|Bid||104.70 x 0|
|Ask||104.85 x 0|
|Day's range||103.76 - 108.00|
|52-week range||2.23 - 266.10|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.27|
|PE ratio (TTM)||4.04|
|Earnings date||14 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.06 (5.74%)|
|Ex-dividend date||26 Mar 2020|
|1y target est||301.06|
With the future of many coronavirus hit firms in their hands, British banks, still scarred by the financial crisis, are worried that they are being asked by a desperate government to make loans that will never be repaid. This caution, combined with the challenges of an unprecedented demand for loans, is testing the British public's fragile faith in the lenders, which have spent a decade trying to rebuild their battered reputations and capital positions. "We've got to only make loans that we can reasonably believe people will be able to repay after the crisis has gone; to businesses which will still be there," Ian Rand, who runs business lending at Barclays, told Reuters.
Banks have been criticised for being too slow and in some cases profiteering through the government's coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.
Delaying remaining elements of new global bank capital rules for a year will give lenders in Britain time to focus on dealing with fallout from the coronavirus epidemic, the Bank of England and Britain's finance ministry said on Thursday. "This will provide operational capacity for banks and supervisors to respond to the immediate financial stability priorities from the impact of Covid-19," the BoE's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and finance ministry said in a joint statement. The PRA and finance ministry said they were committed to the full, timely and consistent implementation of the new rules and "we will work together towards a UK implementation timetable that is consistent with the one year delay".
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The scramble to replace vanishing revenue is forcing businesses to take extreme measures. In the U.K, a firm recently broke the revered convention that a company shouldn’t dilute its shareholders by hurriedly selling a massive stake in itself in the open market. It saved on bankers, lawyers, time and paperwork. One week on, this maverick approach has gained official acceptance.Normally a big corporate share sale is about cutting debt or paying for a big takeover. There’s plenty of time to do this properly via a so-called rights offer: the lengthy process whereby investors get priority allocation on any new stock being sold (hence the “rights”). Today’s need for equity is different. Many companies suddenly have zero cash coming in due to measures aimed at combating the coronavirus. Their lenders may not help unless shareholders dig deep too. There’s no time to lose.The solution that’s emerged is to flout British custom and follow U.S. practice instead: Just sell a big slab of shares, ideally to existing shareholders, but ultimately to whomever will take them. After all, anti-dilution protection is not enshrined in U.K. law but in guidance stating that share sales of more than 10% of the company should essentially be via rights offers. That guidance was sensibly revised on Wednesday, with the threshold lifted to 20% over the next six months. Bosses will need to explain why they’re forgoing a rights offer and still try hard to raise the equity from existing owners.Airport caterer SSP Group Plc blazed the trail last week and sold a 20% stake in the market for 216 million pounds ($268 million). HSBC Holdings Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc simultaneously agreed to lend it 113 million pounds. Each slab of cash appeared to rely on the other being committed.Sticking with the old guidance was not a realistic option. Investment banks could have agreed to underwrite a “standby” rights offer at a price so low it would have wiped out existing shareholders, for a tidy fee. With that backstop secured, an orderly fundraising might have been possible, for another fee. But SSP’s share price would have subsequently tumbled, and the proceeds would have taken weeks to land. Lenders could have then charged the earth for bridging the financing gap.Why ever bother with a rights offer if you can just do what SSP did? Should nimble share placings become the norm? One argument against this is that small shareholders still get diluted. However in this case, they actually did OK: SSP shares rallied. The institutional shareholders who bought the deal paid a premium to SSP’s prior-day share price; there was no VIP bargain. Moreover, speedy share placings could also be made subject to clawback by smaller holders, with some tweaks to the current documentation requirements.The real problem is many firms will need to raise even more than 20% of their share capital this year. Share offerings that big require a chunky prospectus anyway under European regulations. And at that size, the case for ignoring anti-dilution rights is weaker.Shareholders know multiple demands for cash are looming. Companies should form an orderly queue, ask for no more and no less than they need, and choose their methods accordingly.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Governments are helping businesses survive the debilitating effects of the coronavirus by allocating state funds to various rescue packages to keep companies alive and preserve as many jobs as possible. With unprecedented amounts of economic stimulus planned to combat an unparalleled situation, it’s essential that the authorities spare at least some attention to what a post-pandemic exit strategy might look like. Once the virus is subdued and the lockdowns end, governments should convert a chunk of the aid they’ve distributed into equity stakes in the recipients, with the ensuing portfolio of holdings assembled into sovereign wealth funds.Norway currently has the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, overseeing about $945 billion and funded by the nation’s oil revenue. Singapore has had a wealth fund for more than four decades. Egypt, Senegal and Turkey have all set up wealth funds in recent years to manage their state-owned companies, with South Africa saying earlier this year that it plans a similar move.Countries in Europe have toyed with the idea in the past. In August, a draft proposal for a “European Future Fund” suggested an initial 100 billion-euro ($110 billion) pot could be set aside to invest in strategic industries in the European Union. But as my colleague Ferdinando Giugliano argued at the time, the EU is not a sovereign state, and such a fund would just divert existing budget resources rather than tapping a pool of wealth.In the U.K., the May 2017 Conservative Party manifesto proposed what it called Future Britain funds, which would “hold in trust the investments of the British people, backing British infrastructure and the British economy.” The pitch said the money would come from “shale gas extraction, dormant assets and the receipts of sale of some public assets.” Almost three years later, there’s still no sign of those plans being enacted. (That’s probably just as well given their paltry financial underpinning; as myself and my colleague Marcus Ashworth wrote at the time, those sources would have provided a minuscule capital base, even before fracking was banned in Britain.)But the current crisis provides an opportunity for individual countries to make good on those vague promises by setting up wealth funds that are big enough to count as full-blown assets to society, given the scale of financial assistance that’s likely to be required to get through these dark days.They could start by assigning existing state investments to wealth funds. The U.K. government, for example, still owns about 60% of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, more than a decade after bailing out the ailing lender to the tune of more than 45 billion pounds ($56 billion) as part of a wider rescue of the domestic banking industry. The German government has a stake of almost 16% in Commerzbank AG, while Belgium and France have control of Dexia SA, split 53% to 47%.The global financial crisis made many banks wards of their states. Formalizing those stakes in wealth funds would be a way to start building state-owned asset portfolios. During normal times, governments could be sleeping equity partners. But in times of crisis — like now — governments would have a more direct pathway to influence lenders to help borrowers weather any economic storm. For the U.K., creating a wealth fund would solve the issue of preserving vital domestic infrastructure without handing free money to foreign conglomerates. The owners of Heathrow Airport, for example, include Qatar Holding, the government of Singapore’s GIC Pte Ltd., and the China Investment Corp. By making aid conditional on receipt of equity, Britain would be getting a stake at current distressed values in return for bailout funds.Today’s situation demands aid packages for a swathe of industries feeling the pain, including automakers and travel companies. If having such a broad range of stakes feels too interventionist, wealth-fund holdings could be restricted to infrastructure that’s vital to the economic functioning of a country. Though that could prove to be a tough distinction; given initial lockdown experiences, an argument could be made that suppliers of internet broadband and food delivery should qualify.For those who still insist the state should stay out of private enterprises, note that governments are already effectively telling companies how to run their affairs in return for aid. Earlier this week, Germany asked companies seeking help to suspend their dividends, with France also asking the same from firms that defer tax liabilities. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier also wants senior executives to “contribute in emergencies, especially with respect to bonus payments,” according to an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung at the weekend.One of the new realities of the post-virus economy will be increased state involvement in business. Companies are likely to come under pressure to shorten their supply chains and bring more manufacturing back home, wherever home may be. The lines of production will become shorter, as regional ties replace at least some of the worldwide outsourcing that has been a keystone of the globalized economy. That will be easier to enforce if governments’ holdings give them seats on corporate boards.Shareholdings would give governments additional clout to influence better corporate behavior as more nations embrace their responsibilities to the future of the planet. Until now, asset managers have long been leading the drive to force firms to give greater emphasis to environmental, social and governance issues.A decade ago, a key complaint about the rescue of the global financial system was that public money was used to compensate for private risk taking gone awry. While this crisis is undoubtedly different, there’s still a danger that as governments pledge billions of dollars, euros and pounds to businesses, public support will wane as the scale of the financial challenge becomes apparent. Building equity stakes that belong to the nation will help offset voter mistrust about the wisdom of such largess, allowing everyone to participate in the economic recovery that the disbursements are designed to facilitate.As the saying goes, never let a serious crisis go to waste.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Some financial firms are defining an unnecessarily large proportion of staff as "key workers" to ensure they can still come into the office or branch to work, according to a union representing thousands of bank employees. Together with healthcare workers, supermarket employees and delivery drivers, bank staff deemed vital to the stability of the UK economy have been granted freedoms to travel to their workplaces, under terms of a lockdown which began on March 20. Some employers have applied the special status excessively across their workforces, increasing risks to staff health, according to the Unite union whose membership includes bank branch employees and call centre workers.
(Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is pressing ahead with its restructuring plan, trimming its securitized credit team in London even as many of its peers halt job cuts amid the chaos caused by the coronavirus outbreak.RBS, soon to be renamed NatWest Group Plc, let go a team of traders and salespeople for asset-backed securities and collateralized loan obligations, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. CLO trader Antoine Dulucq and ABS trader Eric Huang, together with four sales staff were cut, the people said. Both declined to comment.The cuts come as NatWest’s new boss, Alison Rose, slashes the bank’s markets business. She said in February the restructuring of the markets unit will focus it on financial and risk management for corporate and institutional customers and will mean reducing the size of the rates business.A spokesperson for NatWest Markets, the bank’s securities arm, confirmed the team is being wound down as part of the broader shakeup.“We are reducing our market making offering in flow ABS, RMBS and CLO and will no longer make markets in third party-led flow programs,” the spokesperson said. “We remain committed to our securitised products financing and solutions business, and will continue to undertake primary distribution and provide secondary liquidity to NatWest Markets-led programs.”The bank’s approach appears to jar with that of its peers. HSBC Holdings Plc is putting on hold as many as 35,000 job cuts while Lloyds Banking Group Plc halted plans to trim around 780 positions. Thousands of bankers are set for a reprieve at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc.In a sign of the times with many financial employees working from home, the cuts were announced to the team on a Zoom call, according to the people familiar with the matter.Structured credit, the epicenter of the 2008 financial crisis, has become a key trouble spot in the market convulsions during the coronavirus’s rampage around the world. Spreads on bonds backed by assets such as leveraged corporate loans and prime residential mortgages have spiked in the past month as panicked investors offload the notes to raise cash to meet redemptions.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (email@example.com), Joice Alves (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Julien Ponthus (email@example.com) in London. It seems quite clear now that Covid-19 may hit construction stocks harder than the 2008 global financial crisis did, as companies move to shut down construction sites on request of regulators or/and because demand has plummeted. Things seems quite dire to defensive stocks exposed to the construction sector as well, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a research note.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Financial regulators are applying all of the lessons of the 2008 credit crisis at record speed. In the past few weeks, they’ve worked with central banks to pump liquidity into markets and to make it easier for banks to lend. It’s essential now that lenders keep providing money to companies and households whose incomes have evaporated in the Covid-19 lockdowns. If the banks stop functioning, what hope for the rest of the economy?The next chapter in European regulators’ crisis playbook is ensuring that the banks don’t hand much of their excess capital to investors or keep paying hefty bonuses to senior staff. Supervisors are trying to make sure that financial firms remain solid by easing their capital rules, thereby freeing up hundreds of billions of dollars — that places a heavy burden on the banks to act responsibly. Shares in British banks, including HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc, fell sharply on Wednesday after they halted dividends at the Bank of England’s request.Regulators are also preempting a popular backlash by discouraging cash bonuses to bankers. This makes perfect sense, given the support that lenders have already received by way of looser regulation and state loan guarantees.As we’ve heard from supervisors and banking executives in recent weeks, banks — for now — remain part of the solution to the unprecedented economic shock, rather than the problem. This isn’t 2008.The excessive banker pay that fueled the risk binge in the run-up to the Lehmans meltdown is still fresh in people’s minds. What’s more, during the global financial crisis, banks often took too long to suspend dividends and buybacks, leaving themselves thinly capitalized as losses piled up and hastening the need for government bailouts. Excessive pay during and soon after the crisis, including at bailed-out institutions, rightly infuriated the taxpayers that were left footing the bill.More than a dozen years after the financial crisis, a number of Europe’s biggest lenders — Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, ABN Amro Bank NV and Commerzbank AG — are still at least partly state owned. Little surprise then that the U.K. regulator “expects banks not to pay any cash bonuses to senior staff, including all material risk takers,” while the European Banking Authority is urging firms to pay conservative bonuses and consider deferring awards for a longer period and in shares.It could be worse. While bankers won’t be able to cash in on their deferred compensation from previous years’ share awards after stocks plunged, they will have already received their 2019 variable cash compensation by now, and they’ll have plenty of time to prepare for next year.Take the 1,700 traders and bankers at Barclays, who’ll be affected by the measures. About 45% of their average pay of 825,000 pounds ($1 million) consists of fixed pay, 22% comes from share awards, and 23% is a cash bonus (of which 58% is deferred), according to Citigroup Inc. analysts. While cash is king — especially during an economic crisis — getting more of that pay package in shares wouldn’t necessarily be a disaster, even if people had to wait a few years to sell. Assuming stocks don’t bounce back too far from their current levels, bankers might be getting a lot of very cheap stock in 2021.And however painful the hit, regulators are probably just insisting on something that the markets will probably take care of over the rest of the year anyway. The first quarter may have been a bumper three months for trading in financial markets because of all of the volatility, activity could well be subdued over the coming quarters as the recession really hits. That would depress bonuses anyway. The very best financiers will expect to see their fixed pay rise to sweeten the blow, but for most of the thousands of bankers and traders fortunate enough to keep their jobs, lavish compensation will be a thing of the past. The crisis will be as Darwinian for investment banking as it is for every other pocket of the economy. Hanging on to your chair will be your 2021 bonus.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s biggest banks scrapped their dividends, sending their shares tumbling, after regulators pushed them to free up more money for loans to counter the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and withhold cash payouts for top staff.HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Barclays Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc all canceled their outstanding dividends and buybacks and said there would be no payments in 2020.The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority wrote to lenders on Tuesday, asking them to cancel dividend payments while calling attention to their role in supporting the wider economy. The watchdog included a sharp warning that it “expects banks not to pay any cash bonuses to senior staff, including all material risk takers.”The companies’ subsequent statements didn’t mention bonuses.The U.K. push to cut discretionary awards for senior managers follows a similar stance from the European Banking Authority. In its strongest warning to date, the EBA also said banks should set pay, and especially bonuses, at a “conservative level” during the crisis. Firms should also consider deferring awards for a longer period and paying staff in shares.Banks are under pressure globally from the virus-driven volatility in markets and slumping growth. At the same time, they’ve been at the front end of massive support from central banks and regulators, including relief on some capital buffers and more time to tackle soured loans.The U.K.’s five biggest banks had planned to pay out 7.5 billion pounds ($9.3 billion) in dividends over the next two months; Barclays was due to dole out more than 1 billion pounds on Friday.“It looks structurally bearish for the sector, namely: higher cost of equity, increased regulatory uncertainty, weaker investment cases in the event of future capital raises,” Jefferies analyst Joseph Dickerson wrote, adding that HSBC is likely the most hit.HSBC’s shares plunged as much as 10% in London trading, and were down 8.4% at 11 a.m. in London. Standard Chartered tumbled 7%, Barclays shares declined as much as 8.4%, Lloyds fell as much as 8.8% and RBS 6.4%.HSBC said it would cancel an interim dividend slated to be paid this month and also make no payouts or buybacks until at least the end of the year. In its statement on Tuesday, HSBC said that “we expect reported revenues to be impacted in insurance manufacturing, and credit and funding valuation adjustments in Global Banking & Markets, alongside higher expected credit losses.”The bank, which generated half its 2019 revenue in Asia, has earlier said in the most extreme scenario, in which the virus continues into the second half of 2020, it could see $600 million in additional loan losses.Standard Chartered said any decision on a final dividend for 2020 will take into account the financial performance of the group for the full year and the medium-term outlook at that time.(A previous version of this story corrected the day when the PRA made the request.)(Updates shares)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, and Standard Chartered all said they would axe dividends after pressure from the Bank of England.
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Overdraft interest rates will be frozen at their current level for three months, with. customers charged up to a maximum of 19.89%.
HSBC and Lloyds Bank are asking entrepreneurs to put their savings on the line to access government-backed loans of over £250,000.
British banks must keep lending to businesses through the coronavirus crisis to ensure that previously viable companies do not fail, the government and Bank of England said on Wednesday. In a joint letter to the chief executives of major banks, finance minister Rishi Sunak, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and the interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, Chris Woolard, urged lenders to support the economy.
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UK banks are stepping up fraud prevention measures to protect customers from scammers eager to exploit the coronavirus pandemic with a whole range of new tricks, including fake sales of medical supplies and bogus government relief schemes. With British households effectively on lockdown, some banks said customers had already been caught out by fraudsters posing as banks, government and even health service providers to persuade victims to hand over passwords or other sensitive data. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland have launched social media campaigns to flag ploys.
The shock from coronavirus to banks is set to be greater but less prolonged than lenders faced in last year's stress test and the financial system remains resilient, the Bank of England said on Tuesday. "Major UK banks are well able to withstand severe market and economic disruption," the BoE's Financial Policy Committee said in a statement from meetings it held on March 9 and March 19. The FPC had already announced that banks can use the capital they hold in their counter cyclical capital buffers (CCYB) to support lending worth up to 190 billion pounds and it indicated on Tuesday that banks could go further if needed.
Banks and their supervisors must remain vigilant in light of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure that the global banking system remains financially and operationally resilient, global regulators said on Friday. The Basel Committee of banking supervisors from the world's main financial centres said it held a teleconference on Friday and supported measures taken by members so far.
The Bank of England said on Friday it was cancelling this year's stress test of eight major banks and building societies to enable them to focus on providing lending through the coronavirus crisis. "The recent 2019 stress test showed that the UK banking system was resilient to deep simultaneous recessions in the UK and global economies that are more severe overall than the global financial crisis, combined with large falls in asset prices and a separate stress of misconduct costs," the BoE said. The BoE also said it was delaying other regulatory reports on bank liquidity and climate risk, and a study into open-ended investment funds.