Our biggest stories of the past week are …
I just spent a couple of days talking about cryptocurrencies and the bitcoin thing again. It still amazes me how many misperceptions and distorted views there are out there about this area. One guy came up to me and said, for example, “oh, you’re talking about bitcoin again? I thought that was dead?” It’s not dead and, in fact, for those who bother to think about its potential it’s very much alive.
Monitise produced a report six months ago on mobile usage, and have produced an update this week with some interesting numbers. There are a few interesting charts also. For example, the use of operating system/smartphone by country:
I blogged a short while ago about Coders being the new Rock Stars of Banking, and how JPMorgan and other banks were actively head hunting leaders in Google, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley leaders. So I was interested to see the headline yesterday, that Snapchat has hired Imran Khan, the former head of Internet banking at Credit Suisse, as its first chief strategy officer.
There’s a headline in yesterday’s Financial Times: PayPal poses bigger threat to UK lenders than ‘challenger’ banks. The article covers research published by law firm Pinsent Masons who used YouGov to survey 2,000 consumers on their views about banking and providers. Headlines from the survey include:
So Apple Pay finally launched in the USA on October 20 and there’s been mixed reviews. Some people couldn’t make payments, whilst some found they were double-charged. However, these are just teething issues and the overwhelming reports are positive. Even former Apple CEO and Financial Services Club keynote speaker John Sculley:
On Friday, I said that Apple Pay would be the mobile wallet of choice and here’s why, but it was a half-finished blog as it really just outlined the ecosystem and endorsements Apple Pay was receiving, rather than the vision of where it is or could be going. That’s why a few people tweeted to me that it wasn’t actually anything that new. That’s almost a case I agree with as, when I present at conferences, I always say that Apple Pay isn’t that interesting. It’s just a wrap around the system, and doesn’t replace anything, but it is an important wrap as Apple doesn’t do anything by halves.
The major general news stories of the past week include …
Shamed: the City's most powerful watchdog endures its darkest day – The Independent
The credibility of Britain’s financial regulator was thrown into doubt yesterday after a damning report revealed how a catalogue of failings wiped billions off the value of insurers in one day.
UK 'Google tax' will target inter-company payments – Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) – A new British tax on companies that shift profits out of the country and into tax havens will target inter-company fees for services like use of intellectual property, according to a Treasury document seen by Reuters.
Directors quit FCA ahead of leak report – The Independent
Three senior executives left the Financial Conduct Authority on Monday ahead of a report expected to heavily criticise the City watchdog for its handling of an investigation into the pensions industry earlier this year.
PwC accused of ‘lies’ over mass sales of Luxembourg tax dodges – The Independent
MPs have accused the head of tax at PwC of “lying” over what they said was the accounting firm’s mass marketing of Luxembourg-based tax avoidance schemes, during angry exchanges at the Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday.
Bank accused of fraud over mortgages – BBC
Northern Ireland's Attorney General accuses Bank of Scotland of "criminal fraud" over its treatment of homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments.
Doubts that linger over solution to ‘too big to fail’ – Financial Times
Three big questions hanging over banking regulation
UK banking system may double in size by 2050, says Bank of England – The Guardian
Britain’s exposure to its banks, already the largest in the G20 group of leading nations, is set to double in the next 35 years. “The size of the UK banking system might roughly double from its current size to over 950% of GDP by 2050, far outstripping the projected increase in other G20 banking systems,” the Bank of England said.
Neil Woodford invests in online-only internet bank Atom – The Guardian
One of the City’s best-known fund managers, Neil Woodford, has become a cornerstone investor in a new internet bank being set up in the north-east of England.
Barclays MD for mobile banking & Pingit insists bank branches are ‘critical’ – The Drum
Despite the mass migration of banking services to mobile devices, Barclays' managing director for mobile banking and Pingit, Darren Foulds, has insisted that high-street bank branches are “critical” for the business and “a fundamental part of what we do”.
EU may ditch plan to separate bank trading activities – Reuters
The European Union may ditch plans to force banks to keep high-risk trading activities separate from their main businesses because of opposition from some member states.
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