Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Wall Street banking giant JP Morgan is drawing up plans to merge its UK-based private banking arm into its wider European wealth operation ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, according to Sky sources. JP Morgan is reportedly working on the merger, which would then see its UK wealth management arm become a branch of its new EU parent.
2. Stocks, bonds and commodities were all on a roll in Asia on Thursday as bulls scented a softening in the Federal Reserve’s confidence on inflation that promised to keep U.S. interest rates low for longer, Reuters reports. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.5% to heights not seen since January 2008. It has gained nearly 5% so far this month.
3. Britain’s economy grew as expected in the second quarter of 2017, but continued to experience a Brexit-based struggle, according to preliminary numbers from the ONS released on Wednesday. GDP grew by 0.3% in the quarter, the ONS said, while annual growth was 1.7%.
4. Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed a deal with Brussels that will finally allow the lender to call off its sale of the Williams & Glyn business, the Times reports. RBS said yesterday that it would provide a total of £775 million in support to smaller banks, consisting of a £425 million investment fund and £350 million to encourage customer switching.
5. Britain’s biggest drugs company will cull more than 30 development programmes and aim for £1 billion of extra annual savings in a shake-up under its new boss, the Times reports. In her first big address to the City, Emma Walmsley, Glaxosmithkline’s chief executive, laid out plans yesterday to focus 80% of its capital on four key areas, including respiratory conditions and infectious diseases.
6. Britain’s car industry has warned that the government’s proposed ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 risks damaging the industry and stalling sales of new cars, the Guardian reports. Mike Hawes, chief of executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders trade body, said that carmakers were working with ministers on the switch to electric cars but called for the government to use carrots rather than sticks.
7. The British car industry is at risk of missing its target of producing 2m vehicles a year by 2020 because domestic demand is falling and the prospect of leaving the EU has pushed down output, the industry trade body has said. The FT reports that UK plants made 1.7 million cars last year, and had been expected to make 2 million by the end of the decade, beating a record of 1.92 million set in 1972.
7. A regulatory regime intended to crack down on the behaviour of bank bosses is to be extended to 47,000 firms including dentists, gyms and tool hire companies that offer credit to customers, reports the Guardian. The Financial Conduct Authority estimated that the new regime would cost firms £550 million, with up to £190 million of ongoing costs for the firms involved.
8. A major study has been ordered by the Government to look at the economic impact of ending free movement of EU workers, reports Sky. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, wants to know whether some parts of the UK will be affected more than others, whether there will be skills shortages and the impact on seasonal jobs.
10. The construction industry could become a leader in closing the gender pay gap, according to a new survey, reports the Independent. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that nearly half of construction workers predict the gap will be less than 15% by April 2018. It is currently 18.1%.
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