News

The Co-operative Bank's disgraced former chairman, Paul Flowers, apparently won the job because he beat his rivals' psychometric test scores, MPs on the Treasury Committee have been told.

Business Diary: Sandler's plan to reboot the Rock

Northern Rock chairman Ron Sandler was treading on shaky metaphorical ground yesterday when discussing cost cuts at the group. "'We need to grow into our shoes,' is what I've said in the past," he said. "We need to make sure they are constructed as best we can to make them fit the size and type of business we are." Diary, and perhaps Mr Sandler himself, had rather lost the thread at this point. Was there a pair of shoes waiting for Mr Sandler and company to grow into? Or is he making another pair of shoes? Either way, it all sounds like a load of cobblers to us.

The Week Ahead: Morrisons in focus on shares buy-back hopes

With expectations high that it will unveil a share buy-back this week, investors in Morrisons have a reason to look forward to the supermarket group's full-year figures on Thursday, despite the downcast sentiment surrounding the wider sector.

Icelandic exposure chills the Tchenguiz

Vincent Tchenguiz is battling to take back his property empire from the ashes of Kaupthing. James Moore reports

FSA budget tops £500m but City firms pay less

The Financial Services Authority (FSA), the market watchdog, has raised its budget for the coming year to just over half a billion pounds, an annual increase of more than 10 per cent.

Market Report: Prudential catches a cold from its US exposure

The blue-chip index may have reached its highest point since June 2008 yesterday, but Prudential was left behind as analysts urged caution over its exposure to the US.

2010 at a glance: Cuts, spills, and failed floats

January

The US takes over two of Britain's market-leading brands: buy-out group KKR pays £955m for Pets at Home, and Cadbury bows to Kraft's £11.5bn offer.

INSEAD

Age: 52

Questions Of Cash: Prevaricating Pru was giving me the needle

Q. I made a claim for acupuncture from my PruHealth Personal Health Fund. Prudential has repeatedly promised to meet the claim, but it has instead rejected or ignored them. They have also continually changed the criteria on eligibility. I have spent many, many hours trying to sort this out with Prudential and I don't believe that this can be resolved without third-party assistance. HP, Lewes.

Prudential sets a course to double Asian profits

Prudential unveiled plans to boost growth and profits in its Asian markets yesterday, underscoring its belief in the region's potential following its abortive attempt to acquire AIA, the local arm of the American International Group (AIG), earlier this year.

Market Report: US defence cuts shoot down BAE Systems

The markets were making amends yesterday after a poor recent run, but it was not enough to prevent defence stocks struggling thanks to fears over US government spending.

David Prosser: The market doubters undermining Resolution's insurance experiment

Outlook There has been a sudden change of tack from John Tiner, chief executive of Resolution. Since this endeavour first floated two years ago next month, its ambition has been to build a portfolio of British life insurance businesses worth £10bn. Having got almost two-thirds of the way with the acquisitions of Friends Provident and the UK life business of Axa, a third big buy has been promised and is keenly awaited. Yesterday, however, Mr Tiner said the company might now opt for a series of smaller deals to achieve its goals and that another big takeover was not inevitable.

The Business On... Tidjane Thiam, Chief executive, Prudential

So he's still in a job then?

Investment Column: Pru has work to do to regain our trust

Great Portland Estates; Charles Stanley

Business Diary: The Lord Mayor's dancing stick

Many Londoners look forward to the second Saturday of November, when the Lord Mayor's Show celebrates the appointment of a new Lord Mayor. But don't forget that civil engineer Michael Bear, this year's man in the hot seat, also has an important job to do, representing the City of London (so effectively the financial services industry) on a national and global stage. His participation in a Zulu dance this weekend, complete with "shield and dancing stick", can only enhance his credibility as he prepares for the job.

Prettejohn joins Legal & General

The former boss of Lloyds of London resurfaced yesterday, taking a job as a non-executive director of life insurer Legal & General. Nick Prettejohn, a contemporary of the Foreign Minister William Hague at Oxford, will join the company's remuneration committee – charged with setting boardroom pay – and its risk committee as part of the role.

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