Morning papers: US trade talks may boost UK economy by £10bn

Free-trade talks between Europe and the US this week could be worth £10bn to the UK economy, it has been claimed, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Negotiations over a deal to create the world’s largest open trade area are due to begin in Washington today, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying an agreement would be worth £380 a year to every household in Britain.

George Osborne vows to get tough and raise standards in City

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George Osborne will announce on Monday the biggest-ever attempt to raise standards in the City when he promises to implement sweeping cultural reforms proposed by a cross-party banking commission, reports the Financial Times.

The chancellor will endorse the overwhelming majority of the panel’s proposals – including introducing criminal penalties for “reckless” bankers and tighter control of pay and bonuses – in his formal response to its 571-page report.

Pension funds ‘sitting on billions’ for new building

The government is missing out on billions of pounds of funding for infrastructure projects because its proposed investment vehicle for pension funds is badly constructed and too small, say experts, reports the Daily Telegraph.

British pension funds are ready to deploy up to £120bn of cash for infrastructure investment but say they need a “larger, safer and more investable gilt” than the Government has proposed.

ETFs close in record numbers despite industry boom

Record numbers of exchange traded funds have closed so far this year, underscoring the difficulty many of the investment vehicles face in gaining traction among investors, in spite of the industry’s overall boom in popularity in recent years, reports the Financial Times.

Roughly 117 ETFs have shuttered in the first half of this year, according to data collected by independent research firm ETFGI, easily outpacing closures in the same period in previous years.

Banks face stringent new audit controls

Banks and other financial institutions are set to face a beefed up internal auditing regime under a new code for auditors unveiled today, reports the Independent.

The overhauled code from the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) promises to widen the scope of the balance sheet scrutiny to avoid a repeat of questionable accounting practices and risky behaviour that contributed to the global financial crisis of 2008.

Confidence in Britain’s economy at fresh high

Business confidence in the UK has reached a 13-month high as companies increase output and job creation rises, surveys show, driving hopes that the economy has turned the corner, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Optimism over future trading performance is at its highest point since May 2012, following five consecutive months of improvement, according to accountants BDO. Output also stands at a 13-month high, driven by a significant improvement among manufacturers, the accountancy firm said.