Sony revitalizes smartphone franchise with movie-style screens By Reuters


© Reuters. The new Sony Xperia1 is displayed during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Japan’s Sony, which has fallen way behind its South Korean and Chinese rivals in the smartphone sales race, aims to capitalize on its movie pedigree with new devices featuring 21:9 ratio screens, the dimensions used to film blockbusters.

The company announced a new flagship Xperia 1 handset at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, which has an HDR OLED screen, optimized using Sony’s Bravia TV technology. It also has the ability to take photos and record 4K video in a 21:9 ratio.

Mitsuya Kishida, president of Sony Mobile Communications, said Sony had a rich heritage of meeting the technological demands of professional filmmakers in both sound and vision.

“Our new Xperia will deliver genuine technologies with a multitude of professional grade features to create entertainment experiences that are only possible with Sony,” Kishida said at the Congress.

The company has also brought the 21:9 screen ration to two mid-range smartphones: the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 plus.

Ben Wood from CCS Insight said the handsets were nicely designed but it was hard to see how they would stand out from the crowd.

“We are unconvinced that the 21:9 ratio is differentiated enough despite Sony’s strong credentials in content,” he said.

Industry analyst Paolo Pescatore at PP Foresight said the new devices were a “step in the right direction, but Sony continued to face monumental challenges in competing with rivals who are rolling out new devices, rich with new features at punchy prices”.

“In particular Asian smartphone makers who are moving at stealth mode and growing market share very quickly, as underlined by latest announcements from Huawei and Xiaomi,” he said.

The two Chinese companies both announced 5G devices at the event on Sunday. Huawei, which is challenging Apple (NASDAQ:) for the No. 2 spot in smartphone sales, behind leader Samsung (KS:), created a buzz with a folding smartphone.

(This story fixes a typo in paragraph 9)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Trump says U.S., China ‘very, very close’ on trade deal


FILE PHOTO : U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting with China’s Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was optimistic that a final trade deal could be reached with China and that he would hold a summit to sign any pact, but cautioned an agreement may still not happen.

Speaking at the White House a day after signaling that he planned to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to conclude any deal, Trump told a group of U.S. governors that while a U.S.-China trade pact could happen soon, a deal also may not be reached.

“It might not happen at all, okay? Might not happen at all, but I think it’s going to happen and it could happen fairly soon. The relationship is great,” the Republican U.S. president said. Both sides were “very, very close,” he added.

On Sunday, Trump said he would delay an increase in U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, set for Friday, due to “productive” trade talks. Assuming additional progress is made on both sides, Trump said he planned to meet with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

World markets rose on Monday after Trump announced the delay in boosting tariffs, feeding investors’ hopes that the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies could soon be resolved.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Makini Brice; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe



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Crypto Prices Slump; U.S. Agency Recovers Some of the Bitcoin Stolen in 2016 By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – Cryptocurrency prices fell on Monday with no clear driver, while the U.S. government recovered stolen bitcoin in one of the rare examples of hacked digital currencies being recovered.

fell 8% to $3,800.50 as of 9:10 AM ET (14:10 GMT) on the Investing.com Index. It gave up all the gains it had made in the previous week in a couple of minutes, in a move that would, in other asset classes, be consistent with a single large seller exiting a position.

Cryptocurrencies overall slipped to $129 billion at the time of writing from $142 billion on Sunday.

slumped 17% to $137.51 and fell 10% to $0.3008 while was at $44.70, down 16%.

U.S. federal law agencies returned 27.7 bitcoin that was stolen in August 2016 from Bitfinex, Reuters . Around 120,000 bitcoin, worth about $72 million at the time, were stolen when the exchange was hacked.

Bitfinex said the bitcoin will be converted to cash and distributed to 5,000 customers impacted by the hack.

The Bitfinex hack was one of many major thefts, including of Mt. Gox in 2014 and Coincheck in 2017, that contributed to investor concern about the security of digital exchanges.

In 2018, $950 million worth of digital coins were stolen, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm CipherTrace said last month.

South Korean exchange Coinbin, which took over the hacked platform Youbit, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday. The company owns users nearly $30 million and is planning to go out of business due to embezzlement from a senior executive, Business Korea reported. The news comes after Canada-based QuadrigaCX was also forced to file for bankruptcy when it failed to recover the password of its cold wallet after the sudden death of its CEO in December.

In other news, Bahrain’s central bank became one of the first in the Arab world to issue rules related to digital currency assets. The emirate has ambitions to become one of the leading hubs for finances in the Middle East and North Africa, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Banks losing battle to be no-deal Brexit ready


LONDON (Reuters) – Major banks are still not ready for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as they grapple with delays in licenses for new European Union businesses, staffing problems and snags in redrafting contracts.

Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest opposite Downing Street, London, Britain, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Despite thousands of staff working on preparations for more than two years, sources at five high street and global investment banks told Reuters they still face a number of mission critical hurdles if Britain leaves without a deal.

Sources at three investment banks said their efforts would not be completed by Brexit Day on March 29, potentially throwing the legal status of thousands of contracts into doubt.

“There will be people who aren’t ready. There will be bumps in the road, if not more,” one of the sources said.

Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed back a vote on her proposed EU exit deal to March 12, prompting lawmakers to step up efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit, but banks say only a vote in favor of May’s deal or a delay to Brexit will reassure them that there will not be an abrupt no-deal exit.

For most major banks based in Britain, the timely legal transfer of their EU client business, including loans and deposit accounts, derivatives contracts, stocks and bonds, to EU subsidiaries to mitigate the loss of unfettered access and data flows to the single market is the biggest concern.

Customers whose contracts are not transferred could be left unable to respond to market events, or without access to funding or protection against swings in interest rates or currencies, risking wider market turbulence.

A source familiar with one investment bank’s position said between 10-15 percent of contracts they had intended to transfer were still “work in progress”, with some clients actively resisting the transfer, while others have held off paying for legal advice on the expectation a deal will still be struck.

Banks struggling with “repapering” contracts may be aided by temporary workarounds proposed by most major EU governments, but none have yet been put on the statute book, and there is a wide variation in how much flexibility different countries offer, Rachel Kent, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, said.

“This is a patchwork, some we haven’t even seen yet and the ones we’ve seen are different and open to interpretation.”

However, if Britain secures a Brexit deal with Brussels, it would mean business as usual for financial firms, giving them until the end of 2020 to complete their preparations.

LICENSED TO SKILL

Others are still waiting for licenses for new EU units so they can still fully serve customers, with Royal Bank of Scotland seeking licenses in Frankfurt for two entities so it can maintain access to Bundesbank payment systems.

RBS warned this month that more than 50 billion euros of cross-border payments are at risk without the licenses, but chairman Howard Davies said he had “every expectation” they would be approved by 29 March.

A source close to the process said one of the two units had obtained draft approval, with the other still pending.

Lloyds Banking Group is also waiting on the final nod to set up the third of its planned EU hubs in Luxembourg, which is for its insurance clients.

Banks are also struggling to fill jobs in their new EU hubs, with the number UK-based financial institutions expect to move overseas by March 29 at 2,000 from 5,766 forecast in a September 2018 Reuters survey and 10,000 estimated a year earlier.

The EU has granted banks some leeway on how quickly they need to build up staff in new subsidiaries, and in some cases banks have found workarounds to reduce the number needed.

However industry experts say banks are having a tough time persuading UK-based staff to move to Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.

“There are plenty of personal risk reasons why staff are not jumping at these opportunities,” John Liver, partner at consultant EY, said, adding that one was that if a transition deal is struck then it will be another two years before these businesses are built up.

CASH ON HAND

In an indication of how seriously authorities are taking the risk of a no-deal Brexit, any turmoil would trigger the Bank of England and the European Central Bank to inject cash into markets to calm nerves, an ECB official said.

The ECB also has plans to deal with any new banking crisis brought on by a hard Brexit, the official said.

But unlike British regulators, EU watchdogs will not go all out to avoid smaller bumps from a hard Brexit in every part of the market as they want to keep up pressure on banks to move business from London to the bloc, said David Lawton, a consultant at Alvarez & Marsal.

Meanwhile, customers and investors are watching to see just how diligently the financial firms they use have prepared.

“Each one of them tells us categorically that they are going into intricate details about their planning and each one of them believes that they have an individual solution to their circumstances,” Euan Stirling, global head of stewardship at Aberdeen Standard Investments told Reuters.

“You just have to trust them. That is easier with some companies than others. Brexit adds another layer of governance risk onto some already risky situations.”

Additional reporting by Iain Withers and Simon Jessop in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, editing by Alexander Smith



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Oil Prices Pull Back After Trump Rails Against OPEC on Twitter By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – Oil futures pulled back on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to slam OPEC about pushing prices higher.

“Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike – fragile!” Trump tweeted in his latest attack on the cartel.

U.S. futures for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slumped 52 cents, or around 0.9%, to $56.78 a barrel by 7:15AM ET (12:15 GMT).

Elsewhere, for April delivery on the ICE (NYSE:) Futures Exchange in London shed 67 cents, or about 1%, to $66.58 a barrel.

Both benchmarks reached their highest levels of the year on Friday.

After ending 2018 in freefall, oil prices have rallied approximately 25% to start the year, boosted by efforts by global producers to cut supply.

In December, OPEC and a group of 10 producers outside the cartel, led by Russia, agreed to collectively cut production by a total of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first six months of 2019.

Top exporter and OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia recently pledged to cut even more production than the deal called for.

Trump’s call comes after he announced U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela that have caused output to fall in both countries. Output from Libya is also running below traditional levels because of the country’s civil war.

Crude futures were also generally supported by hopes that the U.S. and China would soon resolve their trade disputes, which have dragged on global economic growth.

President Trump said on Sunday that he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods that had been scheduled for Friday, citing “substantial progress” in U.S.-China trade talks over the weekend. Crude prices had risen on the back of that news because of the reduced likelihood of a further economic slowdown in China, the world’s biggest importer.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Buffett says wealthy Americans are ‘definitely undertaxed’ By Reuters


© Reuters. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, gestures while playing bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha

(Reuters) – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Monday that the wealthy, including himself, are not paying enough taxes.

“The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population,” Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) Inc, told CNBC television on Monday.

“As we get more specialized, the rich will get richer,” he continued. “The question is: ‘How do you take care of a guy who is a wonderful citizen whose father died in Normandy and just doesn’t have market skills?’ I think the income tax credit is the best way to address that.”

“That probably means more taxes for guys like me, and I’m fine with it,” he said.

Buffett, 88, spoke after Charlie Munger, his 95-year-old business partner and Berkshire vice chairman, told CNBC earlier this month that states like California and Connecticut have been “stupid” for driving rich people away.

After regaining control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, some Democratic lawmakers have been calling for higher taxes on the wealthy.

They include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York City, who has proposed a 70 percent marginal tax on incomes over $10 million to bridge the growing wealth gap between the rich and poor.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Barrick makes $18 billion hostile bid for Newmont in gold mega-merger


(Reuters) – Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp offered to buy U.S. rival Newmont Mining Corp for nearly $18 billion in stock on Monday, in a hostile takeover that seeks to combine the world’s two largest gold producers.

FILE PHOTO: Mark Bristow, chief executive officer of Barrick Gold, speaks during an interview at the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

Newmont responded by saying it had already reviewed and rejected possible deals with Barrick and said its own $10 billion pending purchase of Goldcorp Inc made more business sense.

Barrick said its acquisition of Newmont would be contingent on the company scrapping the deal to buy Toronto-listed Goldcorp, adding its offer was a “significantly superior” option for Newmont shareholders.

“The combination of Barrick and Newmont will create what is clearly the world’s best gold company, with the largest portfolio of Tier One gold assets,” Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in a statement.

“Most important, it will enable us to consider our Nevada assets as one complex,” he added.

In Newmont’s statement and a pair of media interviews, its Chief Executive Gary Goldberg pointed to a joint venture as a better way of extracting value from the two companies’ mines in Nevada, the United States’ largest producer of gold and silver.

Newmont has 19 mines in the state, adjacent to Barrick’s own operations and Reuters had reported in November that the miners were in talks to combine their operations in the state.

Still, Newmont’s board of directors would “fully evaluate the Barrick proposal and respond in due course,” the company said.

Deal-making in the gold sector, dormant for years as companies focused on cutting costs, took off last month when Barrick paid $6.1 billion to buy another rival Randgold Resources.

That set off a fresh wave of deals, including Newmont’s offer for smaller miner Goldcorp, which would make the Colorado-based firm the world’s top gold miner if it closes as planned next quarter.

The deals also come at a time when gold prices are rising – some 11 percent since October.

Shares in both Newmont and Barrick were largely unchanged in early trade.

Under Barrick’s proposal, Newmont shareholders would receive 2.5694 common shares of Barrick for each Newmont share. That translates to a price of about $33 per Newmont share, valuing the company at $17.85 billion, according to Reuters calculations.

Newmont shareholders would hold about 44 percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company.

Barrick also said the new company would match Newmont’s annual dividend of 56 cents per share which, based on the offer, will represent a pro-forma annual dividend of 22 cents per Barrick share.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Patrick Graham



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Litecoin Falls 16% In Selloff By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – was trading at $44.730 by 09:19 (14:19 GMT) on the Investing.com Index on Monday, down 15.91% on the day. It was the largest one-day percentage loss since March 9, 2018.

The move downwards pushed Litecoin’s market cap down to $2.743B, or 2.13% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. At its highest, Litecoin’s market cap was $14.099B.

Litecoin had traded in a range of $43.806 to $45.141 in the previous twenty-four hours.

Over the past seven days, Litecoin has seen a drop in value, as it lost 2.57%. The volume of Litecoin traded in the twenty-four hours to time of writing was $1.494B or 4.03% of the total volume of all cryptocurrencies. It has traded in a range of $42.7227 to $53.4060 in the past 7 days.

At its current price, Litecoin is still down 89.35% from its all-time high of $420.00 set on December 12, 2017.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading

was last at $3,796.6 on the Investing.com Index, down 8.14% on the day.

was trading at $137.45 on the Investing.com Index, a loss of 17.29%.

Bitcoin’s market cap was last at $67.368B or 52.33% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, while Ethereum’s market cap totaled $14.579B or 11.32% of the total cryptocurrency market value.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Wall St. set for strong open as Trump delays tariff deadline By Reuters


© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Monday, fueled by hopes of a resolution to a trade war between the United States and China after President Donald Trump said he would delay a hike in tariffs on Chinese imports.

Trump said the trade talks were “productive” and that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet to seal a deal if progress continued.

The announcement is the clearest sign yet that the two sides are closing in on a deal to end their prolonged trade spat, as Trump cited progress in divisive areas such as intellectual property protection, technology transfers, agriculture, services and currency.

“It’s all about the extension of the trade deadline, it buys us some time and that is a positive,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“There is enormous pressure on the administration to get this out of the way. It might take a few more weeks but I expect some sort of a trade deal to get done.”

Tariff-exposed companies Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:) and Boeing (NYSE:) Co rose 1 percent each, leading gains among the 26 stocks that were trading premarket.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) shares were up 0.6 percent, as trade tensions were expected to weigh on the iPhone maker.

Semiconductor companies, which have a big exposure to China, traded higher with Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:), Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:) Inc and Intel Corp (NASDAQ:) up between 1 percent and 2.5 percent.

At 8:24 a.m. ET, were up 157 points, or 0.6 percent. were up 14 points, or 0.5 percent and were up 50.75 points, or 0.72 percent.

Optimism on the trade front and dovish signals from the Federal Reserve have bolstered U.S. stocks in recent weeks, with the about 5 percent away from its record closing high hit in late September.

The benchmark index closed up at its highest level in over three months on Friday.

General Electric (NYSE:) Co surged 17.3 percent after the industrial conglomerate said it would sell its biopharma business to Danaher Corp (NYSE:) for $21 billion. Shares of Danaher climbed 6.6 percent.

Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:) gained 1.0 percent after Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp offered to buy the company in an $18 billion stock deal.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:) and Chevron Corp (NYSE:) dropped after oil prices slipped on comments from Trump who told OPEC producers to “relax” as prices were too high. [O/R]

Investors will be keeping a close watch on Fed Chair Jerome Powell who is set to testify on monetary policy on Tuesday and Wednesday, almost two months after the central bank said it would be “patient” with further rate hikes.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Banks losing battle to be no-deal Brexit ready By Reuters


© Reuters. Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest opposite Downing Street, London

By Sinead Cruise and Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Major banks are still not ready for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as they grapple with delays in licenses for new European Union businesses, staffing problems and snags in redrafting contracts.

Despite thousands of staff working on preparations for more than two years, sources at five high street and global investment banks told Reuters they still face a number of mission critical hurdles if Britain leaves without a deal.

Sources at three investment banks said their efforts would not be completed by Brexit Day on March 29, potentially throwing the legal status of thousands of contracts into doubt.

“There will be people who aren’t ready. There will be bumps in the road, if not more,” one of the sources said.

Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed back a vote on her proposed EU exit deal to March 12, prompting lawmakers to step up efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit, but banks say only a vote in favor of May’s deal or a delay to Brexit will reassure them that there will not be an abrupt no-deal exit.

For most major banks based in Britain, the timely legal transfer of their EU client business, including loans and deposit accounts, derivatives contracts, stocks and bonds, to EU subsidiaries to mitigate the loss of unfettered access and data flows to the single market is the biggest concern.

Customers whose contracts are not transferred could be left unable to respond to market events, or without access to funding or protection against swings in interest rates or currencies, risking wider market turbulence.

A source familiar with one investment bank’s position said between 10-15 percent of contracts they had intended to transfer were still “work in progress”, with some clients actively resisting the transfer, while others have held off paying for legal advice on the expectation a deal will still be struck.

Banks struggling with “repapering” contracts may be aided by temporary workarounds proposed by most major EU governments, but none have yet been put on the statute book, and there is a wide variation in how much flexibility different countries offer, Rachel Kent, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, said.

“This is a patchwork, some we haven’t even seen yet and the ones we’ve seen are different and open to interpretation.”

However, if Britain secures a Brexit deal with Brussels, it would mean business as usual for financial firms, giving them until the end of 2020 to complete their preparations.

LICENSED TO SKILL

Others are still waiting for licenses for new EU units so they can still fully serve customers, with Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:) seeking licenses in Frankfurt for two entities so it can maintain access to Bundesbank payment systems.

RBS warned this month that more than 50 billion euros of cross-border payments are at risk without the licenses, but chairman Howard Davies said he had “every expectation” they would be approved by 29 March.

A source close to the process said one of the two units had obtained draft approval, with the other still pending.

Lloyds Banking Group (LON:) is also waiting on the final nod to set up the third of its planned EU hubs in Luxembourg, which is for its insurance clients.

Banks are also struggling to fill jobs in their new EU hubs, with the number UK-based financial institutions expect to move overseas by March 29 at 2,000 from 5,766 forecast in a September 2018 Reuters survey and 10,000 estimated a year earlier.

The EU has granted banks some leeway on how quickly they need to build up staff in new subsidiaries, and in some cases banks have found workarounds to reduce the number needed.

However industry experts say banks are having a tough time persuading UK-based staff to move to Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.

“There are plenty of personal risk reasons why staff are not jumping at these opportunities,” John Liver, partner at consultant EY, said, adding that one was that if a transition deal is struck then it will be another two years before these businesses are built up.

CASH ON HAND

In an indication of how seriously authorities are taking the risk of a no-deal Brexit, any turmoil would trigger the Bank of England and the European Central Bank to inject cash into markets to calm nerves, an ECB official said.

The ECB also has plans to deal with any new banking crisis brought on by a hard Brexit, the official said.

But unlike British regulators, EU watchdogs will not go all out to avoid smaller bumps from a hard Brexit in every part of the market as they want to keep up pressure on banks to move business from London to the bloc, said David Lawton, a consultant at Alvarez & Marsal.

Meanwhile, customers and investors are watching to see just how diligently the financial firms they use have prepared.

“Each one of them tells us categorically that they are going into intricate details about their planning and each one of them believes that they have an individual solution to their circumstances,” Euan Stirling, global head of stewardship at Aberdeen Standard Investments told Reuters.

“You just have to trust them. That is easier with some companies than others. Brexit adds another layer of governance risk onto some already risky situations.”