The government says it will increase the levy on bank profits to £2.5bn this year, to raise an extra £800m for the public purse.
The change, which would usually be set out in next month's Budget, has been announced now to help banks know the context they are working in before they announce their bonus payments in the next few weeks, Chancellor George Osborne said.
This levy increase is being taken as an indication Osborne believes the banks are in better shape than he thought less than two months ago, when he announced a smaller levy would apply in the current year.
Clegg nears bank deal on £1bn for SMEs
UK banks will provide over £1bn in equity funding to small companies to help boost regional growth, the Financial Times reports
Several senior bankers said no equity commitment had yet been agreed. But deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is confident banks will provide £1.3bn over three years to invest in SMEs in parts of Britain most affected by the public spending cuts.
Part of the wide-ranging deal - Project Merlin - is expected to lead to the big banks making available about £190bn of gross corporate lending next year, up from about £175bn this year.
Chancellor George Osborne will also force banks to disclose the salaries of more highly paid "decision-making" bank executives, though remuneration of the highest earners - such as star traders - may be kept secret.
January highstreet sales up but consumers wary
A flurry of buying in the first few days of the year lifted January retail sales, but the rise was quickly followed by a downturn in the second half of the month as shoppers feared rising unemployment, the Guardian reports.
UK retail sales values were up 2.3% on last January helped by discounting ahead of the VAT rise to 20% and some pent up demand from December due to bad weather, the survey by the British Retail Consortium showed.
The BRC and survey compilers KPMG said that underneath the mix of unusual factors boosting the January sales figure, was an industry that was beginning to suffer.
UBS returns to full-year profit
UBS has posted a net profit of 7.2bn Swiss francs ($7.5bn; £4.7bn) for 2010 in its first full-year profit since the financial crisis.
It compares with a loss of 2.7bn francs in 2009, the BBC reports.
"While we made substantial progress in 2010, we are fully aware that we have to continue to improve our results," chief executive Oswald Gruebel said.
The Swiss bank also announced a 10% cut in its bonus pool to 4.3bn francs from 4.8bn francs the previous year.
Value of global pension funds hits record high at £16trn
Pension funds battered by the financial crisis performed strongly last year after stock markets recovered in the wake of the Greek debt crisis, the Guardian reports.
Pension fund deficits narrowed as assets in the 13 largest pension markets hit a record high of $26.5trn (£16.4trn).
But experts pointed out that the global asset/liability ratio is still well down from its 1998 level.
The forces at play in investment - most obviously, regulatory change, uncertain markets and shifting demographics - are as strong today as they were when Professional Adviser launched its sister magazine Multi-Asset Review in 2017.
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