Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, yesterday said that the regulat...
Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, yesterday said that the regulator "did not have enough staff" to double-check all the information that it received, says this morning's Times.
Sir Howard made the statement at an often hostile session before the Commons Treasury Select Committee to answer questions on the demise of Equitable Life.
The FSA employs more than 2,000 people, including 157 involved in frontline insurance supervision.
Sir Howard was challenged by MPs on the committee over the statement. Nigel Beard, the Labour MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said that he was "incredulous" that the FSA had to wait for companies to provide it with bad news.
Equitable Life will tell policyholders before Christmas whether it can sue previous directors or managers for negligence, says the FT.
Vanni Treves, Equitable's chairman, said the law firm Herbert Smith had been conducting an inquiry.
"The lawyers say they've just about done their work and will be in a position to advise us and then we'll announce what we'll do," said Mr Treves.
Mr Treves is trying to discover if the troubled mutual has a claim against its previous auditors, Ernst & Young, and will soon receive a report from PwC.
The lawyers are also looking at the role of the Financial Services Authority, the principal City regulator, to investigate the likelihood of a claim for negligent regulation.
Alistair Lennard, the fund manager at the heart of one of the biggest corporate battles to reach the High Court, claimed on Tuesday that Carol Galley, his former mentor, had handed him day-to-day control of a £600m investment portfolio because she had become distracted by the duties of running Mercury Asset Management, says the Times.
Unilever Superannuation Fund, part of the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group, is seeking £130m in damages from Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, as Mercury is now known, for alleged negligence in the management of £1bn of its money.
Mr Lennard told the court that Ms Galley, one of Britain's most renowned fund managers, asked him to take over the Unilever fund's UK equity portfolio after its performance "dissatisfied" the trustees.
Vodafone yesterday unveiled a massive half-year loss of £8.5 billion as the company heaped £4.75 billion of asset write-downs on top of a £6.7 billion accounting charge stemming from two years' worth of acquisitions, reports the Daily Telegraph.
However, the red ink did not unsettle the City, as the charges were all non-cash items and the company's closely watched underlying profits were slightly better than expected at £4.8 billion. The shares responded, improving 5.75 to 180p, their highest level for five months.
An optimistic Sir Christopher Gent, Vodafone's chief executive, said his company had hardly been hit by the slowdown seen before and after September 11 in most of the world's major economies.
"Since September 11, we've lost less than 0.5pc of our revenues because there's less international roaming. People are not going abroad and using their mobiles so much, but otherwise they just do keep making calls," Sir Christopher said.
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