RICHARD LAMBERT, the new director general of the CBI, has attacked the government over the case of the NatWest Three, reports The Daily Telegraph .
According to the paper, Lambert made the comments regarding the three men who are facing extradition to the US over fraud allegations linked to the collapse of energy giant Enron.
But he said no blame should be attached to NatWest's parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, for declining to release documents which the three men say could prevent their extradition. The NatWest Three - David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew - must leave Britain before midnight on July 17 to face trial in the US.
It is alleged they defrauded NatWest in a deal with Enron by selling a Cayman Islands company for less than it was worth.
Lambert said the matter was a question for the government rather than RBS, as “the government signed the treaty. RBS didn't sign the treaty. RBS has a broad set of interests that it has to protect. I think it is wrong to point the finger at them."
Lambert was also critical of Chancellor Gordon Brown for failing to appoint a replacement following his departure from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee in March. The months-long delay in filling the post on the MPC, which sets interest rates, "could hardly be described as a success", he said.
FINANCIAL SERVICES firms are preparing for a tough three months, despite the strongest growth for two years during the second quarter of the year, reports the Scotsman.
In the findings of a new survey, in the three months to the end of June, business volumes for banks, building societies, fund managers, insurers and brokers grew at their fastest rate for two years.
But firms predict a tough three months ahead, with just 4% more companies expecting volumes to rise than those thinking they will fall, according to the CBI and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
AND PEARL, the closed life fund, yesterday removed the assets of two million policyholders from two Henderson Global Investors’ funds, following a three-month legal wrangle with the fund manager over a series of investment blunders, reports the Times.
Hugh Osmond, the entrepreneur who bought Pearl from Henderson’s former parent company in December 2004 for £1bn, pulled the business after Henderson allowed a relative novice to run its private equity fund.
Roger Greville, a former civil servant with a mainstream investment background, was in charge of the £600m Pearl mandate but made a series of poor investments, including sinking £13.8m into an Italian fitness club business where the chief executive was facing fraud charges.
Henderson Private Capital, Greville’s division, has lost £100m since 1999, a period of otherwise high returns for private equity funds. Under a new set of investment management agreements announced yesterday, Pearl policyholders’ assets will be removed from Henderson’s private equity and property funds, to be invested elsewhere in the fund management sector.
Henderson will be paid a similar level of income by Pearl because, despite losing fees on the two funds, it will be able to make them up on other investments for Pearl. Osmond said Henderson had been “extremely constructive” in addressing the concerns he had with the investment strategy of the funds.
He is quoted as saying: “We now intend to supplement the best performing Henderson investment strategies with a selection of the best managers available elsewhere in the markets.”
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