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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to 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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Austerity economists correct errors

Category : Business

Two Harvard economists whose widely-cited research on austerity was called into question last month have published a formal correction.

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VIDEO: Hugh’s Review: Is the recovery underway?

Category : Business

Hugh Pym and guests discusses this week’s figures for economic output which showed that the UK avoided a so called triple dip recession.

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Twitter flash crash ‘is just noise’

Category : Business

Retail investors say they’re not worried about market structure issues following the so-called Twitter flash crash.

See the article here: Twitter flash crash ‘is just noise’

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Safety Experts Call for a "Radical Rethink"

Category : Stocks

HONG KONG–(Marketwired – Apr 26, 2013) – Safety experts called for a “radical rethink” when it comes to construction health and safety, at an event held in Hong Kong, today (26 April 2013).

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FCA hints it may act on teaser rates

Category : Business

Action may be taken against so-called “teaser” rates on savings accounts, the Financial Conduct Authority has hinted.

The rest is here: FCA hints it may act on teaser rates

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Warning over ‘quick house sales’

Category : Business

Consumers who want to sell their houses via so-called “quick sale” companies are in danger of being misled, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

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MPs demand inquiry into HBOS directors’ ‘bonuses for going bust’

Category : Business

£914,000 cash – attributed to ‘change of control’ at bank – paid out to directors following bailout

MPs have called for an inquiry into why former HBOS bosses were given almost £1m in “bonuses for going bust”.

Seven HBOS directors collected cash bonuses of £914,000 in “change of control” payments when the bank was rescued by Lloyds and bailed out with £20bn of taxpayers’ money in 2008.

John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, told the Guardian the payments were scandalous and said there “could not be a more blatant reward for failure”.

He added: “This is taxpayers’ money being used to pay bonuses to bankers that brought down their own bank and cost thousands of ordinary workers their jobs. These are bonuses for going bust.”

Mann said the former bosses of the failed bank should pay the money back immediately and called for an inquiry to investigate why they were paid the cash.

“The money needs to be repaid, and if it’s not, these people need to be drummed out of the financial services sector entirely,” he said. “This is emerging as a full-blown scandal and warrants a full inquiry by the select committee. We need to know what due diligence was done.”

Pat McFadden, a member of the parliamentary commission on banking and one of the authors of its scathing report published last week, said: “These guys are incredible. This sounds like amazing rewards for failure.

“The banking commission report showed the bank was pursuing an ultimately disastrous strategy that should result in them taking responsibility, not getting extra rewards.”

McFadden also called for an investigation into the payments, which he described as “a reward for being taken over by us – the taxpayers”. He said: “It’s our money. We bailed them out for their failure – and they got bonuses for it.”

On top of the cash bonuses, the seven directors received 8,600 share bonuses at an undisclosed price band. The bonuses were paid on top of salary, pension contributions, awards in lieu of pension and redundancy payments.

Andy Hornby, the chief executive of HBOS at the time of its near collapse and takeover by Lloyds, collected £251,000 cash and 2,051 shares as a result of the change of control.

The others cashing in were Peter Cummings, the head of corporate lending who was fined £500,000 by the Financial Services Authority; Mike Ellis, former finance director; Philip Gore-Randall, former chief operating officer; Colin Matthew, who led the expansion into Ireland and Australia that cost the bank £14.5bn; Jo Dawson, former risk director; and Dan Watkins, her successor.

HBOS’s 2008 annual report said the payments were awarded “in accordance with contractual entitlements”. It said HBOS’s remuneration committee excluded “payments in relation to the 2008 financial year [the year HBOS failed]“, but allowed the directors to benefit from awards due to them for other years.

It said: “[When] these arrangements were settled, Lloyds did not own HBOS. All decisions with respect to the redundancy or severance terms applicable to departing HBOS senior executives, including pensions, were made by the HBOS remuneration committee or board of HBOS, prior to the acquisition by Lloyds.”

A spokesman for Lloyds was unable to state why the bosses received the money, or if any have decided to pay the cash back. Hornby, now chief executive of bookmakers Coral, declined to comment.

The revelation of the change of control bonuses comes as pressure mounts on HBOS’s former bosses to pay back millions of pounds of pension contributions collected from the bank after the parliament report blamed “a colossal failure of management” for the bank’s near-collapse.

Sir James Crosby, the boss of HBOS until 2006 and the man described by the parliamentary commission on banking standards as the “architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster”, has said he will give up his knighthood and 30% of his £580,000-a-year HBOS pension.

David Cameron’s spokesman said it was “a matter for their consciences and judgment” whether HBOS’s other former bosses follow his example.

Matthew is collecting a HBOS pension worth £416,000-a-year. Cummings is on a £344,000 pension.

James Crosby to give up knighthood and 30% of pension

Category : Business

Request by discredited former HBOS chief comes after MPs’ report slammed his management of bank

• James Crosby’s statement in full

Sir James Crosby, the former boss of HBOS, has asked for his knighthood to be revoked after a scathing report by MPs found that he sowed the “seeds of destruction” at one of Britain’s biggest banks.

Crosby was chief executive of HBOS until 2006, but was described as the architect of a strategy that just two years later led to the bank having to be rescued by Lloyds and eventually bailed out with £20bn of taxpayers’ money.

He said he was “deeply sorry” for his role in HBOS’s failure and asked for his knighthood to be removed. He is believed to be the first person to have voluntarily offered to hand back a knighthood. The 57-year-old chose to give up the honour, granted in 2006, rather than face the prospect of being stripped of it – as Fred Goodwin, the former boss of RBS was last year.

Crosby also offered to hand back 30% of his £580,000-a-year pension. He will still collect £406,000 annually in pension payments – 80 times as much as the average private sector worker. On Tuesday he also quit his £125,000-a-year role on the board of catering company Compass.

Attention is now likely to turn to his successor at HBOS, Andy Hornby, and the chairman, crossbench peer Lord Stevenson, who were also blamed in the damning report.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott said: “James Crosby has done the right thing. Clearly it’s not sustainable for Andy Hornby not to follow.”

Crosby’s decision came hours after David Cameron refused to intervene when MPs from all three main political parties called for action.

The former banker, who is sitting on a pension pot worth more than £20m, said he had “never sought to dissociate” himself from HBOS’s near-failure and its bailout by taxpayers.

“Shortly after I left HBOS, I received the enormous honour of a knighthood in recognition of my own – and many other people’s –contribution to the creation of a company which was then widely regarded as a great success,” he said.

“In view of what has happened subsequently to HBOS, I believe that it is right that I should now ask the appropriate authorities to take the necessary steps for its removal.”

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards report, published on Friday, had described him as the “architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster”.

The MPs blamed Crosby for putting in place “a culture of perilously high–risk lending” with a lack of controls that “may have given rise to an accident waiting to happen”.

Crosby said the report, which described his misjudgments as “toxic”, made for “very chastening reading”.

The honours forfeiture committee, chaired by the head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake, will meet to discuss Crosby’s request for his knighthood to be revoked. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said although it is believed to be the first time anyone has asked to have their knighthood revoked, Crosby’s request does not preclude the committee formally stripping him of the title if it is told to consider doing so – as happened with

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Hilco to save HMV brand in £50m rescue deal

Category : Business

Restructuring specialist would acquire about 140 stores and safeguard 2,500 jobs

There might just be life in the old dog yet: Nipper, the mascot who has peered into a gramophone in HMV shop windows for more than 90 years, appeared close to being saved in a £50m deal that will safeguard 2,500 jobs and up to 140 branches of the UK’s last major high street DVD and CD

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The budget: giving, taking – but not growing | Editorial

Category : Business

No matter how cunningly Osborne selects who he wants to protect, large parts of the population are going to get hurt

George Osborne’s budgets follow a trajectory. It runs thus: Summer 2010, fiscal pain now, economic gain later. Spring 2011, a call for a March of the Makers, with policies designed to rebalance Britain away from the City and towards other industries. Last year, a bundle of small flashy measures that came apart so quickly it will be remembered as the Omnishambles. At least Wednesday’s budget lacked the fidgetiness and the bombast of old.

The chancellor can no longer claim to spy green shoots or even promise a turnaround before the next election. As he admitted, government borrowing is now forecast to keep rising as a proportion of GDP all the way till 2016. What he offered instead was a budget that manages economic decline in terms designed to appeal to Conservative voters. More state money going towards helping people on and up the housing ladder – on top of all the Bank of England billions to boost lending that have instead gone into cheaper mortgages. Another reduction in fuel prices. And a squeeze on public-sector pay and a raid on their pensions, part of which will fund cheaper childcare for working families. That last item may prove particularly tricky for Ed Miliband to oppose.

Running through all of this is a canny ability to do populism on the cheap. None of these giveaways cost a lot, yet they will certainly make a few headlines (although perhaps rather more timely ones than the Evening Standard front page that divulged much of the Red Book detail before Mr Osborne had even stood up to speak). But it’s unlikely that they will distract attention from the economic mess this government has landed in less than three years after taking office.

Down, down, down

Growth forecasts down – again. Borrowing projections up – again. An economy not likely to go into a triple-dip recession soon, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, but enjoying the worst recovery in 100 years. The government’s austerity did not cause all this, as this week’s tumult in Cyprus reminds us, but it has exacerbated Britain’s chronic economic weakness. To all intents and purposes, this is a depression – except this time Herbert Hoover is at the controls, rather than Franklin Roosevelt. However big a failure, plan A lives on. The spending cuts will continue, while responsibility for growth will continue to be outsourced to the Bank of England. The Treasury plainly has a lot riding on Mark Carney, soon to take over in Threadneedle Street. Where Mervyn King would push back on some of Number 11′s proposals for new lending schemes, Downing Street’s clear hope is that Mr Carney will be much more enthusiastic.

Yet the monetary activism we have seen to date – £375bn in quantitative easing, £80bn in funding for lending – has not got the economy out of the doldrums. Even so, there is no question of extra government spending. Forget about the immediate £15bn public-works programme called for by Vince Cable; Mr Osborne found £3bn for capital spending, to begin in 2015. And that will come from other parts of the budget, so the boost it provides to the economy will probably be minimal. The same goes for the National Insurance cut for employers, which will provide useful loose change for small businesses and barely be noticed by bigger ones.

Home truths

One of the few clear stabs at a growth strategy was the money for mortgages. This will not come off the public finances, but are loans taken out by the government from the financial markets and lent on to would-be buyers who are short on deposits. Part of Mr Osborne’s charm offensive to an “aspiration nation”, it carries faint echoes of the 1980s: Thatcher’s right to buy reimagined as David Cameron’s even righter to buy. But it is a worse and more muddled policy than that. If the problem with the housing market is that there is not enough of it, then the government should be encouraging the building of more (ideally council) houses. On the other hand, if the problem is that house prices are too high for would-be buyers, then the state should not be helping to push them up. Add to that the prediction by the OBR that by 2015 real wages will be 9% below where they were in 2009 and you have a policy that is encouraging indebted Britons to take on more debt, despite the fact that they’re getting poorer. A very dangerous prospect.

It is also notable that the coalition’s rhetoric about making Britain more productive has been replaced with a return to that age-old British obsession with the property market. Rebalancing is dead: long live the old, busted economic model.

Fighting talk

Even amid a slump, some are still doing very nicely, as demonstrated by Wednesday’s news of the nine Barclays bankers awarded £38.5m in bonuses (including £17.5m for the aptly named Rich Ricci). Just who lost out from the budget was less obvious. And yet we know that any chancellor setting out a “fiscally neutral” budget – as Mr Osborne said he was doing – must take as much with the one hand as he gives with the other, so losers there must have been. Mr Osborne did not exactly deny it. Instead, he wrapped the worst of the news in passages of the speech so technical that casual listeners would have switched off.

While the Liberal Democrats have been insisting that the downward ratchet to benefit rates that Mr Osborne announced last autumn would have to be the last attack on the needy, the chancellor revealed his desire for fresh cuts to welfare, while discussing a public-spending aggregate called “annually managed expenditure”. Mr Osborne quipped that AME, whose biggest component is social benefits, had been “annually unmanaged” by Labour. He resolved to impose a cap, which would surely be hard to make stick without entirely breaking the link between welfare provision and welfare need. Will his cap mean that if more people claim disability benefits then the rates will be automatically be cut? All-important details won’t emerge till the spending round in June, and that could prove to be a political bloodbath.

The second big group of losers are public sector workers. The big squeeze on their pay will now continue for another year; significantly the chancellor said this would not just be a case of continuing with a 1% limit on general rises, but would also involve cutting back on so-called progression payments which reward teachers, civil servants and others for their experience as they develop their career. Then there were the obscure changes to pensions, which abolish so-called “contracting out”. State employees, as well as the dwindling band of private sector staff who still have access to final salary pensions, are going to face a hike in National Insurance equivalent to a penny and a half on the basic rate. Whereas the coaliton recently boasted of having put public sector pensions on a sustainable footing, after one poisonous row with the unions, Mr Osborne hinted that he expects public sector employers to claw back the extra National Insurance that they are now expected to pay by further reducing the benefits in the years ahead. Stand by for another showdown.

Long, hot summer

The Eastleigh byelection set the coalition’s two wings against one another and Wednesday did little to repair relations. Where Mr Osborne’s budget represented a plausible Conservative strategy for sharing out the pain of a failing economy, there was little here for the Liberal Democrats. They can point to the early fulfilment of their pet project of a £10,000 personal allowance, but voters are unlikely to rate it as a distinctively Lib Dem achievement. Indeed, with the hike in VAT to 20%, tax credit cuts and earnings lagging behind the cost of living the average voter might not notice anything at all. And then, of course, there will be particular spending ministries headed by Lib Dems such as Vince Cable and Ed Davey which can now be expected to put up a fight against the fresh demand for more cuts.

If squabbling with the Liberal Democrats were the end of it, Mr Osborne would probably be well satisfied. But as that spending round in June looms, he is likely to run into resentment from several Tory colleagues too. Ministers charged with administering even protected budgets like schools and hospitals might rage when they discover that they are in for more industrial strife on questions like pensions; others – such as Theresa May in the unprotected Home Office – can be expected to turn up the volume against additional cuts.

Politics is set to get bumpier, but perhaps the politics of parsimony is inescapably so. Where the chancellor effectively gives up on growth, and instead concentrates on how to dole out the pain, then no matter how cunningly he selects who he wants to protect, large parts of the population are going to get hurt. And there is never too much of a gap between financial pain and howls of political anguish.