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Friday Papers: Bank of England holds rates and policy steady

Friday Papers: Bank of England holds rates and policy steady

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to hold rates at their record low of 0.5% and to maintain the stock of the central bank’s gilt purchases at £375 billion.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne faces a black hole of more than £20 billion in the public finances suggesting that Britain might have to endure an extra year of austerity before the books are balanced.
  • The Daily Telegraph: UK house price data showed house prices jumped 2.4% in February, the biggest monthly increase in five years.
  • Financial Times: BNP and BofA suspend forex traders as global investigation into possible collusion and manipulation of foreign exchange markets spread further on Thursday.
  • Daily Mail: The head of the European Central Bank yesterday branded the euro ‘an island of stability’ – despite sluggish economic growth and sky high unemployment.
  • The Guardian: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has moved to prevent ordinary investors spending more than 10% of their savings buying shares in peer-to-peer funded companies.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Shell has become the latest big business to issue a warning against Scottish independence.
  • Financial Times: The former leadership of Dewey & LeBoeuf has been charged by US authorities with “a massive effort to cook the books” nearly two years after the law firm’s record-breaking collapse.
  • Financial Times: Chief executives of Europe’s major telecoms groups have written to the European Commission to ask for an easing of competition rules in order to allow consolidation and boost profits for the industry.
  • Financial Times: As oil companies pursue the ever more challenging oil reserves, their costs have risen to the point that the most expensive projects need an oil price of at least $100 a barrel to be commercially viable.
  • Financial Times: Tom Albanese has been appointed chief executive of Vedanta Resources in a high-profile return to the helm of a global mining group a year after he quit as boss of Rio Tinto.
  • Financial Times: Balfour Beatty highlighted the difficulties of the British construction industry with a 32% fall in pre-tax profits.
  • Financial Times: Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, is set to receive estimated £5 million compared with £1.1 million in 2012,reflecting progress in the turnround of Iberia, IAG’s lossmaking Spanish airline, as well as solid performance by British Airways, the UK subsidiary.
  • Financial Times: UK’s most celebrated fund manager, Neil Woodford, has relinquished control of his Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income funds almost two months earlier than expected.
  • Financial Times: Bouygues, the French construction and telecoms conglomerate, confirmed that it had made an offer to buy SFR, Vivendi’s telecoms operator, in a deal that would value the rival unit at €14.5 billion.
  • Financial Times: Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, filed more than 10 times as many European patents as rival Apple in 2013.
  • The Guardian: Royal Bank of Scotland is poised to release millions of pounds worth of shares to its top executive team through bonus schemes put in place by the loss-making bank over the last three years.
  • Financial Times: Cineworld reported a sharp decline in full-year profits after the UK’s largest cinema operator incurred exceptional costs related in large part to its £503 million acquisition of Cinema City International.
  • Financial Times: Pre-tax profits at aset management company Schroders rose to £447.5 million at the end of December, an increase of 24% compared with the previous year.
  • The Guardian: Aviva has reported a £120 million hit from the recent storms and flooding, but confirmed that its turnaround is still on track with a 6% rise in annual profits.
  • The Guardian: The bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group is to take an unexpected £1 billion accounting charge as the result of a complex scheme to buy back financial instruments it issued during the banking crisis.
  • The Guardian: The pay of Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, tripled last year; the oil boss received $8.7 million in salary, bonus and share awards last year, compared with $2.6 million in 2012
  • The Guardian: Complaints are mounting against Scottish Power, the utility company that serves 3.5 million homes in Britain, about a collapse in service standards that is leaving many customers hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
  • The Independent: Shares in generators giant Aggreko climbed almost 10% in early London trading today after it set out plans to return £200 million of cash to shareholders.
  • The Independent: Bitcoin investors and entrepreneurs are calling for regulation of the digital currency after the collapse of two major platforms handling the cryptocurrency in less than a week.
  • Daily Mail: Energy firms will face a grilling from Ofgem over their response to the Christmas storms which left millions of people without power.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Greece's Piraeus Bank is preparing to issue a €500 million senior unsecured bond and a separate €1.8 billion share offering as investors show increased readiness to lend to banks in the region’s recession-battered periphery.
  • Financial Times: Digital music service Spotify has shocked the music industry with the acquisition of The Echo Nest, a technology company that powers the online radio services of many of its rivals.
  • Financial Times: Genel Energy, the Anglo-Turkish oil company led by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward, expects to boost output in Kurdistan by at least half this year as its oil finally finds a route to market.
  • The Guardian: Legal & General Property has bought £550 million worth property backed by Royal Bank of Scotland that includes the Coutts headquarters in London.
  • The Guardian: Stobart Group is selling 51% of the lorry business to William Stobart and Isle of Man investment firm DouglasBay Capital; the parent company will retain 49% of Eddie Stobart Logistics and the rights to the famous brand.
  • The Guardian: Waitrose and John Lewis both experience record sales and the company's 91,000 staff are to share a £200 million bonus.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bouygues / SFR: consolidation fight in French telecoms market could be protracted.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Aviva: CEO’s second year might not be as difficult as his first.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Staples: retailer faces a double whammy akin to the book industry.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bureau Veritas: the route to growth needs a little checking of its own.

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