Europe

The UK’s financial regulator has placed a British peer-to-peer lender under special supervision after becoming concerned about its ability to meet the standards required of regulated firms, the Financial Times reported. Lendy, which allows retail investors to fund property development loans, was put on an FCA watchlist in January, according to documents seen by the Financial Times and three people familiar with the situation. The company, its creditors and the regulator are working to shore up the business and collect on its overdue loans.

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The Bank of England has told some UK lenders to triple their holdings of easy-to-sell assets in the run-up to Brexit to cope with the market meltdown forecast if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal later this month, the Financial Times reported. Some lenders must now hold enough liquid assets to withstand a severe stress — when banks stop lending to each other — of 100 days rather than the normal 30, under rules brought in late last year by the BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority, according to people familiar with the situation.

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Banks for Interserve have lined up a so-called pre-pack administration that will wipe out existing shareholders but enable the troubled outsourcer to keep operating, a person familiar with the situation said on Saturday, Reuters reported. Seeking to avoid a collapse like rival Carillion, the plan would come into force if investors reject Interserve’s debt-for-equity swap at a vote on Friday.

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France is preparing to impose a 3 per cent digital tax on internet giants with global turnover of more than €750 million and turnover of more than €25 million in France, the Irish Times reported. The French finance minister Bruno Le Maire presented his draft law on the tax to cabinet on Wednesday and the text will go to the National Assembly in early April. It will take effect retroactively from January 1st this year. The tax will apply to the French revenues of some 30 international groups and is expected to raise €500 million annually.

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The FSB is calling on chancellor Philip Hammond to help the small business community which is buckling under the burdens of Brexit uncertainty, business rates hikes, pension contribution increases, Making Tax Digital for VAT and the late payment crisis, Economia reported. The small business trade body wants him to use his Spring Statement next week to take action, including on his promise in the 2018 Spring Statement to address “the scourge of late payment”.

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There is no let-up in sight for the eurozone economy, according to the latest predictions from the OECD, which has slashed its forecasts for the countries that drive the bloc’s growth, the Financial Times reported. The Paris-based international organisation expects eurozone gross domestic product to grow just 1 per cent year on year in 2019 and 1.2 per cent in 2020, according to its interim economic outlook, published on Wednesday. As recently as November it had forecast expansion of 1.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

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Blackpool's recently-appointed board will have the opportunity to review their financial situation before the English Football League decides whether an insolvency penalty is required, the BBC reported. The club were put into receivership by the High Court on 13 February. It followed the removal of former owner Owen Oyston and his daughter Natalie Christopher from the board, when new directors were appointed by receivers. Such a breach of insolvency regulations could result in a 12-point deduction.

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The chaotic transition to capitalism in Russia and its neighbors triggered a flood of hundreds of billions of dollars out of the former Soviet Union. Torrents of cash were often routed through offshore zones with limited controls, making it difficult to tell the difference between legitimate business and illicit flows from criminal activity. Sometimes the suspect money made its way into prominent international banks.

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The Romanian government has released new plans to change legislation in several areas, including drastically higher fines and penalties for tax evasion and off-the-books work, changing insolvency procedures and construction laws, new investment objectives as well as financial compensation for citizens who served prison time in improper conditions, according to profit.ro.

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Greece drew strong demand on Tuesday for its first 10-year bond issue since plunging into a debt crisis nine years ago, in a clear vote of confidence from markets in its economic revival days after securing a two-notch ratings upgrade, the Irish Times reported. It raised €2.5 billion from a sale that drew offers worth €11.8 billion, it said in a regulatory filing. The yield was set at 3.9 per cent, a slim premium judged by the secondary yields of outstanding Greek bonds and down from initial guidance of 4.125 per cent. The coupon was 3.875 per cent.

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