Nicolas Moreau, the new chief executive of Axa's UK operations, plans to beef up the insurer's asset management business and enter the direct motor insurance market, says the Daily Telegraph .
Axa has been linked with takeover speculation about Prudential as well as other UK insurers several times in the past year, but Moreau, who took over as head of the UK business in July, said he was focusing on organic growth.
Formerly head of Axa Investment Managers before moving to London, he will draw on his background in wealth management to expand that side of the business.
He is also keen to leverage the company's strength in health insurance to offer a product to British citizens living abroad, says the paper.
MOST ECONOMISTS believe house prices can stay at their current high levels, with many scrapping previous predictions the market is heading for a fall, reports the Guardian.
30 out of 41 economists say recent house price rises are sustainable, according to a poll published in today's Financial Times, while only 11 think the market has risen too far and will fall.
Two years ago, three-quarters of economists surveyed by the paper thought a housing market downturn was a serious risk to the economy and last year most thought prices were still too high.
Those who believe the market is sound point to current levels of incomes and mortgage rates, and conclude house prices remain affordable.
THE BANK of England may respond to a strong retail season by raising interest rates in the new year, according to the Times.
Financial markets and a minority of City economists are predicting the Bank may put up rates to 5.25% in February, particularly if consumer spending in the crucial month of December turns out to have been more vigorous than expected.
While it will be some weeks before the fog clears on the data from the high street, other parts of the economy are already causing concern.
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