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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Tablet computer sales are soaring

Category : World News

Analysts say sales of tablet computers globally are soaring, but Blackberry boss claims the format will be dead within five years.

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Goldman boss: UK must stick to plan

Category : Business, World News

Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein says the UK must stick with its austerity plan or face a negative reaction from global investors.

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Sometimes even chief executives get sick of being force-fed bonuses

Category : Business

Shareholders are gearing up for another rebellion on pay, but it’s non-executives who bear the lion’s share of responsibility

Take a deep breath. Could we be seeing an outbreak of morality among the corporate elite? Next’s chief executive, Lord Wolfson, announced last week that he is sharing out his £2.4m bonus among his retailer’s 19,400 staff; the head of one of Austria’s biggest banks – Herbert Stepic of Raiffeisen – has handed back £1.2m of his pay on the grounds that he is overpaid; and the incoming head of miner BHP Billiton, Andrew Mackenzie has taken a 25% cut to his salary.

In these austere times – GDP data next week will show whether the UK has sunk into an unprecedented triple-dip recession – an acknowledgement by top bosses that they are overpaid should be embraced. Or should it?

Take Mackenzie of Billiton. Even with the 25% cut in his pay, his salary is still £1.1m before any bonuses. Wolfson, a Tory peer and Conservative party donor, still enjoyed a 13% rise in basic pay to £4.6m at Next (the store’s staff got 2%). The Austrian bank boss still walked away with more than £2m.

And, as is usual with executive pay, there are many more bosses grasping for more. The attempts at restraint demonstrated by BHP’s boss contrast sharply with the behaviour of Xstrata’s departing Mick Davis. He is walking away with £75m as a result of the takeover by Glencore – a staggering £9.6m of which is to be handed to him in cash rather than shares. Similarly, compare Stepic’s gesture of goodwill with Barclays, where the much-welcomed retirement of Rich Ricci seems unlikely to stop millions of pounds of previously awarded bonus deals continuing to flow to him as he enjoys his retirement – which is beginning at the age of 49.

Ricci is a symbol of anything but restraint. This is the man who was handed £17m under the cover of this year’s budget – when Barclays seemed to hope attention would be focused on the chancellor’s speech – taking his earnings since 2010 to over £70m.

The announcement of Ricci’s retirement came just a few days before the bank’s annual meeting with investors this Thursday. The hope is that it will take the heat out of an uncomfortable few hours for new chief executive Antony Jenkins. Remember the fuss last year– even before the Libor crisis had struck – when Bob Diamond was at the helm? Diamond also had unimaginable wealth but was determined to take a bonus for 2011. Almost a third of Barclays investors failed to support the remuneration report.

That rebellion heralded last year’s “shareholder spring”, during which an unprecedented number of remuneration reports were voted down and a number of bosses ousted after years of being overpaid for underperformance.

There are signs that this year could see a replay. Standard Life has angrily criticised the pay policies at BP, and fund manager Jupiter – which itself polices pay policies – suffered a serious humiliation on Thursday, when 42% of investors failed to back its own remuneration report. Corporate governance expert Manifest reckons that any dissent of more than 10% is something for a management team to worry about.

Governments keen to pass the buck on the pay controversy point at shareholders to keep a lid on pay excess, but non-executive directors have at least an equal responsibility. Bonus schemes that pay out so much that their bosses are embarrassed to take the proceeds should never have been approved. Directors on remuneration committees need to think much longer and harder about how bonuses are handed out.

And then there are the executives themselves. Wolfson, Stepic and Mackenzie are to be applauded. But the loudest cheer should be reserved for those executives ready to acknowledge that they do the job to their best ability regardless of the bonus attached. Shell’s former chief, Jeroen van der Veer, once admitted his work would have been the same regardless of his bonus arrangements. Surely he cannot be the only one.

Npower’s tax bill may be justified, but its record isn’t glowing

Almost 90,000 people have put their names to an online petition for RWE npower to pay more corporation tax more in line with the rest of the business community. Revelations last week that npower – one of the Big Six energy providers – had paid “almost nothing” (just £5m) over three years understandably infuriated many.

Comparisons have been made with Starbucks, which faced similar protests and eventually decided to make a £20m ex gratia payment to the taxman.

Will npower have to do the same? Maybe, but the energy company is in a rather different position from the US-based coffee chain, not least because it has invested much more heavily in Britain. The German-owned company has spent almost £5bn over recent years putting in place new gas-fired power stations and wind farms.

Npower is legitimately able to write off some of the cost of those investments against its profits in Britain, where it has more than 6.5 million gas and electricity customers. Certainly, Britain needs new lower-carbon power stations rather more urgently than it needs caramel macchiatos.

It is more vulnerable to criticism over an estimated £350m of “interest payments” from the British company to the German parent. Npower argues that this is just good business: the British arm can borrow money for infrastructure building more cheaply from its colleagues in Essen.

But critics, including crusading tax experts such as Richard Murphy, say there is no difference between such “interest” and the “royalties” paid by Starbucks for use of the brand name, which triggered the coffee crisis.

And there is still no need for any of the Big Six to give regulator Ofgem anything other than retail and generation profits. Yet sitting in between these two are big trading divisions.

The real problem is that npower and the rest have been tarnished by a string of Ofgem fines, criticism over tariffs that seem designed to baffle, and some executive pay excess. Few feel inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt when a tax row breaks.

Departing lingerie boss leaves Bolland looking exposed

The sudden departure of Marks & Spencer’s lingerie boss 12 weeks after her much-heralded arrival means at least six senior bosses at the ailing retailer have recently quit.

When Janie Schaffer was recruited, her appointment was described as “inspirational” . Dubbed “the knicker queen”, she had learned her trade in the M&S undies department, founded the Knickerbox chain in 1986 and for the past five years had been creative director at Victoria’s Secret in the US, injecting new glamour that has helped to haul the brand out of the doldrums.

M&S sources say that Schaffer had come to the end of a three-month probation period – with the clear suggestion that she wasn’t up to the job. Schaffer’s supporters say she didn’t have a probation period and quit because she wasn’t allowed to make even basic decisions, such as new packaging for women’s tights.

Who to believe? Who knows. But a little of the Victoria’s Secret sparkle would have been welcome at M&S, where sales of clothing and homewares have been falling for the past seven quarters. Chief executive Marc Bolland should be worried: the executive exit door is revolving fast, and he might soon find himself spinning through it.

Kipper Williams on M&S lingerie loss

Category : Business

Kipper Williams on M&S losing its lingerie boss

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Next staff to share boss’s bonus

Category : Business, World News

Staff at retailer Next are to get a cash bonus after the company’s boss asked for a £2.4m share windfall to be distributed among employees.

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Billabong in fresh takeover talks

Category : Business, World News

Australian surfwear firm Billabong is to start talks over a possible takeover by a consortium led by its former US boss Paul Naude.

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Apple apologises to China customers

Category : Business, World News

Apple boss Tim Cook apologises to Chinese consumers after state media accuses the firm of arrogance and greed.

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Bank of England committee to reveal size of banks’ funding gap

Category : Business

Financial policy committee completes review of capital shortfall at major high street banks

A key policy making committee at the Bank of England will on Wednesday reveal whether the capital shortfall at the major high street banks is as large as the £60bn it estimated last year.

The financial policy committee, set up to avoid a rerun of the banking crisis, warned at its last meeting in November that banks might need to fill a gap in their capital cushions created by inadequate provisions for bad loans and mis-selling scandals.

The outcome of its three-month review comes after the chancellor announced four external members for the FPC to sit alongside Bank of England executives. Dame Clara Furse, the former boss of the London Stock Exchange, is the first woman named to sit on the FPC. One-time Barclays boss Martin Taylor, who sat on the Vickers commission on banking, is also appointed alongside ex-Goldman banker Richard Sharp.

Donald Kohn, the former US central banker, was reappointed but there was some surprise that interim members Robert Jenkins and Michael Cohrs were not reappointed to the FPC, which had been acting in a preliminary capacity for 18 months before it becomes a formal body next week. Both were regarded to have been outspoken members of the FPC with Jenkins attacking bankers’ pay. Cohrs remains on the court – akin to a board – of the Bank of England.

In November the FPC had estimated the potential shortfall could be between £24bn and £60bn.

To take up the position on the FPC, Furse will resign from the boards of Legal & General and Japanese bank Nomura. The Treasury did not say that Sharp would need to resign as chairman of PR agency Huntsworth, or chief executive of finance house DII Capital.

Exclusive: Boston Celtics owner launching investment platform

Category : Business

Basketball boss seeks to combine his new and old careers.

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Energy boss warns of blackout risk

Category : Business, World News

The boss of the energy firm SSE warns that “there is a very real risk of the lights going out” in Britain.

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