Investors of RBS asked bank to create investor committee to avoid repeat of crisis-era mistakes

Royal Bank of Scotland

( via – – Fri, 30 Dec, 2016) London, UK – –

More than 160 investors in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) have asked the bank to create a committee of shareholders to improve its corporate governance and help avoid a repeat of mistakes that led to its 45 billion pound ($55 billion) bailout.

ShareSoc and UKSA, two shareholder groups, will submit the proposal at the bank's next annual meeting in May, with the aim of improving the lot of long-term investors who have seen RBS shares fall more than 95 percent since their 2007 peak.

The shareholders said their aims were to improve the representation of individual retail investors in how the bank is run and to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.
“A dominant CEO; concealing the true financial position of the company from investors; proceeding with a reckless acquisition; and then publishing a rights prospectus which concealed the problems faced by the company,” Mark Northway, Sharesoc Chairman, said in describing those mistakes.

RBS could not immediately be reached for comment.

For the resolution to pass, it would need at least 75 percent of shareholder votes cast at the meeting. That means the government, which holds 71 percent of shares in the bank, would need to support it or abstain for it to go through.

A spokesman for UKFI, which manages the government stake, declined to comment on how UKFI might vote.

Shareholder committees are largely unheard of in Britain, though are a staple of corporate governance in Sweden, where they nominate who should sit on a company's board.

RBS is still in the throes of a restructuring, which includes asset sales, job cuts and tackling multi-billion dollar charges to settle litigation and pay regulatory fines for past misconduct.

The bank said this month it will pay more than 800 million pounds to settle claims by four investor groups that the bank misled them during a 12 billion pound fundraising at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

RBS along with other banks also faces an investigation by the United States Department of Justice over its sale and pooling of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the crisis.

 By Lawrence White

Britain to New York flights set to launch costing less than £60

( via via — Thu, 29 Dec, 2016) London, Uk —

Flights between Britain and New York costing less than £60 are set to be introduced in the new year.

Budget airline Norwegian plans to slash the price of flights from Edinburgh to smaller airports in the Big Apple to as little as £56, it was announced last week.

Tickets will be sold on flights to airports other than JFK using six Boeing 737MAX aircraft which burn less fuel than other long-haul planes, the Times reported.

Earlier this month the airline revealed that it would cut US-bound services leaving Gatwick from 34 to 22 flights a week from next year.

British Airways cut flights to the US from the UK earlier this year.

Flights on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will start at £135.

Fiona Simpson

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta on identifying the next billion-dollar idea

( via — Wed, 28 Dec, 2016) London, Uk —

Imagine coming up with the next Uber, Airbnb, Instagram or Snapchat. How do you know when you have thought of the next billion-dollar idea?

Hospitality mogul and star of CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” Tilman Fertitta, who meets with entrepreneurs nationwide looking for the most innovative products to add to his portfolio, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith in the video above the key characteristics he looks for when identifying the next big business idea.

“Look at edgy products,” said Landry. “There are so many young millennial entrepreneurs out there right now coming up with different products…. You’re looking for somebody that can scale up, that has a unique product that people want. It can be anything. Being in casinos, restaurants, hotels, aquariums and amusement parks, we buy everything, so we’re just looking for that one unique product.”

Fertitta has a proven track record of success over the last four decades. He’s the sole-owner of dining, entertainment, gaming and hospitality group Landry’s, which is comprised of more than 500 properties including the Rainforest Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chart House and McCormick & Schmick’s. Fertitta’s a self-made billionaire with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.

Don’t be fooled though, it takes much more than just a “unique” product to turn a billion-dollar idea into a prosperous business. Fertitta says key traits that separate successful entrepreneurs from those that fail include passion, perseverance and effective management.

“It’s really about knowing all facets of your business,” he said. “Know your numbers and never give up. And when you get kicked down, keep picking yourself up.”

Seana Smith

Boss Rewards 800 Staff with Caribbean Cruise

Employees at an Iowa cabinet company are about to get a sunny reprieve from the winter cold, all thanks to the boss. All of the more than 800 employees of Bertch Cabinets in Waterloo, Iowa will get a free trip to the Caribbean next month. company president Gary Bertch said “We leave January 8, We've got four charter aircraft that will be flying directly to Miami Sunday and staying at a nice five-star hotel. Then on Monday, we'll bus over from the hotel to the port and load up on the ship.” Bertch told his employees the trip was a reward for them after the company meet its goals for the year.

Danny Meyer’s New Union Square Cafe Location

Union Square Cafe is the restaurant that led Danny Meyer to open a slew of hits including Gramercy Tavern, 11 Madison Park and Shake Shack. Meyer opened Union Square Cafe in 1985 and the restaurant thrived until a major rent increase forced him to relocate. Bloomberg Pursuits restaurant editor Kate Krader sat down with Danny Meyer at Union Square Cafe's new Manhattan location as he was putting on the finishing touches before opening night.

Amazon Shipped 1 Billion Items Over The Holiday Season

Enlarge ImageEcho devices dominated holiday shopping lists from November 1 to December 19. Amazon Prime is really giving Santa Claus a run for his money. The Seattle-based retailer giant shipped more than 1 billion items around the world for the holiday season, more than five times its sales last holiday season, between November 1 to December 19. The Echo Dot was the most coveted gift out of the hundreds of millions of items shipped from Amazon, which quickly sold out. “Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping them in stock,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumers said.

A standout year for technology giant Samsung, but not for the right reasons

The South Korean smartphone maker's flagship Galaxy Note 7 device came to market ahead of the latest iPhone and sales were brisk, until reports started coming in of handsets overheating and catching fire.

Recalls and battery changes failed to fix the problem; airlines banned the phones from their flights, and Samsung eventually had to make the decision to stop producing its star product.

Hotel Suite Carved by Artist Out of Solid Ice, in 1 Minute

This isn't your typical snow fort. Italian architect Luca Roncoroni travelled to the Arctic Circle to design this Victorian Ice Suite for the Icehotel 365 in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, where rooms can cost $1,000 a night. It took nearly 10 tons of ice and roughly 135 hours to hand-carve every detail. Bloomberg Pursuits watches him work, from start to finish, in one magical minute.

Deutsche Bank agree $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice

A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany September 30, 2016. Deutsche Bank has agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over its sale and pooling of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The agreement in principle, announced by Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt headquarters early Friday morning, offers some relief to the German lender, whose stock was hit hard in September after it acknowledged the Justice Department had been seeking nearly twice as much.

Superfast broadband for extra 600,000 homes under Government scheme

( via – Fri, 23 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

The £440m project will connect properties in rural parts of the UK to services “which are at the heart of modern life”.

Around 600,000 extra homes and businesses are in line for superfast broadband services, it has been announced.

Some £440m will be used to connect properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK under the Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK), Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said.

The announcement comes a month after Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £1bn of Government investment in “full-fibre” broadband, a handout which means at least two million more homes and businesses could get access to speeds of more than 1Gbps.

Last week, the Government also faced calls to “play an active role” in the future rollout of 5G, as a report revealed that Albania and Peru have better mobile phone coverage than the UK.

Ministers set up the BDUK project to provide superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by December 2017.

Ms Bradley said the programme is providing homes and businesses with “fast and reliable internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life”.

She said: “Strong take-up and robust value-for-money measures mean £440m will be available for reinvestment where it matters – putting more connections in the ground.

“This will benefit around 600,000 extra premises and is a further sign of our commitment to build a country that works for everyone.”
The fund is made up of £150m in savings from “careful contract management” and £292m released through a clawback system that reinvests money when people take up superfast connections installed under the scheme.

Ms Bradley added: “Broadband speeds aren't boosted automatically – it needs people to sign up.

“Increasing take-up is a win-win-win: consumers get a better service, it encourages providers to invest, and when more people sign up in BDUK areas, money is clawed back to pay for more connections.”

BT said the investment in superfast broadband is “a huge success story for the UK”, adding that the BDUK project “shows exactly what can be achieved through close partnerships between the public and private sector”.

UK Businesses given a boost by Merry Christmas shoppers

( via – – Thu, 22 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Christmas Shopping

Businesses are growing at their fastest pace of the year, as strong consumer growth and recovering confidence gives the economy some Christmas cheer.

A survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed that the proportion of firms with rising sales outweighed those with falling sales by a margin of 17 percentage points.

That is up from a net balance of 9pc in November and the index's highest level since December of 2015, indicating that more firms experienced growing demand.
Shopping is on the up as enthusiastic households remain confident in the economy, while export growth is improving because the weak pound makes British goods attractive to foreign buyers.

Britons are happy to make major purchases, according to a separate consumer confidence monitor from GfK, which also showed that households were confident in their personal financial situations.
Some of that household spending growth may fizzle out next year, however, as inflation is expected to pick up due to the fall in the pound.

“Against a backdrop of Brexit negotiations, the decline in the value of sterling, and the prospect of higher inflation impacting purchasing power, we forecast that confidence will be tested by the storm and stress of the year to come,” said Joe Staton, GfK’s head of market dynamics.

Shoppers are aware of the likely rise in inflation, and so could be bringing forward decisions to buy expensive items, getting in now before prices go up in 2017.

The latest study of the economy in the final three months of the year by the Bank of England’s regional agents found that “some households were thought to have brought forward purchases of larger items such as furniture and electrical goods in the expectation that prices would rise next year”.

By Tim Wallace