Equities  

Morning papers: TCI fans flames over Royal Mail price

One of the world’s most aggressive hedge fund activists has taken a 5 per cent stake in Royal Mail, fanning the flames of a political furore over whether the 500-year-old company was sold too cheaply, reports the Financial Times.

The Children’s Investment Fund disclosed a holding of just over 58m Royal Mail shares, worth £280m, in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. The hedge fund is the recently privatised company’s largest shareholder after the government, giving it clout in determining the future of the business.

Big Six called to account as Scottish Power is punished

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The Big Six energy providers came under increasing pressure yesterday as MPs summoned them to Parliament while the industry regulator fined Scottish Power £8.5m, reports the Independent.

The bosses of British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, npower, EDF and E.ON – as well as some smaller suppliers –have been called to Parliament next Tuesday to give evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee about recent price increases.

Former Co-op boss refuses to take blame for bank meltdown

The Co-operative Group promised a radical overhaul of its boardroom on Tuesday just hours after the former boss of the grocery and funeral care business deflected responsibility for the crisis at its bank which has fallen under the control of hedge funds, reports The Guardian.

Peter Marks was accused of “selective amnesia”, being “gung-ho”, “out of his depth”, and in “complete denial” during a heated appearance before the Treasury select committee of MPs at the former boss of the UK’s largest mutual, described the fate of the bank as a “tragedy”.

ECB takes step towards banking union with checks on lenders

The European Central Bank will on Wednesday outline its planned health checks on eurozone banks, a year before it takes over responsibility as the eurozone’s top banking supervisor, reports the Financial Times.

It is the first big step in the EU’s planned banking union that aims to unpick the so-called “doom loop” between banks and their home countries that sent sovereigns and lenders spiralling further into trouble during the eurozone’s debt crisis.

Mark Carney brings in consultants to look at cutting costs at Bank of England

Mark Carney has called in a team of consultants and accountants to review the strategy of the Bank of England and look at cost-cutting measures at the 319-year-old institution, reports the Daily Telegraph.

McKinsey, the US management consultancy firm, will help chief operating officer Charlotte Hogg – who previously worked at McKinsey – examine the Bank’s working methods. It will make sure the institution is organised properly to support its inflation-fighting and financial stability mandates.

JPMorgan nears $6bn settlement with investors

JPMorgan Chase is nearing a $6bn settlement with institutional investors to resolve claims it mis-sold mortgage-backed securities, according to people familiar with the matter, reports the Financial Times.

The settlement discussions started almost two years ago but have accelerated recently. They are separate to a $13bn deal that the bank has cut with the Department of Justice to resolve US government claims that the bank sold MBS riddled with bad loans in the run-up to the financial crisis.