Top stories

  • Capital markets weakened by Brexit
  • Vision Direct suffers major cyber hack

Stat of the day

34 per cent – The percentage of the London finance jobs made up by international workers.

Capital markets weakened by Brexit

The Financial Times (p1, £) warns that Brexit is already weakening the UK’s grip on capital markets. This morning’s article reports that key parts of the trading infrastructure for equities, sovereign debt and repo markets are setting up in the Netherlands and Italy, with many jobs moving to Paris and Frankfurt. The Financial Times article follows the news that part of the London Stock Exchange’s electronic government bond trading platform, MTS Cash, which trades an average of €13.4bn per day (£11.9bn) will return to Italy in preparation of Britain’s exit from the EU, as reported by the City AM (p9, £).

Separately, and in another threat to the prime minister’s Brexit deal, France is demanding access to UK waters post-Brexit, further complicating the bill’s passage through parliament, as reported by The Financial Times (p2, £). The article reports that France may also seek a “level playing field” in regulation to prevent unfair competition from the UK to EU businesses post-Brexit.

Elsewhere, in what the Guardian (p1) calls a “warning shot” to Theresa May, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs abstained or voted against the government’s finance bill in the House of Commons yesterday. Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesperson, said the government has “seriously broken” its commitment to the DUP that Northern Ireland would not be treated differently from the rest of the UK in the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Vision Direct suffers major cyber hack

Vision Direct has admitted a hack attack has exposed thousands of its customers’ personal data including payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV codes (BBC Online). A spokeswoman for the contact lens retailer said that 6,600 customers were believed to have had details including financial data compromised, while a further 9,700 people had personal data but not card details exposed. The Daily Mail (p21) reports that the firm claims a fake Google Analytics script was the cause of the hack, although it is not known how this was placed on Vision Direct’s sites.

UK Finance has issued the following response:

“Customers are protected against unauthorised fraud losses on a debit or credit card. As always, customers should check their bank and credit card statements regularly and if they spot any unfamiliar transactions, should then contact their bank or card company immediately. Card issuers already have advanced fraud screening systems in place to detect and stop any suspicious transactions.”

“Fraudsters use the publicity surrounding data breaches to make their scam approaches appear more credible, and play on the fears of their victims. To protect yourself from fraud, always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and question any uninvited approaches asking you to transfer money or give away your personal details in case they are a scam.”

“The finance industry has previously called for new powers on information sharing to allow banks to share data to detect and better prevent financial crime, particularly when it is the result of a data breach in another sector.”

In other news, two men from Staffordshire have admitted to charges relating to the huge breach of Talk Talk customer details in 2015, which cost the company £77m. One of the men, Connor Allsopp, admitted supplying a file of the telecoms company’s customers’ personal and financial details to an online user for fraud, as well as files for hacking. (The Guardian, p20)

Latest from UK Finance

David Smythe, Iron Mountain, guest blogs today on the importance of data following the introduction of more stringent regulations, increasing fines, exploding volumes of data and heightened organisational risk awareness.

News in Brief

The trade body, the Alliance of Claims Companies, has accused banks of giving wrong information to customers looking to get compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) (BBC Online). In response, UK Finance emphasised that in most cases firms are providing accurate checks and that where things do go wrong, banks will work to put them right as soon as possible.

The Bank of England has said it will bring forward its annual publication of bank stress tests from 5 December to 28 November, so that it can give an analysis of how it would cope with a possible “no deal” Brexit before parliament votes (Reuters, online only).

Reuters (online only) reports that Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio, has said that a resolution to the negotiating impasse with the European Commission over Italy’s proposed budget can be achieved, but that the main measures contained in it must not be removed.

Pressure is building on regulators to increase oversight of cryptocurrency trading following a $15bn crash in bitcoin and irregularities at one of the world’s largest virtual trading platforms, the Financial Times (online only, £) reports.

What the commentators say

Writing in this morning’s City AM (p24), Tom Bradley, CEO and managing partner of Oxford Capital, warns that the threat to established banks from start-ups and challengers is not just hype, but “an evolution that will sweep away the companies that do not evolve.” Citing the proliferation of data sharing and gathering, and new methods of funding, Bradley argues that new leaner operations could flank the old guard.

In his piece in The Times (p43, £) this morning, Philip Aldrick quotes the Director of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, when he says that while Brexit consumes the focus and energy of every civil servant and politician, “there are so many other challenges we need to respond to.” Citing the growing challenges from AI, austerity and difficult questions on the use of personal data, Aldrick predicts little will be addressed until the Brexit clamour dies away.


  • Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, gives evidence to the Treasury select committee on inflation reports.
  • Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, gives a speech on the regulation of cryptocurrencies at a City and Financial event.
  • City of London report published today – Building a world-class visa application process for the UK.

For a full list of upcoming UK Finance statistics releases, please click here.

News in brief – 20 November 2018