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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, October 24, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

The so-called “good bank” JP Morgan fined $13,000,000,000
The unprecedented $13bn fine, imposed by US regulators, is expected to cover government charges and some compensation payments to firms and investors who bought mortgage-backed securities from Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. But the bank’s boss Jamie Dimon failed to convince regulators that the bumper payment should end criminal claims too. That means the bank – and possibly individual former staff – could still be open to cases from aggrieved buyers of the securities in the run up to the financial crisis. CITY AM

Eurobonds scandal: The high street giants avoiding millions in tax
The tax dodging retailers include Nando's, Pizza Express, Café Rouge, Strada, Pret A Manger, BHS, the electronics retailer Maplin, Office and Pets At Home. How the tax dodge works: instead of putting their money in the shares of the companies they buy, the owners - mostly private equity funds - lend it to them instead. The interest payments on the loans cuts these UK companies' taxable income each year and the exemption - triggered because the loans are listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange - means the interest goes to the owners tax free. INDEPENDENT

HS2 rail 'loser cities' revealed after report omitted figures
HS2 would make more than 50 places across the UK worse off - among them Aberdeen, Bristol and Cardiff - previously unseen research by accountants KPMG suggested. These are the places that would see HS2 divert existing business away from them. The findings were only released in a freedom of information request passed to the BBC's Newsnight programme. The chief executive of HS2 Ltd said the figures were unsurprising. BBC NEWS

Energy bill policy chaos: David Cameron now pledges to reverse 'green charges' on energy bills, but promises robust annual review of energy market
David Cameron has pledged to roll back "green charges" that add an average of £112 to energy bills, as he came under fire over Sir John Major's call for a windfall tax on the excess profits of Britain's big six energy companies. But the annual review is seen as evidence that the government is panicked by price rises and the reasons that the energy firms have given for them. Critics say the energy firms behave like a cartel, conceal their true profits and manipulate the cost of wholesale energy. Also, a parliamentary committee will examine the "reasons and justification" behind recent price rises, the difference of pricing policies between the firms, and how "the transparency of energy company profits can be improved". Gas and energy bills have risen by over 50% since 2007. GUARDIAN BBC NEWS

Wholesale energy prices 'not going up', says Ovo Energy
Wholesale prices are not going up in the energy industry, according to the head of a small energy firm, despite British Gas following SSE's rises with a 9.2% increase in its dual-fuel bill price. Stephen Fitzpatrick, MD and founder of Ovo Energy, said he had not seen wholesale prices rise for about two years. "If they're buying more expensive gas, more expensive electricity, in a large part we think this is because they're selling it to themselves". BBC NEWS

‘Big four' banks spend £500m on swaps mis-selling admin - but have only handed out £2m in compensation so far
Figures compiled by campaign group Bullybanks show that RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC have spent the huge sum on administration costs including setting up call centres and complaint handling staff. So far the big four have paid out £2m in 32 cases. About 30,000 firms are thought to have been mis-sold products. The banks have set aside about £2.8bn for compensation and administrative expenses. Some estimates put the final total bill at up to £10bn. DAILY MAIL

Government admits it does not know how well benefit cap is working
Mike Penning, a work and pensions minister, condemned a Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) report as "fundamentally flawed", after it estimated that only 10% of those hit by the cap in one London borough, Haringey, had secured jobs or increased their working hours. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earlier insisted the benefit cap was "definitely helping" some of those affected to get into work. But the few capped claimants who had so far moved into employment were already "close to the labour market" and were likely to have got a job anyway, or were already working part-time and had increased their hours, according to Haringey jobcentre officials and charity job advisers interviewed by the CIH. GUARDIAN

Shoppers beware! Take supermarket price schemes with a pinch of salt - because they ALL claim they are the cheapest
The schemes run by Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco compare the cost of shopping trips in different ways, making it difficult for shoppers to know if they are really bagging a good deal, an investigation by Which? found. The report is published on the same day that a television ad by Sainsbury's claiming that shoppers do not need to shop around to get the best deals at rivals Tesco and Asda is banned for being misleading. Which? said supermarkets set their own rules for what is and isn't compared under their schemes: they don't always include the same items and sometimes stock products in different sizes. Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'Supermarket price-matching schemes can save you money but we believe they should be taken with a pinch of salt because they are difficult to compare. DAILY MAIL

Rip-off pensions: EU to make firms disclose hidden fees and charges that take up to 50% of your savings
A calculator that exposes how hidden fees eat into the returns on pensions and investments has gained approval from the European Parliament. The new law is expected to be passed next year. Fund groups, investment brokers, and other intermediaries would be asked to provide data for the tool. This would enable investors to see charges that were previously hidden, such as trading costs on buying and selling shares. In the UK up to half your pension savings can be taken in fees and charges. TELEGRAPH

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