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The international financial services sector came under close scrutiny, culminating in the announcement of the mer- ger between Swiss Bank Corporation and Union Bank of Switzerland.

This will create the world&#39s second-biggest bank and biggest fund manager at the cost of an estimated 13,000 jobs. As has been the case in so many instances this year, the share prices of both parties involved have risen significantly.

This is further evidence of the levels of corporate activity which have been seen across Europe over the last two years and marks a significant shift in Europe away from the industrial sector and into the financial sector. Further such rationalisations in the financial services industry cannot be ruled out.

The banking sector also led the rises in the UK market, driven by multiplying speculation about wide-ranging rationalisation within the industry. The centre of interest is currently National Westminster Bank which is the subject of a variety of merger/takeover stories.

In Japan, the focus is on the absolute amount to be dedicated to writing off bad debts for the system as a whole, with Yen10 trillion the figure most commonly rumoured.

It is likely, however, that the final sum may be somewhat lower than this and the mechanism for injecting this into the financial system has not yet been finally resolved, so considerable room for disappointment remains.


Candidates announced for Sofa election

IFAs Gary Jefferies and Maureen McKenna are standing for election to the board of the Society of Financial Advisers. Details of the annual general meeting sent out to members last week show that the two IFAs have put themselves forward for election at Sofa&#39s AGM on November 27. A gap on the Sofa board has […]

Fry steps down as chief executive

Johnson Fry founder Charles Fry is standing down as chief executive on December 31. Fry will continue to serve on the board and will work part-time at the company in sales and marketing. Rebecca Thomas, who was appointed managing director in September, will take over operational responsibility.

A Game of two halves

There are just two more weeks to go after this week in our fantastic competition with Save & Prosper. The runners and riders with a chance of being in the top 16 in the league will be revealed soon. That puts them in the frame to be one of four lucky IFA readers to win […]

Abbey offers free shortfall software

Abbey Life is offering IFAs free computer software to calculate how much their client&#39s pension provision falls short of expectations. Abbey Life is distributing the disk, or CD-Rom, to IFAs through its local offices and to consumers through its salesforce. The software, called PC Retirement Shortfall Package, is Windows compatible. The disk provides a projection […]


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