Regulation  

Morning papers: 22 more face investigation for Libor rigging

The Serious Fraud Office has written to 22 individuals to tell them they are facing investigation for potential Libor rigging, a London court heard on Monday, reports The Guardian.

None of them have been charged and some have yet to be interviewed. Southwark crown court was told about the SFO contact at a hearing attended by Tom Hayes, a former trader at investment banks Citigroup and UBS. Hayes is the first person to be charged with manipulation of the benchmark rate.

Not our job to regulate house prices, says Bank of England policymaker

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A Bank of England policymaker has said it is not the central bank’s job to regulate house prices, just hours after research revealed that values in London had jumped 10 per cent in the past month, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Martin Taylor, an external member of the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC), said he was “astonished” by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ suggestion last month that the FPC should cap house price inflation at an annual 5 per cent.

Housebuilding is up ‘but supply is still way behind’

Housebuilding is rising across the country as confidence returns to the property market, according to the latest survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), reports the Independent.

During the three months to September a positive balance of 41 per cent of construction firms questioned by Rics reported an increase in housing projects on the preceding quarter. This was up from a positive balance of 31 per cent in the previous three-month period. The survey also showed activity up in every part of the UK in the third quarter for the first time in six years.

Energy bills top £1,500 after new price hikes

Energy bills will top £1,500 for the first time after npower became the latest supplier to announce an inflation-busting price rise, reports The Times.

The company is increasing gas and electricity bills by 10.4 per cent on average, adding almost £140 to the annual cost of heating and lighting a home. Campaigners accused the company of putting “profits before people’s lives”.

Co-op Bank falls into hands of American investors

Co-operative Bank, the mutual that has branded itself as the ethical alternative to mainstream banks, has surrendered its independence to rebel bondholders led by two American hedge funds, reports The Times.

After 141 years with a mutual ethos, the embattled bank will list on the share market next year, with bondholders taking over 70 per cent of the stock.

Commodities traders face increased competition

Glencore Xstrata, Vitol and Trafigura face the prospect of increased competition and lower margins, as national companies from the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and southeast Asia enter the commodity trading market, reports the Financial Times.

Graham Sharp, one of the founders of Trafigura and an adviser at industry consultancy Oliver Wyman, has predicted that between five and 10 “significant” competitors will emerge over the next five years, as national companies try to squeeze higher returns from assets and protect access to end markets.