The Business Matrix: Monday 14 October 2013


UK savings scheme ‘is not fit for purpose’

The UK’s pension saving system is not “fit for purpose”, a leading report warns today. The alert from Ros Altmann, a former Government advisor on pensions, comes alongside research from protection provider MetLife, which shows 60 per cent of savers do not understand or know the risks they face. The Government plans to revitalise retirement saving through auto-enrolment, which aims to recruit 11 million new pensions.

Forecasts branded unreliable by bosses

Fewer than half of all finance professionals at UK companies think the forecasts they rely on are reliable, a report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned. The finding comes despite 80 per cent of them saying that the accuracy of such forecasts is “critical” to the success of their businesses. PwC warned UK businesses need to overhaul their finance departments to capitalise on the economy’s next wave of growth.

What the Sunday papers said

Travelex gets set for £1bn flotation

Travelex, the world’s largest foreign-exchange specialist, is eyeing a float that would see it valued at more than £1bn. The company is looking to join a number of major names planning to float in London, such as leisure giant Merlin. It comes a number of months after a potential buyer for Travelex approached private equity owner Apax.

The Independent on Sunday

Canadians plot raid on RBS arm

Royal Bank of Scotland’s US retail banking arm could be the subject of a bid from TD Bank, one of Canada’s biggest lenders. RBS is currently planning to float Citizens – which is worth in the region of £8bn – in 2015, but potential bidders think a sale could be brought forward. Other possible suitors are believed to include US Bancorp and PNC.

The Sunday Times

Cut EU red tape, Cameron urged

A number of leading business figures will this week urge David Cameron to push through cuts or changes to 30 European Union regulations. The panel, which includes the Marks & Spencer chief executive, Marc Bolland, is due to say that the changes to the level of EU red tape could save businesses billions of pounds.

The Sunday Telegraph

Thames Water bill rise to be vetoed

Ofwat is this week set to block Thames Water’s bid to raise bills by 8 per cent. The company has cited the cost of land purchases for its new super-sewer project in London as one reason behind the request, but the watchdog is expected to not let prices go up by as much as Thames Water wants.

The Mail on Sunday

Update may show drink is drying up

By Thursday, the markets could do with a drink. Spirits giant Diageo, which also owns Guinness, is expected to release a third-quarter update showing a mixed bag in terms of regional performance. Europe will be tough again and some are concerned that emerging-market growth will have also slowed.

Burberry warns  of China impact

Fears of a prolonged slowdown in China have rocked the luxury sector again recently, and tomorrow Burberry will update on its six-month sales to October. Analysts like the outlook but some have warned of potential issues from the fine summer in Europe because of the high-end brand’s focus on outwear.

McBride sales less than sparkling

Analysts expect today’s first-quarter update from soap-to-detergent maker McBride to be largely lacklustre because its results usually improve in the second half. Numis said “growth in the full year 2013-14 is likely to be extremely second-half loaded so there is unlikely to be much to excite in the short term”.