UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – February 9

Trustees emptied pension funds to gamble on property
Pension experts were appalled on Wednesday when it was disclosed that a company pension fund had been effectively hijacked by its trustees, who sold its conventional assets, geared up the proceeds with bank debt and bet almost the whole lot on speculative property developments. (Times)

Japan lines up national chip champion
Three Japanese semiconductor manufacturers including Panasonic and Fujitsu are in talks to merge their operations to create a national champion chipmaker that would be backed by the government, according to people familiar with the matter. (FT)

U.S. bows to pressure on tax rules
The U.S. has eased onerous reporting requirements on overseas financial institutions, which it had sought to impose as part of a global crackdown on tax evasion.  (FT)

UK and Asia probe into rigging of lending rates
Almost a dozen traders and brokers in London and Asia have been fired, suspended or put on leave by their employers as a multinational probe into alleged manipulation of crucial global lending rates accelerates.  (FT)

Press Round-up – February 8

RBS boss says restructuring has cost 38 billion pounds
Stephen Hester has revealed that the dramatic restructuring of Royal Bank of Scotland has cost 38 billion pounds in a rallying memo to staff days after the embattled chief executive waived a 1 million pound bonus. (FT)

Misys and Temenos agree on merger terms
Misys and Temenos have reached agreement on the key terms of a proposed 2 billion pound merger that would create the world’s largest supplier of risk-management computer software to banks.   (FT)

Press Round-up – February 7

EU corporate defaults set to rise
European corporate defaults are widely expected to climb sharply this year despite the recent improvement in credit market sentiment as bank lending cuts and a deteriorating economic backdrop put many smaller or indebted companies under pressure. (FT)

Prices cut, shops shut: still no cheer on the high street
British shoppers reverted to a bunker mentality over the new year, according to gloomy sales figures that quash any hope of consumers pulling the economy clear of a double-dip recession. (Times)

Press Round-up – February 6

Tesco Bank delayed until next year
Tesco Bank has delayed the launch of its current account until next year. Its much vaunted arrival had been regarded as a symbolically important breakthrough in attempts backed by ministers to break up the dominance of the big five established UK banks. (Times)

RBS looks to defend SME lending record
Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to mount a vigorous defence of its lending record to small and medium-sized businesses in an effort to stave off criticism over its failure to meet certain government-set targets last year. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 3

BT set to launch “ultra-fast” internet
“Ultra-fast” broadband using direct fibre-optic connections will become available to most British homes and businesses next year, after a significant technological breakthrough by BT, the UK telecoms group. (FT)

OECD says EU bailout is ‘not enough’
The euro zone’s bailout funds are not big enough, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned, amid mounting concerns about a Greek default. (Telegraph)
SNB stands firm on Swiss Franc cap
The independence of the Swiss National Bank risks being compromised due to political pressure following the departure of Philipp Hildebrand as chairman, the central bank’s acting chairman has warned. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 2

Jefferies confirms Hoare Govett acquisition
Jefferies, the U.S.-based investment bank, on Wednesday confirmed its acquisition of Hoare Govett, the UK broker, from Royal Bank of Scotland. (FT)

Balls critical of UK’s new financial bill
The bill to revamp the UK’s financial regulation includes a “gaping hole” that could prevent important warnings from reaching the British finance minister, Ed Balls, shadow finance minister of the UK’s opposition party Labour, has warned. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 1

Former RBS boss stripped of knighthood
Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood on Tuesday, in the latest political concession to public anger in Britain over the perceived arrogance of some senior bankers. (FT)

EU to rule on Deutsche Boerse and NYSE merger
The NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse tie-up on Wednesday faces its day of reckoning in Brussels, as EU commissioners are expected to sign-off a recommendation to block a merger that allegedly stifles competition. (FT)

Press Round-up – January 31

Below is a round-up of today’s notable stories in Britain’s business press. Click each headline to read the story in full.

Business tells ministers to “back off bonuses”
Confederation of British Industry president Sir Roger Carr has accused politicians of harming the international reputation of the London’s financial services district by resorting to terms of populist abuse in the row over bankers’ bonuses. (Times)

Press Round-up – January 30

Lloyd’s chief plans management changes
The chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group Antonio Horta-Osorio is set to unveil plans to simplify the bank’s management structure and hand more power to top executives, as he attempts to convince investors he can avoid a relapse of the exhaustion he suffered last year. (FT)
Mining chiefs in secret meeting to halt tax rises
The heads of the world’s biggest mining companies met in secret in Davos last week to discuss ways in which to halt the growing threat of resource nationalism. (Times)

Europe’s carmakers hit out at India trade deal
Europe’s carmakers are crying foul over a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and India, which they say would restrict access to one of their most important but highly protected markets. (FT)

Press Round-up – January 27

Osborne to unveil powers to control banks
The British treasury will on Friday publish plans for a radical overhaul of financial regulation that will hand the UK’s finance minister George Osborne new powers. (Telegraph)


NYSE chief sees little chance of Deutsche Boerse deal
Duncan Niederauer, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, has admitted he “misjudged” European antitrust authorities’ approach to his exchange’s attempted tie-up with Deutsche Boerse, saying there was only a “glimmer of hope” the deal would succeed. (FT)