Rayan Bank

Islamic Bank of Britain is becoming Al Rayan Bank as part of a significant rebrand.

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) is in the middle of celebrating its 10th anniversary, and it’s become readily established as a pioneer of Islamic finance in the UK. It still boasts the widest range of Sharia-compliant retail financial products in the UK, and it seems few banks will be able to compete in the near future. In fact, IBB is actually beginning to diversify its product and service offerings to extend the sphere of Islamic banking in the UK. Soon it plans to reflect these changing conditions with a major rebrand.

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Venture capitalists see bright future for European startups

October 24 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Venture capitalists see bright future for European startups

Europe’s tech start-ups have an even brighter future ahead, according to investors.

There has been plenty of good news recently about the European tech startup scene, and London in particular. From the first property tech accelerator in the UK capital to the succession of start-ups receiving bumper investments, it’s clear that the potential of this flourishing sector is expanding like never before.

So it may not be surprising that investors are looking towards a very promising future for European start-ups. A succession of promising companies have emerged from the scene so far, and venture capitalists expect the hits to keep on coming.

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KPMG looks to cloud-based accountancy to attract SMEs

October 23 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

KPMG looks to cloud-based accountancy to attract SMEs

KPMG is trying to attract smaller businesses with a new cloud-based accountancy service.

KPMG is well known in the professional services sector for providing support to some of the UK’s biggest companies. In fact, it serves nearly a quarter of the companies on the FTSE 100. But it sees its next stage of growth as appealing to smaller businesses, and it’s doing that by stepping into cloud-based services.

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500 banks sign up for Apple’s new mobile wallet service

October 20 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

500 banks sign up for Apple’s new mobile wallet service

Apple says that over 500 financial institutions have signed up to its new payment service.

When Apple launched its new mobile wallet service last month, it would have been easy to lose sight of it in the furore over the tech giant’s long-awaited smartwatch. But it’s a major innovation in its own right that will finally introduce near-field communication (NFC) payment technology to iPhones and iPads, as they have existed in some Android models for some time.

The world of finance clearly agrees, since Apple says that its new mobile payments service has already seen more than 500 separate banks and financial institutions sign up.

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Twitter users in France can now ‘tweet money’

October 14 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Twitter users in France can now ‘tweet money’

Twitter has teamed up with a French bank to allow users to transfer money by tweet.

Apple recently announced its Apple Pay service for the new iPhones. Facebook is rumoured to be developing apayment system for its Messenger function. Now, Twitter is catching onto the payment revolution by offering users in France the chance to transfer money by tweet.

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Bank of England seeks more powers over property market to limit loan sizes

October 06 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Bank of England seeks more powers over property market to limit loan sizes

The Bank of England has requested new powers to watch over the housing market.

There’s been talk of rising property prices ever since it was first suggested the UK could be seeing signs of economic recovery. But to try and prevent a cycle of boom and bust emerging, the Bank of England (BoE) is planning to take action.

The central bank has formally requested new powers to intervene in the property market. If it gets its way, it will limit the amount people can borrow to buy a property based on what it thinks people can afford depending on their financial circumstances.

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European Central Bank plans bond buying spree to boost investment

October 06 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

European Central Bank plans bond buying spree to boost investment

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi says bond purchases will begin later this month.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has said that it plans to start buying bonds in the middle of the month, but it wants to wait and gauge the success of existing plans before rolling out further stimulus.

A two-year programme is due to get underway from mid-October that will see the central bank purchase covered bonds and asset-backed securities. It is going to take an inclusive approach to the scheme – it will buy asset backed securities that are below investment grade (to BBB-), CityAM reports, to ensure that Greek and Cypriot banks can also get involved.

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Virgin Money plans £2 billion flotation

October 03 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Virgin Money plans £2 billion flotation

Virgin Money has become the latest challenger bank to announce plans to float on the stock market.

With Lloyds Banking Group well on its way to selling off TSB in its entirety through some wildly successful share sales, it looks like the market is strong for challenger banks.

TSB has seen its shares perform strongly since its initial public offering (IPO). OneSavings Bank, controlled by the US’ JC Flowers, also listed this year and specialist lender Aldermore has announced its intention to follow suit. Now, the next challenger to say it intends to pursue an IPO is Virgin Money.

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New dawn for Co-op Group?

October 02 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

New dawn for Co-op Group?

The Co-operative Group could be moving into a new era amid a period of major changes.

The Co-operative Group has had a difficult couple of years, with sizeable losses and gaps in its finances alongside some major scandals. But this month could well see the start of a new era for the company – by focusing in on the abiding principles on which it was founded.

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Lloyds sells off 11.5% more of TSB stake after IPO success

September 26 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Lloyds sells off 11.5% more of TSB stake after IPO success

Lloyds Banking Group has continued to sell off its stake in TSB with a further divestment of 11.5 per cent.

Lloyds Banking Group has been edging closer and closer to washing its hands of challenger bank TSB for months. Today (26 September) it has emerged it has raised another £161 million from selling off a further 11.5 per cent stake in the promising lender.

It’s clear that Lloyds has wasted no time in bringing the latest sale to market, having promised it would not sell any more shares until this week.

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Dubai IFC to issue $700 million Islamic sukuk bonds

September 23 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Dubai IFC to issue $700 million Islamic sukuk bonds

Dubai International Finance Centre will be issuing Islamic sukuk bonds worth $700 million next month, it has announced.

Dubai has become more and more important as a financial hub for the Gulf region. A growing number of companies are choosing to set up there and its reach is becoming increasingly global. With the announcement of a large-scale new sukuk next month, it is consolidating its position in the Islamic finance category.

Governor and executive chairman Essa Kazim of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) announced the move last weekend, on 21 September, at the same time as the finance hub’s half-year operating review.

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