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05 February 2013
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  • Liberty Global prepares bid for Virgin Media
    U.S. cable company Liberty Global is again looking to acquire Britain's Virgin Media, and a bid could be announced any day, sources say. "Virgin Media confirms that it is in discussions with Liberty Global, a leading international cable company, concerning a possible transaction. Any such transaction would be subject to regulatory and other conditions," according to Virgin Media, which has an enterprise value in excess of $20 billion. Bloomberg (05 Feb.), The Guardian (London) (05 Feb.), Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (05 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Experts: European transaction tax could push business elsewhere
    The Eurobond originated 50 years ago, when the U.S. instituted a tax to make it more expensive to invest in foreign equities. The Eurobond market became a viable alternative and has become the largest fixed-income market for corporate debt. Analysts see Europe's proposed financial-transaction tax as having the same effect. "If you can transact without transaction costs, you will," said Jim Kean of Bayesic Asset Management. "There'll be a market in Singapore or somewhere else." Bloomberg (03 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fed's ability to hold rates near zero is questioned
    The Federal Reserve has made a commitment to hold short-term interest rates at or near zero "for a considerable time," but officials are raising doubts about whether that will be possible as long-term rates rise. One Fed official said the U.S. central bank won't be able to hold the line on rates. Market News International (05 Feb.)
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  Economics 
  • Banks ease credit for some types of loans, Fed says
    U.S. banks are narrowing profit margins and loosening auto loan requirements to bring in more business, the Federal Reserve said. Consumer demand for car loans is up from October, but home mortgage applications are flat, the central bank said. Banks told the Fed that they aren't significantly relaxing credit standards for business loans or commercial real estate loans. USA Today (04 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Investors are heartened by rising bond yields
    Corporate-pension executives and other institutional investors are welcoming an increase in corporate-bond and U.S. Treasury yields, which is coming sooner than expected. If yields keep rising, the trend will open the door to more corporate defined-benefit plans, reducing long-term obligations through lump-sum distributions or the purchase of group-annuity contracts to transfer pension risk, experts say. Pensions & Investments (free registration) (04 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Advisers face hurdle in retirement-income planning, group says
    Financial advisers might find it a challenge to meet increased demand for retirement-income planning as investable assets held by heads of households older than 55 reach $22 trillion by 2020, according to industry-funded research group LIMRA. "With such a large demand, advisers may have to provide income product solutions more efficiently," said Jafor Iqbal, associate managing director of LIMRA Retirement Research. Financial-Planning.com (04 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.K. economic growth is slowing, research institute says
    The National Institute of Economic and Social Research expects the U.K. economy to expand 0.7% this year, rather than a previously forecast 1.1%. The institute says Chancellor George Osborne should ease austerity measures to help the economy recover. Bloomberg (04 Feb.)
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  Geopolitical/Regulatory 
  • FSB's call for FX derivatives margin confuses industry
    The Financial Stability Board has called for the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems to focus on foreign exchange derivatives and "set out strong provisions on variation margin." The request seems to run counter to the Working Group on Margining Requirements, which has delayed issuing guidelines, partly because of questions about whether they would be appropriate for forex swaps. The working group is run by the Basel Committee and the International Organization of Securities Commissions. Risk.net (subscription required) (04 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • EU moves to open bond and stock settlement to competition
    The European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee approved a draft law that would, under certain conditions, open the settlement of bond and share trades to competition. The proposal aims to improve the system and reduce trading costs. Reuters (04 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analysis: Cyberattacks on banks require more attention
    Regulators are giving more attention to cyberattacks on financial institutions, but not enough is being done when the potential for crippling a national economy is considered, according to The Economist. "At the moment banks have little incentive to share information on attacks and vulnerabilities with regulators or competitors," the magazine notes. "Supervisors also appear to be unwilling to talk publicly about their concerns or about investigations into lapses by banks." The Economist (tiered subscription model) (02 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Financial Products 
  • Thornburg creates retirement-plan share classes for 2 funds
    Thornburg Investment Management added R-share classes for two funds. The classes aim to help retirement-plan sponsors comply with U.S. Labor Department fee-disclosure rules for defined-benefit and -contribution pensions. The classes are available for the Developing World Fund and the International Growth Fund. PlanAdviser.com (01 Feb.) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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