Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Out of office: what the homeworking revolution means for our cities

February 27, 2021 at 04:00PM

Employees’ reluctance to return to full-time commuting after a year of Covid means change is afoot for companies

Susanna* has spent most of lockdown in back-to-back Zoom meetings. It is a major change for the senior banker, who used to commute to London from her home in rural Lincolnshire and regularly travelled across the country to meet business customers face to face.

The 55-year-old does not miss the 5.30am alarms or spending three nights a week away from her husband and son. And she appreciates the way the bank’s management has banned calls between noon and 1pm – now dubbed “golden hour” – and cuts video meetings off after 50 minutes to give staff a brief buffer. But working from home has felt relentless, and after nearly a year she is longing to return to some sort of normality.

I have been really impressed with how productive we can be without being together in a building

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/2Mu94zq

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Amanda Staveley v Barclays: a financial defeat but a PR victory

February 26, 2021 at 05:17PM

The high-profile financier lost her high court claim but Barclays walks away wounded

When Roger Jenkins hotfooted it out of one crunch meeting in his Mayfair home in the autumn of 2008 – and straight round the corner to another at the Dorchester hotel – Barclays’ then chairman of investment banking could hardly have imagined that the minutiae of those encounters would linger in anybody’s memory for long.

The purpose and potential consequences of the meetings could not have appeared more simple and pressing, as the financial world was in a midst of genuine crisis that had just caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers on Wall Street.

Related: Amanda Staveley sues Barclays for £1.5bn in high court

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/37St7Px

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Amanda Staveley loses high court action against Barclays

February 26, 2021 at 01:03PM

High-profile financier sought £660m damages saying bank bosses misled her as she helped secure deal to save bank in 2008

Businesswoman Amanda Staveley has lost her high court battle against Barclays over allegations that the bank behaved deceitfully during its emergency fundraising during the financial crisis.

Staveley had sued the bank after her client, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, invested £3.25bn in Barclays when the bank turned to Qatar and Abu Dhabi to raise money and avoid a UK government bailout. The verdict means Barclays will not have to pay the £660m sought by Staveley.

Related: Ex-Barclays banker’s sexist comments about Amanda Staveley released

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3sscjqs

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Goldman Sachs’ boss wants bankers back to their desks ASAP

February 25, 2021 at 02:35PM

The corporate world is becoming split over home working, with David Solomon branding it ‘an aberration’

The chief executive of Goldman Sachs has signalled his determination to get his bankers back behind their office desks, calling home working an “aberration” that must be corrected “as soon as possible”.

While the bank operated successfully throughout the Covid crisis with less than 10% of its 34,000 global staff working in the bank’s offices, David Solomon dashed the hopes of any Goldman staff hoping to split their time between their homes and offices in the future, saying it did not represent “a new normal” for the firm.

Related: Lloyds and HSBC are shedding office space … did they have too much to begin with?

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3uybUoo

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Tax abuse and money laundering is trapping billions in poverty, says UN

February 25, 2021 at 05:00AM

Report claims up to 10% of the world’s wealth could be hidden offshore and calls for global banking reform

Billions of people around the world are being trapped in poverty by systemic tax abuses, corruption and money laundering, according to a UN commission report calling for a global crackdown.

The UN panel on financial integrity for sustainable development urged governments to overhaul tax rules and the banking system to help end poverty and tackle the climate emergency.

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3aRtBYj

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Lloyds and HSBC are shedding office space … did they have too much to begin with?

February 24, 2021 at 07:57PM

Why there may be more to the announcement of Covid-inspired cuts than meets the eye

Here comes another bank that has decided, apparently definitively, that working practices will not return to their pre-pandemic norms. Lloyds Banking Group says it plans to shed 20% of its office space. Earlier this week, HSBC said it would get rid of 40%.

These figures are so dramatic that they invite suspicion. Have managements really come to the firm view that working from home is so popular that employees’ demands for flexibility must be granted? Or did these banks have too much office space in the first place and now wish to save a few quid?

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/2NWYIbI

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Lloyds profits plunge after £4.2bn put aside for Covid defaults

February 24, 2021 at 08:07AM

Banking group becomes latest UK lender to resume dividend payments

Profits at Lloyds Banking Group have plunged 72% after the bank was forced to put aside more than £4bn to protect itself from a potential jump in defaults linked to the Covid crisis.

Lloyds, which also runs the Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands, reported pre-tax profits of £1.2bn for 2020, down from £4.4bn a year earlier. However, that is higher than the £905m analysts had forecast.

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3bBieTg

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

A demerger is HSBC’s only way to solve its Hong Kong problem

February 23, 2021 at 10:30PM

With 90% of its profits coming from Asia, the bank’s ultimate decision will surely be to follow Beijing’s lead

A new (ish) chief executive is at the helm of HSBC, so it’s time for another bout of corporate introspection. “We’re going to stop trying to be everything to everyone,” says Noel Quinn. Was that – finally – a recognition that life as a socially responsible UK-regulated bank is impossible to square with the commercial necessity to dance to Beijing’s tune when Hong Kong’s last freedoms are being squashed?

Actually, no. Quinn’s version of HSBC’s longstanding “pivot to Asia” strategy was merely about shedding retail banking operations in the US and France. The UK operation is staying put, apparently. For good measure, he added an ode to the joys of the soulless Canary Wharf.

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3qS1qxN

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

HSBC looks to Asia after profits plunge 34%

February 23, 2021 at 06:18AM

More executive roles are expected to relocate to home base of Hong Kong as part of Asia shift, where most of its earnings come from

HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank, has recorded a 34% drop in profit for 2020 as it prepares to double down on its operations in Hong Kong and China despite concern about the political crackdown in the former UK colony.

The bank said on Tuesday that pre-tax profit was down from $13.3bn (£9.4bn) in 2019 to $8.8bn in the 12 months to 31 December, while the adjusted profit before tax of $12.1bn (£8.6bn) fell 76% on the year before.

Related: Human rights and climate crisis give HSBC an image problem

Related: How HSBC got caught in a geopolitical storm over Hong Kong security law

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3bqcJH2

Categories
BankingTech FinTech

Mark Carney joins the board of digital payment firm Stripe

February 21, 2021 at 01:49PM

Former Bank of England governor’s appointment comes as £100bn-plus fintech company enters new funding round

Mark Carney, former head of the UK and Canadian central banks, has joined the board of US digital payments company Stripe Inc, days after the firm was reported to be planning a primary funding round valuing it at more than $100bn (£71bn).

“Regulated in multiple jurisdictions and partnering with several dozen financial institutions around the world, Stripe will benefit from Mark Carney‘s extensive experience of global financial systems and governance,” the company said on Sunday, confirming a report by the Sunday Times newspaper.

Related: UN appoints Mark Carney to help finance climate action goals

Continue reading… via Banking | The Guardian https://bit.ly/3udLS9P