Thursday 17 July 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, July 17, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

Young adults hit hardest by financial crisis: Think-tank claims real incomes of those under 30 fell 13% since 2008
Between 2008 and 2013, the real household income of the under 30s fell by 13 per cent while among 31 to 59 year-olds, the fall in household income was just over half that at 7 per cent. The IFS said the employment rate among the under-30s fell by 4 per cent following the financial crisis while remaining unchanged for 31 to 59-year-olds. Moreover, those under-30s that could find work found their average pay fell by 15 per cent compared with just 6 per cent for 31 to 59-year-olds. Just over one quarter of adults under the age of 30 continued to live with their parents, the IFS study found, helping to cushion the impact of the recession on their household incomes. Those living with their parents found their income fell by 8 per cent between 2008 and 2013, compared to those living on their own whose incomes fell in real terms by 17 per cent. In contrast those over the age of 60 saw almost no impact on their pay or employment. The report comes four months after the Chancellor delivered a Budget that was largely seen as being aimed squarely at older voters, with reforms to pension rules among one of George Osborne's big announcements. ‘Young adults have borne the brunt of the recession” said report author Jonathan Cribb, a research economist at the IFS. ‘Pay, employment and incomes have all been hit hardest for those in their 20s. 'A crucial question is whether this difficult start will do lasting damage to their employment and earnings prospects’. DAILY MAIL

FTSE fat cats now earn 180 times the average worker, as their salaries hit £4.7m a year
The gap between bosses and workers has soared over the past 20 years - from just 60 times the average wage in the 1990s. On average the bosses of Britain's 100 biggest companies took home £4.7million last year - up from £4.1million the year before, according to the High Pay Centre. Ordinary workers, meanwhile, earned £26,884. A Business Department spokesman said: 'The Government has introduced comprehensive reforms to give shareholders more powers in order to restore the link between top pay and performance, which in recent years has become excessive and increasingly disconnected.” But the High Pay Centre said shareholders were still signing off soaring executive pay despite being given the power to vote them down at annual meetings. They urged the government to take 'radical action' to close the gap, such as requiring firms to cap executive pay at a fixed multiple of their lowest paid employees. High Pay Centre director Deborah Hargreaves said: 'The Government's tinkering won't bring about a proper change in the UK's pay culture... We need to build an economy where people are paid fair and sensible amounts of money for the work that they do and the incomes of the super-rich aren't racing away from everybody else... A maximum pay ratio would recognise the important principle that all workers should share in a company's success and that gaps between those at the top and low and middle earners cannot just get wider and wider.' DAILY MAIL

Fleecing the elderly: home and car insurance price rises that shame the insurance industry
Over the last year, market rates for home and car insurance have plummeted. In Manchester, average car premiums are down by more than £100 and are heading back to rates last seen five years ago. So it is scandalous how insurers chase new customers with low prices while fleecing their elderly, more loyal ones. But there is now a glimmer of hope. If new proposals come into force, customers receiving their annual renewal on car or home insurance will have to be told what they paid last year. It's extraordinary that until now they have had to dig out old documents to see whether they're being shafted with a rise. Many people don't – allowing the insurers to sneak through rise after rise. In March 2008, we highlighted the case of Robert King who was quoted a home insurance renewal price of £551 by Direct Line. Yet when he went to its website, posing as a new customer, he was quoted £173. He had been a customer for 10 years. Ans an 83-year-old Derbyshire pensioner, living in a modest two-bed bungalow, had his home and contents policy with the same insurer for 58 years. It progressively ramped up his premium to £648 a year – yet if he bought it as a new customer it was just £135. So when you open your renewal letter, look for a premium that is lower than last year. If it's not, it's time to switch. GUARDIAN

Uncovered... great sun cream swindle: Prices inflated then slashed to give illusion of discounts
Supermarkets are putting up the prices of lotions just before offering discounts to make shoppers believe they are getting a better deal, it has been claimed. Shops such as Boots, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco now face accusations that they are manipulating British families ahead of the summer holidays. An investigation by, tracked the prices of major brand and own-brand sun tan lotions over the last year. The price comparsion website found a ‘zig-zag’ pattern, where prices were raised shortly before being slashed to ‘half-price’, to create the impression that consumers were getting a bargain. Boots’ own-brand Soltan kids’ SPF 50+ spray is currently half-price as part of a ‘Get the Most out of Summer’ promotion, reduced from £10.50 to £5.25. But the spray was only £10.50 during term-time between January and March this year, when it was also on buy-one-get-one-free. Ever since it has been sold for £5.25. The Department for Business rules for traders state that ‘the price used as a basis for comparison should have been your most recent price available for 28 consecutive days or more; and the period for which the new (lower) price will be available should not be so long that the comparison becomes misleading.’ DAILY MAIL

FCA proposes payday loans cap of 0.8% per day
The measures announced include: Initial cap of 0.8% a day in interest charges. Someone who takes out a loan of £100 over 30 days, and pays back on time, will therefore pay no more than £24 in interest; Default fees capped at £15. Borrowers who fail to pay back on time can be charged a maximum of £15, plus 0.8% a day in outstanding interest; Total cost cap of 100%. Even if a borrower defaults, he or she will never have to pay back more than twice the amount they borrowed. The FCA estimates that payday lenders will lose £420m a year as a result of the changes, or 42% of their revenue. But it says consumers will save an average of £193 each a year. Since 1 July, payday lenders have already been subject to new rules, including a limit on roll-overs, more affordability checks, and controls on Continuous Payment Authorities (CPAs), which allow lenders to take money from people's bank accounts. Those changes have already led to far fewer loans being made. The payday industry said the changes - due in January 2015 - would mean more people turning to loan sharks. BBC NEWS

Insurance price comparison sites failing, says regulator
Of 14 sites reviewed, many were accused of being "unclear" by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and some were failing regulatory standards. The FCA said comparison sites tend to focus too much on price, without telling consumers about other policy details - such as the excess they might have to pay in the event of a claim. It said that some consumers mistakenly believed that the price comparison website had provided them with quotes on the best policy for their individual needs and had assessed the suitability of the policy for them. In addition, some sites which are owned by an insurance company or an insurance broker, were failing to flag up a potential conflict of interest. This is against FCA regulations. Small print on the website informs customers that it is 50% owned by Esure, an insurance company. Those who read right to the bottom of another site,, will see that it is owned by Admiral Insurance. However, the FCA found no evidence that such firms had profited as a result of their potentially conflicting ownership. BBC NEWS

Citigroup pays $7bn to settle sub-prime mortgage investigation
The agreement comes after months of tense negotiations and comes as Justice Department continues to negotiate a similar settlement with rival Bank of America. Citigroup executives ignored their own warnings and misrepresented the quality of the subpar mortgages they were selling to investors. In an internal email cited by the government one Citigroup trader stated the bank "should start praying" because so many of the investments it had made were about to fail. The trader said he was “amazed” the loans had ever been made. Despite knowledge that many of the loans were failing or likely to, Citigroup packaged up the home loans and sold them to investors. Attorney general Eric Holder said the bank’s conduct had "contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008... As a result of their assurances that toxic financial products were sound, Citigroup was able to expand its market share and increase profits.” GUARDIAN

Watchdogs in Britain accused of failing to shine spotlight on emerging 'dark pools' trading scandal
Giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, Bank of England officials including governor Mark Carney were admonished for lagging their counterparts in the US and Europe. In the US, Barclays was last month accused of ‘systemic fraud and deceit’ against its ‘dark pool’ customers by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who launched a lawsuit against the bank. In further evidence that US regulators are turning up the heat, Goldman was also fined £466,000 by the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority earlier this month for failing to protect clients in its ‘dark pool’. In a salvo against Carney and the Bank’s Prudential Regulation chief Andrew Bailey, committee member George Mudie suggested similar urgency had not been evident among the UK watchdogs, including the Bank of England. So-called dark pools are secretive markets where people buy and sell stocks without disclosing information about the transactions. DAILY MAIL

US drugs giant AbbVie trying to buy UK’s Shire in bid to cut tax bill already operates international network of offshore havens
AbbVie bosses want to slash the firm’s global tax bill by 40 per cent in two years by buying the Irish-based pharmaceuticals firm for £31bn. But almost 40 per cent of AbbVie’s subsidiaries are already based in tax havens such as Bermuda, Jersey or Switzerland. Of the 122 offshoot companies registered to AbbVie 46 are based in tax shelters, according to corporate documents analysed by the Mail. A total of 19 are based in Delaware, the notorious tax haven US state which houses almost a million companies, with as many as 300,000 registered at a single address. DAILY MAIL

Taxpayers 'lost £1bn' on Royal Mail sale, MPs say
The government feared failure and acted on bad advice over the Royal Mail stock market flotation, reports the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee. On flotation, the taxpayer-owned Royal Mail shares were priced at 330p, but jumped as high as 618p per share, and now stand at around 473p. The committee also said it was "disturbed" that the taxpayer may not have benefited from valuable assets included in the privatisation. In particular it highlighted three sites in London which the National Audit Office (NAO) said had a hidden value of up to £830m. The committee also expressed concern about so-called preferred investors who received large blocks of shares, prior to the flotation. Some were also advisers to the government over the share sale. Lazard, UBS and Goldman Sachs all had Royal Mail shares allocated to separate parts of their businesses. Lazard and the banks made millions of pounds on the sale on behalf of clients. The Department for Business said the MPs' report contained "factual errors and misunderstandings". The committee's report is the latest in a series of official criticisms of the sale, including by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee. The government announced there would be a review, led by former City minister Lord Myners, of how it handles all stock market flotations. BBC NEWS


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