#AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – March 31 – The leader of the Financial Conduct Authority, Martin Wheatley, has admitted that the regulator could have handled the leak of a major insurance sector investigation better (IBTimes)
At the City Week 2014 conference, Wheatley said “whenever markets move like they did on Friday there is always scrutiny.”
“This was clearly not the FCA’s finest hour but it does serve as a timely reminder to all parties involved of the care and thought that is needed when handling significant amounts of information we hold as part of going about our business.”
On 28 March, the FCA leaked some of the details about an inquiry into whether 30 million customers of pensions and other products were “exploited” or mis-sold products.
The leak to the Daily Telegraph, days before the release of a detailed business plan for the coming year, saw £4bn (€4.8bn, $6.7bn) wiped off insurance stocks.
The FCA refused to confirm the report to the rest of the press for hours after the leak but as insurance stocks plunged as a result, Legal & General urged the watchdog to officially confirm and release details.
#AceFinanceNews – (Reuters) – Greek police have banned protests in Athens when the Greek capital hosts a meeting of European Union finance ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday, citing security reasons.
Demonstrators will be banned from rallying or marching in the centre of the capital, including around parliament in Syntagma Square, the focus of often violent protests against austerity measures imposed under the country’s bailout plans.
Athens has implemented such bans several times in the past, including when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made high-profile visits to the Greek capital. Schaeuble is among ministers expected to attend the meetings this week.
#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW- March 31 – Shell has closed six filling stations in Crimea, a spokesman for Shell’s office in Ukraine, which is responsible for the filling stations network in Crimea, told Itar-Tass on Monday.
According to the spokesman, Alliance Holding, the operator of Shell retail network in Ukraine, has closed six out of 22 filling stations in Crimea. A decision to this effect was taken by the Alliance Holding board of directors back in October 2013 and stemmed from commercial considerations aiming to optimize the company’s activities.
“As of now, we can provide no comment about the future of our 16 remaining filling stations in Crimea. We are closely watching the development of the situation,” the spokesman said.
In the meantime, filling stations in Crimea operated by Russia’s oil major LUKOIL are working in the routine mode, the company told Itar-Tass.
Russian Oil News
#AceFinanceNews – SEOUL – March 31 – South Korea on Monday kicked off the process to buy four in-flight refuelling tanker aircraft, Reuters said.
The deal is seen to be worth around $1.31 billion, with plane-makers Boeing and Airbus expected to compete, according to sources.
The purchase will be part of Seoul’s attempts to bolster its air defence in the face of rising tension over the maritime interests of Japan and China, as well as against North Korea.
#AceFinanceNews – KIEV – March 31 – Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Stepan Kubiv on Monday held the final meeting with a group of World Bank (WB) experts that worked in Ukraine in the period from March 24 to 28.
The NBU press service reported that the experts with Aleksander Pankov in the head had worked in Kiev in order “to determine the priorities and activity guidelines for the Ukrainian financial sector reform that can be implemented with support of the World Bank.”
The WB experts during last week had prepared a plan of action to promote the Ukrainian financial sector reform, the NBU press service said.
This programme can be financed by means of a WB loan worth up to one billion US dollars, granted within the programme of loans for development.
“The action plan will allow the Ukrainian banking system to make a cardinal reconstruction and strengthen stability of the banking sector,” the NBU stresses.
Simultaneously with the WB expert group, a mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was working in Ukraine.
The IMF mission was co-ordinating the terms for granting a loan worth 14 – 18 billion US dollars.
Russian Finance News
#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW – March 31 – Negative effects of sanctions imposed on Russia over Crimea are already evident and all efforts should be focused on meeting these conditions, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Rossiya 24 television on Monday.
“The question is how sanctions will develop. We must in no way weaken our positions on monetary policy, on the budget under such conditions.
On the contrary, it is necessary to stay focused and mobilize,” the minister said.
“Sanctions have already been announced and are in place,” he said. “The most unpleasant thing is that this list may change and we can see some anxiety as to what measures could be applied,” he added.
German chancellor against imposition of economic sanctions on Russia
Credits to Russia were already being withdrawn and investors were in no hurry to invest into Russian bonds or projects in Russia, the minister said.
“We are seeing certain pressure on our trade partners, who are revising relations with Russia,” Siluanov said. “All this negatively affects the Russian economy as well as the economies of those countries with whose entrepreneurs it has had arrangements,” he added.
#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW – March 31 Russia and China are negotiating possible delivery of air defence missile systems S-400 Triumf to China, but it is early to say about deadlines for launching delivery and its amount, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin told ITAR-TASS on Monday.
“Consultations still continue, I would say so. Dialogue is on,” he noted.
Fomin gave comments on several publications in the Russian media that named 2016 as a possible year to start delivery of air defence missile systems S-400 Triumf to China.
Publications also noted that the two countries were negotiating supply from two to four S-400 divisions to China.
#AceFinanceNews – ISRAEL – March 31 – An Israeli court convicted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of bribery on Monday, Reuters reported.
He had denied wrongdoing in the Holy Land apartment complex deal while in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor, and other corruption allegations that forced his resignation as premier in 2008.
The conviction is likely ending any prospect of a political comeback for Olmert.
#AceFinanceNews – ECB – March 30 – Experts at the German finance ministry expect the European Central Bank to raise key interest rates soon due to the economy picking up, a German news weekly said on Sunday, citing an internal document –
With the Eurozone debt crisis increasingly fading and an improving economy, “an active contribution to the overcoming of the low interest policy is to be expected” from the ECB, Spiegel quoted the ministry document as saying.
That will lead to Germany having to pay more for its loans in a year’s time than it currently does, according to the experts at Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s ministry.
The ECB has held its key interest rates at an all-time low of 0.25 percent since November and analysts do not expect a cut by the Frankfurt-based bank at its meeting this week.
#AceFinanceNews – GENEVA – March 30 – Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been granted a one-year resident permit in Switzerland and plans to settle in Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland’s migration authorities said on Sunday.
“His application was approved,” Martin Reichlin, a spokesman for the Federal Migration Office, told Itar-Tass over the phone, adding that Khodorkovsky’s one-year resident permit could be prolonged.
The permit was granted to Khodorkovsky on March 27. According to Reichlin, the 50-year-old former Russian oligarch has opted to settle in St. Gallen, since his family is living in this canton.
At the same time, Reichlin did not rule out that Khodorkovsky had been guided by considerations of favourable taxation environment.