The punters are lucky this week: not only is the Cheltenham festival on after being axed due to foot...
The punters are lucky this week: not only is the Cheltenham festival on after being axed due to foot and mouth disease last year, but there is money to be made by predicting the outcome of the demise of financial services firm Aurthur Andersen, which according to most papers is firmly on the way to the block.
The FT says that Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is the current front runner to take over Andersen, closely followed by Ernst & Young.
The complex structure of Andersen's international operations means that it may end up being split into a multitude of smaller parts, each being picked up by one of the other big five accounting firms.
"The Financial Times has learnt that European partners in a number of countries are already in talks about a possible break-up plan and are examining options for striking their own deal," the paper writes.
Andersen also continues to loose clients at an alarming rate, with Federal Express and Riggs National, a bank, both dropping the firm as their accountant yesterday.
Andersen's problems all stem, of course, from its decision to destroy documents related to the bankruptcy of its client Enron, itself the biggest corporate bankruptcy in US history.
The Times says much the same thing, although it adds an interesting appendix.
"Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman brought in to overhaul Andersen, last night demanded that the firm split its auditing and consultancy businesses," it writes.
"Mr Volcker said strategic planning, legal work, executive recruitment and some areas of "aggressive" tax planning must be separated into partnerships distinct from auditor work. "I wouldn't call them recommendations," he said. "I have the power of decision." "
The Times also covers other demands for reform in its piece on the Investment Management Association, IMA, which is set to draft a new code to co-incide with the start of a National Association of Pension Funds conference starting tomorrow.
"The code aims to head off any plans by the Government to bring in new legislation forcing fund managers to reveal their true costs to pension fund trustees," The Times says.
"An IMA spokesman said that fund managers would be under pressure to adopt the voluntary code as pension fund trustees would not use companies that did not use the code," it adds.
The Scotsman looks at the crisis in the split capital investment trust sector, which has seen share prices plummet during the past few weeks as confidence in this type of investment has vaporised.
"Not only have thousands of trust investors already suffered huge losses, but the damage is worsening by the month. Between 35 and 40 per cent of the split capital trust sector is thought to be in deep trouble, with almost £1 billion of value evaporating in the past seven months. Management groups have found themselves unable to get to grips with the crisis," the paper warns
"Leading Scottish fund managers caught up in the debacle include Aberdeen Asset Management, Edinburgh Fund Managers and Martin Currie. School fees plans, ISA investments and pensions savings linked to split capital trusts have been severely damaged. Across Morningside and the New Town, the breakfast tea cups have rattled in shock as prices have continued to fall," it adds.
The Association of Investment Trust Companies tried to deal with the issue of the 'magic circle' of split cap trusts late last year by asking for cross-holding details.
Last summer a respected fund manager warned that there was a problem with split caps holding shares in other split caps, as if one went down it might have a domino effect on the others.
The Scotsman says 30% of split cap trusts ignored its previous demands, but it is now set to force all of them to reveal their holdings.
"This time the AITC is writing to the chairmen of 118 split capital trusts and 11 highly-geared trusts asking them all to reveal details of their complete portfolios, cash and debt arrangements by 15 April," the paper writes.
"But the trusts may not submit the information. They are under no legal obligation to do so and quite a few ignored the industry group's last request with no penalty involved. And even if they do provide the information, the AITC says it will not post the ratings that it would eventually create without the prior approval of the trusts involved."
‘Important to have an anchor’
Lack of innovation for solutions
Some 2,000 consumers affected
Achievements, charity work and other happy snippets