STANDARD LIFE gets a bashing in The Times because of its decision to sell about £4bn worth of shares...
STANDARD LIFE gets a bashing in The Times because of its decision to sell about £4bn worth of shares in a retreat from the stock market while at the same time criticising competitors for remaining firmly attached to sales of bond products.
The company's flagship with-profits fund has decreased its weighting towards shares from 76% to 57.1% so far this year, shifting into cash and bonds instead.
The Times says the company has done little to announce the shift in assets held.
A DEAL IS in the making to guarantee greater independence of equity research in the US following a meeting between US stock market regulators and major investment banks the FT reports.
The deal means that the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory agencies will not add another layer of regulatory control, but instead will allow investment banks to set up their own in-house monitoring boards to ensure that equity research is carried out independently of investment banking deals.
A great deal of horse-trading has been going on over the issue, which is seen to be one of the causes of the Enron, WorldCom and other scandals.
Equity researchers were in these cases often pressured to write good reports about companies even when in private they said these same companies were not worth investing in.
INSURANCE GIANT AXA says it is not confident about the remainder of its financial year after reporting sales grew by 5.3% in the first nine months.
It also reported that it is unlikely to reach its goal of growing operating profit by 20% in the current year.
The main problem is equity markets, which are causing weak performance in the company's asset management business, and weaker than expected sales of life and insurance products.
THE REMAINING big four global accounting firms have been warned by the former boss of the former fifth firm, Aurthur Andersen, that they must implement further radical changes to the way the industry is run or face their own Enron in future.
Joe Berardino's comments are carried in The Daily Telegraph, which reports that his comments have been made both in public and in private meetings with the heads of his former competitors.
Andersen collapsed after it was found guilty of colluding with Enron to hide accounting irregularities, but Berardino says the business culture that led to this still remains in effect in other accounting firms.
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