The balance of payments deficit is big, but it's not clever


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The balance of payments deficit is big, but it’s not clever

Weekend round-up.

The balance of payments deficit is big, but it’s not clever
Observer financial columnist William Keegan discusses the size of the government’s balance of payments deficit, which he thinks worries Mark Carney a great deal.
The Observer, p. 50


No escape for savers as cash rates dwindle
Savers are being left stuck with low returns on their cash Isa accounts as banks restrict access to their best-buy deals.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 7
Also appeared in : The Sunday Telegraph Money, p.2, The Sunday Telegraph Money, p.5, The Observer, p.54, The Independent on Sunday, p.57, The Sunday Times Money, p.5, The Sunday Times Money, p.4-5, The Sunday Times Money, p.6-7

Pensions & Life Assurance

Rich most likely to shop for a pension
More than 2/3 of retirees with pensions worth less than £20,000 failed to shop around for the best annuity rate last year. By contrast, only 33pc of savers with pensions worth £100,000 or more failed to shop around, the Association of British Insurers claimed.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 2

Act now on pensions, say experts
Staff are rushing to top up their pension pots to beat the tightening of rules on the amount that can be saved for retirement.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 1

Retired expats may lose £1,000 a year
Pensioners who retire abroad could be losing more than a thousand pounds a year because of the government’s refusal to increase their state pensions in line with inflation.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 3

BMI pensioners face ‘double-whammy’
Former staff at BMI, who saw almost £177m wiped from their pensions when the airline was swallowed by British Airways in 2012, could be taxed on compensation designed to ease their losses.
The Sunday Telegraph Business, p. 3

Mortgages & Residential Property

Lenders’ mortgage lift for the self-employed
Loan options are increasing for workers who do not have steady incomes. Skipton building society clarified its criteria in August to make it easier for workers who do not have fixed or permanent salaries to understand whether they could get a mortgage.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 2

Watch out, big banks. The great survivor is coming to get you
Interview with Nigel Terrington, looking at how when the buy-to-let mortgage lender Paragon ran into trouble in the dark days of 2007, investors trusted him to save the day. Now they will reap the rewards as the share price has climbed almost tenfold since the low point after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, giving it a market value of £1.2bn.
The Sunday Times Business, p. 6

Retail Banking

Natwest and RBS customers will soon be able to pay in cash and cheques at Post Office branches. Andrew Hagger of financial website MoneyComms said the inclusion of RBS in the scheme would offer more choice to customers – but could signal the closure of “less profitable” bank branches in remote areas.
The Sunday Telegraph Money, p. 2

Bringing banking to the supermarket shelves
If rumours that Barclays is planning to open branches in Asda stores prove true – and successful – its rivals may follow writes Kate Hughes.
The Independent on Sunday, p. 59

Round Up

RBS beats retreat as losses hit £8bn
As it unveils losses of close to £8bn, Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to reveal plans to pull out of up to 20 countries this week. The cost-cutting programme which has been labelled Project Cook is expected to save RBS up to £3bn a year. Last month Ross McEwan, the bank’s new chief executive, warned that the bank would take an extra £3bn of charges to account for past misconduct issues, including another £465m related to payment protection insurance and £1.9bn from problems in America.
The Sunday Times Business, p. 3
Also appeared in : The Observer, p.48-49, The Sunday Telegraph Business, p.5, The Observer, p.47, The Sunday Times Business, p.4, The Sunday Telegraph Business, p.2, The Sunday Telegraph Business, p.1, The Sunday Times Business, p.1

HSBC chief’s salary could double to beat bonus cap
It is understood that HSBC’s annual report will reveal that the chief executive of HSBC is to be offered a huge salary increase to get round new European rules that curb bankers’ bonuses. Gulliver’s payday comes as analysts expect the bank to report profits of about $24bn (£14bn), up 20% on last year.
The Sunday Times Business, p. 1

Mis-selling claims ‘have yet to peak’
Mark Neale, chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, has warned that Britain’s financial services industry has not seen the peak of claims over mis-sold payment protection insurance.
The Sunday Telegraph Business, p. 3

Annuity mis-selling: the smoking gun
The Financial Conduct Authority has collated figures showing savers may have been mis-sold annuities. Higher payouts that are applicable for those with poor health or unhealthy habits are not being ‘sold’ to all.
The Sunday Telegraph Money, p. 2

Baby boomers shun annuities as sales plunge
Sales of annuities have fallen by 16pc, research suggests. Columnist notes that the Association of British Insurers’ figures have been seized upon by commentators to suggest that annuities need urgent reform.
The Independent on Sunday, p. 61

Church launches credit union network in payday loans fight
Sir Hector Sants, the former chief executive of the Financial Services Authority charged by the archbishop of Canterbury with leading the Church of England’s fight against payday lenders, has told The Observer that he intends to use churches to promote a national network of credit unions and micro-financing operations.
The Observer, p. 7

Wanted: a clean record in the City
Candidates looking for a new role in the City face improving prospects – as long as they are not tainted by the banking crash. More than 40% of the senior financial-services executives questioned by Robert Half, the recruiter, expect to hire new staff in the first half of this year, while the most recent KPMG/REC report has placed financial services third in its league table of sectors in which jobs are most readily available.
The Sunday Times Appointments, p. 3

5,000 face Swiss account ultimatum
About 5,000 people who have Swiss bank accounts have been sent letters by HMRC, Smith &Williamson, the accountancy group, report.
The Sunday Times Money, p. 2

At last, wages start outpacing price rises
Dr Ben Broadbent, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, comments on how the UK economy is finally moving out of intensive care with output growing at its fastest rate since before the financial crash.
The Sunday Times Business, p. 4

This tax on savers will hit recovery
Mark Boleat, chairman of the policy and resources committee at the City of London Corporation, calls on French and German leaders to reconsider the European Commission’s financial transaction tax.
The Sunday Telegraph Business, p. 5

The above articles appeared on 23.02.2014.

Saturday 22nd February.


Thousands miss out on enhanced annuities
According to latest annuity sales figures from the Association of British Insurers, only 28 per cent of policies sold in the three months to September 2013 were for an “impaired life” or enhanced annuity.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times Money, p. 4

Pensions & Life Assurance

L&G strengthens its US foothold
Legal & General has agreed to buy Global Index Advisors for up to $50m (£30m) in a move that will strengthen its foothold in the $6trn US pensions market.
Independent i, p. 47
Also appeared in : The Independent, p.44

Drawdown cash limits to fall in March
People approaching retirement and looking to keep their pension fund invested in stocks rather than buying annuities will have reduced cash limits from next month.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times Money, p. 4
Also appeared in : Financial Times Money, p.8

MPs scrapping over charges won’t improve your pension
David Budworth comments on the importance of pension reforms before the next election.
The Times, p. 56

‘Women should help other women – they have a responsibility to do that’
An interview with Lady Barbara Judge, Chairman of the Pension Protection Fund.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times FT Weekend Magazine, p. 6

Unit & Investment Trusts and OEICS

As banks come under pressure to play it safe, a new breed of asset managers look likely to step in and reinvigorate the world economy
A feature on the potential for the asset management sector to kickstart the global economy.
The Independent, p. 48

Mortgages & Residential Property

Househunters under pressure from rising stamp duty bills
Property experts warn that the stamp duty regime requires urgent reform to end distortions in the housing market. The latest house price figures from the Office for National Statistics mean that more properties are being dragged from the 1 per cent tax bracket into the 3 per cent net.
The Times, p. 54

The portable mortgages that can cost homebuyers thousands
Borrowers wanting to move house face bills for thousands of pounds after being told they can’t move existing mortgages that were sold as “portable”. Brokers warn that all customers with such loans must reapply for their existing deal as if they are new borrowers.
The Times, p. 53

Tired of low savings rates? Use the cash to cut your mortgage rate
Stubbornly low savings returns, combined with rising mortgage costs, make offset home loans an increasingly attractive option for borrowers.
The Times, p. 55

Rising prices cut both ways for movers
Rising property prices and lower-rate mortgages are improving prospects for homeowners looking to remortgage, but research shows affordability problems still exist.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times Money, p. 7

More 95 per cent loans
Hinckley & Rugby Building Society is offering a 95 per cent loan-to-value mortgage.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times Money, p. 2

Retail Banking

Switching credit card just got a whole lot cheaper
Nationwide building society has announced that it has reduced the cost of transferring a balance to a 0 per cent deal, prompting Andrew Hagger of Money-Comms to say they had “ripped up the rulebook with this outstanding credit card offer”.
The Independent, p. 49
Also appeared in : The Guardian, p.44, The Independent, p.50

IT fault hits Nationwide card payments system
Nationwide has confirmed that it has been having difficulties processing card payments, but denied reports of concerns about its internet services.
The Guardian, p. 38
Also appeared in : Financial Times, p.4

Piggybacking on Post Office branches will boost presence
Royal Bank of Scotland has said it will increase its high street presence tenfold by piggybacking on the UK’s vast network of Post Office branches.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times, p. 17

Royal Bank of Scotland and […]
Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest customers will be able to pay in cash and cheques through Post Office branches this year in a deal expected to take some of the sting out of high street bank closures
The Times, p. 47

Fighting the big banks on the home front
Business interview with the new head of TSB, Paul Pester.
The Times, p. 51


Former SEC commissioner to join HSBC as a director
HSBC announced yesterday that Kathleen Casey would join as a non-executive director next month.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times, p. 19

Round Up

McEwan downplays RBS job-loss threat
RBS CEO Ross McEwan issued an internal memo regarding the proposed 20,000 job losses noting that the vast majority of the job losses will be in RBS’s investment banking divisions. Britain’s biggest union, Unite, said it planned to meet management next week and called for clarity over how many jobs were at risk in the UK.
The Daily Telegraph, p. 33
Also appeared in : The Times, p.45, The Times, p.47, The Independent, p.2, The Guardian, p.36, Independent i, p.5, Financial Times, p.17, Financial Times, p.17, Financial Times, p.26

Fed chiefs saw early warning signals over Libor in 2008
The US Federal Reserve had suspicions that the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, was being improperly manipulated as far back as 2008, newly released documents from the American central bank suggest.
The Times, p. 49
Also appeared in : The Daily Telegraph, p.31, International New York Times, p.1-16, Financial Times, p.1, International New York Times, p.16

MPs to investigate ‘bullying’ of SMEs by big banks
The Treasury Select Committee has announced that it will examine complaints by small businesses about banks.
The Daily Telegraph, p. 31
Also appeared in : The Independent, p.44, The Times, p.50, Financial Times, p.4

Spanish lender to buy U.S. online bank start-up
The online banking start-up Simple, which seeks to distinguish itself from traditional banks by eschewing fees and offering its customers data-rich analysis of their transactions, is selling itself to a giant of European finance.
International New York Times, p. 14
Also appeared in : International New York Times, p.1

Divergence of demand for US debt
The Federal Reserve financed most of the United States government’s deficit in 2013, in sharp contrast to the year before, when the Fed did not add to its holdings of Treasury securities. The American private sector appears to have been a net seller of United States Treasuries last year, but the foreign private sector was a substantial buyer, according to government estimates released in the past week.
International New York Times, p. 16

Nama to sell €4bn property portfolio
Ireland’s bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency, is trying to sell its entire €4bn Northern Irish property portfolio.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times, p. 19

Banks to dodge bonus cap
The big-four high street banks are consulting shareholders about bonuses for chief executives that will include additional share payments so that the EU bonus cap does not decrease the amount of money they receive from their employers.
The Guardian, p. 1-2

HSBC courts anger with £2bn bonus
The row over bank bonuses is set to reignite next week when HSBC unveils a discretionary pay pool of more than £2 billion for its staff around the world. Sky News announces that these bonuses are expected to include a significant rise in pre-tax profit.
The Times, p. 47

Mis-selling scandal hits Australians
National Australia Bank, the owner of the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, are expected to bump up its provisions for mis-sold financial products after a surge in complaints at the end of last year. NAB’s British lenders were caught up in scandals over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and products for businesses that were supposed to protect them from interest rate rises.
The Times, p. 49

The highs and lows of an interest rate rise
Martin Weale, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, has stated to Sky News this week that he “couldn’t rule out” the need for an even earlier interest rate increase if wages start to rise quicker than predicted in the coming months.
The Times, p. 60

Credit Suisse pays fine
Credit Suisse has agreed to pay $196 million and admit wrongdoing to settle charges brought in the United States by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Times, p. 50

Calmer emerging markets see outflows slow
Emerging market outflows declined this week as concerns about China and US central bank tapering receded.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times, p. 20

The stimulus tragedy
Paul Krugman analyses the effects of Barack Obama’s stimulus programme, five years down the line.
International New York Times, p. 7

The above articles appeared on 23.02.2014. Reproduced with the kind permission of Kantar Media UK. All rights reserved.

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