Europe to ease reform on bank splits
Brussels is set to ease financial reforms so that big European banks are not forced automatically to split lending operations from risky trading.
In a draft European Commission proposal, seen by the Financial Times, the separation is no longer mandatory, would be less costly and restrictive than first envisaged and national supervisors are given wide discretion in applying the reforms. In a further twist, the commission adds its own “narrowly defined” version of the US Volcker rule, which outlaws proprietary trading. The ban applies to around 30 big banks, regardless of whether their deposit-taking part is fenced off.
Soaring fees for bankruptcy process
Bankruptcy is now so expensive that costs in England and Wales can easily outweigh the debts that led to insolvency. As the UK’s hangover from years of cheap credit drags on, the government has become concerned that fees charged by the companies that manage bankruptcies are too high and it is expected to make an announcement on the subject this month.
Osborne insists on need to continue cuts
George Osborne will today warn that years of spending cuts lie ahead even as the prime minister seeks to reassure the grey vote that their pensions are safe in Conservative hands. This will be a “year of hard truths”, the chancellor will say on a visit to the Midlands.
Developer’s design for retail at 02
Britain’s largest property company is in talks to open a designer outlet centre at the O2 Arena in Greenwich in an attempt to rival the upmarket Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. Land Securities has signed a six-month exclusivity agreement with AEG Europe to negotiate options for jointly developing a luxury retail centre in an unused part of the former Millennium Dome.
Britain’s factories prepare for growth
Factories are preparing to expand their British operations this year as they gear up for strong growth, rising exports and a solid economic recovery.
The Daily Telegraph
Record 4.8m Asda Christmas shoppers
The boss of one of Britain’s largest supermarket chains, Asda, has said Christmas was “very tough” for food stores, underlining the challenges facing traditional retailers despite a revival in the economy.
Ecclestone’s hopes in F1 trial boosted
Bernie Ecclestone’s chances of winning a $140m (£85m) High Court trial have been given a last-minute boost as one of the key pieces of evidence against the F1 chief has been called into question. The judge is deliberating over the judgment in the trial and a verdict is expected within two months.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Kremlin critic arrives in Switzerland
Onetime oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was freed from a Russian prison late last month, arrived in Switzerland on Sunday, six days after the Swiss government said it had granted a visa that will allow him to travel widely in Europe.
Frozen tops the box office
Frozen topped the box office over the weekend as bitter winter weather chilled receipts along the East Coast. The animated musical from Walt Disney was an unusual number one. It is in its sixth week of wide release, and movies rarely reclaim the top spot after a month or more of play.