Top 10 Stories of the Week! 23/11/15

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page for regular posts of important headlines. Click on the links for full stories.

Opinion articles of the week:

The world’s biggest oil and gas companies are at risk of losing $2.2tn (£1.5tn) by overestimating future demand for fossil fuels, a report suggests. Click here for more details.

Net migration to the UK hit a new record level of 336,000 people but why are these figures up? Click here for the main reasons for the increase in immigration.

Many analysts believe that China’s future is still very bright despite its recent economic slowdown. Click here for more. 

1. AUTUMN STATEMENT

George Osborne has delivered his first Autumn Statement as the Chancellor of a Conservative government. What caught the headlines was the decision to leave tax credits unchanged, after the House of Lords voted against the planned cuts in the House of Lords. The cuts will however, be absorbed into Universal Credit in 2020.

Some analysts claim that George Osbornes u-turn on tax credits was a good decision. Click here for the debate.

For the key points from the Autumn Statement click here. (The Telegraph)

2. PFIZER ALLERGAN MERGER

Pfizer Inc on Monday said it would buy Botox maker Allergan Plc in a deal worth $160 billion to slash its U.S. tax bill, rekindling a fierce political debate over the financial maneuver. The acquisition, which would create the world’s largest drug maker and shift Pfizer’s headquarters to Ireland, would also be the biggest-ever instance of a U.S. company re-incorporating overseas to lower its taxes. U.S. President Barack Obama has called such inversion deals unpatriotic and has tried to crack down on the practice. (Reuters)

For more details on this merger and the controversy surrounding tax inversion click here.

Click here for The Economist’s analysis piece on major drug mergers.

3. EU-TURKEY AGREEMENT

European Union leaders and Turkey agreed on measures to help stem the refugee crisis and counter terrorism, aided by an EU pledge to relaunch Turkey’s membership bid and a package of 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in assistance for refugees. (Bloomberg)

4. PPI CLAIMS DEADLINE SET

The Financial Conduct Authority set out new rules on PPI complaints and said a campaign to inform consumers about the time limit would be funded by banks who missold the insurance. Britons who were missold loan insurance, in what turned out to be the country’s costliest consumer finance scandal, will have until 2018 to claim compensation. Britain’s banks, which have already set aside more than 28 billion pounds ($42 billion) to cover payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints are also keen to close the issue. (Reuters)

5. LAW FIRM M&A NEWS

National law firm Irwin Mitchell has confirmed that it has struck a deal with mixed regional practice Thomas Eggar that will see the firms become one. Thomas Eggar name will disappear from next year and the firm will be known simply as Irwin Mitchell. The newly formed firm will be on track to boast a healthy £250 million plus turnover if the multiple practice area synergies between the firms yield growth putting Irwin Mitchell into the financial league of international outfits like Bird & Bird and Taylor Wessing. (Legal Cheek)

Northern giant Addleshaw Goddard is lining up to merge with one of Scotland’s big four, Maclay Murray & Spens. If the merger gets the go-ahead — with a proposed going live date of 1 May 2016 — the new firm would have a healthy combined turnover of £236m, according to latest financial figures. (Legal Cheek)

6. BANKS SUED FOR MONOPOLISING INTEREST RATE SWAP MARKETS

Twelve of the biggest players in interest-rate swap trading were sued for allegedly conspiring to block fund managers from entering the exchange market. The antitrust complaint filed in New York federal court by a public pension fund names most of the biggest U.S. and European investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Credit Suisse Group and Deutsche Bank among the defendants.

In their role as interest rate swap market-makers, the banks have prevented buy-side investors from trading the swaps on exchanges, according to the complaint. The total notional value of interest-rate swaps outstanding was about $320 trillion in the first half of 2015. (Bloomberg)

7. VIRGIN ATLANTIC DEAL

Virgin Atlantic is finalising a landmark deal that will enable it to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from its lucrative take-off and landing rights at London’s Heathrow Airport. The deal involves placing its pairs of slots at the airport into a new subsidiary, Virgin Atlantic International Ltd, and effectively mortgaging them by paying a dividend to outside investors‎. (Sky News)

8. BARCLAYS FINED

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) anounced it was fining Barclays £72m for “failing to minimise the risk it may have been used to facilitate financial crime.” In 2011 and 2012 Barclays oversaw a £1.88bn transaction between a number of “politically exposed” ultra-high net worth individuals, who are seen to be especially vulnerable to the risk of bribery and corruption. There is no suggestion from the FCA that the transaction was unlawful, but a number of aspects indicated a higher risk of financial crime, which it says Barclays ignored. (City A.M)

9. CAPARO JOBS SAVED

More than 300 jobs have been saved with the sale of a business from the Caparo steel group, administrators have announced. PwC said Caparo Tubular Solutions had been sold to the Gupta family, whose interests include the Simec and Liberty House groups. It brings to 488 the number of Caparo staff whose jobs have been safeguarded with the sales of the group’s businesses since it went into administration last month.  (Sky News)

10. LLOYDS JOB CUTS

Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Britain’s largest mortgage provider, plans to eliminate a net 945 jobs across operations. The cuts are part of a plan to pare about 9,000 jobs by 2017, the London-based bank said on Thursday. The job losses are in divisions such as consumer lending and commercial banking, risk and finance and human resources with the bank seeking to redeploy some people in other roles. Lloyds said it’s creating about 150 new roles. (Bloomberg)

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