Barclays profits treble to nearly £3.2bn thanks to Brexit and Trump

Roberto Herrett/flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Thur, 23 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – –

Barclays profits have surged after the cost of past misconduct fell and traders cashed in on market volatility following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election.

The bank said profits rose 182% to £3.2bn from £1.1bn the year before.

It saw a sharp fall in litigation and conduct costs for the year, from £4.4bn in 2015 to £1.4bn last year – though conceded that the threat of US action over past behaviour still hung over the business.

Meanwhile, income from its markets division rose 9% to £5.3bn helped by increased volatility and higher activity in part of the business “post the EU referendum decision and US elections”.

The wider corporate and investment arm of Barclays saw a 14% rise in profits to £2.6bn.

Chief executive Jes Staley received a pay package worth £4.2m for his first full year in the job though the total bonus pool for staff edged down slightly – from £1.54bn to £1.53bn.

It comes days after results from rival HSBC which showed that it was buffeted by “unexpected economic and political events” as profits fell 62%.

HSBC had also reiterated contingency plans to shift 1,000 jobs to France depending on the nature of any Brexit deal but Mr Staley said Barclays had no plans to move staff to Europe.

He said the UK was proving resilient to Brexit uncertainty and said he believed London would “remain the financial centre that it is today”.

Mr Staley added that the bank would “lighten” a hiring freeze put in place last year, which saw the workforce reduce by 15,000.

Barclays has like other UK banks been weighed down by growing multibillion-pound bills to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) in earlier years.

The bank's results reflected the fact that it added £1bn to this bill in 2016, but this compared to £2.8bn the year before.

On Wednesday, Lloyds Banking Group also reported a huge increase to its bottom line thanks to its PPI costs falling year-on-year.

However, the prospect of US action over its sale of mortgage-backed financial products in the run-up financial crisis still hangs over Barclays, after a Department of Justice civil case was filed in December.

Mr Staley said: “Certain legacy conduct issues remain and we intend to make further progress on them.”

The chief executive, who took charge just over a year ago following the departure of predecessor Antony Jenkins, said overall the bank had made “strong progress”.

He said: “We are now just months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays, and I am more optimistic than ever for our prospects in 2017, and beyond.”

The restructuring includes hiving off its Africa business, a move which will see the group pay the division £765m.

Mr Staley is aiming to refocus Barclays as a “transatlantic, consumer, corporate and investment bank, anchored in London and New York”.

Shares climbed 4% in morning trading.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Businesses throughout England to face higher rates this April

Many businesses throughout England will face higher rates this April – but a row's broken out over just how many will be hit and how much more they're going to have to pay. In a private letter, the Communities Secretary assured worried MPs that rates would actually fall for the majority of companies in their constituencies – but now he's being accused of misleading them after a report suggested the majority would go up. ‘Nonsense' says the Government.

Amazon, Deliveroo and Uber under scrutiny over employment

 

Amazon, Deliveroo and Uber have told MPs their businesses would survive if they no longer relied on self-employed workers. The companies, along with Hermes, have come under scrutiny for not giving those employees sick pay, pensions, or a minimum wage.

Asda seeing early signs of a turnaround under its new boss

grassrootsgroundswell/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Tue, 21 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – –
Asda said it was seeing early signs of a turnaround under its new boss as it credited a shake-up over the last year for helping to stem falling sales.

Britain's third biggest supermarket, owned by US retail giant Walmart, reported a 2.9% fall in comparable sales for the three months to the end of December.

It was the tenth straight quarter of decline and compares unfavourably with the performance of major rivals over the key Christmas period.

But it represents an improvement on the drop of 5.8% in the previous period and a record drop of 7.5% before that.

Asda replaced boss Andy Clarke with long-serving Walmart executive Sean Clarke last summer.

He said the Leeds-based company was “encouraged by the early signs of our customers responding positively to the hard work that's been happening in our stores throughout 2016”.

The chief executive said it had welcomed more than 140,000 customers back to Asda in the quarter.

“We are putting customers first and have sharpened our prices, improved our ranges and availability, all with friendly service,” Mr Clarke said.

Walmart boss Doug McMillon said: “In the UK, we faced some challenges this past year and we're addressing this with urgency.

“I'm glad comp store sales improved during the fourth quarter, but we have a lot of work to do.”

Asda said in September that it was lowering thousands of prices on everyday favourites by an average of 15% as well as improving the quality of own-brand ranges.

It has been feeling the brunt of the ferocious price war engulfing the supermarket sector as it vies with “big four” rivals Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons for a share of the market being gnawed away by discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Earlier this month, Walmart said it was throwing more of its global buying power behind Asda to help it beat rivals on price.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said: “It is evident that Walmart must get a firmer grip on this part of the business.”

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Kraft Heinz’s Rapid Retreat From Unilever Bid

 

 

US company Kraft Heinz's rapid retreat from its surprise bid for Unilever sent the Anglo-Dutch group's shares down over seven percent on Monday in London and Amsterdam. They had jumped 13 percent when the offer became public on Friday, but over the weekend the Americans said they were pulling out in the face of stiff resistance. The weaker pound since the Brexit vote made the takeover more attractive but the British government recently signalled it would look closely at foreign takeovers especially if job losses were expected.

Addison Lee’s chief executive Andy Boland on Brexit, electric cars and the threat of Uber

 

 

Mini cab company Addison Lee's chief executive Andy Boland tells Ian King Live the Government must make major investment in Britain's charging infrastructure, or else electric cars will never fully take off.

Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Rules for Success

 

 

Warren Buffett is a billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and the second wealthiest person on the planet. He's considered by many to be one of the most successful investors in the world. Today, we're analyzing our take on Warren Buffett's rules for success.

Worlds First Cashless Fuel Payment Cars

 

 

In a world-first, Jaguar and Land Rover owners can now pay for their fuel via the touchscreen of their car at Shell service stations. Rather than paying at the pump or queuing to pay in the shop, installing the Shell app via InControl means drivers can simply drive up to any pump at participating Shell service stations, select how much fuel they require and pay with PayPal or Apple Pay on the vehicle’s touchscreen.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Discusses His 5,800-word Global Manifesto

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 17 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – –

Mark Zuckerberg has sparked further speculation about a future political career after publishing a 5,800-word global manifesto.

The Facebook co-founder and chief executive spent a month writing the missive in which he opened by asking the question: "Are we building the world we all want?"

He suggested that some people had been "left behind by globalisation" and that efforts must be made to "bring communities together".

Mr Zuckerberg, 32, said: "Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. Yet now, across the world, there are people left behind by globalisation, and movements for withdrawing from global connection."

Facebook was started by Mr Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, and he is now worth an estimated $50 billion.

The social media magnate said his latest message, published on his Facebook page, was not motivated by any one particular event, not even the US election. But he was concerned by a rising tide of opinion that "connecting the world" as Facebook sought to do was no longer a good thing.

Mr Zuckerberg said he still strongly believes in "connecting the world". However, it was "not enough if it's good for some people but it doesn't work for other people. We really have to bring everyone along".

He added: "In times like these the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us." Mr Zuckerberg lamented the fading of traditional social communities such as churches, labour unions and local community groups.

He wrote: "A healthy society needs these communities to support our personal, emotional and spiritual needs. "In a world where this physical social infrastructure has been declining we have a real opportunity to help strengthen these communities and the social fabric of our society." It was the latest indication that Mr Zuckerberg could eventually seek political office.

He recently persuaded the Facebook board to allow him to maintain control of the company if he ever takes a leave of absence to serve in government.

Mr Zuckerberg also recently announced his new year resolution for 2017 was to meet with people from every state in the US, to "talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future".

By Nick Allen  

Tata steelworkers vote in favour of pension scheme change to rescue firm

 

 

Tony Taylor, a local councillor who worked at the Port Talbot steelworks for more than 40 years, and Frank Field, the chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee, discuss the vote by steelworkers in favour of adopting a deal that will see a change to their pensions schemes in order to save their jobs.

Verizon close to renegotiating its deal to acquire Yahoo’s internet assets

 

 

Bloomberg has reported that Verizon is close to renegotiating its deal to acquire Yahoo's internet assets. According to sources familiar with the matter, the $4.8 billion price tag for the acquisition “could be coming down by as much as $250 million.” Neither Yahoo or Verizon has confirmed this number yet. Last month Yahoo said the deal to sell to Verizon was “delayed but still on” as the company dealt with hacking controversies and a new reported investigation “by the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations it was slow to tell its investors about the hacks.”

UK companies hiring more workers as few show signs of worry over the economy

Tim Tabor/flickr (qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed, 15 Feb, 2017) London, Uk – – More workers than ever before are employed in the UK as upbeat companies show few signs of worry over the state of the economy. Employment climbed by 37,000 to 31.84m in the three months to December, while unemployment stayed steady at 1.6m – a level which has fallen by almost 100,000 over the past year as a whole. The unemployment rate stayed at 4.8pc, its joint-lowest rate in 11 years while the employment rate hit a new record high of 74.6pc. Female employment hit a new milestone, with more than 70pc of women in work for the first time, according to the Office for National Statistics. Economists had feared that unemployment could start to rise if companies anticipated an economic slowdown, but there is little evidence of that so far. The number of people claiming out of work benefits in January fell by 42,400 to 745,000, the lowest level since February 2016. “Continued moderate growth in employment has led to a new high in the total employment rate, while the rate for women has reached 70pc for the first time on record,” said ONS senior statistician David Freeman. “Overall, the labour market appears to be edging towards full capacity.” Wage growth was more muted, however. Average weekly pay increased by 2.6pc on the year, down a touch from the 2.7pc growth in the year to November. That comes at a time of rising inflation – prices rose by 1.6pc in the 12 months to December, meaning workers’ spending power increased at the slowest pace since 2014. Economist James Smith at ING said “the surprise fall in wage growth is… alarming”, adding that he does not expect pay to pick up pace in the coming months. “We expect inflation to break above 3pc this year, which will mean that incomes will begin to fall in real terms,” he said. “Add in the slower outlook for jobs growth, and it looks like it could be an increasingly tough year for consumers.” Meanwhile, the number of non-UK workers in the country dipped by 9,000 compared with the previous three-month period, falling to 5.54m. That is still up by more than 400,000 on the year, however, and the ONS said it could just be a seasonal dip rather than a sign of fewer foreign workers moving to the UK after the Brexit referendum.

By Tim Wallace