Equitable Life, the insurance mutual which sensationally collapsed in 2000, has decided to put itself up for sale after receiving several approaches, The Telegraph reports.
The UK's oldest mutual life assurer, which was worth £26bn at its prime but today has just over £7bn of assets and around 500,000 policyholders, is looking to agree a sale next year.
Vanni Treves, non-executive chairman of Equitable, told The Daily Telegraph in an exclusive interview that it wants to find a buyer.
"As we speak, we are putting together a data room full of information," he said. "People interested in finding out everything about Equitable Life on the basis of confidentiality will be able to do so. They need that information in order to prepare a bid for all or part of the society."
MORE THAN HALF mortgage lenders have failed to pass on this month’s interest rate cut in full to homeowners or to guarantee that they will, The Times reports.
The Bank of England cut the base rate by a quarter point two weeks ago, but more than 30 of the 86 biggest lenders in the UK have yet to say if they will cut their standard variable rate (SVR), according to a report from Moneysupermarket.com, the financial website.
A further 14 mortgage providers have failed to pass on the full cut to customers. Alliance & Leicester cut its rate by 0.2% points to 7.69%, while Northern Rock reduced its SVR by only 0.15 percentage points to 7.69%.
THE POUND HAS SLUMPED to its lowest level in 20 months, after a "shocking" raft of figures revealed how deeply reliant the UK has become on debt, The Telegraph reports.
Britain's current account has recorded its worst deficit since the late 1980s, making Britain's national balance sheet worse than the United States' for the first time since Nigel Lawson was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics caused a major sell-off of the pound, as experts warned that the UK currency would have to fall in value to bring the current account back into line. Sterling dropped to 98.9 on the Bank of England's comprehensive trade-weighted index, which measures it against a basket of other currencies. This is the lowest level since April 2006.
BEAR STEARNS REPORTED the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history yesterday after the former mortgage bond king of Wall Street took a $1.9bn (£946m) write-down on home-loan related investments, The Times reports.
The firm recorded a loss of $854 million for the quarter, compared with a $558m profit the year before, prompting James Cayne, the group’s chief executive, to forgo a bonus this year. Last year he received a bonus of $16.5m in stock and options.
The deficit was considerably higher than expected because the mortgage write-off was $700m more than the $1.2bn loss the firm predicted on November 9. The fourth-quarter loss dragged down Bear’s profits for the full year by 90% to $212m.
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