The Business: Wednesday 19 June 2013
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Senior bankers guilty of reckless misconduct should be jailed, recommends the parliamentary commission on banking standards. In a long-awaited, 571-page report, the commission says the government has “interfered” in the running of the part-nationalised banks in a manner that is “clearly not acceptable”. It also argues that the Royal Bank of Scotland is not ready to return to the private sector, reports The Times. “This is not a bank bashing report,” said Andrew Tyrie MP, the commission's chairman. “I hope the higher standards it advocates will help revive the banking sector and the UK generally.”
Incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney has made his first appointment, luring City high-flier Charlotte Hogg to become his top enforcer, reports The Independent. Hogg has taken a £1m pay cut to leave her current post, running the retail bank at Santander UK. She is tasked with being Carney's "eyes and ears", implementing his strategy across the vastly expanded central bank. Hogg's mother, Baroness Hogg, led John Major’s policy unit in the 1990s and became the first female chairman of a FTSE 100 company in 2001. Her father was a cabinet minister in Major's government and an MP until he stood down in 2010.
One million more people joined the ranks of the global super-rich last year, reports The Guardian. According to Royal Bank of Canada research, the number of "high net worth individuals" climbed by 10% in 2012, taking the total worldwide to 12m. One third of the new members came from Asia. Between them, the 12m own assets worth $46.2tn (£29.5tn) – more than three times the entire annual output from the US economy, and a 10% increase on 2011. A high net worth individual is defined as anyone with $1m (£641,000) or more in "investable assets", excluding the value of a main home and "consumer durables" such as cars.
Leaders of the G8 major economies have agreed new measures to clamp down on money launderers, illegal tax evaders and corporate tax avoiders, reports the BBC. The governments agreed to give each other automatic access to information on their residents' tax affairs. Urging countries to "fight the scourge of tax evasion", the governments will also require shell companies - used to exploit loopholes and invest money anonymously - to identify their effective owners. Tax, trade and transparency - dubbed "The Three Ts" - were placed at the top of the UK's agenda for its presidency of the G8, which consists of the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Canada and Japan.
Japanese exports rose last month by the most since 2010 as the yen weakens, providing a boost to prime minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the economy. Exports fetched Y5.768tn ($60.5bn), an increase of 10.1% compared with the same month a year earlier, ministry of finance data showed today. Exports to the US rose 16.3% from a year earlier, the fastest pace since May 2012. While shipments to China increased 8.3%, the quickest pace since February 2011. The improved export data came after Abe announced that he had won backing from G8 leaders for Tokyo’s radical three-pronged stimulus policy, reports the Financial Times.
Britain's coldest spring since 1962 boosted Costa Coffee, with total sales jumping 23% to £281.8m, and like-for-like sales up 8%. Whitbread, the chain's parent company, reported a 13.8% rise in overall sales in the 13 weeks to 30 May, with like-for-like sales up 3.1%. “People in town during the day sought out our warm drinks,” said chief executive Andy Harrison. “But it wasn’t just the weather. People like our well trained baristas.” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown told the Daily Express: “Whitbread has delivered its almost customary breath of fresh air in the midst of a tepid economic backdrop.”
FTSE-100: up +0.69 to 6374.21
Dow Jones: up +0.91 to 15318.23
Dax: up +0.17 to 8229.51
Cac-40: down -0.8 to 3860.55
Nikkei: up 1.71 to 13230.02
Hang Seng: down -0.67 to 21083.43
US dollar: buys €0.74640 and £0.63910
Sterling: buys $1.56430 and €1.16800
Oil: Brent crude futures 106.11 up +0.6 percent