Here is the definitive timeline exploring coronavirus (Covid-19) from its initial outbreak to today, taking a precise look on its effects on financial services.
Covid-hit Americans skipped payments on nearly 15 million credit-card accounts and 3 million auto loans last month.
In a starling sign of covid-19’s devastation, millions of financially distressed Americans are deciding to leave their credit card and car loan bills unpaid, according to new data from credit-reporting firm TransUnion.
Facebook and Instagram have introduced a new way of selling online that does not involve Amazon.
In their biggest push yet into online shopping, the pair of tech companies are allowing businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram pages into online storefronts for their fans and followers.
The big new feature for online merchants is called Facebook Shops.
US banking regulators have temporarily eased a key capital measure for large banks to allow them to grant more loans to distressed businesses and consumers.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have temporarily softened the supplementary leverage ratio rule to help banks do more lending during the pandemic.
Aetna International has announced a partnership with confidential and anonymous mental well-being app Wysa.
Through Wysa, all Aetna International members and their employees will have free access to 24/7 text-based support. Its AI-driven chat function also allows members to discuss mental well-being via text and can be directed to self-help content.
Working with Wysa is part of Aetna’s work against the “second curve” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tesco Bank customers who have been granted credit card payment holidays on the back of the covid-19 crisis have been told they have defaulted on payments and their score could be harmed.
The customers who were granted the three-month payment freeze, received a warning from credit agencies despite prior reassurance from the city watchdog that they “will not have their credit file affected”.
Customers aged 50 and above were Paypal’s fastest-growing segment from March to April, as covid-19 forces more elderly people to try their hands at electronic payments.
Stay-at-home shutdowns and the perceived risk of handling cash are among the reasons why the most covid-vulnerable people are increasingly opting for digital purchases.
The coronavirus pandemic has ignited a proliferation of attempts to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorised access to the computer systems of banks and other financial institutions.
The attacks are highly sophisticated as criminals use cutting-edged knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment.
DBS has confirmed plans to hire over 2,000 people this year in Singapore despite the market turbulence caused by the Covid-19 crisis and also assured that there will be no redundancies.
Of the 2,000 hires, over 1,000 will be in new roles that include apprenticeships for fresh graduates and specialised roles for seasoned professionals.
The new positions include over 360 jobs for seasoned professionals in growth technology areas.
Lockdown measures implemented by the UK government have resulted in a surge in the number of individuals purchasing pets. With such a sudden increase in the number of pet owners, the pet insurance market has the potential to grow in 2020.
In 2019, the pet insurance market contracted slightly by 1.8%, according to the Association of British Insurers. Therefore, the sudden surge in pet ownership as a result of lockdown measures creates an opportunity for the market to bounce back to growth in 2020, particularly given the popularity of dogs, which account for almost three quarters of the market in terms of premiums.
Tinkoff Bank CEO Oliver Hughes says “this is a brilliant time” as the Russian online banking platform reports robust profit in Q1.
TCS Group—Russia’s leading provider of online financial and lifestyle services via its Tinkoff ecosystem—reported a net income of RUB 9.0 bn, an increase of 26% from Q12019.
Debt-plagued Indian banks have petitioned the government to set up a bank that would buy bad loans to help lighten their load of stressed assets.
The banks’ proposal calls for the government to provide up to $2bn to set up a bank that would suction some bad loans out of a banking system that many fear is getting increasingly overwhelmed.
The (re)insurance market stated that once the full scale and complexity of the outbreak is fully understood, the total cost to the non-life insurance industry will be in excess of historical events such as 9/11, or the combined costs of 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Lloyd’s added that losses could increase further if the lockdown continues into another quarter, as its current estimate is based on the assumption it will last until the end of 2020.
As covid-19 takes a toll on people’s finances and stay-at-home orders curtail spending, JP Morgan’s US customers spent 40% less in March and early April compared to last year.
The drop was attributable to a sharp decline in spending on non-essential goods and services, like retail, restaurants, and entertainment. The cutback was recorded across all income brackets, the JP Morgan Chase Institute said.
Covid-hit Japanese firm’s voracious need for funding boosted bank lending faster in April than at any time since the 2009 global financial crisis.
Lending at Japan’s major banks jumped 3.4% in April, from a year earlier, following a 2% increase in March.
MoneyGram Payment Systems has partnered with India’s Federal Bank to offer direct-to-account deposits for its customers in India.
Through the partnership, customers will be able to receive deposits directly in their bank accounts without having to leave their homes. This comes as India has been in lockdown since March 24.
The banking and finance industry has provided financial relief to hundreds of thousands of consumer credit customers whose finances have been impacted by the coronavirus, UK Finance reveals.
As of 30 April, almost 700,000 customer accounts have been given a payment holiday on their credit card. 470,000 have received payment holidays on their personal loans.
European banks have declined the European Central Bank’s offer to pay them to keep loans flowing to eurozone businesses.
The ECB’s plan is to offer banks cheap loans in order to stem the economic downturn that threatens to push Europe into a recession.
Banks say they need to find profitable uses for the ECB’s cash, not granted in a shrinking and uncertain economy where businesses are at increasing risk of default. The prospect of losing capital outweighs a gain of a few tenths of a percentage point in interest rates.
Philippine banks have increased provisioning to prepare for a possible threefold surge in credit losses, amid sagging domestic economy.
Filipino lenders revealed a large increase in provisions in their first quarter results, in anticipation of higher nonperforming loans in the coming quarters.
As the covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage personal finance across the globe, credit card issuers have begun to cut down cardholder limits and closing accounts in all markets.
Credit card issuers tend to lower limits or close accounts to reduce their risk, especially in a financial crisis like the one happening across the globe.
A new survey has found that about 25% of card owners in the US had their limits reduced or accounts closed within the past 30 days.
China has continued the liberalisation of its financial services sector by eliminating quota cap for its US dollar-denominated qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) scheme and its yuan-denominated sibling RQFII.
The quota restriction removal will be effective on 6 June, enabling more foreign investment in China’s financial market.
The move comes at a time when the sector is hit by turbulent market conditions due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The spread of COVID-19 has rocked financial markets, with the global economy forecasted to slip into recession as governments enforce lockdown measures that have greatly limited the ability of businesses to function. Inevitably, the investments made by insurers are now vulnerable to the economic impacts COVID-19 is causing.
GlobalData research indicates the extent to which the life and non-life insurance sectors in the UK and the US are exposed given the different composition of their investments. The below graphic illustrates the composition of the combined investments made by insurers in these sectors in 2018.
Banks across the Southeast Asian country are likely to face capital deficits should the crisis persist, according to a report by credit rating agency Fitch Ratings.
The number of past-due loans climbed to 45% in the first quarter of 2020 from the end of 2019 as covid-19 devastates the economy, which grew by only 3.8% in Q1 2020. Banks and the government fear that the rate of loan delinquencies could continue to soar as economic prospects remain dismal due to weak global demand.
Data released by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) shows that banks are escalating their assistance to consumers and businesses in an economy battered by the coronavirus crisis.
More than 320,000 Australian homeowners have been extended mortgage payment deferrals. And nearly 37,000 consumers have benefited from payment deferrals on their personal loans and credit cards.
At the same time, some 170,000 business owners have been granted reprieve on business loan repayments.
BNP Paribas has set aside new provisions in anticipation of a surge in customers defaulting on their loans because of the covid-19 crisis.
France’s largest bank has set aside €657m to cover bad loans, raising its total provision to €1.43bn.
The Paris-based lender, the biggest by assets in France, said net profit fell by 33% to €1.28bn in the three months ended 31 March, while revenue declined by 2% to €10.89bn.
BNP Paribas Wealth and Asset Management arm has reported a fall in Q1 2020 revenues hit by the Covid-19 global health crisis.
The pandemic’s affected the performances Asset Management and Real Estate Services, resulting in a 3% year-on-year decrease in Wealth and Asset Management revenues.
The unit’s revenues for the three month period ending 31 March 2020 was €743m, compared to €766m a year ago.
International insurance broker Gallagher has launched Pandemic Group Insurance product, offering comprehensive Covid-19 indemnity cover solution to the India market.
The product provides coverage for essential workers and front-line services including hospital and healthcare providers, food distribution, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted spending patterns towards daily essentials, where contactless usage is highest, says the American card giant.
Persistent rumours that cash will transmit the virus (though not supported by the World Health Organisation) are additional factors driving both customers and merchants to cashless payments.
As consumers’ finances continue to be clobbered by the devastating covid-19 pandemic, credit card holders across regions are finding themselves unable to make payments.
More than 59% of US credit card holders – or 110 million adults – entered into the COVID-19 pandemic dragging credit card debt, according to credit card analysts at Bankrate.com.
Many of them – 56% – had been carrying that debt for at least one year.
Remote working and disruptive changes in operations are bringing about are range of technical problems that banks across the region are scrambling to resolve.
Sourcing laptops, boosting bandwidth for homebound employees, deploying tens of thousands of home videoconferencing kits—these are just a few of the issues that are forcing banks to brace for what might be a revolution in flexible working.
High street banks have increased interest rates on new personal loans as fears of the coronavirus raise concerns about the long-term finances of borrowers.
Banks are raising the cost of personal loans as millions of consumers grapple with the disastrous impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their personal finances
Banks are giving out fewer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) as time-consuming steps slow down the processing of the SME emergency help.
The number of loans approved in the week from 21 April to 28 April was 8,638, down from more than 9,000 the previous week. Of the 52,807 loans that businesses applied for, almost 28,000 have not yet been approved.
During the same week, starting 21 April, more than £1.33bn of loans was approved, down from £1.45bn in the previous seven days.
Post-covid-19 bank retail branches could be used by investment banking and call centre workers, Barclays chief executive Jes Staley predicts.
Staley believes big expensive city offices housing thousands of bank employees may soon be outdated as banks rethink their long-term location strategy.
Kenyans should use digital payment methods instead of cash as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus, the government has said.
Kenya’s Ministry of Health has advised consumers to use digital payment methods as an alternative to cash and paper cheques to protect themselves against the covid-19 virus.
“We are advising you to use digital payment methods like mobile banking and debit and credit cards instead of cash as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak,” the ministry said in a press release.
The British bank has reported a 42% fall in first-quarter net profit year-on-year and decided to take a £2.1bn credit impairment write-off in as covid-19 takes a mounting toll.
Barclay’s net profit attributable to shareholders was £605m for the first three months of the year, down from £1.04bn for the same period last year. The lender has set aside £2.1bn to cover defaults across the economy and joined its peers in warning of tough times ahead.
UBS has posted a 40% jump in Q1 2020 net profit driven by increased trading volumes amid the market volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, even as it lifted credit loss expenses.
The number of card payments in Japan will grow by 2.6% in 2020 and ATM withdrawals will shrink by 5.5% at the same time, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Public concerns that the virus can spread through the handling of cash are pushing digital payments transaction value and volume among consumers and merchants. The same fears are driving customers away from cash transactions and ATMs, according to research from Global Data.
British Friendly has made three changes to its underwriting processes in order to help advisers during Covid-19.
The three changes are:
- Withdrawal of non-medical limits;
- Introduction of “Little T” tele-interviewing, and
- Introduction of virtual screenings.
Lombard International Assurance has launched a distance selling process to provide support during Covid-19.
The solution is available across the firm’s 12 markets in Europe.
In addition, it is part of the company’s enhanced business continuity and servicing plans. This is a result of Lombard International Assurance’s network of brokers, agents, asset managers, private and custodian banks, family officer and wealth advisers are working remotely.
Nearly 13,000 Metro bank customers are set to receive more than £10.5m in refund after the bank failed to warn them about charges it imposed on unarranged overdraft.
The London-based challenger bank has pledged to make the refund for failing to send timely text messages warning customers about unarranged overdraft charges, as required under a legal order.
Vitality has announced a new campaign to support members and advisers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The campaign has two segments:
- A well being campaign, and
- A Vitality Adviser Speaker Series.
The wellbeing campaign features Vitality Ambassadors such as Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill, rugby player Jonny Wilkinson, and ex England netball coach Tracey Neville.
Credit card and airline companies are reeling from an unprecedented $35bn in refunds for covid-19 tickets cancellations, causing bewilderment among frustrated customers.
Many airlines are pushing back on customers’ demand for refund, claiming they have yet to receive the required cash from the credit card companies that process airline payments.
Credit Suisse recorded CHF1.2bn ($1.23bn) of pre-tax income in Q1 2020, a 13% rise year-on-year, despite the challenge of Covid-19.
However, this was aided by the gain from the second and final closing of the InvestLab funds platform transfer to Allfunds Group. Without this deal, pre-tax income would have totalled CHF951m, an 11% decrease from the same point in 2019.
In addition, net income hit CHF1.3bn for Credit Suisse in Q1 2020, up 75% year-on-year. Net revenues also increased, by 7%, to reach CHF5.8bn in the same time span.
Despite decent results, the Credit Suisse board of directors decided to revise its dividend proposal for its AGM on April 30 2020.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain’s regulator of the financial services industry, says banks must be impartial in how they handle the rollout of the government’s bailout loan scheme.
Chris Woolard, interim chief executive of the FCA, has written to the chief executives of the banks reminding them of their responsibility to ensure lending decisions remain fair
Temenos has launched Explainable AI (XAI) models to enable banks to rapidly offer loans to SMEs during the COVID-19 crisis.
This comes as businesses have seen their cash flow disrupted due to strict social distancing measures. Temenos’ aim is to allow banks to accelerate digital onboarding, conduct eligibility checks and process loan applications for SMEs and retail customers.
America’s biggest banks gave preferential treatment to their wealthiest clients as they processed the federal government’s $349bn aid package, officially intended to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Applications from many small business owners were overlooked by banks intent on serving long-term, wealthy client first, according to some bank employees and financial industry executives.
The coronavirus pandemic has knocked down the value of digital transactions processed by leading Indian firms, both online and offline, by an estimated 30% over the past few weeks.
With major payments sectors—including retail, hospitality, and air travel—clobbered by the global pandemic, the coronavirus restrictions have significantly depressed the value of digital transactions.
Friendly society Health Shield has pledged to pass any unintended profit as a result of Covid-19 back to clients and members.
This includes services such as rebates, future premium decreases or benefit and service enhancements.
Chinese commercial banks’ non-performing loan (NPL) ratio is expected to continue climbing in the second quarter of this year, albeit at a slower pace.
Data from the Chinese Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) indicates that the NPL ratio (defined as total NPLs over total loans) of the country’s commercial banking sector, currently at 2.04%, is expected to rise in the second quarter.
Columbus-based Branch will give back 15% of monthly insurance premiums in refunds to auto policyholders in response to Covid-19.
The insurtech’s initiative is set to recognise clients’ reduced driving during this time and eases financial burden.
It applies to auto policies in effect during April and May and will be also offered in unique options. Branch policyholders will be able to receive this credit themselves or to help someone that is struggling financially. This is managed through the Branch non-profit entity SafetyNest.
As consumers everywhere take to online shopping amid coronavirus social distancing and lockdown mandates, cybercriminals are increasingly focusing on the digital crime of credit card skimming.
The rise in credit card skimming is part of the proliferation of cybercrimes in general as fraudsters and organized crime groups seek to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit card skimming is a type of credit card theft where crooks use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction.
The Municipality of Milan has selected Soldo’s prepaid card to distribute emergency aid to vulnerable citizens amid COVID-19.
Soldo Care is a smart payment card that can be used at any merchant which accepts Mastercard payments. Its aim is to provide a faster and more secure way of distributing aid.
Banks and credit unions across the United States have run low on cash as the coronavirus pandemic prompts customers to make unexpectedly big cash withdrawals.
As covid-19 worries cause large numbers of customers to withdraw huge amounts of cash at the same time, banks and regulators are beginning to fear a bank run.
In an official announcement, the WH Ireland Group has confirmed it is in discussion with Cantor Fitzgerald Europe over a possible acquisition.
In addition, Cantor Fitzgerald has decided to trim employee headcount to save costs in the face of a downward trajectory in the economy caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
While banks, lenders, and credit card issuers are offering assistance, many customers who have been financially affected by the coronavirus do not realise they can ask for help.
Most customers who request relief from their banks right now get it easily, but too many borrowers don’t believe they can get support from their lenders.
The US government’s $349bn emergency small business lending program has officially tapped out, leaving small business owners waiting in line as Congress scrambles to come up with more funding.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has run out of money for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a message the agency has issued to lenders. Legislative negotiations have yet to produce a way to replenish the money.
France-based insurtech Alan has raised €50m ($54.3m) in a Series C investment round and has launched services in response to Covid-19.
The round was led by Temasek, a global investment company out of Singapore. It also included existing investors such as Index Ventures. Total funding for Alan has now reached €125m.
Schroders group CEO Peter Harrison and executive directors have agreed to donate a quarter of their annual salary and 2020 long-term incentive plan awards for three months to charities working to combat the Covid-19 crisis.
At the same time, the firm’s chairman and non-executive directors will donate 25% of their fees for three months for Covid-19 related causes.
The fund manager also introduced a scheme to enable its staff to voluntarily donate up to 25% of three months’ salary.
New measures designed to help credit card holders and debtors that are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will take effect today at banks including HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, Santander and Nationwide.
The consumer-debt relief measures mandated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will allow people with outstanding credit card bills or personal loans to freeze payments for up to three months.
COVID-19 will have significant impacts across the insurance value chain. However, not all of these will be detrimental, with some creating opportunities to further the digitalisation of current processes.
The global spread of coronavirus has led to deferments and cancellations of major 2020 sport events around the globe. Most sport events are not covered for losses arising as a result of pandemics, but coronavirus will bring demand for this type of niche insurance out of the shadows.
VitalityLife has announced that members experiencing financial difficulty due to Covid-19 can reduce their monthly premiums.
This will also have a proportional reduction in cover. VitalityLife members can reduced their premiums by 25%, 50% or 75% with cover reduced by the same percentage. In addition, this option applies to all VitalityLife policies.
The merger between Tilney and Smith & Williamson has been postponed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and ongoing talks with the Financial Conduct Authority about the deal’s revised structure.
The consolidation, under the revised structure, is anticipated to close in the second half of this year.
Originally, the merger was expected to be finalised on 16 April 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic has dampened the performance of Goldman Sachs in Q1 2020, with its profit plunging 46% year-on-year.
The hardest hit was the asset management unit, offset by strong results in the trading arm.
Banks are bracing for billions in credit card losses as cash-strapped customers struggle with rising unemployment and salary cuts during a devastating coronavirus pandemic.
Across the globe credit card lenders are grappling with a surge in calls from suddenly unemployed borrowers pleading for relief. Experts warn that card issuers can expect more delinquencies as the economic outlook worsens.
The Wells Fargo wealth and investment management (WIM) arm reported assets bleed and fall in profit in Q1 2020 as it was hit by the market turmoil triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite that, the division remained the most profitable unit of the bank’s three units.
The WIM unit registered a net income of $463m in Q1 2020. This was a 20% slump from $577m in the prior year.
As the market is hit by the Covid-19 crisis, JPMorgan asset and wealth management division became the only one of the bank’s four units to withstand the shock caused by the pandemic in Q1 2020.
The unit’s net income remained stable at $664m in Q1 2020.
The Taiwanese government has made available an additional $1.33bn, on top of the previous $2bn (T$60bn) package, to stimulate the island’s economy.
The new aid package follows a warning by the central bank that the coronavirus epidemic will have a longer and stronger impact than it had previously anticipated.
In an open letter from Christopher Woolard, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), most firms in the UK are not covered for Covid-19 on their insurance.
The letter said: “Based on our conversations with the industry to date, our estimate is that most policies have basic cover, do not cover pandemics and therefore would have no obligation to pay out in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Big banks are setting aside billions in additional money to get ready for an avalanche of loan defaults as the global pandemic continues to devastate economies.
The world’s largest banks, including JP Morgan, HSBC, and Wells Fargo are anticipating a deep recession as the coronavirus takes an increasing toll on consumers and businesses alike.
Australia-based QBE Insurance Group is set to raise about $825m to deal with the economic damage caused by coronavirus pandemic.
QBE’s pre-emptive capital raise comes after a strong first quarter for the insurer where it saw gross written premiums rise 9% to $4.53bn.
Chubb has launched a support programme for its small business clients in the US to help ease the financial burden of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will also provide direct support to healthcare workers and other front-line responders.
As part of the programme, the company’s small business clients in the US, whose policies renew between April 1 and August 1 this year, will get an automatic 25% reduction in the sales and payroll exposures used to calculate their premium.
Julius Baer has followed the footsteps of its peers by planning to split its 2019 dividend payout of CHF1.50 into two tranches amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bank has now decided to give the first dividend payment instalment of CHF0.75 on 25 May 2020.
As US lenders strive to divvy up the government’s $349bn aid package, Black-owned and other minority-owned businesses are struggling to meet the banks’ requirements.
Thousands of minority-owned businesses—which have traditionally been less likely to secure bank loans—are at risk of being shut out of the government rescue package, as banks favour existing customers.
The aid package, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, could be a lifeline, especially for minority-owned businesses, whose limited resources are quickly depleted as a result of the government-mandated lockdown.
Swiss asset manager GAM has stepped up its cost cutting initiatives after recording outflows as it gets hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm has now unveiled plans to make at least CHF65m ($67m) in cost cuts by the end of 2020.
This is more than twice the amount of cost cuts originally targeted by the end of this year.
Spain’s CaixaBank has granted €8bn ($8.7bn) to businesses to minimise the economic impact of the country’s coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The bank provided businesses with loans during the period between March 16 and March 31. Its aim was to drive a speedy recovery of the Spanish economy, by facilitating credit flow and supporting businesses.
The businesses that received support included, large companies, SMEs, self-employed workers and entrepreneurs.
All customers visiting bank retail branches must now wear face masks to be allowed to enter, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has announced.
As part of additional measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, customers are also urged to wear a face mask when queuing up to use even ATMs located outside of banks.
Swiss banking groups UBS and Credit Suisse have decided to delay paying out a portion of their 2019 dividends after succumbing to regulatory pressure for the same due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) has pushed ahead with its plan to trim the workforce at its loss-making investment banking arm with over 130 redundancies despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Federal Reserve is modifying the asset cap it has imposed on Wells Fargo so the bank can participate in the government’s business lending programs.
The US central bank said it would ease the limit it had put in place after the bank’s fake account scandal to allow it to make more loans under the government assistance programs for covid-hit small businesses.
Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the U.S. by assets, making its participation in the lending programs critical.
Tavistock Investments has decided to suspend its dividend to protect its financial position amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm will also carry out a strategic review in order to make cost cuts.
To navigate the crisis, the firm’s executive team members agreed to take pay cuts.
Bank of America will host its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders via a live webcast due to public health concerns resulting from the coronavirus.
America’s second largest bank by total assets said the pandemic and the related protocols that federal, state, and local governments have implemented have forced the bank to hold this year’s meeting remotely.
“The webcast will allow all shareholders to join the meeting, regardless of location. As with an in-person meeting, you will be able to vote and ask questions during the meeting,” the bank said.
Coronavirus is posing challenges across multiple industries. The virus, which continues to spread around the globe, is putting healthcare systems under pressure and claiming lives. As the number of deceased continues to rise, beneficiaries will look into making life insurance claims.
There is a significant variation in the uptake of life insurance policies at a country level. In the five countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases – the US, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany – the proportion of respondents indicating that they had life insurance in place ranged from between 38% (Germany) and 57% (France), according to GlobalData’s 2019 Global Banking and Payments Survey.
A steep rise in market volatility and a drop in equity prices are causing a flight to safety as risk aversion is on the rise. Evidence of due diligence and positive word of mouth will be paramount to entice Australian investors back into riskier investment products in order to combat falling fee income.
Wrap platform provider Nucleus has decided to postpone its 2019 final dividend despite earnings growth to preserve funds amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nucleus founder and CEO David Ferguson said: “In light of the Covid-19 situation, the board has taken the prudent decision not to recommend a dividend until there is more certainty around the term and impact on markets, investor confidence and revenue.
Young adults will be one of the worst-affected groups financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Non-essential expenditures, like some insurance policies, are likely to be disposable in order to safeguard money for indispensable expenses like groceries and house bills.
Those in this demographic entering the workforce will typically have lower salaries and will also have had less time to start building savings. 48.2% of 18–24-year-olds have less than £1,000 in their savings account, according to GlobalData’s 2019 UK Life & Pensions Survey. 58.3% have an average monthly balance of less than £1,000 in their current accounts.
The heads of Britain’s Barclays and Spain’s Banco Sabadell are the latest European bank captains to sacrifice part of their salaries as a gesture of compassion and solidarity in the face of the widespread misery unleashed by the global pandemic.
Barclays said Chief Executive Jes Staley, Chairman Nigel Higgins and Chief Financial Officer Tushar Morzaria would all donate a third of their fixed pay for the next six months. The money will go into a new £100m community aid fund launched by the bank.
Sabadell and its British subsidiary TSB said that senior management of both banks would give up their bonus awards for 2020. This will allow the banks to better reward junior staff who are helping customers deal with the virus.
“It is an act of responsibility at a time when all of us need to act with the utmost commitment and solidarity,” Sabadell chairman Josep Oliu said.
The UK’s biggest business lender is receiving nearly 10 times as many calls as usual from ailing firms vying to take out emergency loans amid a ruinous pandemic.
NatWest chief executive Alison Rose said that although some of the money was beginning to get through, lenders were facing operational challenges in delivering the unprecedented financial assistance programmes.
“Our call centres normally take 3,000 calls a day; we are now receiving 25,000 which is why I’m redeploying staff, retraining staff and getting people to help,” she said.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the island’s central bank and financial regulator, is allowing banks to adjust their capital and liquidity buffers to support lending activities.
MAS will begin to adjust certain regulatory requirements and supervisory programmes to help banks and other financial firms cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The new rules will enable banks to recognise their regulatory loss allowance as capital, until 30 September.
Wells Fargo has decided to offer fewer mortgage products as the coronavirus-fuelled economic downturn puts increasing pressure on America’s largest mortgage lender’s balance sheet.
The bank will temporarily discontinue several types of loans including cash-out refinance loans, most home equity loans above $250,000, and riskier non-conforming purchase loans. Any application for those loans will now be automatically declined.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual has announced a £32m ($39.4m) support package for customers and communities affected by coronavirus.
The package includes £24m worth of changes to insurance by including additional cover across a range of policies. This is expected to provide £12m worth of pay-outs for members affected by the illness in 2020.
Dutch wealth manager Van Lanschot Kempen has agreed to postpone 2019 dividend for its shareholders to support the economy amid the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm now expects to pay out the 2019 dividend to at least 1 October 2020.
The $350bn small business loan programme launched in the US has been hamstrung by a host of technical glitches preventing thousands of applicants from receiving any money.
The lending program—a part of the $2tn Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act—has been disabled by a system malfunction that blocks lenders from processing the loan applications.
The programme offers loans of up to $10 million to companies with fewer than 500 employees. For businesses that meet certain conditions (such as using the bulk of the money to pay workers’ salaries during the eight weeks following the loan closing) the loans are forgiven.
The Visa Foundation has announced the commitment of two programmes totalling $210m to support small and micro businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The first programme of $10m will fund immediate emergency relief efforts to support charitable organisations on the frontlines of the pandemic. Additionally, the second programme is a five-year, strategic $200m commitment to support small and micro businesses around the world. Its focus is on fostering women’s economic advancement.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a ‘significant rise’ in the demand for savings solutions, reveals an independent financial advisory organisations.
With millions of people facing financial strains, whether from losing income or seeing their retirement savings plunge, the deVere Group reports a jump of 28 per cent in enquiries about savings plans in March.
The raft of financial support measures for businesses and consumers announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) threaten to reduce the revenue of the island’s three largest banks by up to 18% in 2020.
The deferred payments and rate cuts on mortgage and personal loans included in Singapore’s coronavirus relief measures could cost United Overseas Bank 18% in lost revenue. Singapore’s longest-established bank OCBC could lose 16%.
Revenue for the Development Bank of Singapore, the largest bank in the city-state and the whole of South-East Asia, could fall by 14% this year.
Wealth manager WH Ireland has forecast operating loss before exceptional items of £2.2m ($2.7m) for the year to March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm also predicted a 10% fall in revenue to £21.3m from £23.7m.
Corporate client wins in Corporate and Institutional Broking and re-pricing actions in Wealth Management is said to have driven positive momentum at the firm across the year.
Large British banks have decided not to pay shareholders nearly £8bn worth of dividends, and to cancel cash bonuses, in order to use the money to support lending in the economy.
The banks will use capital where it is needed most—to fund cashflow, overdrafts, and credit lines to clients—as the worldwide pandemic continues to wreak havoc on businesses and consumers across the economy.
The move, which some banks had been considering, got a boost from Sam Woods, deputy governor of the Bank of England.
At a time when health services are facing unprecedented pressures, medics around the world are urging people to make sure they have made their wishes known regarding medical treatment. Boris Johnson’s recent warning to the public that we should be prepared to lose loved ones to coronavirus has kick started discussions about death and end of life care; topics we naturally shy away from.
Swiss private banking group EFG International will propose a dividend of CHF0.30 ($0.31) per share at its annual general meeting (AGM) despite regulatory pressure to curb the same in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is unchanged from the dividend distributed in the prior year,” the bank stated.
British asset manager Close Brothers Group is suspending its 2020 interim dividend to support businesses and individuals during the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dividend was originally scheduled to be distributed on the 22nd of this month.
As early economic data starts rolling in regarding the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear to everybody that one of the industries which will benefit the most is e-commerce. GlobalData Financial Services writes
Global lockdown measures are aggressively changing consumer behaviour and forcing people to use online shopping a lot more.
The dramatic and sudden share price decline of Afterpay, Australia’s premier buy now, pay later (BNPL) brand, highlights the damaging impact of COVID-19 on the BNPL business model and the potentially long-lasting ramifications. GlobalData Financial Services writes
Aetna International has announced that it will be waiving deductibles for inpatient hospital admissions related to Covid-19.
This is part of several steps Aetna has introduced to aid international medical insurance members access care during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today proposed targeted temporary measures to support users of consumer credit products facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19.
The package is intended to complement measures already announced by the government. Furthermore, it aims to support mortgage holders and renters, furloughed employees and the self-employed.
Several US banks have warned they will find it hard to take part in the government’s small-business rescue programme, arguing that the onus of hurriedly vetting loan applicants could expose them to legal liabilities.
The banks fear a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation: by performing their due diligence the way they normally would, they will get blamed for not allocating funds fast enough. But hastily qualifying loan seekers (as many expect and lawmakers demand) could expose them to potential legal costs or regulatory penalties.
Wealthtech firm Pascal Financial has rolled out a technology bundle to enable advisers to engage with clients remotely amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
Dubbed Prevail by Pascal, the new proposition is aimed at eliminating the hurdles caused by the cancellation of face-to-face meetings amid the pandemic.
Bank of America, which hired over 2,000 new employees in March alone, says it will not be doing any layoffs or job reductions in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
While many companies in the US and everywhere are getting ready for layoffs and hiring freezes, America’s second largest bank launched a hiring spree last month and also raised U.S. minimum hourly wages to $20.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has urged banks to adopt a conservative approach during awarding of bonuses, if not stopping them completely, to withstand the economic shock arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein has said that the bank is likely to curb bonuses this year amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“It is a bit early to talk about 2020 bonuses but we are certainly thinking in the direction that we want to show solidarity,” Gottstein told Swiss broadcaster SRF’s Eco programme.
The Indian government has directed that banks are essential services that must remain operational during the three-week coronavirus lockdown.
The directive is to ensure, among other things, that welfare cash schemes that are part of a $22.6bn stimulus reach the poor, the government said.
On 24 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the world’s largest lockdown on, asking 1.3 billion Indians to stay home for 21 days to slow the spread of COVID-19. Essential businesses such as groceries, pharmacies, and delivery services are exempt.
Digital challenger Starling has introduced a coronavirus support scheme, offering a three-month overdraft interest holiday for those struggling financially.
Customers can apply for the three-month interest holiday starting from April 1 2020. During the interest holiday, the bank will waive all interest charges on arranged overdrafts.
RIAs in the US are most worried about volatility and coronavirus (Covid-19) while their trade woes are on the wane, finds a survey by E*TRADE Advisor Services.
E*TRADE’s recent Independent Advisor Tracking study polled 225 independent registered investment advisers.
A Mastercard-sponsored organisation the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator has granted $20m to fund clinical trials during the coronavirus outbreak.
Researchers at three institutions – the University of Washington, the University of Oxford, and La Jolla Institute for Immunology – received the funding to hold clinical trials and identify immunotherapies for COVID-19.
The European Union has decided to delay tough new capital requirements for banks in order to encourage business and consumer lending during the coronavirus crisis.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Europe’s financial regulation chief, says support for lending remains the overriding priority in the fight against the worldwide pandemic. He said stricter standards that would force banks to raise additional equity would be ill-advised at this time.
Swiss banking group UBS has decided to hold a digital annual general meeting (AGM) for shareholders on April 29 instead of a physical meeting due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The AGM will be broadcast in two languages – English as well as German.
The move comes after the Swiss government banned the gathering of groups of more than five people in the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The alternative investments arm of JPMorgan Chase is planning to secure up to $10bn in funding to navigate the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
The COVID-19 outbreak – and the lockdowns that have been imposed worldwide to delay and contain it – has put sudden and unexpected demand on the e-commerce market, and the limitations of logistics and supply are constraining its growth potential. GlobalData Financial Services writes
Mattioli Woods chief Ian Mattioli has decided to give up his salary completely until this June to protect the company’s financial position during the crisis triggered by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Besides, the company’s board members agreed to reduce their basic salaries by half for the next three months.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has urged fund managers to look after their clients’ interests amid the uncertain market conditions caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The regulator will increase its monitoring of SFC-authorised funds in the present scenario.
SFC also wants early warning of material issues impacting the market participants.
Coronavirus-triggered social distancing, isolation and lockdowns have driven-up the use of financial apps in Europe by 72% in a week.
The sharp increase in the use of financial technology comes as the world readjusts to life fighting against the global health crisis and economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
ICICI Bank has launched banking services on WhatsApp, allowing customers to make banking decisions from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes after India became the latest country to adopt a nationwide lockdown to fight against COVID-19.
Critics claim Banks have been asking small businesses either for personal guarantees to qualify for the government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan or directing them towards standard loans with high interest rates.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was designed to provide financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
VP Bank Group, a Liechtenstein-based private bank, has said that that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is “leaving a mark” on its loan portfolio.
The pandemic calls for a larger valuation adjustment to an individual position of around CHF20m, noted the bank.
Consumers will be looking to make savings in any way possible with job losses and wage reductions soaring, and cancelling insurance policies could be one approach they take as circumstances change. Insurers will need to be wary that traditional policies and covers may be less relevant in these unprecedented times.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has initiated a host of measures aimed at minimising the damage from covid 19.
The Indian central bank announced the stimulative measures just hours after Moody’s Investors Services slashed India’s growth for 2020 from 5.3% to 2.5%.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided by a 4-to-2 majority to reduce the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) by 75 basis points to 4.4%.
American Express has launched a donation matching programme to help local communities in the US impacted by COVID-19.
Through Amex’s Membership Rewards programme, card members can use their points towards a donation to Feeding America through JustGiving.com. Amex will match the dollar amount of each donation – up to $1m in total donations.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has pledged to provide up to UD$60bn to support more stable USD funding conditions in the city-state and island country.
The new MAS US-dollar funding facility will aim to facilitate lending to businesses in the country and the region. The move will contribute to global efforts by central banks to maintain stability and normal functioning of financial markets.
Bought By Many has announced that customers will not invalidate their cover if they are unable to attend regular vet check-ups and appointments due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The insurance provider requires that pets have annual check-ups a dental check-up every 12 months and vaccinations.
Separate bills in the US House of Representatives and Senate propose creating so-called digital dollars and the accounts that would hold them, in order to blunt the shock of the coronavirus shutdown.
Supporters of the legislation claim the Fed digital dollar accounts would help speed up payments to households that need support. They say the US government currently lacks adequate infrastructure to distribute coronavirus-related payments as widely as needed.
Banking fintech Revolut has partnered with the Trussell Trust food network to support vulnerable families during COVID-19.
Revolut has added an in-app donation button, allowing customers to round up any spare change and donate the difference. Customers can also set up a recurring payment of any amount, or make a one-off donation.
Large banks have begun to cut back on their retail operations in the US, in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while keeping critical banking services like accessing deposits available to customers.
Citigroup is latest bank to announce widespread branch closures, temporarily shuttering up to 15% of its U.S. branches amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Australian investment manager AMP has withdrawn its outlook for 2020 due to the market turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the firm stressed that its capital position and liquidity continue to be strong.
The coronavirus pandemic has been the catalyst for global stock markets to crash. Declines in the FTSE 100 are mirroring the 2008 financial crash and wealth managers will be put to the test this year. But modelling from the global financial crisis and forecasts for 2021 suggest a bounce back in 2021, particularly for those that can stay invested in the market.
The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has urged Indians to use digital payments to reduce social contact, minimising the spread of COVID-19.
Through social media, NCPI has ran a campaign over the past few days encouraging people to make digital payments. It is also urging users to make UPI (unified payment interface) payments.
The UK financial watchdog is encouraging banks to take steps to facilitate consumer access to cash–such as waiving fees for individual savings accounts (ISAs) and allowing customers to end their term deposits early.
“We are working with the Bank of England and the Payment Systems Regulator to understand problems consumers may have accessing cash, and ensure the UK learns the lessons from other countries’ experience of coronavirus,” the FCA says.
President Macron secures a €5bn investment to help the country’s start-ups survive the coronavirus pandemic and maintain cash levels in between their fundraising.
French insurers and asset managers have pledged €5bn in investment for home-grown tech firms. The undertaking is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s push to nurture France’s fledgling start-ups into a cohort of highly valued heavyweights
CaixaBank has launched a number of initiatives to support its customers and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the initiatives, CaixaBank has cancelled rent payments on the homes it owns and launched an online volunteering programme to support the vulnerable. The two initiatives are part of the bank’s #WithYouMoreThanEver programme.
The government support package designed to help fight the economic impact of coronavirus—which includes £330bn in loans—is the biggest intervention in private sector business since the Second World War.
But if it doesn’t hit the target it’s of limited use, critics have argued.
The medical effects of COVID-19 on Australia are still building, with caseloads rising and likely to continue doing so for some time. GlobalData examines the effects of the global financial crisis (GFC) for clues as to the impact on banks and the financial health of the nation, with implications not just for Australian banks but all mature banking markets facing down a COVID-19 recession. While still early days, indicators are that short-term bank profits will plummet, loan growths will stall, impaired loans will begin to rise, and the industry will see further consolidation.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have introduced a bill that would bar banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions from charging overdraft fees until the coronavirus crisis is over.
The two lawmakers are pushing for the measure to be included in the federal relief package that is currently pending in the US Senate.
America’s biggest banks have asked the federal government to give them some regulatory relief to better enable them to weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bank Policy Institute, an advocacy group representing America’s leading banks, would like to see lower capital requirements and the easing of banks’ periodic stress tests.
With the Covid-19 outbreak, there are a number of factors of which financial institutions, including private banks, need to be wary. Financial crime and cyber crime is something that could very feasibly spike in the time of coronavirus. The CEO of ThetaRay comments.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon) has announced that due to coronavirus, the location of its stockholder meeting will be moved online.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the annual meeting will be held solely by remote communication in a virtual only format.
Coronavirus has truly arrived in the UK with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson all but announcing an absolute lockdown. People are expecting coronavirus to have a huge affect on the pound, but UBS believes that it will be rough, but it will recover.
After decades of rising capital requirements, UK banks are confident that their balance sheets are strong enough to withstand the hit of coronavirus, Britain’s big lenders tell investors.
The underlying health of Britain’s financial system is sound, senior bank executives say, and the supporting measures introduced by the Bank of England over the past two weeks gives them greater assurance.
After closing 1,000 of its roughly 5,000 branches this week, JPMorgan Chase has decided to reward its front-line employees for their efforts amid the flu-like pandemic. Employees will get the one-time payment in two $500 instalments to be paid out in April and May.
All full- and part-time staff who have to do their jobs from an office or branch, and who make less than $60,000 a year or are based at a consumer banking branch, are eligible to receive the payments.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to companies planning to release results and asked them to delay the publications.
All firms planning to release results in the next few days have been recommended to observe a moratorium for at least two weeks, due to complications arising from coronavirus.
South Africa’s Investec has said that it anticipates an up to 23% hit on its annual profits due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The wealth management group, which is already affected due to dull growth in South Africa, said that the outbreak will significantly impact the fourth quarter performance.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recalibrated regulatory priorities to address the challenges posed by Covid-19 outbreak.
The move includes suspending activities which are not time-critical as well as halting enhanced on-site supervisory work.
The regulator will focus on time-critical matters, violations and addressing risks to market integrity and consumers.
Global economies are collapsing due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the number of cases continues rising globally, forcing governments to take strict action, markets where investors lean heavily on stock market-driven investments will suffer the most.
As of March 23, the number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 330,000, predominantly in China but increasingly in Europe and the Americas as well. Unfortunately, only a small number of countries have been able to avoid the medical tragedy, and none will be able to avoid the brutal economic impact of this pandemic, meaning a global recession is now on the cards. However, the composition of each market’s retail investment portfolio will shape the initial impact and determine how wealth managers should react.
British wealth manager Quilter has donated £100,000 ($116,000) to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) coronavirus appeal through its charity foundation.
The NET was launched by Prince William in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
With this donation, Quilter seeks to encourage other industry stakeholders to contribute to the fund.
Uinsure has partnered with financial tech businesses eKeeper group, 360dotnet, Twenty7Tech and Iress to support businesses struggling with remote working. They will also promote their online presence during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Washington Trust, a firm that focuses on retail banking and wealth management, has revealed its Covid-19 initiatives.
To ensure the health, safety, and well-being of its employees, customers, and community, the bank has revealed a number of measures.
Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh today announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks.
As the world faces unprecedented challenges for the worldwide epidemic, America’s second largest bank said the donation will provide support to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Specifically, the funds will help increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, and increase access to learning as a result of school closures.
Goldman Sachs has closed two floors in Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Center office and asked the employees there to work from home after one of them was suspected of having coronavirus (Covid-19).
The employee, suspected of being a “highly probable” Covid-19 case, is part of the bank’s Investment Banking Division (IBD) and worked on the 60th floor of the office.
As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, credit card companies are offering relief by waiving fees and allowing customers to skip payments.
Faced with the growing financial distress of their individual and business clients, the banks are shifting their immediate priority from repurchasing their own stocks to extending loans to their customers.
According to the Financial Services Forum, an industry trade group, eight members would halt share buybacks through 30 June.
Swiss banking group Credit Suisse has said that its Q1 2020 profit has improved so far in spite of the turbulent market conditions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firm revealed that its return on tangible equity exceeds 10% for the first two months of 2020.
HSBC is looking to increase the number of Greater China billionaire customers by three-fold over the next three years. This is set to instil confidence into an economy grappling with uncertainties caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Aetna International will provide all its members with free access to its virtual health offering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The solution, vHealth, is being distributed to help ensure continuous access to health care in the middle of the outbreak.
Many of the City of London’s biggest institutions are taking decisive action to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
London banks are ramping up their efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The flurry of new measures by some of the world’s biggest banks comes in the wake of events that took place at HSBC a couple of weeks ago.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 180,000 people across the globe, with over 1,500 confirmed cases in the UK. Coronavirus will have a direct impact on the population’s physical health over the coming months, but people’s mental health will also suffer.
In an effort to minimise the spread of the virus, the UK government has encouraged social distancing practices, including avoiding pubs and theatres, while also encouraging people to work from home where possible. While these measures are important in reducing the spread of the disease, minimal social interaction could have an impact on someone’s mental health and wellbeing during this time.
Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank are working together to provide financial relief to Canadians impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.
At the same time, the country’s major banks will temporarily close a number of bank branches to support industry-wide social distancing.
ING has taken steps to ensure the wellbeing of employees and the continued support of customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Initial precautionary measures include guidance on hygiene, the provision of hand sanitisers in ING buildings, and additional cleaning of offices. The Dutch bank has also deferred all business and travel meetings, unless absolutely critical.
Furthermore, ING has split its operations meaning that some staff are working from home or remote locations.
Pandemics are not unusual in human history and COVID-19 will most likely not be the last one. However, it is one of the few – and the farthest-reaching – to have developed in our age of digital consumer capitalism.
As governments urge consumers to self-isolate at home for the forseeable future, people are shifting their purchases to e-commerce services. GlobalData Financial Services writes
As the coronavirus continues its rampage across the financial markets, Finablr, the owner of Travelex, has asked advisers to prepare for a possible insolvency, paving the way for the end of a company worth more than £1bn last year.
Reeling from the shock of the fast-spreading pandemic, the cash-strapped Finablr is considering insolvency as a solution to its financial distress.
The company says its board has engaged an accounting firm “to undertake rapid contingency planning for a potential insolvency appointment” with a view to maximising value in the group.
Financial advisory organisation deVere has launched contactless financial advice as social distancing has accelerated globally.
The deVerve group, which operates in over 100 countries worldwide, is launching its Contactless Advice service with immediate effect.
The advice follows the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday, recommending the nation to avoid “unnecessary” social contact where possible.
Banks are increasingly encouraging the use of their online and mobile banking, as more customers are seeking ways to avoid public places amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Several banks have sent reminders to customers touting their digital banking facilities and urging customers to use them.
With Covid-19 sweeping across Europe, governments have acted by enforcing restrictive measures, such as banning gatherings in many public and private spaces.
GlobalData’s 2019 Banking and Payments Survey has found that the European states most affected by the virus have significant numbers of consumers who typically access essential banking services by branch.
Findings from GlobalData’s 2019 UK Insurance Consumer Survey indicate that trip cancellation is the second most popular reason to claim on a travel insurance policy. Some insurers have looked to protect themselves from a spike in these claims due to the spread of coronavirus. However, it is unlikely they will get off lightly. Travel insurance is going to receive a lack of trust after coronavirus.
Banks across the Asia Pacific region appear to have pushed the panic button, closing a record number of job postings due to Covid-19.
GlobalData’s Job Analytics, shows that the start of March saw a spike in listed banking jobs being closed, with over 1,200 closing in one week – more than twice the typical 500. Newly posted jobs were also down to less than 300 positions.
Matt Crane, MD of WeSwap, said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow everyday. In an attempt to reduce its spread, we are seeing companies promote contactless transactions in lieu of cash payments, which studies suggest are more likely to carry the virus.
“The virus has also had a significant impact to financial markets, affecting the value of the pound against other currencies. Subsequent events, such as the Budget’s response to this crisis, as well as the United State’s travel ban have made exchange rates even more unpredictable.”
Mihir Kapadia, CEO of Sun Global Investments, said: “European equities are off to another brutal start on Monday, with major markets nosediving at the open. The German DAX is down by more than 6%, the French CAC 40 down by more than 7%, pan European Stoxx 600 down by more than 6% and the UK’s FTSE 100 down more than 7.3%. Travel, retail and leisure sectors are dragging the markets down as business brace for severe impact due to the recent nationwide cancellations and lock-downs.”
Deutsche Bank is set to operate globally in split teams in an effort to limit the impact of deadly coronavirus.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said his banks is ready to help out customers impacted by the virus outbreak with payments deferrals on mortgages and credit cards.
The head of America’s second largest bank, who met with President Trump last week, said the pandemic is a common enemy that has united the world in a war to defeat the disease. He said the banking industry is ready to do its part.
AIB has suspended its earlier decision to impose a fee on contactless card transactions due to coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.
Last week, the bank announced that it will charge one cent per contactless transaction from the end of May 2020.
Frédérique Carrier, Head of Investment Strategy, RBC Wealth Management, explains how the markets are shifting in Europe and fiscal stimulus is likely.
Investec abandoned its plan to offload a 10% stake in its asset management business NinetyOne owing to the hit on stock markets heightened by the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
The stake sale offer was part of the listing of NinetyOne.
Investec will now retain a 25% holding in the asset management business, instead of the planned 15%.
The firm warned of an uncertain 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm also warned of difficulties in the current year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
“2020 began well but the sharp Coronavirus induced market correction beginning in late February has created a level of uncertainty as to the outlook for the remainder of 2020.”
Mortgage lenders across the UK announced plans to allow people affected by the coronavirus outbreak to defer mortgage and loan repayments.
Several UK banks will offer loan repayment holiday to support homeowners affected by the coronavirus. The so-called coronavirus holiday will be extended on a case-by-case basis, and the length of the repayment suspension will likely vary from bank to bank.
The UK 2020 Budget may not look like it will affect the private banking sector heavily, but there are certain factors. Experts also claim coronavirus affected plans.
Coronavirus continued to create stress across financial markets worldwide. Of particular interest now is the UK budget and if coronavirusaffected it. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak may have had to make some last minute changes inlcuding a surplus.
The European Central Bank (ECB) asked the majority of its 3,500 staff in Frankfurt to work from home in order to measure its coronavirus (COVID-19) preparations.
The ECB is keen to test how it could deal with a shutdown over rising coronavirus concerns.
Mastercard closed its office located in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo and an annex office in New York after one of its employees tested positive for coronavirus.
The infected employee is based in Brazil and had recently visited the annex site in Purchase, New York, which is in proximity to its New York base.
The two locations are currently being sanitised.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) was set to cut 230 people from its headcount across its private bank and advice business in order to cut costs and build profitability.
Extreme pressure on the banking industry along with record-low interest rates are said to be the key factors triggering the downsizing exercise.
However, the adverse effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the economy is also said to have played a major role in the decision.
HSBC sent more than 100 employees home after a worker from the research department tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
JPMorgan Chase asked thousands of its employees to work from home in order to measure its coronavirus preparations.
Dubbed Project Kennedy, about 10% of 127,137 employees across JPMorgan’s consumer banking division have been requested to work remotely.
UBS has imposed a ban on non-essential international travel by employees to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employees of the bank would now require special nod for travel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advised consumers to switch to contactless payments as banknotes may be aiding the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
WHO said people should wash their hands after touching currency notes as the virus may stick to the surface for a number of days.
During circulation, currency notes change hands thousands of times and hence can accumulate all types of viruses and bacteria.
American banking giants asked their employees to not undertake any international travel for nonessential business in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
Banking groups that have curbed international travel without prior approval include Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.
Visa warned of its revenue getting hit in Q2, with overseas spending waning in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
The firm said that its revenue growth will be around 2.5-3.5 percentage points less than its earlier prediction.
A recent survey by the Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS) has revealed that the majority of Singapore’s asset managers are suspending travel to China and deferring their events following the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Mastercard lowered its revenue outlook for Q1 2020, saying that the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak on cross-border e-commerce and travel could dent its quarterly performance.
Coronavirus continues to spread, now hitting Italy, but are investments recovering?
The Financial Services Agency in Japan started an emergency survey on the country’s banks with a China presence to gain insight into how credit costs may get affected amidst the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
To combat the spread of deadly coronavirus, China’s central bank urged banks to disinfect used notes and isolate them for up to 14 days.
According to WHO, coronavirus can be spread through contaminated objects in addition to droplets and direct contact with infected patients.
Currencies across the Asia-Pacific region suffered a hard blow from coronavirus as the epidemic continues to clobber the Chinese economy, disrupting supply chains.
The impact of the coronavirus has spread outside China to economies heavily reliant on the Asian giant, from Australia and Thailand to South Korea and Singapore.
Singapore’s largest Bank, DBS, evacuated 300 staff after confirming that one employee has contracted the coronavirus.
All 300 employees on level 4 of the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) have been dismissed and will work from home until further notice, the bank said.
Several major banks, from HSBC to Standard Chartered to UOB, closed outlets in China, Hong Kong, and Macau, due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
HSBC shut 24 branches, Standard Chartered 18, and UOB has closed many outlets in China and Hong Kong. UOB has also halted or postponed large-scale internal meetings and public gatherings in Singapore.
UOB is the latest major bank to close or suspend operations in the area. In a statement, the bank apologises for any inconvenience the Kwun Tong temporary closure may cause. It referred customers to its other outlets in the city.
The coronavirus outbreak spread into Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD), with two employees found to be infected, and staff from major firms being told to work from home.
As two cases of coronavirus emerge in Singapore’s CBD, companies have stepped up temperature screening of staff and visitors as well as daily sanitation of offices.
Hundreds of Chinese companies were seeking bank loans totalling at least CNY57.4bn ($8.2bn) to be able to deal with the shock of the coronavirus epidemic.
More than 300 firms, including some of China’s largest companies, are seeking new funding that would enable them to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
HSBC Bank has said it would extend HK$30bn ($3.9bn) of additional liquidity relief, to help struggling businesses ride out the coronavirus outbreak that has already killed one person and infected 36 others in Hong Kong.
HSBC joins other banks operating in Hong Kong that easing borrowing terms to help companies that are reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.
Bank of Japan board member Takako Masai said that the global economy is on track for a rebound around mid-year and that the coronavirus outbreak does not warrant an immediate expansion of stimulus.
While acknowledging that the coronavirus epidemic represents a major risk to the global economy and may hurt Japanese business sentiment, Masai expects manufacturing to pick up and lead to a rebound in the global economy.
She reiterated the BOJ’s position that the Japanese economy will expand moderately due to strong capital expenditure and an increase in global manufacturing expenditure.
Undeterred by the ongoing coronavirus, the Swiss multinational has met its target set in 2016 to double headcount in China to 1,200 well ahead of schedule.
UBS has doubled its overall staff size from 2016’s 600 to 1,200 ahead of its 2022 plan. As China cracks open its financial markets to foreigners, demands for local securities and dealmaker services increase, and the bank sees an opportunity to tap a massive domestic market.
The Bank of Thailand decided to cut rates by 25 basis point to 1.00% amid growing concerns that the coronavirus outbreak could hinder economic performance.
The Thai economy would expand at a slower rate in 2020 than previously forecast and much further below its potential due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the Bank of Thailand said.
China’s central bank increased efforts to mitigate the impact of deadly coronavirus outbreak on the economy.
The disease, which originated from Hubei province, has already killed 638 people with fatalities jumping every day. As of 6 Feb 2020, the number of confirmed cases stood at 31,428.
HSBC revised an earlier directive and extended the ban on its staff from travelling to Hong Kong to 2 March 2020.
The Chinese central bank unveiled plans to infuse RMB1.2 trillion ($173bn) to ensure banks’ in the country don’t fall short of liquidity when the country is fighting against the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will pump the funds through open market operations.
UnionPay is set to enable cross-bank cash withdrawals without imposing any service charge in Hubei, which is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The company intends to pay back service charges in proportion for nationwide payments to small and micro businesses through UnionPay QR code.
Participating galleries have urged organisers to cancel the eighth edition of Hong Kong Art Basel, a privately owned and managed international art fair, owing to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Art Basel’s lead sponsor UBS recently asked their employees in Hong Kong to work from home after China visit.
The eighth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong is scheduled to be held in March this year, with around 241 galleries from 31 countries among the participants.