MEMBER STATES which fall out with the European Union would be given an exit route to quit, under pla...
MEMBER STATES which fall out with the European Union would be given an exit route to quit, under plans being drawn up by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's convention on the future of Europe, the FT reports.
The former French president will next week propose creating a formal way out of the EU, when he publishes his draft outline of a constitution for Europe.
The idea is supported by many of the convention's 105 members, but others believe it would be a recipe for chaos, with euro-sceptic parties in member states provoking secession crises. Mr Giscard d'Estaing will tonight update EU leaders on the progress of his convention at the enlargement summit in Brussels.
A REPORT which is widely covered in most newspapers surrounds the so-called "spinning" of IPO shares. In the FT it's reported that the Financial Services Authority has launched an investigation into whether City of London investment banks have been handing out shares in "hot" flotations to favoured clients.
The informal investigation into the preferential allocation of hot IPO shares comes just weeks after the regulator said it did not believe such practices had taken place in the UK.
US regulators have been probing "spinning" for several months, amid concerns that it was rampant during the internet bubble. Several US companies, including Credit Suisse First Boston and Salomon Smith Barney, now part of Citigroup, have been accused by Congressional committees of spinning and rule changes look increasingly likely.
The US National Association of Securities Dealers has proposed banning spinning of IPO shares and penalising those who did.
SANDY WEILL, the Wall Street legend who leads Citigroup, is to be questioned by watchdogs over allegations that leading businessmen were bribed with free shares in return for banking deals, THE telegraph reports.
The 69-year-old also reacted with anger to a report suggesting that New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer may take legal action against Mr Weill personally, as well as the bank.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Spitzer advised Citigroup lawyers that the interests of the bank and those of Mr Weill have diverged as his investigation grows.
OPTIMISM FOR insurance giant Aviva is reported in the Telegrah. In the paper the insurer is reported to have said new business sales this year have been "solid" despite the generally tough markets.
Aviva, the UK's largest insurer and formerly known as CGNU, says worldwide sales of long-term products edged up to £10.6 billion for the nine months to September 30 against £10.4 billion the same period the previous year.
Worldwide life and pensions sales rose 7% on an annual premium equivalent basis - the industry's standard measure - while UK life and pensions sales were up 4%.
But when comparing the third quarter on the second quarter, sales showed a slide amid the difficult conditions in equity markets.
JOHN RUSNAK, the rogue trader, will plead guilty a $691 million (£457 million) fraud at a former subsidiary of Allied Irish Bank (AIB), the Times reports.
Mr Rusnak, a trader at Allfirst, a subsidiary of AIB based in Baltimore, racked up losses on dollar/yen currency trades and then got himself into deeper water as he attempted to cover them up. Mr Rusnak allegedly made so-called "deep in the money" trades, which amounted to massive bets on the recovery of the yen against the dollar that he was almost sure to lose. In this way he was able to cover his losses in the short term.
AIB uncovered the $691 million loss in March this year.
EDINBURGH INVESTMENT Trust, the largest UK-focused investment trust, has suffered a 37% plunge in net assets in the six-months to end September, far in excess of the FTSE All Share Index, reports the Scotsman.
But EIT yesterday defended its decision to switch fund managers.
In the six-months to 30 September, net assest of the trust plunged from £1.1 billion to £752 million.
The 37% fall compares with a fall of 29.6% in the FTSE All-Share index.
But EIT, which replaced Edinburgh Fund Managers with US-owned Fidelity Investments earlier this year, brushed off criticisms, insisting such chronic underperformance was to be expected.
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