UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – April 3


Investors hit back at Trinity Mirror
Big investors in Trinity Mirror have hit back at proposed changes to the pay scheme for Sly Bailey, its chief executive, saying that cuts to directors’ remuneration packages do not go far enough.   (FT)

UK explorers struggle to strike Falklands oil
Desire Petroleum and Borders & Southern Petroleum, two of five London-listed exploration businesses with interests in the Falklands Islands, announced annual pre-tax losses of $42.5 million and $1.74 million on Monday. (Guardian)

RBS eyes first payout in four years
Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to make its first dividend payment in four years as the state-backed bank attempts to overcome one of a number of obstacles in its path to reprivatisation.   (FT)

Aberdeen moves to take control of Alliance
Aberdeen Asset Management wants to replace Katherine  Garrett-Cox as manager of the embattled 2.1 billion pound Alliance Trust in what would be one of the most dramatic coups in London’s financial district for many years. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – April 2


European rules alarm fund managers
Some fund managers’ worst fears over pan-European regulation have re-emerged, prompting the hedge fund and private equity industries to hit back at technical standards proposed by Brussels that they say will damage business and shut out the U.S. and Asia.  (FT)

International businesses attack retrospective Indian tax law
The international business community has launched a blistering attack on the Indian government for a retrospective tax grab against multinational companies. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 30


Treasury urged to halt brain drain
Treasury bosses will need to stem a flood of staff departures and beef up pay if the department is to be effective in dealing with future financial crises, according to an internal report. (Times)

BOE faces calls for full review of handling of financial crisis
The Bank of England is facing calls to publish a full account of how it handled the financial crisis after the Treasury admitted it had made mistakes when the UK’s banking system was on the brink of collapse. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – March 29


Nokia stepping up SIM battle with Apple
The battle between Nokia and Apple over the design of future miniature Sim cards for mobile phones has escalated, with the Finnish group threatening to withhold essential technology for Apple’s template, impeding the rival proposal. (FT)

Cattles chiefs banned for deception
Three former senior managers at Cattles have been fined 700,000 pounds and banned from working in financial services for misleading investors about the extent of bad loans at the failed doorstep lender. (Times)

from The Great Debate:

Britain’s austerity experiment is faltering

It was the Welsh sage Alan Watkins who remarked that a budget that looked good the day it was delivered to the British Parliament was sure to look terrible a week later, and vice versa. The avalanche of new information dumped by the Treasury is simply too much to grasp at a single sitting, and governments tend to bury bad news in a welter of statistics. And so it proved with finance minister George Osborne’s budget served up last week.

The immediate headlines stressed that rich Brits would pay less income tax – down from 50 percent to 45 percent – but it only took a day before even traditional Conservative cheerleaders like the Daily Mail were condemning Osborne for funding tax breaks for bankers and billionaires by stealing from those living in retirement. The paper’s cover screamed: “Osborne picks the pockets of pensioners.”

Press Round-up – March 28


Victims of RBS swap scandal call for inquiry
Calls for an inquiry into the interest rate swap mis-selling scandal intensified on Tuesday after Royal Bank of Scotland was accused of forcing one of the UK’s largest business park owners into administration. (Telegraph)

Gazprom deal highlights Kremlin business links
The family of Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, bought nearly $18 million in Gazprom shares through an offshore company as the government prepared to liberalise share trading, a reform which greatly increased their market value, documents show.  (FT)

Probe launched into insurance sales claim

The Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation into claims management companies following a glut of invalid compensation claims filed on behalf of consumers allegedly mis-sold personal protection insurance (PPI). (FT)

Press Round-up – March 27


Ailing Astra pays boss £9.1 million last year
The chief executive of AstraZeneca enjoyed a pay package worth 9.1 million pounds last year, despite a groundswell of concern in the London’s financial district about the embattled drugs company’s spluttering medical research pipeline. (Times)

Goldman eyes electronic bond trading
Goldman Sachs is considering how to roll out electronic trading technology to its fixed income business – one of its biggest revenue generators – as it prepares for new regulation.   (FT)

Press Round-up – March 26


Merkel set to allow euro zone firewall to increase
Germany is poised to bow to international pressure and allow a temporary increase in the euro zone’s financial “firewall” this week, to prevent the crisis in the region’s periphery spreading to other member states. (FT)

NBNK set to bid for Lloyds branches
British banking venture NBNK is on Monday expected to launch a bid for 632 Lloyds Banking Group branches in a move that could torpedo the Co-op’s efforts to buy the assets and reopen the sale process. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 23


Delays raise doubts over Lloyd’s Co-Op deal
Cracks appeared on Thursday in Lloyds Banking Group’s plans to sell its “mini-Lloyds” business to the Co-operative Group after it admitted that it had fallen behind schedule on agreeing an outline deal.  (Times)

BP prepares for return to North Sea
Britain’s government has been accused of taking a huge risk with the Scottish environment after giving BP approval to drill its first deepwater exploration well in British waters since the Gulf of Mexico disaster. (Times)

Press Round-up – March 22


ECB eyes exit for crisis fund
The European Central Bank is falling behind on a 40 billion euros asset purchase programme launched at the height of the euro zone crisis, in a sign it could be dropped as a first step towards unwinding huge emergency support for the region’s financial system. (FT)

North Sea tax reforms ‘to lead to major investment’
An extra 50 billion pounds could be pumped into the North Sea oil and gas industry thanks to a new package of tax reforms announced in Wednesday’s budget.  (Telegraph)