Today Lafferty News is moderating the second Brexit Council, which is taking place in Clontarf Castle in Dublin. Debate is robust so far and in the coming days, Lafferty News will be following the strands of debate as it plays out in the news. The debate takes place under Chatham House rules, but suffice to say, a safe bet is to expect the unexpected.
Ireland is one of the targets of the new US plans for corporate tax. With a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, Ireland has become a popular destination for US corporates, famously including Apple. Donald Trump's administration is seeking to reduce the US corporate tax rate to 15 percent, according to reports. The current US corporate tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest rates in the developed world, and was a target of Mr Trump during the election campaign. In order to avoid paying the high rate on profits, US corporations such as Apple have kept large piles of cash overseas, and Mr Trump pledged to reverse this situation, calling on these corporations to repatriate their cash back to the US. "Mr Trump last week sought to accelerate the release of the administration's tax plans after weeks of uncertainty, saying that an announcement would come on Wednesday. The White House official said Mr Trump's team had looked at a range of options before settling on the 15 per cent rate."
Divergence in the US and Europe? "European investment banks are set to lose more ground to U.S. rivals in fixed-income and equities trading when they report first-quarter results this week," reports Bloomberg. "Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG and UBS Group AG are all expected to post smaller increases in fixed-income trading revenue than the collective 24 percent jump reported by their five largest American counterparts, analysts estimate. While the U.S. firms eked out a gain in equities trading from a year earlier, Europe's banks are estimated to report an overall decline."
Lafferty News recently met Mr Ichiro Hamakawa, CEO of JCB, as he was in the middle of a tour of the business's overseas operations. As he turns his attention to international expansion, Mr Hamakawa says the success of the business will depend on building solid partnerships, and using JCB's strengths in technology development. "Japan is an important market but we also think it's important to work in other countries, especially in Asia," he says. "We started from China, Taiwan and Korea and now ASEAN, India and also Russia are important for us. We are different from the other schemes. We form alliances with other players and regional schemes. For example, with Discover we open up the Japan market, and Discover opens up the US market for us. This alliance is expanding, so JCB is planning to open up the Asian market for Discover, and Discover is planning to open up some of their strong countries for JCB." The full interview is published later this week in Lafferty Global Intelligence.
The rise in popularity of mobile and online banking has seen 20 percent of UK branches close in the past five years. Royal Bank of Scotland cited a 43 percent fall in branch visits since 2010 — and a doubling of mobile banking usage from 2m to 4m since 2015 — as the reason for the closure of 158 branches in 2017. Lloyds Banking Group is to shrink hundreds of branches in size (in some cases closing the old counter sections in favour of self-service units) and is also to close 400 of its branches across the UK. Does this mean the death of branches at the hands of digital assassins? No — branches remain a key, preferred distribution channel preferred for many customers. However, lower footfall does mean that banks will change the functionality of branches to focus more on face-to-face than transactions. Good examples here include Clydesdale Bank's new "Studio B" branch in London Kensington (with not a counter in sight), and Royal Bank of Scotland's new Community Bankers serving rural areas, alongside new digital experts in branches to help customers better use self-service and mobile. A full report from Keyfacts on developments in UK banking will appear in the Global Intelligence newsletter this week.
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