RBS v Carlyle – Where Now?

By Cat MacLean, Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution
This is clearly a great victory for Mr Carlyle after a long and punishing 7 years. However, when the celebrations are over, the key question that remains to be answered is whether the UK Supreme Court’s decision will have wider implications.
To date, victories by SMEs and individuals against banks have been few and far between. It has, of course, been an uphill battle for property developers and SMEs since the recession first hit, […]

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Bankers’ bonuses – 100 times higher than public sector

Bankers’ bonuses were more than a hundred times higher than public sector workers over the past year and grew at double the rate of those of the average UK worker, official figures have showed.
The average bonus for bankers and insurance workers was £13,300 between May last year to April, while that of public sector workers such as nurses and teachers was the lowest at around £100 on average.  The figures are likely to prompt further calls for stricter rules […]

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    George Osborne at Mansion House: Muddled, Boastful and Upstaged

George Osborne at Mansion House: Muddled, Boastful and Upstaged

The chancellor offered only contradictions as he followed the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney.
When the chancellor of the exchequer made his annual speech at the lord mayor’s Mansion House dinner on Thursday evening, George Osborne was more than a little upstaged. The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, had just given a dense and well-delivered speech, which included a surprise announcement about interest rates. Osborne’s address was the economics equivalent of Joe Pasquale taking the stage after Bill […]

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Gates remain open for scandals

THE UK faces the risk of further banking scandals, unless action is taken to increase competition in the lending market for small and medium-sized businesses, according to a Government adviser.
Lawrence Tomlinson, the Yorkshire entrepreneur and Government adviser who compiled a dossier of complaints against RBS’s turnaround division, made the comments in response to reports that the Government is going to urge the big banks to increase the supply of SME (small-and-medium-sized business) loans.
The report in the Sunday Telegraph said […]

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Sir Richard Lambert launches UK banking standards council

By Sharlene Goff, FT Retail Banking Correspondent
A new organisation charged with raising standards in the banking industry will rely on public naming and shaming of lenders that fall short as it attempts to clean up the sector after a series of misconduct scandals.
The UK’s seven largest lenders have agreed to report each year to the new Banking Standards Review Council.  The body will set standards for “culture, competence and customer outcomes” and publish an annual report detailing where banks […]

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    SMEs still reluctant to switch banks despite continued finance concerns

SMEs still reluctant to switch banks despite continued finance concerns

16% feel that difficulties in obtaining access to finance from their bank is an ongoing worry, research shows.
Despite the ongoing concerns over access to finance, charges and calling in loans, small business owners remain reluctant to switch banks according to the latest research from national business group the Forum of Private Business.
The Forum’s banking and finance survey indicates that just over half of small businesses surveyed were content with their current banking arrangements and thought they offered good or […]

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Vince Cable – Bankers’ Pay Still Extraordinarily Large

Vince Cable has issued a stark warning to Britain’s leading boardrooms that they need to crack down on bonuses to restore public trust and avert the threat of fresh legislation to limit executive pay.

The business secretary fired off a warning to the 100 biggest UK-listed companies about the damage big pay deals can have on their image, before Barclays’ annual meeting on Thursday, where protests about the bank’s £2.4bn bonus pot are expected to be registered by disgruntled shareholders.

Cable told […]

New crowdfunding rules: implications for small businesses

SMEs are increasingly looking at crowdfunding as a way of raising finance without dealing with bureaucratic banks and fickle investors. However, new rules by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which came into force recently, regulate certain types of crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding involves raising finance by taking small investments, loans or donations from a large number of people. Depending on who you believe, the new FCA rules have either “taken the crowd out of crowdfunding” or “represent the right balance between the freedom […]

FCA Reports Surge in Useful Tips From Whistleblowers

The figure provides a boost for the regulator, which last year came under fire from a report by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that criticized the FCA’s handling of whistleblowing. The report said the commission had received evidence from whistleblowers that “demonstrated a lack of confidence in the regulator’s willingness and ability to support them and to act upon their concerns.”
The report made a number of recommendations, including that the FCA provide feedback to whistleblowers—a policy that the […]

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Vince Cable hires ‘resident entrepreneurs’

Two “entrepreneurs in residence” have taken up roles as government advisers and identified small companies’ struggle to access bank finance as their top priority.

Lawrence Tomlinson and Rekha Mehr will work one day a week at the Business Department, with Vince Cable describing the appointments as “important voices for business”.

The Business Secretary said they would help the Government “address the needs of small and medium-sized businesses”. Mr Tomlinson runs the Leeds-based LNT Group, which has a £100m turnover with interests […]

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FSB – Only 37% of SMEs Aware of Funding Alternatives

A recent survey from the Federation of Small Businesses found that just 37% of SMEs knew about them.
When Simeon Penn, director of powerboat experience company Saber Powersports, needed a loan for a new boat, he didn’t go to his bank.  Instead, he got the money from Funding Circle, an online marketplace that allows individual savers to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
Mr Penn’s accountant suggested he try this alternative form of funding after the bank failed […]

Co-op Bank Confirms losses of £1.3bn

The Co-op Bank has confirmed it made a loss of £1.3bn last year and will remain loss-making for the next two years as the troubled lender published its twice delayed annual results.

The lender said it had begun talks on a £400m fund raising and warned that without the new money it would be in breach of its minimum capital requirement.

Niall Booker, chief executive of the Co-op Bank, apologised for the situation and said the lender would be clawing back […]

FCA Appointed Independent Reviewer Leads Inquiry into FCA

1st April 2014 – Fools Day
The Treasury Committee agreed to hold an evidence session with the independent reviewer who will be appointed by the Financial Conduct Authority to lead its inquiry into the Financial Conduct Authority’s treatment of market sensitive information, they have yet to announce his/her identity.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also written to the FCA expressing profound concern and outlining some areas that he thinks the review should address.

Chair’s comments
Andrew Tyrie MP, the Chairman of the Treasury Committee, […]

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    Alternative Funding Grows as 35pc of SME Bank Loan Applications Fail

Alternative Funding Grows as 35pc of SME Bank Loan Applications Fail

Amid a soaring failure rate for bank loan applications, small firms are looking to alternative finance providers for growth capital. Entrepreneurs share their experiences.
The local bank was once the first port of call for a growing business seeking finance. Today, however, , according to the latest SME Finance Monitor from BDRC Continental. And recent Bank of England lending figures showed a drop of £300m in small business lending in January this year.

Against this backdrop, a raft of alternative funding […]

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Federation of Small Businesses Chief on Scandal Hitting Bank SME Lending

The Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce have teamed up to investigate the state of the banking industry’s lending practices and small to medium enterprises.
The Business Banking Insight programme (BBI) will ask micro companies and SMEs to share their experiences to provide insight into the best banking services available across the UK. The first set of results will be published in May.
Speaking to IBTimes UK, FSB’s National Policy chairman Mike Cherry reveals how a lot […]

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