Top stories

  1. New Economic Crime Centre set up
  2. Bank and Treasury in formal talks over Governor of the Bank of England’s role

 Stat of the day

Two per cent: The percentage decrease in size of the UK economy due to the Brexit vote, according to statistics from UBS (The Daily Telegraph, £, B8, print only).

New Economic Crime Centre set up

The Financial Times (£, p3) reports that a new ‘command centre for fighting economic crime’ will begin operations in October 2018, in a bid to tackle money-laundering in the City of London. With an initial budget of £6 million, the new National Economic Crime Centre will sit within the National Crime Agency (NCA), comprising of staff from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HM Revenue & Customs, the City of London Police and the Financial Conduct Authority. The organisation will take as its blueprint the Joint Money-Laundering Intelligence Task Force, set up in 2016.

Meanwhile, former U.S. federal prosecutor Lisa Osofsky gave her first speech as director of the SFO yesterday (Reuters, online). Ms. Osofsky outlined her commitment to maintaining the organisation’s ‘independence and prominence’ and vowed to make Britain ‘inhospitable’ to the ‘world’s most sophisticated criminals’ (Evening Standard, online only).

The i (p40, print only) reports that more than half a million businesses in the UK have been hit by impersonation scams, with SMEs losing an average of £27,000 to fraudsters who steal personal data by pretending to be bosses, co-workers or business contacts, according to a report by Get Safe Online and Lloyds Bank. To learn more about how to keep safe from fraud, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website.

Bank and Treasury in formal talks over Governor of the Bank of England’s role

The Evening Standard (p2) and BBC News (online only) both report that the Bank of England and The Treasury are in ‘formal talks’ to discuss Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney staying in his role beyond his planned departure date of June 2019. Meanwhile, City AM (p3) details comments from Downing Street, which say Carney will leave his role as planned next year. However, the Sun (p10, print only) reports that the Prime Minister’s spokesperson did not rule out a ‘change of heart’.

Mark Carney will today appear before the Treasury Select Committee, facing questions on his future at the Bank from MPs (The Guardian, p2). This questioning comes amid mounting pressure for Carney to retain his leadership position to ‘guide the economy through Brexit’ as further uncertainty could ‘undermine’ the Bank’s stability (The Times, £, p41). The Sun (p10 print only) editorial comments that keeping Carney ‘at the helm would offer a welcome degree of calm’.

Latest from UK Finance

UK Finance intern Stephen Robin blogs on his work experience in the UK Finance personal finance team.

August saw the launch of new bank quality results designed to help current account customers compare providers. Eric Leenders, Managing Director of Personal at UK Finance and Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance, explain how the results work, and how they help both personal consumers and SMEs.

News in Brief

The Daily Mail (p2) reports that ‘millions of savers’ have missed out on higher rates on easy access savings accounts since last month’s Bank of England base rate rise, following research from Moneyfacts.

The Help to Buy scheme has enabled one in five families to get on the property ladder, figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have revealed (Daily Mail, p12).

With low levels of customers switching bank accounts and a high concentration of banks in the retail banking market, the Daily Telegraph (£, p2) suggests switching banks would be more popular if there were more choice.

Theresa May’s Chequers plan is now more hated than the poll tax, the Daily Telegraph (£, p1) writes. The majority of voters in the Conservatives’ most marginal seats believe the policy is “bad” for Britain.

Paul Pester has resigned as Chief Executive of TSB. The full statement is on the bank’s website here.

What the commentators say

Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon, writes in The Times(£, p43) that the government’s Help to Buy scheme ‘pours public money…into a housing market awash with private capital.’ French also says that the scheme inflates prices, exacerbating the affordability problem. These flaws do not mean that ‘attempts to broaden home ownership should be ditched’, but rather the future of Help to Buy must not be considered ‘in isolation’ but as part of a ‘holistic review of how property is funded, taxed and perceived as an asset’.

David Miliband writes in yesterday’s Evening Standard (p16) that the real danger in current Brexit negotiations is that ‘the catastrophe of no deal’ becomes the ‘point of reference – and leverage – for Theresa May’s bad deal’. Miliband opines that using this outcome to drive public and political fear is not credible, there is ‘no way the EU will watch idly as its third biggest economy drops off a cliff’. Miliband says ‘The challenges of a democratic rethink pale compared with the danger of ploughing ahead with a bad deal.’

Calendar

  • UK Parliament returns from summer recess
  • Treasury Committee hearing committee with Mark Carney and Andy Haldane
  • Exiting the EU Select Committee oral evidence from DExEU Permanent Secretary Philip Rycroft

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

News in brief – 4 September 2018