Daily business and finance update 14th March 2023
SVB UK’s £1 rescue
Good morning. What do frozen berries, alcopops and electric bikes have in common? They have all been added to the basket of 700 goods and services used to calculate UK inflation by the Office for National Statistics that reflect what Brits typically spend their money on.
SVB UK’s £1 rescue
Yesterday HSBC announced it had bought the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank after the tech-focussed bank collapsed last Friday. HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, paid the princely sum of £1 and will take on SVB UK’s loans worth £5.5bn and deposits of £6.7bn – very small compared to HSBC UK’s book of £204bn loans and £281bn of deposits. The news brought much needed relief to the 3,000 UK firms who bank with SVB and warned they could go bust without a rescue deal.
In the US, President Biden promised to do “whatever is needed” to safeguard customers’ deposits after the collapse of SVB and another American lender, Signature Bank, raised concerns over the stability of the financial system. But investors are still rattled with global financial stocks shedding $465bn in market value in two days. There are concerns that banks could see an impact from their investments in bonds and other instruments on the SVB-induced worry.
Board diversity growth
Nearly all of the UK’s largest public companies have at least one ethnic minority board member, according to the latest Parker review – a government initiative launched in 2017 to improve boardroom diversity. Four FTSE 100 companies have all-white boards, down from 11 last year. In the FTSE 250 67% of companies have ethnic diversity representation on their boards, up from 55% last year. The Parker review has launched new targets, requiring all FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies to set a percentage target for senior management positions occupied by ethnic minority executives by the end of 2027.
Government TikTok ban
The UK will ban TikTok from government devices over concerns from intelligence services about the security of the Chinese social media app. The European Parliament and Canadian government have already banned the app on employee devices and US authorities are planning on doing the same. Western governments are worried that the platform could be used by hostile foreign powers for spying purposes. TikTok has over 1bn active monthly users with 20m in the UK. TikTok said moves to ban it from government-issued phones were based on “misplaced fears”.
Cash is king
The proportion of buy-to-let properties bought with cash in London has risen to 67% so far this year, compared with 43% in 2022, according to a report from agent Hamptons International. That’s as the share of mortgage-free purchases across the UK rose 6 percentage points in the same period to 59%. Rising interest rates have made buy-to-let mortgages less affordable so investors have turned to all cash deals to fund their purchases.
Royal rumble: According to reports Prince Andrew is “in despair” because the King has not shared out their mother’s £650m fortune.
Medical walkout: Hospitals have cancelled tens of thousands of outpatient appointments and operations this week due to a junior doctors’ strike that will severely disrupt NHS care.
Flying high: Heathrow Airport recorded its busiest day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last month according to new figures.
Good timing: Luxury watchmaker Rolex is rapidly ramping up its manufacturing capacity by opening both temporary and permanent facilities in Switzerland.
Number Of The Day
Roughly how much higher the average annual starting salary for a graduate in the US is compared to the UK.