Mario Draghi told to drop membership of secretive bankers’ club

EU ruling follows claims G30 group has too much influence with ECB president as member

The president of the European Central Bank has been told by the EU’s watchdog he should drop his membership of a secretive club of corporate bankers, after claims the group had been given an inside seat from which it could influence key policies.

Following a year-long investigation, Mario Draghi was informed on Wednesday by the European ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, that his close relationship with the Washington-based G30 group threatened the reputation of the bank, despite his assurances to the contrary.

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Revolut launches geolocation-powered travel insurance

 Fintech startup Revolut is launching international medical and dental insurance. You can subscribe using the company’s app for £1 per day or more depending on the options. But the best part is that you can set it up and forget about it as Revolut uses your device’s location data to automatically turn insurance coverage on and off. By default, insurance coverage costs £1 per day… Read More

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch

 Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in Beta and was only officially available to business users. Read More

BeMyEye, the startup that lets companies crowdsource in-store data, acquires rival Task360

 In a move that represents further consolidation in the crowdsourced in-store data gathering space, London-headquartered BeMyEye has acquired U.K. rival Task360. Similar to BeMyEye, the company offers an app that pays users to collect data for its corporate clients, but with a greater emphasis on time-sensitive tasks. Financial terms of the acquisition remain undisclosed, though I understand… Read More

Brexit is hampering UK productivity, says Bank policymaker

Silvana Tenreyro, a member of the bank’s monetary policy committee, said firms will delay investment due to uncertainty

The uncertainty caused by Brexit is deterring companies from investing and hampering Britain’s ability to close its productivity gap with other leading developed countries, a Bank of England policymaker has warned.

Silvana Tenreyro, one of the nine members of Threadneedle Street’s monetary policy committee (MPC), which sets UK interest rates, said 75% of the decrease in growth of output per worker since the financial crisis a decade ago was due to manufacturing and financial services, but that a period of catch-up was feasible.

Productivity is an economic measure of the efficiency of a workforce. It typically measures the level of output per hour of work, or per worker.

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No-deal Brexit would cost EU economy £100bn, report claims

Trading bloc would suffer more in lost output than thought, although lack of trade deal would cost UK around £125bn

A no-deal Brexit would cost the remaining 27 EU nations €112bn (£99.5bn) in lost economic output, according to research by a UK-based thinktank.

Although the UK would still be the biggest loser from crashing out of the EU single market and customs union without a new trade deal – with a cost to the economy of £125bn by 2020 – the EU would also suffer a bigger economic hit than previously thought by the end of the decade, according to the consultancy Oxford Economics.

A hard Brexit would take Britain out of the EU’s single market and customs union and ends its obligations to respect the four freedoms, make big EU budget payments and accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ: what Brexiters mean by “taking back control” of Britain’s borders, laws and money. It would mean a return of trade tariffs, depending on what (if any) FTA was agreed. See our full Brexit phrasebook.

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AI researcher Monty Barlow teaches a computer to figure out American accents

 Monty Barlow is a researcher at Cambridge Consultants and his recent work involves teaching a computer to discern between British and American accents. The project, which Barlow sees as part of a suite of machine-learning solutions that will grow to encompass “true” AI, appeared at CES last week. Barlow said that AI revolutions tended to come and go, appearing on the horizon and… Read More

GV co-leads $27.1M Series A in Oxford Uni life sciences spinout Vaccitech

 Leaning on its in-house life sciences expertise GV has backed another biotech startup in the UK, co-leading a £20 million ($27.1M) Series A in Oxford University spinout Vaccitech, which is developing a universal flu vaccine. Read More