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Friday Papers: Pensions revolution casts pall on insurers

Friday Papers: Pensions revolution casts pall on insurers

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The profitability of some of Britain’s biggest insurers was thrown into question on Thursday amid predictions of the demise of the £12 billion-a-year individual annuity market in the wake of the government’s revolutionary pension reforms.
  • Financial Times: President Barack Obama struck at the heart of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle on Thursday, slapping sanctions on 20 individuals and a Russian bank linked to his closest associates.
  • Financial Times: Federal Reserve stress tests found Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs would suffer huge losses in a financial crisis, curbing their ability to return capital to shareholders.
  • The Guardian: Institute for Fiscal Studies says that George Osborne's 'unspecified spending cuts' may leave projections for the public finances on an uncertain footing.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Rating agency Fitch says Britain's public sector net debt need to fall before the country can regain its top-notch triple-A rating.
  • Daily Mail: UK manufacturers see order books boost in first quarter - but exports take a dip, and car production fell in February.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: George Osborne’s pensions overhaul, announced in Wednesday’s Budget could trigger house buying, pouring fuel on an overheating property market, mortgage experts warn.
  • Financial Times: The Bank of England is underestimating how quickly Britain’s economy will reach full capacity and it is impossible to guarantee that rates will stay low for the next three years, a member of the bank’s rate-setting committee has warned.
  • Financial Times: More companies would bring back parts of their business to the UK and the rest of Europe if the EU were reformed to become more competitive, a study has found.
  • Financial Times: The future of the Scottish arm of defence group Finmeccanica will depend on decisions to be made by the UK Ministry of Defence if Scotland votes for independence this year, according to the Italian conglomerate.
  • Financial Times: One of three men lined up to be deputy to Bill Gross, the chief investment officer of Pimco, quit on the day his appointment was due to be announced after becoming disillusioned with the famed investor’s stewardship of the bond fund management group.
  • Financial Times: Ineos has set itself on a collision course with Sinopec by claiming that the state-controlled Chinese petrochemicals group has breached its intellectual property rights over the manufacture of a key industrial compound.
  • Financial Times: Hitachi’s decision to make London the headquarters of its global train business could signal the start of a UK rail industry revival.
  • Financial Times: JD.com – the Chinese ecommerce rival to Alibaba – will be virtually takeover-proof once it completes its listing in New York later this year, thanks to provisions in its prospectus.
  • Financial Times: The British economy is on the cusp of a meaningful recovery, declared Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, as the fashion retailer generated higher annual profits than rival Marks and Spencer for the first time.
  • Financial Times: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is seeking to launch a $2 billion hedge fund as the former French presidential-hopeful’s latest venture following the sex-scandal that ended his political career.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Majestic Wine fell almost 20% after a February sales slump caught the company off guard as drinkers stayed on the wagon for longer than normal.
  • Financial Times: Hermès said that profitability at the French luxury goods group would shrink this year as a weak Japanese yen dragged down record-high margins in 2013.
  • Financial Times: Secretive discount supermarket chain Lidl’s chief executive has left suddenly with the group citing “unbridgeable” differences about future strategy that it declined to disclose.
  • Financial Times: ITV’s Adam Crozier received £8.4 million in pay last year, making his turnround of the broadcaster one of the most lucrative jobs on the FTSE 100.
  • Financial Times: Chat apps are cutting into the profits of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group reported strong initial demand for a debt swap it offered investors as a way to strengthen its capital position.
  • Financial Times: Rusal is in talks with lenders to delay a repayment next month of part of its $10 billion debt pile, sources said, in the latest sign of distress in Russia’s struggling industrial sector.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank increased its co-chief executives’ pay by half during a year in which the German lender reported a 1.2% return on equity and faced a barrage of regulatory and litigation issues.
  • Financial Times: A senior bond trader formerly at Credit Suisse has been banned by the UK financial watchdog and fined £663,000 in a landmark case following allegations that he manipulated the government-bond market during the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme.
  • Financial Times: A former JP Morgan Chase banker facing criminal charges of hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from the $6 billion “London whale” trade, is challenging the UK watchdog’s civil findings against the bank.
  • Financial Times: Mexico will take the first concrete step towards breaking up its 76-year-old energy monopoly on Friday when Pemex, the national oil company, sends regulators a wish list of fields it wants to keep.
  • Financial Times: Anglo American Platinum said it had reached a deal to end a more than six-week wage strike at its processing plants in South Africa.
  • Financial Times: Shopping mall owner Intu has cemented its dominant position in UK retail space leasing with the acquisition of three centres from the Westfield Group in a deal worth £867.8 million.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland is to be sued over an alleged mis-sold interest rate swap after a judge ordered administrators to stop blocking an attempt by the owners of a failed business to seek compensation.
  • Financial Times: The Roy Hill iron ore project controlled by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, has secured a $7.2 billion debt deal in what its backers’ claim is the world’s biggest ever project financing package for the development of a land-based mine.
  • The Independent: Ted Baker has reported a 26.7% pre-tax profit jump to £40 million as the London-based retailer vows to cement "truly global” presence.
  • The Independent: The defence giant BAE Systems has finally warned that Scottish independence could threaten thousands of jobs north of the border, after months of refusing to comment on September's vote.
  • The Independent: Mulberry's chief executive has left the luxury handbags firm after two years at the helm.
  • The Guardian: Three tidal lagoons could be in operation around Britain by 2021 producing large-scale low carbon power at a cheaper price than offshore wind, according to their developer, Tidal Lagoon Power.
  • The Guardian: The oil giant Exxon Mobil has agreed for the first time to report on how climate change could affect its business model.
  • The Guardian: Broadband companies are expecting customers to pay for speeds they may never get, with nearly half of people suffering a slow connection.
  • The Guardian: BP has been sucked into the row over Russia's annexation of Crimea with calls for the delisting from the London Stock Exchange of Rosneft, the Moscow-based oil company in which the British group has a 20% holding.
  • The Guardian: The outsourcing giant Atos, one of two firms tasked with rolling out a new benefit for sick and disabled people, has been accused by a committee of MPs of misleading the government over how quickly it could process claims that has led to the distress of thousands of claimants.
  • The Guardian: Gross mortgage lending increased by 43% in the year to February, according to the latest data from banks and buildings societies, underlining the turnaround in the housing market over the past 12 months.
  • Daily Express: Engineer Smiths Group is ramping up a shake-up of its business after its medical arm took a hit from lower demand in the US.
  • Daily Express: Shares in ISA provider Hargreaves Lansdown rose 14% on Budget plans to boost the money people can save tax-free in individual savings accounts (ISAs) to £15,000 from 1 July.
  • Daily Mail: William Hill has warned George Osborne’s Budget measures would hit the firm 40% harder than previously expected.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The yuan has lost 3% since January, a clear break with China's long-standing policy of slow appreciation.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Preoperty agent Savills posts record results, fuelled by housing market recovery.
  • Daily Mail: Customers signed up to Ovivo Mobile received an unexpected blow last night when the mobile network shut down without warning.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Airbnb is set to join Dropbox and WhatsApp in Silicon Valley’s $10 billion valuation club with a private fundraising that will price the upstart home-rental site at $2 billion more than the InterContinental hotel chain.
  • Financial Times: Crédit Agricole SA has outlined plans for its Amundi asset management arm to become one of the first in Europe to have more than €1 trillion under management by acquiring smaller rivals over the next few years.
  • Financial Times: Standard & Poor’s awarded Ryanair a BBB+ rating, allowing the carrier to access the capital markets as it looks for secured and unsecured debt financing for its order of 175 Boeing 737 aircraft.
  • The Guardian: Chinese internet giant Alibaba has made a $215 million investment in Tango, a Silicon Valley mobile messaging service, in what is believed to be Alibaba’s largest investment in a US company.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Starbucks: US coffee chain needs to keep the quality of its growth high.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Airbnb: Building a website is easy; building a user base is much harder.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Li & Fung: World’s largest supplier of consumer brands has a new strategy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Swedbank: Regulators test foundations of investors’ attraction to Swedish bank.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Luxury goods: The sector boomed with QE and is suffering with tapering.

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