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Press Round-up – March 5

By Reuters Staff
March 5, 2012

Banks still long way from completing “living wills”
Banks are a long way from finishing the “living wills” that spell out how they can be stabilised or shut down in a crisis before a June deadline, with European and Japanese banks far behind their U.S. and UK counterparts, according to a survey by Ernst & Young. (FT)

Millions to be affected by higher mortgages
Mortgage bills are to rise for millions of households after Britain’s biggest home lender, Halifax, announced an interest rate increase that will cost average borrowers at least 16 pounds extra a month. (Times)

JPMorgan proprietary trading head to set up hedge fund
A team of JPMorgan’s top proprietary traders is set to launch what will be one of the biggest hedge fund start-ups of 2012, breaking with earlier plans to stay within the bank amid U.S. regulatory changes. London-based Mike Stewart, JPMorgan’s global head of proprietary trading, is set to start his own new hedge fund, Whard Stewart, in the second quarter, people familiar with his plans said. (FT)

Small firms reject bank credit to fund expansion
Record numbers of small businesses are turning away from the banks by paying down debts and using their own reserves to finance expansion, the largest survey of its kind has found. (Telegraph)

Pension funds to launch infrastructure fund
British pension funds aim to launch a multibillion-pound infrastructure fund next year that will invest up to 4 billion pounds in government projects from roads and high-speed rail lines to power stations. (Guardian)

Oil pipeline groups benefit from crude trade
Pipeline companies, the toll-road operators of the energy market, have emerged as some of the most successful crude traders in North America as booming supply upends prices.   (FT)

Banks issue new equity for bonuses
Britain’s big banks are issuing an aggregate £2.7 billion of new equity to fund staff bonuses and other pay-outs after pressure from regulators to keep capital levels high. (FT)

Mortgage rate rise threatens recovery
Rising mortgage rates threaten to cut short the fragile housing market recovery indicated by recent higher lending volumes, brokers have warned. (FT)

Davies says quotas for women on boards a “mistake”
Forcing companies to put a minimum number of women on boards in European nations is a “mistake”, the British government’s boardroom diversity champion Lord Davies has warned in response to the European Union’s decision to impose mandatory quotas. (FT)

BAA signals legal action over Heathrow runway
Ministers are heading for a legal showdown with BAA, Heathrow’s owner, should the government continue to rule out allowing a third runway at London’s main airport. (FT)

Companies assess tax planning risks
British businesses are scrambling to assess the reputational risks of tax planning, after the closure of two “highly abusive” schemes designed by Barclays demonstrated the increasing public scrutiny of big companies’ tax affairs. (FT)

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