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Tuesday Papers: MPs to grill power companies over storm outages

Tuesday Papers: MPs to grill power companies over storm outages

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The heads of Britain’s electricity networks will be grilled by MPs in the new year amid rising anger over the amount of time it has taken to restore power to tens of thousands of homes affected by last week’s storms.
  • The Independent: The electricity distribution company blamed for leaving thousands of homes without power over Christmas boasted of making an annual profit of nearly £1 billion in its most recent accounts, as its chief executive was paid £1.7 million and its billionaire Asian owners took out a £135 million dividend, The Independent has learnt.
  • The Guardian: Senior staff at Goldman Sachs in London received average pay deals of £2.7 million in 2012 – a 50% rise on 2011 – the company disclosed on Monday, shedding fresh light on the rewards on offer in the City as Brussels prepares to impose a cap on bonuses.
  • Financial Times: A blockbuster equity market rally dominated US investment returns for 2013, while owners of broad-based bond funds experienced their first year of negative performance in over a decade and gold bugs were left licking their wounds.
  • The Guardian: Labour has accused chancellor George Osborne of handing the banks another tax cut, after it emerged his levy on financial institutions will have raised £2.1 billion less than the government promised over the last three years.
  • Daily Mail: Officials in the European Commission had serious reservations about the Co-op’s doomed swoop for more than 600 Lloyds branches, it has emerged.
  • Financial Times: The prospect of unmanned aircraft flying across the US alongside passenger jets moved closer to reality after the nation’s chief aviation regulator approved six research sites to test the safety of commercial drones.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Indian panel has cleared investment plans by Tesco and Vodafone worth more than $1.5 billion.
  • Financial Times: Cooper Tire, the US tyremaker, has abandoned a planned $2.5 billion takeover by India’s Apollo Tyres, after the deal became mired in legal disputes and cross-border misunderstandings.
  • Financial Times: A wave of investor redemptions from commodities markets has claimed another casualty as start-up hedge fund Higgs Capital Management announced Monday it plans to close.
  • Financial Times: A new report by Pew Research Centre suggests people are not deserting Facebook to use other sites but combining use of the social network with one or two others.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Local government debt levels in China have soared to almost $3 trillion in less than three years, according to an official audit highlighting one of Beijing’s most daunting challenges as it attempts to sustain economic growth while avoiding a financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s financial markets watchdog is on track to receive a record number of pleas for help from overseas authorities in 2013 as cross-border scandals such as Libor-rigging underscore the global nature of regulatory investigations.
  • The Guardian: Greece will leave its bailout programme next year without needing a third aid package, the country's prime minister, Antonis Samaras, announced on Monday, as he insisted that citizens could look to 2014 with confidence.
  • Financial Times: Latvia’s finance minister has made a staunch defence of its decision to join the euro on 1 January, arguing that Russia’s recent pressure on Ukraine showed the benefits of its being bound to Europe.
  • Daily Mail: Apple has bowed to pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn in the latest twist in a £90 billion payout battle.
  • The Guardian: BBC-backed YouView soaked up more than £40 million in funds from its shareholders in the last financial year, with staff costs increasing by almost 50% as the internet-based TV service finally launched.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP is to buy $2.9 billion worth of oil products from Rosneft the Russian state-controlled oil and gas giant.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Credit rating agency Moody's offers upbeat assessment of Skipton's turnaround but warn mutual still faces challenges.
  • The Guardian: The British public will be popping a different kind of cork on New Year's Eve after Britain's largest wine seller said prosecco had overtaken champagne as its customers' favourite sparkling tipple.
  • Financial Times: Over the past five years cigar consumption in the UK has fallen a fifth – and plummeted 80% in the past two decades. On current trends, the cigar will all but disappear from Britain by 2026.
  • Financial Times: Iron Man 3 helped power a record year for the North American box office, with cinemas set to surpass last year’s ticket sales on the back of another 12 months of prequels and sequels.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Guardian: Crocs, maker of the colourful rubbery clogs loved by children and loathed by the fashion-conscious, has attracted a $200 million investment from private equity group Blackstone.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Banish the 2013 gloom of multibillion-dollar fines, falling deal fees, subpar returns on equity and subdued bonuses. Big US banks have got a lot of reasons to be cheerful about 2014.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): What will happen in 2014? The Chinese economy will slow; the price of oil will sink; Germany will slide into recession; the EU will remain intact and the internet will begin to Balkanise.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): After a year in which London has lagged New York and Tokyo, 2014 could be a good year to stay at home.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Brazil telecoms: Consolidation will dictate the investment story in 2014.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Brazil: The country showed bulging muscles but little real fitness.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Petrobras: Brazil’s national oil and gas champion needs and deserves more operational freedom.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Vale: New production capacity is coming on line in strength.

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