It must be tempting for the Financial Times simply to run a headline entitled ‘told you so’. For the past 18 months or so, the FT has run a number of articles alleging accounting fraud at Wirecard.
In response, Wirecard was unswerving in its assertion that there was no wrongdoing and rubbished the FT reports.
When the press reported that Wirecard’s Singapore office had been raided in connection with alleged mis-reporting of sales and profits at its Asian subsidiaries, again Wirecard denied any major problems. It was all a question of growing pains as if Wirecard was a victim of its own success.
It got worse as Wirecard suggested that the FT reports were not just inaccurate but a form of fake news designed to facilitate short selling.
It is not in dispute that short sellers have cashed in. Estimates vary but something north of $2bn seems about right.
What was always somewhat farcical was the suggestion that the FT editorial team was acting in concert with the short-sellers.
At the very least, if Wirecard survives, it owes a full and grovelling apology to the FT.
Wirecard has now admitted that up to €1.9bn of cash is unaccounted for and may be missing.
Its CEO has resigned and its share price has collapsed by around 80% in a week.
Not only is Wirecard unable to report its latest earnings: it has had to withdraw its preliminary unaudited results for 2019 the first quarter of 2020.
This one will run and
Monzo: all change as FY2019 results eagerly awaited
For many of us, this writer included, a £2bn valuation for Monzo last year seemed ludicrously high. It remains loss-making notwithstanding success in growing customer numbers to more than 4 million.
It has plans to launch a business banking account but in this segment is already playing catch up with direct competitor Starling.
So it comes as no surprise that Monzo’s valuation has dropped by around 40% to £1.25bn in its latest funding round.
What did come as a surprise was the news that founder Tom Blomfield is to transition to a newly created role as President of the bank.
Blomfield has been a breath of fresh air as Monzo founder. Few bankers, challenger or incumbent, have been as approachable or media friendly and quotable as Blomfield.
Moreover, nobody seems to have an unkind word to say about his successor as Monzo CEO, TS Anil.
Quite why Monzo is pressing ahead with a planned US launch when it has major challenges in its domestic UK market, is a question for another day.
Expect much positive spin about successful pilots and long waiting lists. For the next 18 months, Monzo US will have little to offer than a loss-making prepaid card.
With or without Blomfield as CEO, Monzo remains painfully slow at releasing its financial results for fiscal 2019.
On checking back 12 months, Monzo did not report its 2018 earnings until 28 June 2019.
So, expect the Monzo earnings for 2019 to be released sometime later in June.
And when the results do come to hand, expect to note disappointing progress in terms of basics, such as growing net interest income.
Monzo has been slow to grow unsecured lending on basics such as overdrafts and personal loans.
A year ago, its total loans book was a puny £20m. It will be interesting to note if Monzo is yet serious about growing its loan book when the 2019 results are released.