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Apr 23, 2018

CNN | Anderson Cooper: Is Trump sending messages to Cohen?

THE Guardian | TSB online banking failure prompts complaints | Business on April 24, 2018.

theguardian.com

TSB online banking failure prompts complaints | Business

Patrick Collinson

One of the biggest transfers of banking data ever attempted in the UK, involving the switch of 1.3bn TSB customer records, fell into turmoil as millions of customers were locked out of their accounts.
Some customers alleged that the IT “upgrade” had left them with rogue credits and debits on their accounts, while others complained they had been given access to random accounts.
TSB said its 1.9 million mobile and internet banking customers suffered “intermittent” failures to access their accounts on Monday, while for about half an hour a glitch gave some users a view of “nominee” accounts they would not normally see.
Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk
The transfer had been planned for months, and was supposed to be completed by Sunday evening, but on Monday morning the bank was bombarded with complaints from customers unable to log on.
TSB was carved out of Lloyds Bank and then bought in 2015 by Spain’s Banco Sabadell. Initially, Lloyds continued to handle the IT infrastructure for TSB but over the weekend it moved all customer accounts to a system designed by Sabadell for its UK customers.
Customers were warned that they would not be able to conduct transactions on the internet or their mobile phone over the weekend. When problems emerged on Monday morning, TSB said it hoped to have its systems “up and running again soon” but the outages persisted all day.
By the end of the working day TSB was still unable to reopen all accounts. It told customers: “We don’t have any timescales that we’re able to provide at the moment. However, we are working to fix it as fast as we can.”
A spokesperson for TSB said if any customer was left out of pocket as a result of the IT transfer they would be reimbursed.
However, TSB insisted customers were able to use their cards throughout the period.
It said the planned transfer from 4pm on Friday through to 6pm on Sunday meant customers were not able to make payments into and out of their accounts using the internet or mobile phones, and apologised that for some customers the services remained unavailable on Monday.
“We are really sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and want them to know we are working as hard and as fast as we can to resolve this problem,” TSB said.
In an own goal, however, TSB’s parent group, Sabadell, issued a press release with a statement from the group chair, Josep Oliu, saying it had “successfully completed the TSB technology migration”.
On Twitter, customers shared images of rogue debts and credits on their accounts. One bemused account holder showed his TSB banking app recording a direct debit paid to Sky Digital – in 81 years’ time.
“Now I know there are a lot of theories about time travel, but look I have actually gone 81 years into the future and paid a direct debit to Sky. Just thought you should know!” Ben Stratton tweeted.
Sara (@SaraColwill)
I am experiencing the same issue, when I managed to get onto the app last night i had 3 transactions I hadn't made and it told me my balance at one point was 27k! I wish!
April 23, 2018
xD (@DC_Flashpoint)
Glad I'm not with @TSB, my wife can't even check her balance at a bloody ATM or use her card to buy a loaf of bread... Absolute disgrace, They're quickly learning though that if they want a riot they take away peoples access to their money.
April 23, 2018
I am Benjii (@mrbenjiiii)
@PaulPester Paul, I logged into my @TSB @TSB_News account last night to see the account details of some random person. TSB have really dropped the ball with this. You really need to manage expectations here, your stock response is insulting.
April 23, 2018
Others were more unhappy about the prolonged outage. Paul Scriven, a House of Lords peer, tweeted that his account was wrongly showing a £0 balance. He wrote: “Stop telling me and other customers you have an intermittent problem. You clearly have a major systems failure. Be honest. It’s bad enough for us your customers without you taking us for mugs.”
Paul Scriven (@Paulscriven)
@TSB_PubAffairs and @TSB @PaulPester stop telling me and other customers you have an intermittent problem. You clearly have a major systems failure . Be honest. It's bad enough for us your customers without you taking us for mugs
April 23, 2018
Financial Ombudsman (@financialombuds)
Hi we are aware that some TSB customers have had problems with their accounts over the weekend due to internal system maintenance. We're currently discussing this with TSB and customers who have contacted us about how they've been affected. Have you experienced issues?
April 23, 2018

The Guardian | Banking royal commission: 'Commercial interests' trumped the interests of consumers, ANZ admits – live | Australia news on April 24, 2018.

theguardian.com

Banking royal commission: 'Commercial interests' trumped the interests of consumers, ANZ admits – live | Australia news

Christopher Knaus


The royal commission has adjourned for lunch. We’re yet to hear more about McKenna and her dealings with celebrity financial adviser, Sam Henderson.
We’ll bring that news to you once the royal commission returns about 2pm.

That concludes Forde’s evidence.
We now hear from Donna McKenna. McKenna sought financial advice in late 2016, due to impending tax changes on superannuation funds.
She sought advice from firm Henderson Maxwell, after seeing its chief executive, Sam Henderson, on television. Henderson had a show on Sky’s business channel and regularly wrote in the Australian Financial Review.
Updated

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'Commercial interests' trumped the interests of customers, bank admits

Some fairly stunning evidence here. ANZ failed to conduct any detailed investigation of Mr A, despite receiving the formal complaint in 2013 and being in possession of two earlier audits that raised concerns about Mr A’s behaviour.
Why? Because it wasn’t in Millennium3’s “commercial interests”.
When Forde is asked whether the misconduct should have been identified earlier, he says:
Yes, I accept that. I think there was enough information in the initial complaint in 2013 to warrant us, Millennium3, talking to those other customers at that time
Orr asks:
So ANZ elected not to take an investigation in 2013 or to contact any of the other customers who were in the same position as the customers who had made the complaint?
Forde:
It appears so, yes.
Orr asks why. Forde responds:
The only logical reason is that the commercial interests of Millennium3 took precedent
Orr:
Over the interests of the clients?
Forde:
Yeah, I think that’s fair.
The inquiry heard ANZ is still trying to work out how many of Mr A’s clients were affected. There are at least eight. But ANZ’s advice review team is looking at 103 customers during Mr A’s time at Millennium3.
It has made a referral to police over Mr A’s unauthorised withdrawal of about $224,000 from accounts between March 2011 and February 2012.
Updated

ANZ put onus on customers to complain, despite knowing litany of allegations against 'Mr A'

We’re getting to the crux of the Mr A story now.
ANZ, despite knowing for years that Mr A’s conduct was problematic, put the onus on his customers to come forward and complain about him.
The royal commission hears more details of allegations against Mr A, this time involving four clients in September 2013. It’s a similar story. Mr A advises them to invest in an apartment. He again uses their money through his own company to purchase the apartment. Mr A later tells his clients that their money is gone. Why? Because, despite promising his clients a quick return, he said the apartment has sat unsold on the market for two years.
The clients complained to Millennium3 and said they should be refunded the money. Millennium3’s response to the clients is ... interesting. The company tells Mr A’s clients:
It is unclear to us whether a loss has been suffered to you at all in respect to Mr A’s conduct
Orr asks Forde why it was “unclear”. He says he doesn’t know.
The answer irks Orr, who reminds Forde he has been put forward to answer questions about these events.
After Millennium3 sent this letter, in December 2013 and January 2014, it identified four other self-managed super funds who were listed as being unit holders in the unit trust, and were also customers of Mr A.
The evidence before ANZ, at this stage, is piling up.
That prompts this extraordinary exchange. Orr asks:
Did Millennium3 and ANZ attempt to contact those customers?
Forde:
Not to my knowledge.
Orr:
Did it investigate whether any of those clients had suffered any loss?
Forde:
Not to my knowledge.
Orr:
Why not, Mr Forde?
Forde:
I don’t know.
Updated

We learn that Mr A had told his clients he put their money in a unit trust, which would be used to purchase the property.
That was a lie. Mr A instead put the money into a company, of which he was the sole director.
Updated

Now, onto Kieran Forde, from ANZ. He is being asked about five financial advisers, accused of forging customers signatures, misappropriating customer funds and misleading or deceiving customers.
The first financial adviser is known only as “Mr A”, who was with Millennium3, a financial services arm of ANZ. Mr A was the subject of a number of negative audits, the first in February 2011.
Mr A gave advice to his clients that they should invest in a property in 2011. The property was a marina for sale. Mr A knew those involved in the sale of the property.
This is a significant breach for Mr A. Forde says he should not have been advising his clients to invest in property.
But Mr A managed to convince five of his clients to invest in the property through their self-managed super funds.
Mr A said they would buy it for $1.6m, using a $600,000 investment, and put it on the market for between $2.05m and $2.09m.
Mr A got four of his clients to invest $100,000 each from their super funds. The fifth invested $200,000.
They then heard “very little” from Mr A about the property.
Another audit occurred in November 2011, which also made worrying findings about his advice.
Rowena Orr, the senior counsel assisting, asks Forde whether Mr A was disciplined. Forde responds:
Not that I’m aware of
Orr says:
Why not?
Forde:
I don’t know.
Updated

NAB's 'common practice' of falsifying superannuation forms

We’re now hearing from Kieran Forde, head of wealth solutions and partnerships at ANZ.
Before we get stuck into his evidence, let’s just quickly re-cap what we learned from NAB’s chief customer officer, Andrew Hagger, this morning.
Hagger was quizzed about the falsification of benefit nomination forms for superannuation. The forms set out NAB customers’ wishes on how their superannuation benefits should be distributed when they die.
  • The royal commission heard it was “common practice” for NAB employees to falsely sign the forms as witnesses, despite not being present during client meetings. About 353 NAB employees were involved and 2,520 customers were affected.
  • The falsification potentially rendered the forms invalid, potentially derailing customers’ wishes for their estates.
  • Bradley Meyn, a financial advisor, was the focus of the inquiry. The inquiry heard NAB took six months after firing Meyn to notify the corporate regulator of the breach. Hagger admitted it should have happened months earlier.
  • The inquiry also heard NAB leaders resisted having their bonuses cut, saying it would drive some executives out of the bank and discourage future whistleblowers.
Updated

That concludes Hagger’s evidence. Orr is done with her examination and NAB’s lawyers have no questions for him.
ANZ will be up next. We’re having a short adjournment to get things in order at the bar table.

Hagger is talking about NAB’s customer response initiative, which is designed to proactively find areas where NAB has given inappropriate advice to customers. The bank has spent $50m on the customer response initiative.
We have found $19m worth of compensation that we have offered to clients, so we will continue with that process
He’s disputing a question from Orr implying that NAB had a culture of assuming nothing was wrong until a customer complained.
Updated

Hagger, the NAB chief customer officer, had a little difficulty calculating how much of his enormous bonus was cut over the falsification issue.
If it were not for these events I would have received a higher incentive. And the way to calculate that would be 0.05 times $1.2m, so I think that might be $60,000.
That left him with a measly $960,000 bonus, he said.
Updated

NAB leaders resisted having bonuses reduced over scandal

Leaders within NAB voiced strong opposition to having their bonuses shaved over the falsification scandal. Tim Steele, the general manager of NAB financial planning, expressed concern about imposing consequences for leadership, in the form of shaving his bonus. Steele lost about 10% of his bonus because of the falsification of documents. He thought the reduction would be much higher when he opposed the punishment.
Greg Miller, the head of wealth advice at NAB, argued punishing leaders may discourage whistleblowers from coming forward. Miller met with Hagger about the issue. A file note of the meeting, written by Hagger, records the following:
Mr Miller was very much opposed to any implications for the wealth advice leadership team members and their direct reports. He said this was an important cultural symbol, and that what the organisation was really encouraging then, was for [beneficiary nominations]-style issues to be swept under the carpet in future. He said we risked key departures and all at a time when we would look to sell the advisory business, or parts of it, in the coming year.
Hagger is asked what his response to the views was. He said:

My response to those views is that there’s an expression ‘everything is leadership’s fault’. It’s for leaders to set the tone. What we’ve done here is followed all the way through from Mr Meyn’s situation to finding a more entrenched practice that had occurred within the division.
We are actually delighted with Tim Steele’s leadership through this process, because he didn’t waver going through the customer remediation, in going through the impacts and consequences for those individuals who had been involved in the practice, and in striking a proportionate response to this situation and making clear to the employees that this was wrong behaviour and here’s how it needs to be done.

Dan Ziffer (@danziffer)
ICYMI: 100s of NAB employees falsely witnessed more than 2500
signatures, threatening customer’s estates… and executives who lost bonuses
about it complained directly to the C.E.O. #bankingRC pic.twitter.com/Gj5cjhOyPx
April 24, 2018
Updated

Hagger is detailing the steps NAB took to give customers “peace of mind”. Just a quick reminder: the falsification of the forms potentially rendered customers’ estate planning – their wishes for what should happen with their superannuation when they die – invalid.
Hagger says NAB wrote to all 2,520 customers. The bank has had difficulty reaching about 30 people.
He said in the vast majority of cases, customers simply re-signed the forms with valid witnesses.
As things stand today, there are about 250 customers who have not yet returned those forms. Over time, we think that will whittle down to a much smaller number again ... That was our prime concern, that through our own sloppiness we had created this situation, which could affect the peace of mind of 2,520 customers.
Updated

The New York Times (NYT) | Sears C.E.O. Seeks to Buy the Retailer’s More Valuable Parts. on April 23, 2018.

nytimes.com

Sears C.E.O. Seeks to Buy the Retailer’s More Valuable Parts

Michael Corkery

The chief executive of Sears is its largest shareholder and a major lender to the company. Now, he wants to be its savior, after the retailer tried — unsuccessfully — to find buyers for some of its more valuable brands.
The chief executive, Edward S. Lampert, said the hedge fund he controls would be willing to buy Sears’s real estate holdings, its appliance-parts business and the Kenmore appliances brand, among other assets. The proposed deal, outlined by Mr. Lampert to the Sears board in a letter released Monday, would infuse the company with new funds as it tries to pay down billions in debt.
“We continue to see the value in Sears and its underlying assets,” Mr. Lampert said in the letter, “and believe strongly that with an appropriate runway Sears will be able to complete its transformation.”
The offer places Mr. Lampert in an unusual position. In proposing that his hedge fund, ESL Investments, buy some of Sears’s best assets, Mr. Lampert would find himself with a stake in both sides of the deal. Mr. Lampert said he would recuse himself from any board discussions about the transaction, which would require the approval of Sears’s shareholders who are not affiliated with ESL.
The offering represents Mr. Lampert’s latest attempt to salvage a once-iconic brand in Sears. The company has been in a precipitous decline for several years, as lower-end shopping malls struggle to attract shoppers and big-box rivals and e-commerce companies gain market share. Even as many other department stores have stabilized their business, Sears has continued to struggle. Analysts have warned that the company is at risk of defaulting on its debt.
Mr. Lampert offered to pay Sears $500 million for its appliance-parts and home-services units, but did not mention a price for Kenmore or the real estate. He noted in his letter that the company had been trying to sell the assets for nearly two years, but had failed to reach a deal with potential buyers on “acceptable terms.”
The proposal to acquire Kenmore and the other business units would leave the already scaled-back retailer even more diminished, leading some to question whether Mr. Lampert has been seeking to strip out the most valuable assets in the event the company files for bankruptcy.
“Today’s news simply looks like another pre-emptive move by insiders to secure the most valuable assets,” Bill Dreher, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, wrote in a research note late Monday.
An alumnus of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Lampert has tried to revamp the company through a series of financial engineering, store closings and asset sales.
In recent years, Sears has spun off or sold a variety of brands, including Sears Hometown, the apparel maker Lands’ End and its Craftsman tool brand.
In 2015, Mr. Lampert sold more than 266 Sears and Kmart properties for $3 billion to a publicly traded real-estate investment group called Seritage Growth Properties.
Edward S. Lampert, whose hedge fund owns a controlling stake in Sears, has been trying for years to save the troubled retailer. Gregory Bull/Associated Press
At the time, Mr. Lampert was not only the chief executive, but also the chairman for Seritage. The sale led to a lawsuit, in which shareholders argued that there had not been an independent, fair valuation of the properties and that there were multiple conflicts of interest. The lawsuit was settled for $40 million.
“He has been taking productive assets out of the company since Day 1,” said Mark A. Cohen, a former Sears executive who is now director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School. ”He is going to be getting down to peeling paint off the wall soon.”
As the largest shareholder in Sears, Mr. Lampert’s hedge fund stands to lose out if the company ends up in bankruptcy.
But he could pare some of those losses if Kenmore, a well-known appliance brand, were to thrive outside of Sears.
Last month, Sears was able to reduce some pressure through the announcement of a so-called debt exchange deal, which could allow the retailer to pay off some debt by converting it to stock. But analysts warn that the company is burning through more than $1 billion of cash a year and its sales continue to decline. The company lost $562 million in the fiscal year that ended Feb. 3, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Raising cash through asset sales will not only help the company stay afloat with its debt and pension obligations, it could also help ease potential concerns among vendors that are critical to Sears’s survival. Toys “R” Us partly blamed nervous vendors for tipping it into bankruptcy last year.
“It is paramount that Sears enhances its liquidity profile,” said Christina Boni, a senior credit analyst at Moody’s.
Mr. Lampert said he was interested in acquiring the company’s remaining real estate, which was not sold in the 2015 deal with Seritage.
If Mr. Lampert and the Sears board strike a deal, the company would still own more than 500 Sears stores, an auto-repair business, a credit card unit and about 400 Kmart stores.
On Monday, the Sears board said a special committee of independent directors would evaluate Mr. Lampert’s proposal.
The company’s share price surged 7.6 percent on Monday to $3.24. Three years ago, the company stock was trading at $41.13.
“We are very enthusiastic about our ownership interest in Sears and its future,” Mr. Lampert said in his letter.

CNBC | Gold falls, palladium plummets as US hints at Russia sanctions relief on April 23, 2018.

cnbc.com

Gold falls, palladium plummets as US hints at Russia sanctions relief

CNBC

Gold bullion bars and coins. Getty Images
Gold bullion bars and coins.
Palladium sank 5 percent on Monday amid U.S. hints it might relieve sanctions on Russia's Rusal, while gold hit a two-week low as investors piled into the dollar with U.S. Treasury yields approaching 3 percent.
The United States said it could give sanctions relief to Russian aluminum giant Rusal if Oleg Deripaska cedes control of the company, easing fears Washington might extend sanctions to major palladium producer Nornickel.
Nornickel, by far the world's largest palladium producer, is linked with both Rusal and Deripaska, and fears it might be targeted by U.S. sanctions had sent prices soaring since April 6, when sanctions were imposed.
Spot palladium dropped 4.43 percent to $984.43 an ounce at 2:21 p.m. ET, near session lows of $978.22 an ounce.
Spot gold fell 0.79 percent to $1,324.20 per ounce, having touched a two week low of $1,323.61. U.S. gold futures for June delivery fell 0.92 percent to $1,326 per ounce.
The U.S. dollar rallied to a seven-week high after a rise in the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries to within a whisker of the psychologically important 3-percent level.
A stronger dollar makes dollar-priced gold costlier holders of other currencies. "If we break above (3 percent) it will be first time in 5 years this has happened and this increases opportunity cost of holding (non-yielding) gold," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.
But he said the reason yields were rallying was because interest rates were expected to climb due to rising inflation. "If inflation is rising, gold provides a hedge," he said, adding there was also longer term upside for gold from geopolitical tensions and a U.S. currency stuck in a long-term downtrend as global central banks begin raising rates.
Gold, seen as a safe haven in times of political turmoil, was also under pressure after North Korea said at the weekend it would suspend nuclear and missile tests before planned summits with South Korea and the United States.
Added to this were signs that U.S. China relations might be thawing. Speculators raised their net long or buy positions in COMEX gold by 5,382 contracts to 143,594 contracts in the week to April 17, U.S. data showed on Friday.
Spot silver fell 2.71 percent to $16.65 per ounce while platinum was down 0.18 percent at $920.80 an ounce, having hit a two week low of $910.75.

April FSN GoldandSiver | Bruce Deitrick Price - How Our Schools Create Monsters on 23, 2018.

ALJAZEERA | Will Zimbabwes government bring Back our Nurses

The Guardian | WA accused of undermining Burrup peninsula's world heritage listing | Australia news

theguardian.com

WA accused of undermining Burrup peninsula's world heritage listing | Australia news

Calla Wahlquist

Any plans to increase industrial development on Western Australia’s Burrup peninsula could damage the rock art and undermine efforts to secure world heritage listing, advocates have said.
The Burrup peninsula, or Murujuga, near Karratha in the north-west of the state, is home to a collection of more than 500,000 petroglyphs, making it the densest concentration of rock carvings in the world.
The Western Australian premier, Mark McGowan, has confirmed the government is considering possible new developments on the Burrup peninsula, saying that promoting industry and protecting the heritage values of the area can progress hand in hand.
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The projects, which remain commercial in confidence, were detailed in a confidential briefing note prepared for McGowan for a recent trip to Karratha and obtained by the ABC.
They would be built alongside existing industrial developments on the peninsula including the recently expanded Yara Pilbara fertilisers ammonia plant and the Northwest Shelf Karratha gas plant. At least one has already received preliminary approval from McGowan.
The confidential briefing note, seen by Guardian Australia, suggests that the application for world heritage listing may be delayed to allow the new projects to get the necessary approvals.
“A world heritage listing may have tourism benefits but could deter new industrial investment without careful management,” it says.
It says the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation encourages a “staged approach to tourism on the Burrup”.
“There may be a reluctance for new industries to locate on the Burrup peninsula should world heritage listing go ahead before companies have obtained key project approvals,” it says. “To achieve a balance between industrial development and tourism associated with a world heritage listing, the timing of the world heritage listing, and associated deliberations, will be critical.”
The briefing note comes a month after the Murujuga Aboriginal Council asked the McGowan government for assistance pursuing an application for world heritage listing for the area.
The WA Greens MP Robin Chapple said it was “deceitful” to plan future industrial developments while also talking to the five relevant traditional owner groups about world heritage listing.
“This is a deceitful government, who have led traditional owners on while simultaneously working with big business to trash any chance of achieving world heritage for this site,” Chapple said.
“We have multiple reports showing that industry on the Burrup is degrading the rock art, so why on earth is the government seeking two new industrial projects for this sensitive area when the Maitland estate down the road is perfectly suitable?”
A recent Senate report found that traditional owners felt they had been left out of previous discussions around the management of Murujuga.
Labor senators on the committee warned against future industrial development at the site, saying there was “significant” evidence of discolouration caused by pollution from the Yara Pilbara fertilisers plant. Liberal senators disagreed, providing a split finding.
McGowan told the ABC that he does support the push for world heritage listing and believed it could coexist with further industrial development.
“There are some vacant blocks there … that don’t impinge on rock art or anything of that nature, so we are working on some projects that will create jobs for local people in particular,” he told the ABC. “At the same time we do think that the vast majority of the peninsula should be heritage listed. Those two things go together.”
Judith Hugo from the lobby group Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) said the decision to consider further industrial development was “outrageous” and should be overturned.
“Surely Australia’s oldest 45,000-year-old heritage site is worth more than a few industries with a 20-year lifespan, exposing workers and the local communities to the negative health impacts of chemical emissions?” Hugo said.
Prof John Black, a technical adviser with FARA, said that it was possible new development could impinge on the lengthy process for achieving world heritage status.

The Guardian | TSB online banking failure prompts complaints | Business on April 23, 2018.

theguardian.com

TSB online banking failure prompts complaints | Business

Patrick Collinson

One of the biggest transfers of banking data ever attempted in the UK, involving the switch of 1.3bn TSB customer records, fell into turmoil as millions of customers were locked out of their accounts.
Some customers alleged that the IT “upgrade” had left them with rogue credits and debits on their accounts, while others complained they had been given access to random accounts.
TSB said its 1.9 million mobile and internet banking customers suffered “intermittent” failures to access their accounts on Monday, while for about half an hour a glitch gave some users a view of “nominee” accounts they would not normally see.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk
The transfer had been planned for months, and was supposed to be completed by Sunday evening, but on Monday morning the bank was bombarded with complaints from customers unable to log on.
TSB was carved out of Lloyds Bank and then bought in 2015 by Spain’s Banco Sabadell. Initially, Lloyds continued to handle the IT infrastructure for TSB but over the weekend it moved all customer accounts to a system designed by Sabadell for its UK customers.
Customers were warned that they would not be able to conduct transactions on the internet or their mobile phone over the weekend. When problems emerged on Monday morning, TSB said it hoped to have its systems “up and running again soon” but the outages persisted all day.
By the end of the working day TSB was still unable to reopen all accounts. It told customers: “We don’t have any timescales that we’re able to provide at the moment. However, we are working to fix it as fast as we can.”
A spokesperson for TSB said if any customer was left out of pocket as a result of the IT transfer they would be reimbursed.
However, TSB insisted customers were able to use their cards throughout the period.
It said the planned transfer from 4pm on Friday through to 6pm on Sunday meant customers were not able to make payments into and out of their accounts using the internet or mobile phones, and apologised that for some customers the services remained unavailable on Monday.
“We are really sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and want them to know we are working as hard and as fast as we can to resolve this problem,” TSB said.
In an own goal, however, TSB’s parent group, Sabadell, issued a press release with a statement from the group chair, Josep Oliu, saying it had “successfully completed the TSB technology migration”.
On Twitter, customers shared images of rogue debts and credits on their accounts. One bemused account holder showed his TSB banking app recording a direct debit paid to Sky Digital – in 81 years’ time.
“Now I know there are a lot of theories about time travel, but look I have actually gone 81 years into the future and paid a direct debit to Sky. Just thought you should know!” Ben Stratton tweeted.

Sara (@SaraColwill)
I am experiencing the same issue, when I managed to get onto the app last night i had 3 transactions I hadn't made and it told me my balance at one point was 27k! I wish!
April 23, 2018
xD (@DC_Flashpoint)
Glad I'm not with @TSB, my wife can't even check her balance at a bloody ATM or use her card to buy a loaf of bread... Absolute disgrace, They're quickly learning though that if they want a riot they take away peoples access to their money.
April 23, 2018
I am Benjii (@mrbenjiiii)
@PaulPester Paul, I logged into my @TSB @TSB_News account last night to see the account details of some random person. TSB have really dropped the ball with this. You really need to manage expectations here, your stock response is insulting.
April 23, 2018
Others were more unhappy about the prolonged outage. Paul Scriven, a House of Lords peer, tweeted that his account was wrongly showing a £0 balance. He wrote: “Stop telling me and other customers you have an intermittent problem. You clearly have a major systems failure. Be honest. It’s bad enough for us your customers without you taking us for mugs.”

Paul Scriven (@Paulscriven)
@TSB_PubAffairs and @TSB @PaulPester stop telling me and other customers you have an intermittent problem. You clearly have a major systems failure . Be honest. It's bad enough for us your customers without you taking us for mugs
April 23, 2018
Financial Ombudsman (@financialombuds)
Hi we are aware that some TSB customers have had problems with their accounts over the weekend due to internal system maintenance. We're currently discussing this with TSB and customers who have contacted us about how they've been affected. Have you experienced issues?
April 23, 2018

The New York Times (NYT) | Apple’s Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns on April 23, 2018.

nytimes.com

Apple’s Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns

Adam Satariano

European regulators announced an investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of Shazam, the song-identification app, over concerns that Apple would acquire data on competitors. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
LONDON — If data is the most valuable currency of the digital economy, at what point does a company have so much that it becomes unfair?
That’s a question antitrust experts are increasingly asking themselves as the world’s biggest technology companies harvest more and more information about people and businesses. On Monday, European regulators pushed the idea forward, announcing an investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of the song-identification app Shazam over concerns the iPhone maker would get access to data on competitors like Spotify.
Antitrust cases, particularly in the United States, are typically argued over the impact a deal will have on consumers, such as the price of a product or service. Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s top antitrust official, has argued data should become more of a factor.
Ms. Vestager has said that with free services, customers pay with their data, and are not always getting a fair deal. This broader interpretation of antitrust law would have important consequences for future acquisitions made by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Apple said in December that it would buy Shazam, the song-recognition service that has been a mainstay on people’s smartphones for years with its ability to name a track after listening for a few seconds. The app has also become a valuable source of data, giving music industry executives insight into what songs and artists are performing well and in what regions.
European authorities are raising alarms because Shazam has important data about Apple’s rivals, potentially allowing the company to “directly target its competitors’ customers and encourage them to switch” to Apple’s own streaming service, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said in a statement.
“Competing music streaming services could be put at a competitive disadvantage,” the commission said. It added that it wanted to prevent Apple from blocking Shazam from referring users to other music services.
The European Commission has until Sept. 4 to make a final decision on whether to block or approve the deal, or seek concessions from Apple.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The inquiry adds to the growing roster of cases in which European authorities are resisting the expanding power of global technology companies. Apple and Ms. Vestager’s competition office are already in the midst of a contentious fight over a 2016 ruling in which the iPhone maker was ordered to pay 13 billion euros, or about $15.9 billion, in back taxes to Ireland. Apple is appealing.
Ms. Vestager’s office has also fined a number of other tech giants, including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Qualcomm. And a new data protection law taking effect next month is expected to bring even more scrutiny.
Antitrust cases based on data will become more common as companies use customer information as a moat against competitors, according to Maurice Stucke, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, who has written in favor of broader enforcement of antitrust rules. He cited a potentially influential German investigation of Facebook over the use of data.
The European inquiries are likely to influence governments elsewhere in the world, Mr. Stucke said. Governments, wary of the technology industry’s power over the global economy, will develop rules to account for concerns that data can be used to build monopoly positions, even when companies buy businesses that wouldn’t initially seem to be consequential, he said.
“You’re seeing significant changes over the last three to four years on data, privacy and competition policy,” Mr. Stucke said. “It’s a sea change.”

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Investopedia | 6 Big Bank Stocks Flash Warning Signals on April 23,2018.

investopedia.com

6 Big Bank Stocks Flash Warning Signals

Mark Kolakowski

Bank stocks rose by about 19 percent over the past year, as measured by the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index, as investors anticipated that rising interest rates, deregulation, and tax reform would fuel these shares even higher in 2018. But big warning signs are emerging that all is not well with the banking industry and with bank stocks, especially the biggest six U.S. players. Investors now see signs of slowing long-term growth stemming both from industry trends and also from new, more constrictive rules by the Federal Reserve. While first quarter earnings reports looked strong on the surface, the shares of several big U.S. banks declined in response. As Ben Barzideh, a wealth advisor at Chicago-based Piershale Financial Group, told Barron's: "The market has not been impressed because the reasons for the earnings beat are of low quality, such as tax benefits or one-off boosts. These are factors that only increase revenues temporarily."
The six big U.S. banks represent a mixed bag in terms of price performance for the year-to-date through April 20: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), +5.3%, Citigroup Inc. (C), -5.5%, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), -0.8%, Morgan Stanley (MS), +4.2%, Bank of America Corp. (BAC), +2.9%, and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), -12.9%. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is down by 0.1% YTD, while the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index (BKX) is up by 0.6%. The KBW index hit its low close for the year on Wednesday April 18, down 1.7% YTD as of that point, then rallied on Thursday and Friday, per Yahoo Finance.

Stressing Over Stress Tests

A new cloud hanging over bank stocks is the Federal Reserve's proposed changes to capital requirements that may force banks to keep larger capital buffers, thereby restricting the growth in dividend payouts and share repurchase programs, The Wall Street Journal reports. This is creating a new set of uncertainties that have been weighing on bank stocks, per the Journal, and which probably will not be resolved until the Fed completes its annual bank stress tests later this year. Former FDIC head Sheila Bair is among those who have criticized the recent loosening of capital requirements. (For more, see also: 4 Early Warning Signs Of The Next Financial Crisis.)

'Unrealistic Expectations'

For its part, Barron's speculates that investors may have developed "unrealistically high expectations for financials," anticipating continued deregulation by the Trump administration that will deliver yet more earnings boosts. The recent weakness in their stock prices suggests diminished expectations.
Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, is somewhat more pessimistic. As he wrote in a commentary for CNBC: "One of the most discouraging things to emerge in the market is when a stock, or a group, reacts poorly to good news; this tends to indicate that the good news is already priced into the stock, and there aren't any buyers to take the stock higher." He cited JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman, and Bank of America as bank stocks that eventually fell after announcing strong earnings.
As quoted in another Barron's story, Brian Kleinhanzl, an equity research analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, echoes Ben Barzideh's comments. Kleinhanzl notes that Citigroup beat first quarter estimates largely on the basis of a lower tax rate and lower than expected provisions for losses, rather than organic growth, leaving investors unimpressed.
Indeed, while tax reform has placed bank earnings on a higher plateau, the downside is that it represents a one-time benefit when year-over-year earnings comparisons are made. For investors who focus on such comparisons, this source of earnings growth is now a spent force.

'Abuses and Breakdowns'

Wells Fargo has turned in the worst YTD performance of the big banks listed above, probably in anticipation of a rough 2018 overall. As quoted in another Barron's story, John Pancari, senior equity analyst at Evercore ISI, notes that the bank is expected to suffer an earnings hit of up to $400 million in 2018, the result of a consent order with the Federal Reserve, but that only a small portion thereof was reflected in first quarter results.
Wells Fargo has been penalized for "widespread consumer abuses and compliance breakdowns," with the Fed announcing that it "would restrict the growth of the firm until it sufficiently improves it governance and controls," per the Fed's February 2 press release. The Fed's action was taken in response to the scandal involving the opening of 3.5 million fake accounts at the bank, and the negative impact may exceed $400 million and last beyond 2018, CNBC reported.

'Taking a Breather'

Joe Heider, founder and president of Cleveland-based Cirrus Wealth Management, is somewhat more sanguine about bank stocks. As he indicated to Barron's: "The banks have been underperforming for several years. This simply may be a case of bank stocks getting ahead of themselves. The bank stocks may be taking a breather at this point. They can regain leadership at a later date."

CNBC | Asia, Europe and U.S. Stock Markets Report on April 23,2018.

                                                                    ASIA
cnbc.com

Stocks, tech, oil prices and US bond yields in focus

Cheang Ming

Asian stocks closed mostly lower on Monday, as investors kept an eye on rising U.S. Treasury yields and digested declines in technology stocks seen stateside.
The Nikkei 225 shed 0.33 percent, or 74.20 points, to close at 22,088.04 while the broader Topix finished the day nearly flat. Among sectors, insurers, banks and shippers led gains, while technology was a mixed bag.



 

NIKKEI NIKKEI 22088.04
-74.20 -0.33%
HSI HSI 30254.40
-163.93 -0.54%
ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 5886.00
17.20 0.29%
SHANGHAI Shanghai 3068.80
-2.74 -0.09%
KOSPI KOSPI Index 2474.11
-2.22 -0.09%
CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 8549.65
-71.44 -0.83%
Elsewhere, the Kospi closed off by 0.09 percent at 2,474.11 ahead of an inter-Korea summit due to take place at the end of the week. Automakers and retailers declined as steelmakers climbed. Shinwon Corporation, a company that has exposure to North Korea, jumped 15.89 percent.
Greater China markets reversed earlier gains, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.09 percent to end at 3,068.80 and the Shenzhen composite closing down 0.8 percent at 1,764.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index eased 0.26 percent by 3:02 p.m. HK/SIN as slight gains in financials were erased by losses in the technology sector.
Gains, however, were seen in Australia: The S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.29 percent to 5,886, with the financials subindex and gold producers leading gains.
MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan was down 0.29 percent during Asia afternoon trade.
The subdued performance in Asia followed declines in U.S. stock indexes on Friday amid a fall in Apple shares, which pushed the technology sector lower. Apple tumbled 4.1 percent following a Morgan Stanley note said iPhone sales in the June quarter would miss expectations.

US yields in focus

Also of note was the move higher in U.S. Treasury yields, which has in turn supported the dollar. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stood at 2.9789 percent in afternoon Asian trade after rising as high as 2.981 percent earlier, its highest level since January 2014.
"While the Fed's tightening cycle would be expected to cause some flattening pressure, too much can put the brakes on as an inverted yield curve may suggest investors are losing confidence in the outlook, preferring to accept a lower yield for a longer duration than risk short term rates falling if the economy tanks," said ANZ analysts in a morning note.
"As the Fed continues to lift its target rate, the curve is definitely one to keep an eye on."
The influence of higher oil prices last week on inflation expectations and heavy Treasury issuance this week were among the factors affecting Treasury markets, Omar Slim, senior vice president for fixed income at PineBridge Investments, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
"I don't know if we're going to hit [3 percent] today, but we're definitely going towards that direction," Slim said.
Investors also had their eye on the earnings season stateside, with more than one third of S&P 500 companies expected to report this week.
Meanwhile, U.S.-China trade tensions that had spooked markets earlier in the month also weren't far from investors' minds after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday said a trip to China was "under consideration."
Asian stocks had ended the last session with moderate losses after technology shares in the region took a hit on the back of weak guidance from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) on Thursday.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of currencies, was mostly steady at 90.389. Against the yen, the greenback firmed to trade at 107.83 by 2:40 p.m. HK/SIN, from levels around 107.65 seen at the end of the last session.
On the commodities front, oil prices were slightly softer. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was lower by 0.22 percent at $68.25 per barrel and Brent crude futures were off by 0.14 percent at $73.96.
On Friday, oil prices had initially slid on the back of President Donald Trump's comments on Twitter that OPEC was keeping crude prices "artificially Very High," before recovering and settling slightly higher.
                                 EUROPE

cnbc.com

European markets move lower amid earnings

Alexandra Gibbs, David Reid, Silvia Amaro

European markets moved higher Monday as investors reacted to fresh corporate earnings and movements in the 10-year Treasury yield.



 


FTSE FTSE 7398.87
30.70 0.42% 801620420
DAX DAX 12572.39
31.89 0.25% 80571759
CAC CAC 5438.55
25.72 0.48% 67885139
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 0.37 percent higher with the majority of different sectors in buy mode.
The media sector was the worst performer in late morning trade, down by more than 1 percent. That basket was not helped by news that Ford was trimming its business with advertising conglomerate WPP.
Among household goods, Reckitt Benckiser dropped nearly 2 percent after J.P. Morgan cut its target price, dragging toward the bottom of the FTSE 100.
The main market driver Monday was earnings. The manufacturing firm Rotork closed up by more than 10 percent after strong first-quarter results.
Swiss bank UBS reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings with net profit up 19 percent. The shares were, however, down by 2.5 percent by Monday's close.
Philips also released its first-quarter earnings, with sales coming in at 3.9 billion euros ($4.79 billion). The stock rose more than 5 percent across the session.
Capita shares rocketed to the top of the Stoxx 600 rising more than 13 percent on Monday. After heavy losses, the firm announced a £700 million pound cash call. Investors are encouraged after banks promised to scoop up any unsold new share capital.

With earnings season in full swing, which sector are you banking on to outperform?


Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.
In the United States, stocks were little changed on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average had Merck as the best-performing stock in the index.
The 10-year Treasury note yield hit a high of 2.99 percent, threatening once again to reach 3 percent. The benchmark rate last traded at 3 percent or higher in January 2014.
In commodities, crude futures dipped during Monday's session as markets remain supported by strong demand.

                                                                           U.S. 
cnbc.com

Dow posts 4-day losing streak as tech falls, rates rise

Fred Imbert, Alexandra Gibbs

Stocks fell on Monday as tech shares declined, while investors fretted over higher interest rates. Wall Street also zeroed in on the busiest week of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed 14.25 points lower at 24,448.69 — notching its first four-day losing streak since March — with Goldman Sachs as the worst-performing stock in the index.
The Nasdaq composite pulled back 0.3 percent to close at 7,128.60, its third straight decline, as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet all closed lower. The S&P 500 closed flat at 2,670.29 as a 0.4 percent decline in tech offset a 1.1 percent gain in telecommunications.
The 10-year Treasury note yield hit a high of 2.99 percent, threatening to reach 3 percent. The benchmark rate last traded at 3 percent or higher in January 2014. Investors have been selling Treasurys this month — pushing yields higher — amid expectations of rising inflation, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy at a faster pace.
"Any time there are inflation concerns, that's going to spook the market," said Mark Esposito, CEO of Esposito Securities. "If the 10-year goes over 3 percent, that could be a catalyst for the market" to go lower.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Wall Street also braced for the busiest week of the earnings season. More than 170 companies are expected to have released their quarterly results by the end of the week, including tech giants Amazon and Facebook.
Hasbro, Halliburton and Alaska Air all posted quarterly results before the bell Monday. Hasbro earnings and sales fell short of estimates, but the stock traded 3 percent higher. Halliburton's quarterly profit matched analyst expectations, while its revenue missed. Alaska Air reported a stronger-than-expected profit but disappointing revenue.
Overall, this earnings season has been strong thus far. More than 82 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported through Monday morning have topped earnings estimates, according to FactSet.
However, a lot of companies have seen their stocks fall after reporting during this season.
"Expectations have been built up so much in light of the tax cuts" that investors seem disappointed, said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.
Elsewhere in corporate news, shares of Merck rose 2.4 percent after an upgrade from Goldman Sachs. Analysts at the investment bank said the Dow member's sales could boom because of Keytruda, a blockbuster drug used to treat lung cancer.
Caterpillar climbed 0.5 percent after Citi raised its rating on the Dow component, citing a construction rebound in China. Citi also points to positive estimate revisions and increased capital returns as reasons for the upgrade.
Meanwhile, Alcoa shares plummeted 13.5 percent after the U.S. government said it would not impose previously announced sanctions against Rusal until October.

cnbc.com

Dow posts 4-day losing streak as tech falls, rates rise

Fred Imbert, Alexandra Gibbs

Stocks fell on Monday as tech shares declined, while investors fretted over higher interest rates. Wall Street also zeroed in on the busiest week of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed 14.25 points lower at 24,448.69 — notching its first four-day losing streak since March — with Goldman Sachs as the worst-performing stock in the index.
The Nasdaq composite pulled back 0.3 percent to close at 7,128.60, its third straight decline, as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet all closed lower. The S&P 500 closed flat at 2,670.29 as a 0.4 percent decline in tech offset a 1.1 percent gain in telecommunications.
The 10-year Treasury note yield hit a high of 2.99 percent, threatening to reach 3 percent. The benchmark rate last traded at 3 percent or higher in January 2014. Investors have been selling Treasurys this month — pushing yields higher — amid expectations of rising inflation, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy at a faster pace.
"Any time there are inflation concerns, that's going to spook the market," said Mark Esposito, CEO of Esposito Securities. "If the 10-year goes over 3 percent, that could be a catalyst for the market" to go lower.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Wall Street also braced for the busiest week of the earnings season. More than 170 companies are expected to have released their quarterly results by the end of the week, including tech giants Amazon and Facebook.
Hasbro, Halliburton and Alaska Air all posted quarterly results before the bell Monday. Hasbro earnings and sales fell short of estimates, but the stock traded 3 percent higher. Halliburton's quarterly profit matched analyst expectations, while its revenue missed. Alaska Air reported a stronger-than-expected profit but disappointing revenue.
Overall, this earnings season has been strong thus far. More than 82 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported through Monday morning have topped earnings estimates, according to FactSet.
However, a lot of companies have seen their stocks fall after reporting during this season.
"Expectations have been built up so much in light of the tax cuts" that investors seem disappointed, said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.
Elsewhere in corporate news, shares of Merck rose 2.4 percent after an upgrade from Goldman Sachs. Analysts at the investment bank said the Dow member's sales could boom because of Keytruda, a blockbuster drug used to treat lung cancer.
Caterpillar climbed 0.5 percent after Citi raised its rating on the Dow component, citing a construction rebound in China. Citi also points to positive estimate revisions and increased capital returns as reasons for the upgrade.
Meanwhile, Alcoa shares plummeted 13.5 percent after the U.S. government said it would not impose previously announced sanctions against Rusal until October.