UK watchdog targets bankers
Wayward UK bankers risk increasingly large fines as the amount of individual penalties levied by the country’s financial watchdog has increased 76 per cent over the past two years. The Financial Conduct Authority and its predecessor meted out fines totalling £35.5m on individuals in 2012 and 2013, compared with £20.1m in 2010 and 2011, while it also imposed more lifetime bans, barring 72 people in 2013 from working in financial services, compared with 66 in 2012.
Facebook targets financial services
Not content with being just a platform to host cat photos and status updates, Facebook is readying itself to provide financial services in the form of remittances and electronic money. The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process.
WHO plans to regulate e-cigarettes
Electronic cigarette users are set to be banished to the pavement alongside their tobacco-smoking cousins – and face similar hefty prices – if the World Health Organisation pushes ahead with plans to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as normal tobacco, according to leaked documents seen by the Financial Times.
Osborne paves way for early tax cuts
George Osborne will set out proposals today to allow Conservative governments to deliver tax cuts even while borrowing is at high levels. By highlighting the beneficial impact of tax cuts on growth, the chancellor will make clear that there may be more scope than has so far been indicated to reduce the burden of taxation early in the next Parliament. He will publish a Treasury analysis suggesting that cancelling planned rises in petrol duty would boost GDP by up to half of one per cent over 20 years — almost £7.5 bn at today’s prices. He is challenging orthodoxy under which officials have refused to recognise that cutting taxes can boost the economy.
The Daily Telegraph
Clegg wants garden cities in South
Three new garden cities will be built in the “arc of prosperity” on countryside between Oxford and Cambridge under Liberal Democrat plans. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will today publish a long-awaited prospectus which he describes as a “call to arms” for a new generation of garden cities.
Edrington raises a glass to US growth
Scotch whisky producer Edrington, owner of The Macallan and The Famous Grouse brands, is preparing to launch its own US business next month as Americans’ thirst for a wee dram shows no signs of abating.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Spanish banks push own properties
Spanish banks have about €100bn of repossessed real-estate properties on their books, according to Moody’s Investors Service, and are eager to offer deals to accelerate foreclosure sales as they prepare for this year’s balance-sheet review by European Union regulators.
Wal-Mart cries foul on China fines
Fined by China for misleading pricing and selling poor-quality products, Wal-Mart has paid fines and has ratcheted up its testing and inspections, but it is also telling Chinese authorities they need to clean up their own act.