Investments  

Morning papers: Scottish funds warn on huge break-up bill

Scotland-based fund managers would face a hefty multimillion pound bill to pay for a new financial regulator and would be hit by costs to tailor products to a new regulatory regime if the country votes ‘yes’ to independence in September, the Financial Times reports.

The claims made by Scotland’s finance services trade body Scottish Financial Enterprise underlines growing concern about the implications of Scotland breaking away from the rest of Britain.

The trade body’s chief executive warned that not only would the cost for a new financial regulator run into the millions and have to be paid for by the Scottish financial sector, but fund managers would need to tailor their products and services to adapt to the changes.

Article continues after advert

He warned this would include a new tax, consumer protection and regulatory regime and would create “additional complexity and costs”.

The FT reports that while there would be additional fees with a new regulator and new administrative costs, virtually all Scottish fund managers are not commenting on questions about business prospects in an independent Scotland.

It argues this is because they are “reluctant to be seen to be interfering in politics, particularly if they find themselves out of step with public opinion, as some business leaders appeared with their hostility to Scottish devolution in the 1980s and 1990s”.

Barclays’ head waves £2.7m bonus but could get £4m shares

According to the Telegraph, Barclays’ head has turned down an annual bonus for the second consecutive year that could have amounted to £2.7m.

In a statement to the market, Antony Jenkins said it “would not be right” to accept the award, stating he is “aware of the very significant costs which have been required to address legacy litigation and conduct issues in 2013, as well as to exit assets and businesses we no longer wish to participate in”.

However, while he may not be accepting his annual bonus, Mr Jenkins could receive shares worth about £4m next month “as part of his long-term incentive scheme”.

Barclays has had a host of legacy problems in the last year, including the London interbank offered rate, interest rate swap mis-selling, and payment protection insurance.

BP profits fall to $13.4bn

According to the Telegraph, BP continues to pay the price for 2010’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill as it announces weaker profits as a result of redress payouts.

The oil giant said “underlying replacement cost profits, a measurement that strips out fluctuations in the value of inventories, fell from $3.9bn (£2.4bn) to $2.8bn (£1.7bn) in the fourth quarter - marginally ahead of analysts’ expectations”. Full-year profits plummeted from $17.1bn (£10.5bn) to $13.4bn (£8.2bn).

The figures were hit by BP’s major divestment programme, including exits from Colombia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Pakistan, and a big drop in downstream profits.

Underlying downstream profits in the fourth quarter also fell to just $70m (£43bn) compared with $1.4bn (£860m) the previous year.

US stocks suffer biggest fall in seven months

US stocks tumbled yesterday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 320 points after reports of sluggish US growth added to investor worries about the global economy, the Daily Mail reports.