RegulationMay 9 2013

Morning papers: UK watchdog swoops on asset managers

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ByMatthew Jeynes

The UK’s new City regulator is swooping on the London offices of the world’s biggest banks and asset managers in a new probe aimed at the lucrative business of helping pension funds make big changes to their investment portfolios, reports the Financial Times.

The site visits, people familiar with the situation said, are the most dramatic example yet of the Financial Conduct Authority’s focus on ensuring that wholesale markets participants protect the interests of end users, such as retail fund investors and pensioners, when contracting for services.

Free banking at risk as EU wants us to bank anywhere in Europe

Experts have warned new European proposals that would allow Britons to switch to a bank account in another country could hasten the demise of free banking, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Draft EU laws published today say that customers must be able to compare the cost of bank accounts across the EU on a like-for-like basis. But this would require many banks to change their business models, which vary widely across the continent, analysts say.

Sainsbury’s chief launches tax broadside on Chancellor

The boss of J Sainsbury has labelled the Government’s tax take from bricks-and-mortar businesses unfair and unsustainable, as he called for a “rebalance” to address the march of online retailers, reports The Times.

Justin King, who is a former member of David Cameron’s business advisory board, said that the Chancellor had inadvertently played into the hands of the likes of Amazon by reducing corporation tax at the same time as allowing business rates and national insurance to rise.

University endowments trim holdings in US Treasuries

Some of the smartest money in America is getting out of US government debt, reports the Financial Times.

Many university endowments have scaled back their holdings of Treasury securities from as much as 30 per cent in 2008-09 to zero in some cases, say people familiar with their investment strategies.

Soros repeats trick to make short work of the Aussie

Three weeks after being mistakenly declared dead, George Soros is thought to have raked in profits of up to £40m in only one day this week by shorting the Australian dollar, reports The Times.

“The man who broke the Bank of England” has made billions by betting against currencies. He banked a billion-dollar profit by shorting the pound against the Deutschmark in 1992, shortly before sterling plunged and Britain was forced out of the exchange-rate mechanism.

News Corp shareholders move to oust Rupert Murdoch as chairman

Shareholders in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation have renewed their campaign for the company to appoint an independent chairman, reports the Daily Telegraph.