Paper summary – Wednesday 10th April

Corporate

Former HBOS chief Sir James Crosby has volunteered to give up his knighthood and nearly a third of his pension, which totals £580,000, after Parliament criticised his role in the bank’s collapse. He was blamed for “catastrophic failures” under his leadership between 2001 to 2006, before the bank was rescued by a Lloyds TSB takeover and a £20.5bn taxpayer bailout. (Express, p9, Sun p12, Mirror p19, Mail p21, Guardian, p1, Telegraph Business p1, Times p1, Independent p11)

Research from the Office for National Statistics shows that the typical chief executive achieved a 15.8% pay rise last year – 12 times more than the average workers, whose pay and bonus rose by just 1.3% (Mirror p28)

Personal finance

Hundreds of thousands of women still face financial hardship during retirement despite the introduction of the single-tier state pension.  The new £144-a-week pension begins in April 2016 and is meant to provide a fairer pension for all, especially women, by simplifying the system of top-ups and means testing. But many women have no idea when they will reach state pension age or how much they can expect to receive. Among the hardest hit are the 350,000 women born between April 1952 and April 1953, who remain on the old state pension but have to work longer before they are eligible to receive payments (Mirror p36).

One in four cases in a dossier of investor complaints was mis-sold, Lloyds has admitted as it begins to pay thousands of pounds in compensation to mainly elderly customers who were sold policies that have matured with worse returns than a run-of-the-mill savings account (Mail, p47).

The trend for having children later in life – with the modern ‘cut-off’ ages being 49 for men and 43 for women – means one million parents will still be supporting their offspring after they retire, according to research from LV=. The study suggests the average retirement savings currently fall more than £2,000 short of the average annual cost of raising a child, with many parents forced to work longer or dip into their pension to support their children.

Property

Millions of homebuyers are facing soaring mortgage arrangement fees, despite the costs of borrowing falling. The average fee charged by banks and other lenders has risen by £112 in the last three months to a record £1,522, according to data from Moneyfacts. Critics say the rises are cutting off attempts to boost the housing market through initiatives such as the Funding for Lending Scheme.  First-time buyers are facing even steeper fees, with a two-year fixed deal at 90% LTV typically involving a charge of £1,423 – up £500 in the last three months. (Express, p30)

Also in the Express, County Homesearch, Mortgage Advice Bureau and Greene & Co help to identify the ten questions that homebuyers should ask to ensure they buy the right property (Express, p32-33)

Recruitment

Ministers have been criticised for new rules allowing firms to fill more jobs with non-EU staff.  The Home Office has added 20 engineering professionals to the official ‘skills shortage’ list, enabling companies such as Rolls-Royce, National Grid and Balfour Beatty to bring in non-UK or non-EU staff to take on key roles (Sun, p40)

Economics

An inflation-busting 24% rise in regulatory fees is to be imposed by the new FCA and PRA, with compulsory fees payable by financial companies to be ramped up by £125m in total compared to the fees paid last year to the FSA.  The increase has been linked to George Osborne’s decision to raid the FSA fines kitty, with £382m to be taken by the Treasury. (Times, p37)

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