STANDARD LIFE insists its demutualisation proposals are on track, despite growing speculation wrangling with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) could force the society to delay its flotation, reports The Times .
The FSA is thought to have sought reassurance on the security of endowment policies after the proposed share offer. Standard Life told 600,000 policyholders last year it could not keep its promise to cover the shortfall on their investments, says the paper.
Standard Life’s board is due to meet this month to approve the demutualisation, but it was feared the decision may have to be postponed if the regulator was not satisfied, throwing the flotation into disarray.
But a Standard Life spokesman said: “It should be of no surprise to anyone that Standard Life has a strict focus to keep its regulator fully informed. If we had something substantively different to communicate from existing expectations, we would have done so.”
MERVYN KING, Governor of the Bank of England, said yesterday the monetary policy committee (MPC) had been take by surprise by both the recent pick-up in inflation and slowdown in growth, says The Daily Telegraph.
King made his comments as fears continue to sweep financial markets inflation is raising its head in America, Asia and even the moribund eurozone.
He pointed to the high oil price and told a CBI dinner in the North East: "Our import prices are no longer falling as rapidly as they were, and indeed, over the past year even the prices of non-oil imports have risen."
INSURERS WERE threatened yesterday with fines amid a crackdown by the City watchdog on the use of controversial reinsurance deals designed to smooth earnings, says The Times.
The FSA said its investigation into finite reinsurance had uncovered a “handful” of cases that “warranted a closer look, which may result in fines”.
The regulator's move follows an investigation by Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney-general, into the use of finite reinsurance contracts in the United States. Spitzer’s findings led to a management upheaval at AIG, one of the world’s biggest insurers.
BRITAIN POSTED its largest ever trade deficit in August following huge insurance claims to be paid by Lloyds of London after Hurricane Katrina, according to the Financial Times.
The balance of trade in goods and services was £5.3bn in the red compared with £3.9bn in July, pushed lower by the Office for National Statistics’s estimates the cost of Hurricane Katrina will force Lloyds to pay-out £1.4bn to the owners of property destroyed by the storm.
Trade figures have been collected since 1697 and a monthly trade deficit has never been higher.
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