British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Sunday he wanted Financial Services Authority (FSA) – – Britain’s financial watchdog — to investigate Goldman Sachs after it was charged with fraud by U.S. regulators. Meanwhile, the UK Financial Services Authority did not make any comment on Brown’s speech on Sunday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday charged Wall Street investment giant Goldman Sachs with “defrauding investors” over subprime mortgage securities, which were largely blamed for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The government agency, which is responsible for regulating the financial markets in the country, alleged that Goldman Sachs failed to disclose crucial information to investors of its securities that a major hedge fund had bet against the securities.
Royal Bank of Scotland, the part-nationalised UK bank that lost $840 million in an allegedly fraudulent investment created by Goldman Sachs, will await the outcome of US investigations before deciding whether to pursue its own legal action. RBS will see if the Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to be successful in the civil suit it has launched against Goldman. In the suit, it accuses the investment bank of securities fraud relating to a complex derivatives deal linked to subprime mortgages. RBS lost money on the deal through its ownership of ABN, the Dutch bank it bought at the height of the credit bubble in 2007, which had acted as a guarantor for ACA, the main counterparty in the deal.
City bankers saw near unprecedented income growth over the past decade, with the highest paid receiving nearly a third of the UK’s total wage bill, according to recent research. The study, which cited bankers’ bonuses and pay at the top end of financial services as a driving force behind Britain’s rising pay inequality, found financial services professionals took home an additional £12 billion a year by the end of the ten year period.
Bank dividends throughout Europe are at their lowest level on record as recovering financial institutions retain earnings to increase capital. According to city banking sources the average dividend yield among European banks is now 1.9 percent, with over a quarter of the continent’s top 50 banks paying no dividend. Regulators have been pressuring banks not to resume or increase payments while details of new capital requirements remain unclear. Some banks have cut dividends despite making a profit, with British bank Barclays cutting its dividend from 11.5 pence to 2.5 pence despite profits of £11.6 billion last year.
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland closed up 2.1 pence at 50.4 pence on Monday, 0.2 pence above the 50.2 pence average price paid when the Government invested £45.5 billion pounds. The current price represents a £180 million profit for British taxpayers. Shares in Lloyds Banking Group rose 0.72 pence to 65.42 pence, leaving the taxpayer £2.26 billion in the red on the Government’s 41 percent investment.
Some of the UK’s poorest northern and peripheral regions have seen a growth in business and investment, narrowing the gap with the south as an attractive place to do business, according to a recent survey. The survey showed that the highest increase in rankings since 1997 for the UK’s periphery. Northwest England was the star performer in the index, rising from eighth to fourth place among the UK’s 12 regions.
According to a quarterly report for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, (IPA) signs of improving business confidence among UK advertisers are beginning to show, and for the first time since 2007 The survey, regarded as a barometer for both the economy as well as the advertising industry, found some 21 percent of marketing directors had increased their advertising budget in the first quarter of 2010, while 36 percent signalled plans to raise their spending in the new financial year.
In the run up to the World Cup Bumper shipments of digital set-top boxes for televisions are set to buoy first-half sales at Pace. The football tournament, which will be broadcast in high definition and in 3D, has seen pay-TV operators ship set-top boxes to customers in time for the contest. A spokesman for the company said the World Cup would act as an advertisement for high-definition television, boosting sales after the competition has finished. Pace said trading in the first quarter of 2010 had been in line with management expectations. It has forecast double-digit revenue growth for the full year amid equally strong volume improvements. Pace is focusing on producing technology for the next generation of set-top boxes, which will combine internet connectivity, multimedia storage and digital television. Last month, it acquired Bewan, a French maker of modems and “gateway” boxes that combine the features of wireless modems, digital storage devices and internet telephony routers.
Supermarket chain Tesco are planning to recruit 1,000 new members of staff to sell electronics in its stores. Tesco’s announcement of its new scheme comes in response to the debut of the American electronics chain Best Buy in the UK next week. Best Buy specialises in offering expert advice to customers on its products, a model that Tesco is hoping to emulate with its own “tech team”. Tesco is expected to become the third largest electrical retailer in the UK next year.
Sterling suffered as fears over a possible hung parliament after next month’s election weighed on the pound. An opinion poll showed the UK’s Liberal Democrats, the smallest of the country’s three main parties, had taken the lead. That was the first time the Lib Democrats have led the polls and came after a well-received performance by Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, in last week’s televised debate between the UK’s three main political parties. The news heightened fears that an incoming government would lack the strength to get to grips with the UK’s record fiscal deficit. The pound was last seen sitting on $1.5353, and at €1.1440.
The FTSE 100 rose 40 points to 5783.60 at close of trading on Tuesday.
Wall Street banking giant Citigroup has reported a profit of $4.4 billion (£2.9 billion) for the first three months of the year.
The result represents a return to profit after the bank lost $7.6 billion in the last quarter of last year after repaying government loans.
Last week, rival bank JP Morgan reported better-than-expected first quarter profits of $3.3 billion while the Bank of America posted a $3.2 billion profit for the period.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average made some profits early in the week, up, down 99 points to 11.117.06 while the NASDAQ Composite rose by 20 points to close on 2,500.31.
Japanese car maker Toyota has agreed to pay a record $16.4 million (£10.7 million) to US safety regulators following recent safety concerns.
Toyota was asked to pay the fine for failing to inform the US government of safety concerns surrounding faulty accelerator pedals.
Millions of Toyotas were recalled earlier this year amid reports that the pedals could become stuck.
The fine is the largest ever handed out by the US transportation department.