EQUITABLE LIFE has dropped a demand all 15 former directors it is suing for £1.7bn should sign up to a settlement to bring its protracted legal battle with them to an end, reports The Daily Telegrap
The move came as it emerged at least some of the directors, including David Wilson, chairman of Wilson Bowden, could be prepared to consider settlement proposals, says the paper.
Equitable is believed to have indicated to the directors it would be prepared to drop the case if they agreed to meet their own legal bills. The offer is based on the settlement agreement with former auditor Ernst & Young and is understood to be open to each individual director, or all of them. Equitable's £700m claim against E&Y was dropped last week.
THE NUMBER of mortgages to buy homes rose sharply last month in the first annual increase for more than a year, says the Guardian
The data is the latest to suggest the housing market may be stabilising after slowing sharply early this year. The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said 69,500 mortgages were approved last month, up from 65,600 in July and a rise of 8.5% from August last year, reports the paper.
The BBA data is not seasonally adjusted but City economists who ran their own adjustment said there was also a spike in seasonally adjusted terms, probably in reaction to the first interest rate cut from the Bank of England for two years in August. Alan Castle, of Lehman Brothers, said: "This apparent reaction to the August rate cut is certainly larger than either we or the Bank of England would have expected but we judge it unlikely that demand will remain at these levels."THE DISPUTE over tax breaks for the wealthy intensified yesterday as it emerged that better-off taxpayers will be able to buy holiday homes and buy-to-let properties through their personal pension funds and get back 51% of the purchase price from the taxman, reports the Times.
A higher-rate taxpayer buying a £100,000 property through a self-invested personal pension (Sipp) would receive a £23,000 refund personally and a further £28,000 refund into the Sipp, making a total rebate of £51,000.
The new rules, which are due to take effect in April, are even more generous than had been supposed, according to James Hay, a unit of Abbey National and Britain’s largest provider of Sipps.
ONE OF Britain's leading fund managers has hit out at the potential borrowings "bubble" within the hedge-fund industry that could burst in an echo of the split-caps debacle, says the Scotsman.
Douglas Ferrans, the Scots-born chief executive of HBOS's fund management arm, Insight Investment, said he had a number of concerns about hedge funds, including their "lack of transparency and how highly-leveraged [borrowed] they are".
Ferrans, in charge of £85bn of funds at Insight, said a lot of hedge funds had borrowed at low interest rates, and could be very good investments. But he added: "If the excessive leveraging continues and interest rates rise again there could be a shakeout."
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The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.