STANDARD LIFE yesterday confirmed it has started to see a number of its with-profits policyholders cash in their plans after receiving windfalls from the group's flotation, reports The Scotsman .
But according to the paper, the Edinburgh-based insurance giant refused to be drawn on the number of policyholders involved or the average amount paid out in surrenders.
The news came ahead of the release of the group's latest new business figures today.
Provisions for the expected surrenders were made in the group's flotation prospectus, where it was revealed £19m would be made available to help fund the withdrawals.
A spokesman for Standard Life said: "The numbers of clients surrendering their policies are entirely in line with expectations.”
ROGER BARTLEY, a senior fund manager at Gartmore, is to be the new head of Legal & General's fixed income business, replacing John Monckton, the fund manager who was murdered in November 2004, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Bartley, who is currently chief investment officer for Gartmore's fixed income business, will take on one of the biggest fund management jobs in the City as fixed income accounts for around £80bn of Legal & General Investment Management's total £211bn in funds under management.
His appointment is due to be announced today when he joins LGIM, the insurer's fund management arm. Bartley spent 10 years at Gartmore, where he worked with Peter Chambers, the fund manager's former chief investment officer who became LGIM's chief executive last November.
Bartley is thought to have been identified as a candidate for the job in 2005 by Tim Breedon, the Legal & General chief executive who ran LGIM from 2001 until he took over the top job at the insurer at the start of this year.
However, the recruitment process was put on hold last year as LGIM searched for a new chief executive after Breedon's promotion was announced. Chambers is understood to have widened the search after he took over before the insurer whittled down the short list to two candidates
EUROPEAN UNION proposals to harmonise the disclosure regime for large stock trades could reduce the transparency of the London stockmarket, the UK Financial Services Authority said on Monday.
According to The Financial Times, investors commonly dispose of large slabs of shares by selling them to an investment bank, which in turn sells the stock in the market.
European stock exchanges currently permit investment banks to delay the disclosure of these purchases, to protect their identity as forced sellers of stock.
On several occasions, investment banks have lost millions of dollars by purchasing large slabs of stock but failing to sell the shares in the market at the same or a higher price – usually because the market has learnt of their large positions and moved against them.
The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) will replace the local exchanges’ rules on disclosure with a single regime from November next year.
However, the UK financial regulator has said Mifid’s regime would have a mixed impact on block trades executed on the London stock market, citing research by the London Stock Exchange.
“If firms were to use the full delays permitted by Mifid, then the overall level of transparency could decline post-Mifid,” the FSA said. Some trades that would currently be eligible for delayed reporting would no longer qualify, and vice versa.
For very large blocks – as sold by governments in privatisations – Mifid introduces more generous reporting delays than currently prevail in London, but a more transparent regime than prevails elsewhere, especially in Germany.
HBOS, BRITAIN’S fourth-largest banking group, delivered a 17% increase in pre-tax profits to more than £2.65bn in the first half, reports The Times.
The results are ahead of the City's expectations and show the company has managed to keep the lid on its provision for bad and doubtful debts, as analysts had been expecting HBOS to grow its pre-tax profits by about 13% over the six months to the end of June, .
The bank's losses on bad debts in the first half rose to £864m, from £753m at the same point last year. This represents 0.24% of its average advances to customers and HBOS said it was happy with the rate of the bad debt rise.
The nation's biggest mortgage lender, which last month welcomed Andy Hornby as its new chief executive, pushed up profits at both its retail and corporate banking divisions, as well as its insurance and investments and treasury and asset management units.
HBOS also posted a healthy performance at its international arm, where interim profits rose by more than a quarter. It confirmed it had extended its shares buyback programme to as much as £1bn and increased the dividend by 15% to 13.5p a share.
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An ambitious objective
'Something completely new'
'Illusion of control'
Reasons to be cheerful
Total investment reaches £9m