UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – January 19


RBS tests Cameron’s resolve on pay-outs
David Cameron’s pledge to curb executive pay and stop “rewards for failure” is set to face its biggest test, as Royal Bank of Scotland prepares to offer a bonus of more than 1 million pound to its chief executive, even though the state-controlled bank’s share price has almost halved in a year. (FT)

Fears rise over looming Commerzbank and MPS fiscal plans
European regulators are convinced that two of the continent’s banks, Commerzbank  and Monte dei Paschi, will fail to produce credible plans to plug capital deficits by Friday’s deadline, exposing both to the risk of full or partial nationalisation. (FT)

Cameron to reveal vision for ‘moral markets’
British prime minister David Cameron will spell out his vision of “moral markets” on Thursday, as he enters the intense political debate over how to create a more “responsible capitalism.” (Independent)

RBS is fined £2m over file tampering
Two insurance companies owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, Direct Line and Churchill, have been reprimanded by the UK financial regulator for a series of internal failings, including the forgery of signatures on documents. (Times)
Cairn investors criticize chief’s bonus
Some of the biggest shareholders in Cairn Energy, the oil group, are marshalling support to vote down a pay award worth nearly 2.5 million pounds for the Edinburgh-based oil group’s chief executive-turned-chairman Bill Gammell. (FT)

Press Round-up – January 18

King holds fast on bank supervision
The governor of the Bank of England on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that its proposed new powers be subjected to internal checks and balances, in an often testy encounter with British MPs. (FT)

Citigroup plunges as rival overtakes
Citigroup’s investment banking business plunged into the red in the fourth quarter of last year as revenues from trading and deal advice dried up. (Times)

Press Round-up – January 17

S&P downgrades euro zone bailout fund
Standard & Poor’s on Monday stripped the eurozone’s rescue fund of its AAA credit rating, potentially constraining its ability to contain the region’s debt crisis and focusing attention on efforts to create a more robust successor.  (FT)

Italy’s Monti seeks help on borrowing
Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti has pleaded for Germany and other creditor countries to do more to help lower his country’s borrowing costs, warning there would be a “powerful backlash” among voters in the eurozone’s struggling periphery if they did not. (FT)

Press Round-up – January 16

Greece’s creditors seek end to deadlock
Greece’s international creditors are considering an appeal to French and German leaders to break a deadlock in negotiations over the size of the losses to be taken by banks and other bondholders as part of a 100 billion euros deal seen as crucial to bringing the country’s debt under control. (FT)

Osborne to unveil new deal with China
British finance minister George Osborne will hail a ground-breaking agreement with China on Monday that will bring a multibillion pound boost to the UK’s financial services district. (Times)

from Breakingviews:

RBS has tough fight to put value in wholesale arm


By Margaret Doyle

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-owned UK lender, is cutting its investment bank, again, and is merging it with its international payments unit. The new division aims to make more than the 12 percent groupwide cost of capital. It must do at least that to have any value. But it is a big ask given regulatory and political headwinds.

from Breakingviews:

Tesco’s ambitions earthed by UK retail reality


By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

When Philip Clarke took over from the Sir Terry Leahy as Tesco’s chief executive in March 2011, he seemed to have one of the sweetest corporate inheritances around. The company was strong in its British home market and growing well elsewhere, although the U.S. expansion remained a work in progress.

Press Round-up – January 13

UniCredit cash call to hit core investors
Aabar, the Abu Dhabi investment fund, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Central Bank, all core investors in UniCredit, are expected to be heavily diluted in the 7.5 billion euros cash call by the Italian bank. (FT)

Investors take plunge on European debt
Spain and Italy carried out successful debt sales as the euro enjoyed a rare good news day on Thursday, bolstered by the cautious view of Mario Draghi that the crisis in the single currency zone was stabilising. (Times)

Today in the Newspapers – January 12

Osborne turns screw on RBS over bonuses
British finance minister George Osborne piled on the pressure for pay restraint at Royal Bank of Scotland, saying that he personally wanted to talk to the management before any bonuses were paid out in the coming months. (Times)

French rivals compete for wind farm share
French utilities EDF and GDF Suez are set to compete for a large share of a 10 billion euro off-shore wind development off the coast of France. (FT)

Today in the newspapers – January 11


EU to block DB-NYSE link
European competition officials have recommended blocking the tie-up between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext , the German and U.S. exchange operators, setting in motion three weeks of frantic lobbying to salvage the deal. (FT) (Times)

Osborne to raid UK pension pot
British finance minister George Osborne is planning to raid the 140 billion pound council pension fund to pay for new roads, bridges and homes. (Times)

from John Lloyd:

No Union, please, we’re English

The opinions expressed are his own.

In France, it is les Anglais. In Germany, die Engländer. In Italy, gli Inglesi. In Russia, Anglichane.

The peoples of the United Kingdom, for most other peoples, are habitually “English.”