US BANKS FACE INSIDER TRADING PROBE
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector-general overseeing the US government’s financial rescue efforts, is to probe allegations of insider trading among bank executives and their associates. Eight of the largest banks in the US received between $2bn and $25bn in October 2008 under a programme to prop up the financial system led by Hank Paulson, then Treasury secretary. Dozens more institutions followed and Mr Barofsky is looking into whether information improperly made its way to trading rooms during a feverish period in which the government and banks were frequently exchanging information.
PANDIT PUTS FAITH IN OVERSEAS GROWTH STRATEGY
Vikram Pandit, Citigroup chief executive, has hit back at critics of the bailed-out US bank and insisted his strategy of international growth will allow Citi to outperform rivals once the economy bounces back.
“We are very strong internationally – in 109 countries,” an impassioned Mr Pandit told the Financial Times at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
EASTERN EUROPEAN MARKETS OUTSHINE PEERS
Central and eastern European markets have been the strongest performers in the world in the past six months, in a sharp turnround of fortunes as the concerns of investors have switched to the mounting debts in the developed world. These markets have been buoyed by the determination of governments in the region to straighten out their public finances, even as some draw on the support of the International Monetary Fund. Investors have been impressed by the performance of Poland, Hungary and Latvia.
LABOUR PREPARES TO TEAR UP 12 YEARS OF ENERGY POLICY
The Government is drawing up plans for a wholesale reform of Britain’s energy markets that could wind back the clock on 12 years of deregulation.
In an interview with The Times, Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said that Britain’s existing, highly liberalised market regime, introduced under Labour in 1998, was failing to deliver the investment needed to cut UK carbon emissions by more than a third by 2020.
KPMG HAS £600M CONSULTANCY TARGET AS ACCOUNTANTS REBUILD ADVISORY ROLES
KPMG, the professional services group, plans to treble its consulting revenues to £600m over four years in a bid to make up ground on its “Big Four” rivals. It has poached 24 senior consultants in three months.
The Daily Telegraph
ECB PRESIDENT URGES UNITY ON BANKING REFORM
The world economy could face “catastrophe” unless leaders find common ground in their plans to overhaul regulation of the financial sector, the European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, has warned. Mr Trichet said that the financial system needed an internationally consistent set of regulations, or could face far more damaging crises in the future.
TREASURY SAYS BANKS NEED TO DO MORE
The Treasury has urged shareholders to scrutinise bonus packages handed out by banks after admitting its own measures have failed to change the remuneration culture. Despite regulation forcing banks to defer top earners’ bonuses, many City financiers are enjoying more generous terms than politicians and regulators wanted.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
DEFENSIVE STOCKS MAY BE EUROPE'S STARS
Cyclical stocks, which tend to outperform as the economy expands, were among the strongest groups in the stock market last year as the global economy steadied and started to recover. This year it appears the group is in for a tougher ride and so-called defensive stocks are gaining in popularity. Fiscal woes in Greece have rattled the euro zone and China’s move to tighten credit and tamp the brakes on its growth have spooked investors into thinking the recovery could be over before it began.
US IS TO RESUME HAITIAN EVACUATIONS
Five days after suspending medical evacuations of critically ill Haitian earthquake victims, the US government said last night it planned to resume them “in the next 12 hours”.