THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY blocked a bid by Equitable Life in 2003 to buy back a much larger proportion of bonds because the FSA feared it would affect the firm solvency, suggests this morning's Daily Telegraph.
Journalists at the Telegraph say they have seen documents sent to the Treasury which indicated the society wanted to buy back bonds when the coupon was 68%, however, the FSA blocked this move – even though the firm says it was sufficiently solvent to handle the transaction – and was eventually forced to buy back just £180m at a higher coupon of 98% rather than the £260m at 92% the group to then buy back at the end of the year.
Information in this matter seems to be crucial as policyholders reacted angrily to the buy back because they believe the deal should have been made when bonds were cheaper.
Other documents suggest there was a friction between Equitable and the FSA at that point over a disagreement with the Financial Ombudsman concerning compensation paid to policyholders who pulled out of the society before the compensation deal was arranged and then claimed mis-selling.
A SMALL BUSINESS organisation is pressing for a relaxation of new anti-money-laundering legislation on seasonal workers as it argues difficulty getting bank accounts is hitting the tourism industry, says the Scotsman newspaper.
The Forum of Private Business says foreign nationals working in bars, restaurants, hotels and agriculture struggle to open bank accounts because of the leeway given to individual banks to operate their own identity checks.
"Individual banks in Scotland say they operate the system flexibly, but we are not sure they do. We get a lot of seasonal workers in this country from the likes of Australia, eastern Europe, South Africa, and they are running into this fear on the part of the banks that money-laundering will see the money end up with the likes of al-Qaeda or the Russian mafia."
The FPB has approached deputy first minister Jim Wallace to take up the matter with the Treasury and Financial Services Authority, as it says Australian, eastern European and South African workers are being assessed as though monies will go to “al-Queda or the Russian Mafia” .
Their solution would be to limit the amount of money that could be paid direct into Scottish bank accounts by seasonal workers to perhaps £1,000 a month.
However, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank say that they require personal identification such as a passport or driving licence and proof of address to open basic bank accounts, and an element of discretion is often attached to proof of address for seasonal workers.
AND CLOSE TO half of FTSE 100 directors will be hit by a 55% on any retirement savings over the £1.5m mark of the proposed lifetime pension allowance cap, reports the Times.
That said, instead of compensating directors for the A-Day reforms, companies will instead use this data as an apportunity to reduce directors’ generous pension arrangements and introduce performance-based remuneration, according to the Deloitte report.
The report found 41% of FTSE 100 directors and 23% in the FTSE 250 will be over the pension threshold which then requires tax to be paid at 55% over the £1.5m mark.
Deloitte has apparently had a rush of corporate clients who want to try and avoid the tax liability, particularly those who joined their companies’ final salary schemes prior to 1989 and therefore have no annual cap on contributions.IFAonline
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