SEC EYES MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES
US securities regulators investigating the role of banks in the mortgage crisis are homing in on the question of whether investors were misled about the home loans used to back securities. The Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators have been investigating a wide range of banking activities in connection with mortgages that were packaged into securities and sold to investors.
HELICOPTER SELL OFF GROUNDED
Ministers will today cancel advanced plans for the £6bn privatisation of the search-and-rescue helicopter service, citing concerns over misconduct in the bidding process. The last-minute decision to scrap the competition comes after military police were called in to investigate the alleged mishandling of commercially sensitive information by former Ministry of Defence staff.
SWISS SEE INFLOW OF OIL FIRMS
Switzerland has witnessed an inflow of Russian oil traders, bolstering the country’s claims to be the world’s leading trading centre for physical oil, industry executives said. State-owned Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, and Bashneft, a top refiner and fast-growing oil producer, have registered trading operations in Geneva and Zurich, respectively, over the past few weeks. Both currently trade from Moscow.
BRUSSELS STANDS BY EFSF SCOPE
European officials have insisted they are not backing away from proposals to give the eurozone’s bail-out fund more powers to tackle the debt crisis despite a failure to back the changes at a summit of EU leaders on Friday. Officials from the European Union said the powers were still on the table along with other economic and fiscal measures aimed at shoring up the euro.
FSA CUTS FINE FOR GUILTY FINANCIER
A financier found guilty of market abuse had his fine of £281,000 almost halved yesterday after the Financial Services Authority decided that he had been motivated by “wishful thinking” rather than deliberate deceit. David Massey borrowed then sold 2.5 million shares in Eicom at 8p each on November 1, 2007.
BRITAIN CLINGS TO CULT OF EQUITY
British pension funds are betting more heavily on shares than any of their overseas peers, according to a study that reveals that Britain is still the world’s third-biggest pension-saving country. Yet British funds have reduced their exposure to equities from 74 per cent to 55 per cent over the past decade, according to research by the actuaries Towers Watson.
The Daily Telegraph
PREMIUM BONDS GET CASH AT LAST
Hundreds of thousands of investors in Premium Bonds received their prize money late last month. A printing error meant some of the winning cheques were written out to the wrong people. More than 20 million people have the tax-free, Government-backed bonds which do not pay interest, but offers savers a potential share of a monthly prize draw.
TAXPAYER REPAID AFTER 23 YEARS
More than 20 years after Barlow Clowes went bust, taxpayers appear to have been repaid the £153m which was distributed as ex-gratia compensation to more than 14,000 investors. Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, announced that a total of £156.5m has now been recovered from the liquidation of a complex web of offshore companies.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
ITALY SUMMONS FIAT CHIEF EXEC
The Italian government on Monday summoned Sergio Marchionne for talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after Fiat SpA's chief executive suggested that a combined company with Chrysler LLC could be based in the US, comments that have poured salt on one of Italy's deepest wounds: its ailing industrial sector.
NOKIA CEO CONSIDERS BIG SHAKE-UP
Several senior officials on Nokia’s group executive board are expected to leave soon as part of a major shake-up being considered by the Finnish cellphone giant's new chief executive, according to a person familiar with the situation.Exactly who will leave the company remained unclear. Stephen Elop, a Microsoft veteran who was hired in September to help revive Nokia, is finalizing his plan to revamp the company.