The FT reports that the Confederation of British Industry has reacted angrily to a suggestion from t...
The FT reports that the Confederation of British Industry has reacted angrily to a suggestion from the TUC that companies be forced to pay compulsory contributions to occupational pension schemes.
The FT says the CBI sees such a move as the biggest change to employment legislation since the introduction of the minimum wage, and says it would constitute an unfair tax on business.
But the TUC argues that closing final salary schemes, as is increasingly the case, will only create a worse pensions crisis, which is of course the reason behind proposed regulatory changes in the financial services sector affecting financial advisers and remuneration.
The TUC proposes that employers be required to contribute 3%-10% of salaries, with employees required to take up the pension scheme on offer as a condition of employment.
The FT is quoting the Department for Pensions and Work as saying it has no view to introducing compulsion at present, but adds that it is awaiting the results of three ongoing reviews on the pensions industry.
The pensions debate is picked up by The Times, which today says last week's falls in global equities markets has put further pressure on already stretched pension schemes and worse could be on the way.
"More than 60 per cent of those pension schemes which promise to pay a proportion of the final salary are now closed to new members. Almost half of those still open are considering closing their books in an attempt to cut costs," The Times says, quoting a new report from the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
A major cause of the problems has been the fall in share prices over the past two years, coupled with new accounting rules that force companies to report their pensions liabilities in their annual accounts.
The FT says investors will be praying for a recovery in equities prices this week following Friday's meltdown on London, New York and Tokyo markets.
The omens were good, the paper says, because of the last rally in New York before the close on Friday as investors sought bargains.
But any further bad corporate earnings news from US companies this week is likely to upset markets again, while there is increasing concern over Europe's insurance sector and solvency issues, the FT says.
One company hoping for better news is Abbey National, which The Times today says is in turmoil following last week's shock profits warning.
Executives are starting to go public in the blame game as to just who was responsible for extending the loans that have turned sour and eaten into the bank's profits.
"Abbey National yesterday categorically denied that it had been privately denigrating Mr Jones [former head of the bank's treasury division] to the media and to shareholders," The Times writes.
Whispers are that blame is focused on a £338m loan extended to US conglomerate Tyco, which is falling apart as a business.
The Scotsman adds that Abbey's chairman Lord Burns is under pressure from institutional investors to get rid of chief executive Ian Harley.
"It is thought Lord Burns is being forced to consider appointing headhunters to replace Harley, with favourites to replace him including Royal Bank of Scotland's head of retail banking Gordon Pell," The Scotsman says.
Finally, the FT says that it would be good for former executives at failed US energy trading company Enron to seek out legal advice given accountant Arthur Andersen's court loss over the weekend, which likely spells the end of the former top 5 accounting firm.
Andersen has told the US stock market regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is to cease accounting all publicly traded companies by 31 August.
The verdict is likely to encourage lawmakers in Washington to step up efforts to regulate a separation between accounting firm's advisory and accounting businesses.
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