AVIVA'S AUSTRALIAN unit is definitely going says the FT today, in a deal that should net the UK firm...
AVIVA'S AUSTRALIAN unit is definitely going says the FT today, in a deal that should net the UK firm about £1bn.
The buyer is Australia's largest insurer IAG, which yesterday suspended its shares on the Australian stock exchange in advance of what many there believe to be a £500m rights issue necessary to fund the deal.
This is the latest string of disposals made by Aviva around the world in the past year as it strives to maintain cash reserves - although it will retain its Norwich Union brand assets in Australia, particularly an adminstrative services platform called Navigator.
US INVESTMENT BANKS may be able to keep their company analysts in-house according to the latest plans put forward to stop equities analysts ramping shares in companies that are also banking clients.
The FT says the latest plans retreat from the original idea of forcing investment banks to spin off their research divisions into separate companies in order to avoid such future conflicts of interst, which previously led to false recommendations to buy stock in companies such as Enron and Worldcom.
The new proposals may face difficulties, however, as they also include fee schedules, with users being charged for access to research rather than is the current practice of often giving out material for free.
STOCK MARKETS may be up slightly, but don't tell the 2,000 employees of US investment bank JPMorgan who yesterday were told they were being cut from the workforce after yet another quarter of big financial losses.
The cuts will mean around 400 job losses in London says The Times, and it follows similar moves by Merrill Lynch earlier this year, which helped that bank achieve a 22% rise in quarterly profits.
ANOTHER NOTE OF DOOM comes from The Times' piece on Robert Prechter Junior, the man previously given the accolade "guru of the decade" for predicting the US bull market of the 1980s, but who has now changed his tune.
Instead of a bull run, Prechter now sees a 5-year depression hitting the US, with the Dow Jones index falling below 1,000 before recovery leads to another 20-year improvement.
THE DAILY Telegraph is keen to report yesterday's Adam Smith Institute report, which says chancellor Gordon Brown is Europe's top tax taker after having raised taxes faster than any other EU member.
The paper says the report "underlines the speed at which Mr Brown's so-called stealth taxes have begun to bite at a time when taxes round the world have been falling".
And it is only going to get worse next year, when the higher NI charges push up the tax bill by an average £500.
The problem, however, is that even the Tories are not promising to cut taxes, the Telegraph says.
LOW UNEMPLOYMENT but even lower wage demands in Scotland are likely to be a big driver of any interest rate cuts by the Bank of England says The Scotsman today.
However, although new figures show that unemployment has fallen to its lowest levels since August 2000, Scottish businesses are warning that the third quarter was again difficult in what the paper calls "Scotland's recession-mired economy".
The key to rate cuts is wage inflation, but the latest figures show that earnings growth is still well below the BoE's target, and for the quarter came in lower than expected by many economists.
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