The chancellor Alistair Darling will today put the Financial Services Authority at the heart of his plans to prevent another Northern Rock style bank collapse, despite criticism of the City watchdog's handling of the crisis by an all-party group of MPs, The Guardian reports.
Launching a 12-week consultation on his proposals, Darling will argue that the FSA needs extra powers to step in at an earlier stage when a bank gets into trouble.
The chancellor also intends to create a special insolvency regime for banks that will give the FSA power to extract depositors' cash from a failing institution. He will say the reform is essential to prevent a bank failure leading to queues at branches and further loss of public confidence.
FOURTEEN COMPANIES, including some of the world's largest banks, are being investigated over possible accounting fraud, improperly securing loans and insider trading during the sub-prime mortgage scandal, The Guardian reports.
The FBI said yesterday that it had opened criminal investigations into improper lending in the American housing market.
Neil Power, head of the FBI's economic crimes unit, told journalists that the investigation includes the companies that securitised the loans and investment banks that bought those products, as well as the developers and sub-prime lenders.
UBS, THE SWISS INVESTMENT BANK, announced its largest quarterly loss of SwFr 12.5bn (£5.7bn) today after a multibillion-dollar write-off on US sub-prime mortgage assets, as America's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened an investigation into 14 companies, including banks, in connection with the US home loans debacle, The Times reports.
In a statement released this morning, UBS said that its fourth-quarter figures would include a $12bn (£6bn) write-off of US sub-prime debt and a further $2bn writedown of its US residential mortgage assets.
Total losses for the year are expected to reach SwFr 4.4bn.
ALLIANCE & LEICESTER has almost quadrupled its write-off from investments in special off-balance sheet vehicles, denting 2007 profits, The Telegraph reports.
The high street bank had previously said that as of the end of October, the value of its investments in structured investment vehicles (SIVs) had fallen by £40m. In an unscheduled trading statement ahead of its full-year results on February 20, A&L said losses from SIVs had widened to £145m following the difficult markets of November and December.
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