Today in the press

Friday 27 June 2014 09.15
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

SHELBOURNE MARKETS PURCHASED BY ETX CAPITAL - ETX Capital, a London-based financial spread-betting and contracts-for-difference provider, has acquired Shelbourne Markets, Ireland’s largest financial spread-betting firm for an undisclosed sum. Shelbourne, which has 10,000-11,000 clients in Ireland, has been on the market for some months with four parties involved in bidding, writes the Irish Times. Shelbourne clients will become ETX Capital clients and fall under British FCA regulation while continuing to be regulated by the Central Bank. ETX already has about 1,000 clients in Ireland. ETX has been on the expansion trail since 2010 when it launched businesses in Germany and South Africa. Last year, it also began offering its services in Greece, Spain, Denmark, Italy and Romania. Enrique Curran, the chief executive of Shelbourne, said: “We are delighted to be working with ETX Capital who will offer our clients cutting-edge trading technology, global trading experience and are committed to growing the Irish financial spread-betting market. ” In March 2013, Mr Curran said Shelbourne had posted a profit of €1 million in the previous 12 months. The company declined to comment on its current financials, citing sale confidentiality agreements.

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THOUSANDS OF HOMEOWNERS SET TO LOSE OUT IN BANK MORTGAGE SALES -Thousands more homeowners are set to have their mortgages sold on to unregulated funds. This will mean they will lose valuable consumer protections policed by the Central Bank, leading mortgage campaigner David Hall said. It comes after Bank of Ireland confirmed it was selling a tranche of its ICS mortgages to an unregulated fund. More than half a dozen loan books have been bought out by funds that are not regulated by the Central Bank, writes the Irish Independent. Mr Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation said banks were rushing to sell mortgage books now ahead of a new law that will mean future buyers will have to observe Central Bank consumer protection rules. Funds do not need to be regulated to buy existing loans - only to offer new ones. Bank of Ireland yesterday confirmed it has agreed to sell its ICS Building Society’s distribution platform as part of its EU restructuring programme. Under the deal, Bank of Ireland will sell a €250m mortgage asset pool to Irish financial services company Dilosk Limited, which is seeking regulation from the Central Bank. All of the loans in the portfolio are performing and none is in arrears. It is thought that up to 2,000 mortgages have been sold. Details of the sale came days after Permanent TSB said it was selling its subprime division Springboard, which involves around 2,200 mortgages. The bank admitted at its annual general meeting that half of the Springboard mortgages are in arrears.

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NO CROSS-SUBSIDISATION FOR AIRPORT, SAYS VARADKAR - Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that there will be no cross-subsidisation between an independent Shannon Airport and the rent roll from Shannon Development’s extensive land bank.In the latest figures available, the Shannon Development land-bank provides €11m in annual gross rent receipts, says today's Irish Examiner. However, addressing the Dáil on the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014, Mr Varadkar indicated that the airport will not have access to the Shannon Development rental revenues in the merged Shannon Group. “The success of the Shannon Group will be enhanced by ensuring that its two main subsidiaries are each commercially successful in their own right and do not cross-subsidise each other. “This structure will also facilitate greater transparency in the application of State aid rules by Shannon Group and its subsidiaries. Any business arrangements between them will be on a commercial basis and will involve no cross-subsidisation of operations at the airport," the Minister said.

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BANKS START TO DRAIN BARCLAYS DARK POOL - Big banks have started pulling their business out of Barclays’ “dark pool” after the British bank was sued by New York’s top securities regulator for allegedly misleading institutional investors over its anonymous trading venue, reports the Financial Times. Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Canada were among the institutions that on Thursday withdrew from Barclays’ LX dark pool in the wake of the lawsuit from Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney-general. AllianceBernstein, the asset manager, also said it had stopped using LX. Barclays said any drop in trading volumes at LX might be due to a technical glitch. More than $13 billion was wiped off the market value of the 10 biggest dark pool owners as analysts assessed whom US prosecutors might target next. Shares in Barclays, which operates one of the world’s biggest dark pools, lost more than 6%, while shares in other large operators including Credit Suisse, UBS and Deutsche Bank also fell. Mr Schneiderman said in an interview that his office was looking at “three distinct groups involved in this: [high-frequency traders], the banks that deal with the HFT and the exchanges. I can’t comment on any other investigations but dark pools pose this inherent danger,” he added, saying: “I know there are firms that are examining their practices and how they operate their dark pools and focus on HFT.”

Keywords: presswatch