MORE THAN 50,000 policyholders, who failed to register before the original deadline for free Standard Life discounted shares, have now claimed their windfalls, reports The Scotsman .
According to the paper, more policyholders are now getting round to claiming their windfalls - at up-to-date prices - since Standard Life floated on the Stock Exchange almost four weeks ago.
At the time the company went public on 10 July, about 5.6% of the eligible policyholders had not contacted Standard Life. This has now fallen to 4.8%.
A spokesman for Standard Life said: "There are still about 300,000 people or groups who have free shares that have not yet claimed them. They can come forward any time over the next ten years, when the shares will be allocated at the price at that time.
He added: "In addition, they will still be entitled to the free shares that are also allocated," and any dividends paid before the shares are claimed will also be paid.
THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL Bank raised eurozone interest rates yesterday for the fourth time since December, lifting them to a three and a half year high of 3% as it signalled further increases to come, reports The Times.
Yesterday’s widely expected quarter-point rate rise from the Frankfurt-based central bank was the second in three months, marking a hastening in the pace of its drive to tighten monetary policy in the 12-nation eurozone.
But while Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB President, left little doubt that rates will rise further this year, he also played down suggestions there was a pre-set timetable for action, and that the central bank has shifted to a strategy of further rises every two months, with another likely in October.
While signalling eurozone rates do have further to climb, Trichet deployed similar language to that he used in January and April statements after which rate increases followed two months later, in March and June.
Markets and most economists are betting eurozone rates will reach 3.5% before the end of the year, and then remain on hold for a prolonged period.
Trichet said he expected eurozone inflation, which stands at an annual rate of 2.5%, to remain above the ECB’s 2% target ceiling for the remainder of this year and next, thanks to the impact of soaring energy costs, as well as the effect of planned increases in German sales tax.
ROYAL BANK OF Scotland's bad loan charges in its retail customers jumped 19% in the first six months as fears mount that Britons are struggling to pay off their debts, says The Daily Telegraph.
The provisions of £680m compared to £570m a year earlier were made against unsecured borrowing on personal loans and credit cards. RBS is the latest bank to reveal a sharp increase in bad debt charges among retail customers after Lloyds, HSBC and Alliance & Leicester.
RBS attributed its higher debt charges to strong growth in volumes of borrowings in recent years but said there had only been "a modest increase in arrears". Other banks have raised concerns about customers' changing attitudes to debt following recent changes in bankruptcy laws.
At a group level RBS bad debt charges only rose 5% to £887m, a far smaller rise than other banks reported this week. RBS beat expectations with a 23% jump pre-tax profit to £4.5bn for the six months to June as its corporate markets unit grew strongly and it kept tight control on costs.
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