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Mar 20, 2015

Bank tax rise stokes pressure for StanChart, HSBC to quit UK

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) – Asia-focused banks Standard
Chartered and HSBC could be tempted to abandon
their London headquarters to avoid a jump in the UK bank tax set
to cost them a combined $2 billion a year, investors and
analysts said.

Investors in both banks, but particularly Standard
Chartered, have in the past encouraged their boards to consider
leaving Britain, and this week’s jump in the UK bank levy is
building pressure.

Mar 16, 2015

Activist investor Elliott seeks to shake up Alliance Trust

LONDON (Reuters) – Activist investor Elliott Advisors, the largest individual shareholder in Alliance Trust (ATST.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is seeking support from fellow shareholders for a boardroom shake-up at one of Britain’s oldest listed investment companies.

Elliott, which owns 12 percent of the investment trust, said in a statement it has nominated three new independent non-executive directors ahead of the company’s annual general meeting on April 29.

Mar 11, 2015

Prudential treads carefully with investors in hunt for new CEO

LONDON (Reuters) – Mindful of past missteps with investors, British insurer Prudential is meeting top shareholders to gauge their preferences for the successor to CEO Tidjane Thiam, who unexpectedly announced his departure this week.

The company, listed in London and Asia, said on Tuesday its highly-regarded chief executive would leave in May to join Credit Suisse — a move that has made waves across the global financial services industry.

Mar 2, 2015

Funds seek compliance health-check as regulators turn up heat

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) – After watching a crack-down on
bankers for bad behaviour, British fund managers are calling in
lawyers to help to spring clean their businesses as the
regulatory spotlight turns towards their industry.

Before the financial crisis, fund management firms made
healthy returns from a bull market in equities, bonds and other
financial assets and there were few questions asked about the
level of fees charged or the service provided.

Nov 5, 2013

Ryanair investors berate O’Leary but fear his leaving

DUBLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – When one Ryanair (RYA.I: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shareholder made a stinging attack on Chief Executive Michael O’Leary at the airline’s annual meeting for scaring off customers with his “bullying” and “macho” style, there was one thing he didn’t mention.

That O’Leary’s leaving was one of his biggest fears.

As Ryanair scrambles to reinvent itself and woo customers from higher-cost rivals to fill hundreds of new planes, there are growing concerns about the cost of what O’Leary recently described as his “personal character deformities”.

Nov 5, 2013

Insurer RSA says severe weather events to hit returns

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Insurer RSA has warned
insured losses caused by severe weather in Europe and Canada are
“materially above assumptions” and full year returns to
shareholders are likely to suffer.

On Tuesday RSA blamed October’s severe Northern European
windstorm and similarly unsettled weather in Canada earlier in
the year for the hit to returns, which offset a 7 percent rise
in net written premiums to 6.7 billion pounds ($10.7 billion).

Nov 4, 2013

Listings offer few wins for investors in first year: Kleinwort

LONDON (Reuters) – Investors wooed by 2013’s strong British stock market listings forget the risks of backing debut share sales at their peril, as data from the past decade shows their support is rarely rewarded within a year of companies going public.

Figures from private bank Kleinwort Benson show that on average UK listings underperformed the FTSE All Share index .FTAS in the 12 months after debut in 7 of the last 10 years.

Oct 28, 2013

Research costs reform seen squeezing fund firm profits

LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Moves to revolutionise the way
global fund managers pay banks for company research could slash
the profitability of their equity funds business by up to 50
percent, research has showed.

Most fund firms pass on the cost of equity research, valued
in the region of $5 billion a year, to their own clients, who
pick up the bill as part of commissions paid to brokers for
buying and selling stocks on behalf of the fund.

Oct 22, 2013

Fund firms wrestle with “star manager” syndrome

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Neil Woodford’s surprise
announcement last week of his planned departure from fund
manager Invesco Perpetual neatly encapsulates the risks to fund
firms who employ such star managers and the investors who back

They can leave.

Woodford, widely feted for a defensive stock-picking style
that made money throughout the financial crisis, is responsible
for running around 30 billion pounds ($48.5 billion) of assets,
out of the firm’s 70 billion total.

Oct 18, 2013

Burned-out fund managers show reality of City life’s “easy option”

LONDON (Reuters) – When Sanjeev Shah quit his job last month, eyebrows were raised. This wasn’t another burned-out banker: The 43-year-old was a successful fund manager running 2.8 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) for Fidelity Worldwide Investment, reaping big returns.

His reasons for leaving – “This is a role that demands 110 percent effort, focus and intensity. I don’t want that level of intensity” – shed rare light on an industry often dismissed as the easy option in the world of finance.