Richard Pym is to step down as chief executive of Alliance & Leicester after five years in the role, says the Daily Telegraph .
His surprise retirement came as the FTSE 100 mortgage bank reported a better-than-expected rise in full-year profits and became the fourth lender to offer a 125% home loan.
Headhunters have been appointed to find a suitable successor but Pym's retirement will inevitably ignite ambitions within the boardroom, says the paper.
Among the potential candidates are the managing director of the retail bank, Chris Rhodes; the finance director, David Bennett; and Richard Banks, head of commercial banking. Industry sources also suggested Roger Davis, the former head of Barclays' UK retail bank, as a possible successor.
THE BANK of England’s monetary policy committee voted seven to two to leave interest rates unchanged at 5.25% earlier this month, with the majority expressing concern another rise might have been considered “excessive tightening”, reports the Financial Times.
The split, revealed in minutes published on Wednesday, was in line with analysts’ forecasts, but the pound fell as traders found the debate contained in the minutes of the February rate-setting meeting slightly less hawkish than expected.
The minutes of the meeting showed that although the majority of committee members thought there was limited spare capacity within the economy and there had been a tightening of the labour market, there had nevertheless been little movement in pay settlements.
STANDARD LIFE Investments (SLI) has made its first foray into the German property market as part of a 91 million (£61.2m) investment by its European Property Growth fund, says the Scotsman.
Spending 32m, the fund has purchased a single-let warehouse in Neuss for 17m and an industrial estate in Ratingen, north of Düsseldorf, for 15m.
Fund manager Will Fulton said SLI had held off investing in Germany for some 10 years. "We see today that economic growth is now starting to take off in Germany," he explained.
"Some of the indicators of business and consumer confidence have been shooting up. This supports the level of economic growth that is now coming out, which wasn't there before. In the past, we felt we could get better returns in countries like France and Spain."
BARCLAYS IS planning to become the first British high street bank to establish a retail branch network in Russia, according to the Times.
Britain’s third-biggest lender is plotting its return to the former Soviet Union just nine years after its nascent investment banking division, now renamed Barclays Capital, quit the country after losing £250m in the 1998 Russian debt default.
Barclays is vying with HSBC, which this month disclosed it has applied for a consumer banking licence in Russia to bolster its presence in one of the last remaining regions where it lacks scale.
By contrast, Barclays is understood to be considering side-stepping the drawn-out process of obtaining a banking licence by entering the market through acquisition, buying a small domestic lending operation that already has a licence.
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