Connect with us

Top Stories

FINANCIAL SERVICES: IS BREXIT A TRIGGER FOR TRANSFORMATION?

Published

on

FINANCIAL SERVICES: IS BREXIT A TRIGGER FOR TRANSFORMATION?

Phil Hussey, Vice President, Industry Strategic Services, IBM UK.

London is one of the most successful financial centres in the world, and a key driver of the UK’s economic growth. However, maintaining this position will become increasingly challenging in the next couple of years as our financial services industry is also likely to be one of those most strongly affected by Brexit. Fears about banks losing access to the Single European Market, passporting rights and skilled talent are just some of the uncertainties that keep industry professionals awake at night. And while the debate about whether there will be a ‘hard Brexit’ or a ‘soft Brexit’ continues to drive speculation about the future of UK banking, financial organisations need to be able to adapt to the new market conditions regardless of what the outcome is.

Tough regulation is here to stay

There is more financial regulation at play in the financial services industry than ever, from the Payment Services Directive to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive and many more. The cost of compliance with these regulations is ever increasing and Brexit will put even more pressure on banks and the government to synchronise UK and EU regulations in a way that doesn’t penalise banks.

The so-called regulatory ‘equivalence’ with the EU is often cited as the main fall-back option for the UK financial services industry following Brexit, where UK regulation is deemed equivalent to that which applies to the EU. Negotiations around this will be key for securing the future of the financial services industry and its access to European markets.

Questions remain around cross-border operations

As outlined by a recent Open Europe report, one of the key factors to consider for cross-border operations following Brexit are the ‘passporting’ regulations in place.

Currently, a UK business is able to provide a range of financial services anywhere in the EU, and in the wider European Economic Area (EEA), while being based in the UK and regulated by UK authorities. This is because businesses offering financial services have ‘passporting’ rights which allow them to offer financial services to the rest of the EEA (28 EU members plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) while only having to follow one set of regulations. Continuing access to EU markets could be a challenge following Brexit as UK banks may lose these rights and companies may move to other EU countries if these rules are not maintained.

If the UK leaves the EU without retaining EEA membership, then there are two options in terms of passporting. The UK can negotiate some level of bilateral agreements (as exists with Switzerland) or banks can lose passporting rights. Both of these options could have a negative impact on the ability of UK firms to provide services to the rest of the EEA.

Another question is whether firms will continue to host their EU headquarters in London and this will depend on the post-Brexit model that is agreed. If the passport system is not maintained,some global firms may choose to move their EU headquarters away from the UK.

Consumer banking habits are set to change
An economic downturn sparked by Brexit could impact consumer confidence and cause a minor recession, hitting banks in terms of reduced consumer borrowing. Both businesses and households may suffer from the loss of liquidity and increased cost of financial services.

Ripples could also be felt in the corporate client and financial markets sectors. A recent report published by the British Bankers’ Association suggested that the private banking sector could be particularly affected. Affluent clients that use private banking services are classed as retail customers and there is not yet a regulatory equivalence framework in place for retail customers, meaning UK private banks could be cut off from their EU clients.

Addressing these challenges will require banks to change their operating models and become more adaptive to changing customer demand. The ability to shift capital and operational expenditure quickly to where it’s needed will be key for achieving this. Moreover, banks will need to develop tailored financial services, flexible mortgage products and loyalty programmes to respond to the changing banking habits of consumer and business customers, maintaining their loyalty and trust.

Offsetting potential losses

Banks already have escalating costs, particularly in relation to regulatory compliance and many are in cost reduction mode. This conservative attitude to spending is likely to continue as we approach Brexit. It is well documented that ‘Run the Bank’(RTB) budgets are escalating and in the low interest rate environment ‘Change the Bank’ (CTB) budget is fast running out. This leaves banks in a very difficult position. They need to innovate to stay competitive and win customers, however spiralling costs are squeezing budgets for CTB projects. In this scenario, radical cost take-out programmes and offsetting of change budgets will become increasingly attractive.

Opportunities to innovate

To maintain their competitive edge, financial services firms will have to look at innovative ways to adjust their operating models,with profits squeezed in the current environment of uncertainty. This, combined with increasing operational costs, the cost of regulatory compliance and the rise of disruptive fin-tech start-ups could create a perfect storm.

While this all sounds daunting, the disruption we’re facing provides an opportunity to look at existing operations, consider what efficiencies can be made and use Brexit as the motivation to drive these forward.

Firms will need to review their infrastructure and technology landscape to ensure they are as agile as possible, allowing them to bring new products to market quickly. With regard to core technology, they should look to third parties to maintain their systems instead of owning them outright, to reduce costs and ensure operations can be easily adjusted according to market changes.

Now is the time for financial services firms to consider what Brexit will mean for them, how their operating model will need to change and how they define their brand value in this uncertain market. While many are focusing on the risks as we approach Brexit, it’s also worth considering the opportunities it presents.

Top Stories

Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises

Published

on

Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises 1

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – A combination of heightened risk appetite in global markets and UK-specific optimism lifted the pound on Wednesday, as it strengthened to its highest in nearly three years against the dollar and five-month highs against the euro.

The dollar weakened against major currencies for the third straight session, helped by U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s urging lawmakers to “act big” on spending and worry about debt later.

The pound rose above $1.37, hitting $1.3720 — its highest since May 2018 — at 1045 GMT. By 1136 GMT it had eased some gains and changed hands at $1.3687, up 0.4% on the day and up 0.2% so far this year.

Versus the euro, the pound hit a five-month high of 88.38 pence per euro, before easing to 88.51 at 1137 GMT, up around 0.5% on the day.

The pound’s recent strengthening can be attributed in part to relief among investors that the impact of Brexit has not caused the chaos some feared, as well as a lessening of negative rates expectations, said Neil Jones, head of FX sales at Mizuho.

“Going into early 2021, there was a bearish sentiment building into the pound on the Brexit deal, in terms of maybe it had a limited reach, and then secondly an expectation of negative rates and so to some extent the market has been cutting down on sterling shorts because neither of those things have been quite so apparent as they were,” he said.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said last week that there were “lots of issues” with cutting interest rates below zero – a comment which caused sterling to jump.

The UK’s progress in rolling out vaccines is also seen as a positive for investors, Jones said.

Currently, the United Kingdom has vaccinated 4.27 million people with a first dose of the vaccine, among the best in the world per head of population.

“Further progress in vaccinations (a pick-up in the daily rate) by the time the BoE MPC meeting takes place on 4th February may prove enough to hold off on any additional monetary easing,” wrote Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.

Inflation data for December showed that prices in the UK picked up by more than expected in December, to a 0.6% annual rate.0.6

Inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target since mid-2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it close to zero as the economy tanked.

(Graphic: CFTC: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakpeyayxpr/CFTC.png)

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Larry King)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar

Published

on

Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar 2

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – The euro struggled to join a broader risk rally against the dollar on Wednesday as analysts said the risk of extended lockdowns in Europe to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the continent’s lag in a vaccine rollout were weighing on the currency.

Down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.2117 by 1130 GMT, Europe’s shared currency had only the safe-haven Swiss franc and Sweden’s crown for company in resisting a broad rally against the greenback by the G-10 group of currencies.

“We’re getting more headlines that the current lockdowns will be extended further, which could mean that the euro zone would be flirting with a double-dip recession before long,” said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole, noting Europe’s lag in rolling out a coronavirus vaccine compared to the United States and Britain.

“So all of that plays into the story that tomorrow’s ECB meeting, while uneventful in terms of policy announcements, could convey a relatively dovish message to the market. On top of that, President Lagarde could once again jawbone the euro, so the euro is kind of lagging behind.”

Marinov also noted price action in the pound, which hit $1.3720 – a 2-1/2-year high – and 88.38 pence – its highest since May 2020 against the euro – as a contributing factor to euro weakness. [GBP/]

There was also focus on a story by Bloomberg News, which reported the European Central Bank was conducting its bond purchases with specific yield spreads in mind, a strategy that would be reminiscent of yield curve control.

Elsewhere, the risk-sensitive Australian dollar gained 0.4% to $0.7727. The New Zealand dollar, also a commodity currency like the Aussie, gained 0.25% to $0.7133.

DOLLAR WEAKNESS

While the world will be watching Joe Biden’s inauguration as U.S. president at noon in Washington (1700 GMT), traders were more focused on his policies than the ceremony.

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers at her confirmation hearing to “act big” on stimulus spending and said she believes in market-determined exchange rates, without expressing a view on the dollar’s direction.

The index that measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of peers was up almost 0.1% at 90.510. The euro forms nearly 60% of the dollar index by weight.

It also fell 0.1% against the Japanese yen to 103.81 yen per dollar.

While the dollar has perked up in recent weeks on the back of a rise in U.S. Treasury yields, investors still expect the currency to weaken.

“We remain bearish U.S. dollar, and expect the downtrend to resume as U.S. real yields top out,” said Ebrahim Rahbari, FX strategist at CitiFX.

“Continued Fed dovishness remains important for our view, in addition to global recovery, so we’ll watch upcoming Fed-speak closely.”

Positioning data shows investors are overwhelmingly short dollars as they figure that budget and current account deficits will weigh on the greenback.

(Graphic: Dollar positioning: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/oakveyombvr/Pasted%20image%201611132945366.png)

UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment officer Mark Haefele reiterated a bearish view on the dollar, saying that pro-cyclical currencies such as the euro, commodity-producer currencies, and the pound would benefit “from a broadening economic recovery supported by vaccine rollouts”.

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin fell 4%, trading at $34,468.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry

Published

on

England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 3

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Burberry stuck to its full-year goals on Wednesday after a media campaign fronted by high-profile English soccer star and social justice advocate Marcus Rashford drew a younger clientele to the British luxury brand.

Higher full-price sales would boost annual margins and Asian demand remained strong, Burberry said, while warning that it could suffer more sales disruption from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Manchester United striker Rashford, 23, has won plaudits for his campaign to help ensure that poorer children do not go hungry with schools closed during the pandemic.

A first coronavirus wave last year cut Burberry’s sales by as much as 45% before a bounce back on strong demand in mainland China and South Korea, which continued in the last few months.

Shares in Burberry were up 5% to 1,825 pence at 0905 GMT, with Citi analysts saying that improved sales quality from fewer markdowns would drive full-year consensus upgrades.

Burberry’s 9% sales decline in its third quarter was worse than the 6% fall in the second, and the company said that 15% of stores were currently closed and 36% operating with restrictions as a result of measures to curb COVID-19’s spread.

“We expect trading will remain susceptible to regional disruptions as we close the financial year,” Burberry said, adding that it was confident of rebounding when the pandemic eases given the brand’s resonance with customers.

In the third quarter, comparable store sales in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa declined 37%, hit by shops shut in lockdowns and a lack of tourists visiting Europe, but in the same period, it posted sales growth of 11% in Asia Pacific.

Burberry said that Britain’s new relationship with the European Union would cause headwinds, warning of a modest increase in costs to comply with new rules and also the impact of an end to a scheme for VAT refunds for non-EU tourists.

This would make Britain a less attractive destination for luxury shopping when tourism returns after the pandemic, Burberry said, adding that it would try to mitigate the effect.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, James Davey and Alexander Smith)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Why You Should Take On Debt To Stop Dilution 4 Why You Should Take On Debt To Stop Dilution 5
Finance12 hours ago

Why You Should Take On Debt To Stop Dilution

By Blair Silverberg, CEO of Capital Imagine an exciting space dominated by two major companies, each growing and developing at...

Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023 6 Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023 7
Business12 hours ago

Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023

BEIJING (Reuters) – German premium automaker Audi aims to sell 1 million vehicles in China in 2023, versus 726,000 vehicles...

Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge 8 Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge 9
Business12 hours ago

Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge

By Lisa Richwine and Eva Mathews (Reuters) – Netflix Inc said on Tuesday its global subscriber rolls crossed 200 million...

MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain 10 MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain 11
Business13 hours ago

MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain

By Tanishaa Nadkar (Reuters) – Casino operator MGM Resorts International on Tuesday ditched plans to buy Ladbrokes owner Entain after...

Mike Ashley's Frasers ups stake in Hugo Boss to over 15% 12 Mike Ashley's Frasers ups stake in Hugo Boss to over 15% 13
Business13 hours ago

Mike Ashley’s Frasers ups stake in Hugo Boss to over 15%

(Reuters) – Mike Ashley-led Frasers said on Tuesday it has increased its stake in German luxury fashion house Hugo Boss...

Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises 14 Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises 15
Top Stories13 hours ago

Sterling rises above $1.37 for first time since 2018; UK inflation rises

By Elizabeth Howcroft LONDON (Reuters) – A combination of heightened risk appetite in global markets and UK-specific optimism lifted the...

Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar 16 Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar 17
Top Stories13 hours ago

Euro sinks amid broader risk rally against dollar

By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – The euro struggled to join a broader risk rally against the dollar on Wednesday...

Britain to publish new weekly consumer spending data 18 Britain to publish new weekly consumer spending data 19
Finance14 hours ago

Britain to publish new weekly consumer spending data

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s statistics office said it would publish new weekly consumer spending data from Thursday, based on credit...

Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla 20 Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla 21
Business14 hours ago

Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla

By Nick Carey (Reuters) – Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday unveiled the EQA, a new electric compact SUV as part...

England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 22 England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry 23
Top Stories14 hours ago

England soccer star Rashford nets younger buyers for Burberry

By Sarah Young LONDON (Reuters) – Burberry stuck to its full-year goals on Wednesday after a media campaign fronted by...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now