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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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Ban ‘insider’ tax accountants – MPs

Category : World News

MPs call for a ban on external accountants working inside government, to stop them telling clients about tax loopholes they have found.

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Statoil finds new oil in North Sea

Category : Business, World News

Norwegian energy giant Statoil says it has found ‘significant’ new oil deposits in the North Sea of between 40 and 150 million barrels.

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Updated Health Hazard Alert : Certain ST. THOMAS Brand Bottled LOBSTER May Contain Dangerous Bacteria

Category : Stocks

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 6, 2013) - The public warning issued on March 23, 2013 has been updated to include an additional product because this product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Previously identified products included in this recall can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website at

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HBOS: the bank that couldn’t say no

Category : Business

Report lays bare reckless risk and leadership failures, and attacks board for trying to blame failure on 2008 crash

Banking group HBOS was not driven to point of bankruptcy by the global financial meltdown, but by its own strategy of high-risk lending, over-ambitious growth targets and poor controls, according to a hard-hitting report by the parliamentary commission on banking standards.

The report, which found that HBOS had a funding gap between its loans and deposits of more than £200bn at the time of its downfall, reveals that a “brash” culture developed inside the bank following its creation in 2001.

The funding gap meant it had to rely on borrowing from other banks in the wholesale markets. While this was the “immediate cause” of the collapse of HBOS, it was not the “fundamental issue” the report found. Instead, it concluded that if the problems at the bank had only been ones of liquidity, it would not have needed a combined capital injection of £28bn from the taxpayer and Lloyds to keep it afloat and “there would have been no losses to the UK taxpayer”. Instead, the report says, the key problem was vast, and reckless, lending to UK and overseas companies.

Lord Turnbull, the member of the commission who led the HBOS investigation, said: “This is a story of a retail and commercial bank, rather than an investment bank, brought down by ill-judged lending, poor risk control and inadequate liquidity. Its strategy was flawed from the start.”

Sir Charles Dunstone, the founder of Carphone Warehouse and former non-executive director of HBOS, had pointed out in his evidence that under the Vickers ring-fencing proposals intended to shield retail banks from riskier investment banking operations, nearly all of HBOS would have been inside the fence.

In 2001, the bank’s chief executive, Sir James Crosby, set ambitious targets for returns to shareholders. He planned to ramp up lending in an attempt to challenge the “big four” banks. But HBOS had a risk department – meant to be on alert for bad lending decisions – that could not keep up with the pace of growth, and a management structure that left decisions about lending to division heads.

The damning report begins with a warning by a former finance director of HBOS telling the board in January 2004 that the Financial Services Authority felt that the rapid growth being pursued “may have given rise to an accident waiting to happen”.

But it notes that the FSA – disbanded by the government last weekend – failed to act on its own concerns. “The picture that emerges is that the FSA’s regulation of HBOS was thoroughly inadequate,” the report said.

“From 2004 until the later part of 2007, the FSA was not so much the dog that did not bark as a dog barking up the wrong tree,” the report said, as the regulator moved its focus from prudential risks to a new regulatory system that let banks mark their own homework – using their own models to measure risks – and implement new rules on treating customers fairly.

“The experience of the regulation of HBOS demonstrates the fundamental weakness in the regulatory approach prior to the financial crisis and as that crisis unfolded. Too much supervision was undertaken at a too low a level – without sufficient engagement of the senior leadership within the FSA.”

While the FSA missed opportunities to prevent HBOS from “pursuing the path that led to its own downfall … Ultimate responsibility for the bank’s chosen path lies, however, not with the regulator but with the board itself.”

The commission estimated that £47bn of losses was incurred – £25bn in the corporate division, £15bn in Australia and Ireland, and £7bn in the bank’s own HQ in its Treasury operations. The report says that those losses on their own would have been enough to bring the bank down. “Both the relative scale of such large losses and the fact that they were incurred in three separate divisions suggests a systemic management failure across the organisation. Together they would have led to insolvency,” the report said.

To illustrate the scale of the risks being taken on, the report said that in the corporate bank in 2001 the biggest exposure to one single borrower was less than £1m. By 2008 there were nine customers who had each been lent £1bn. One borrower had been advanced £3bn.

“The roots of all these mistakes can be traced to a culture of perilously high risk lending. The picture that emerges is of a corporate bank that found it hard to say ‘no’,” the report said.

The commissioners said they were “extremely disappointed” that HBOS management had tried to blame the closure of wholesale markets rather than the risky lending. In early 2008, the chairman, Lord Stevenson, had argued that the bank was a “highly conservative institution”. But the report said: “Far from being a highly conservative institution in a safe harbour, HBOS was in a storm-tossed sea.”

In the days after Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, some £35bn was withdrawn from customer deposits at HBOS. The bank was rescued by Lloyds three days after the Lehman crash. Eventually £20bn of taxpayer funds was used to prop up the enlarged bank while Lloyds used another £8bn to shore up the troubled loan book.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The failure of HBOS was a symptom of the financial crisis and the regulatory system in place at that time.”

McCoy’s crisps recalled by KP Snacks

Category : Business, World News

KP Snacks – the maker of McCoy’s crisps – recalls some multipacks of the snacks after small pieces of plastic were found in packets.

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Nestle recalls Kit Kat Chunky bars

Category : World News

Nestle is recalling some of its varieties of Chunky Kit Kat after seven people found pieces of plastic in bars.

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Nestle recalls Kit Kat Chunky bars

Category : Business, World News

Nestle is recalling some of its varieties of Chunky Kit Kat after seven people found pieces of plastic in bars.

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Government urged to take action to stop nuisance phone calls and texts

Category : Business

Consumer rights group Which? blames claims management companies for plaguing people with unwanted communications

The government must take immediate action to curb the spread of nuisance calls and texts, a leading consumer rights group has urged. Which? blames claims management companies for plaguing consumers with the majority of the UK’s unwanted communications.

The organisation says the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading must set up a joint taskforce to stem the problem, with a particular focus on the personal injury and payment protection insurance claims industry.

Research published by Which? suggests that seven in 10 people received unsolicited calls and four in ten received an unwanted text during the last three months.

The watchdog found that one in four of its members who made a claim on their car insurance were contacted by a claims management company within three months. Nearly half of these were contacted in a week, and many were bombarded by repeated calls and texts – 22% received 10 or more texts and 12% received 10 or more calls.

Currently, a number of leading insurers all take fees for referring customers to claims management companies (with customers’ permission), including: the AA, Admiral, Direct Line, eSure, Lloyds TSB, Tesco and Zurich.

But from April 2013, new legislation will ban any insurer from receiving payment for passing on customers’ details to a claims management company or a legal firm following a personal injury claim, although this doesn’t cover non-injury claims such as car repairs.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Unwanted calls or texts are not just a nuisance, they can be intrusive and distressing. Many of us have been bombarded with spurious claims of PPI or injury compensation, and people are telling us they are totally fed up with this nuisance and want to see action.

“We want the regulators to work together to properly police and punish those responsible for unwanted calls and texts, using the existing law. If they are unwilling or unable to enforce the rules, the government should step in.”

Earlier this year Ofcom monitored a six-month period in 2012 and found that 71% of people with a landline received an unwanted marketing call and 63% encountered a recorded message.

Which? says a new joint taskforce should “proactively and forensically” scrutinise the activities of claims management companies over the next 12 weeks to expose the source of the problem and punish those found breaking regulators’ rules with substantial fines and suspension of licences. It also wants to see tougher regulation from the government to clean up the claims management industry.

The organisation advises consumers to never opt in to third party marketing when they take out an insurance policy and to always tell their insurer that they don’t want to be contacted by a claims management firm or a legal firm.

Consumers can also register with the Telephone Preference Service (an organisation run by the Direct Marketing Association on behalf of phones regulator Ofcom), which can help cut nuisance calls by a third. If you are registered with the TPS and still receive calls, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office on 0300 123 3000. You can also forward spam texts to your mobile phone network provider.

Welsh rugby scoring on and off the field

Category : Business, World News

How Welsh rugby has found a sound financial footing

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Post to Twitter Offering PRIORI Skincare

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PRIORI Offers Anti-Aging Skincare That Cannot Be Found Elsewhere

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