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Labour manifesto pledges ‘to let the industry prosper’

Labour’s general election manifesto pledges to allow the financial services industry to prosper but has avoided any pension policy ommitments until after the autumn publication of the Turner report.

The manifesto sets out a series of policies which have been announced previously, including a commitment to continue the pension credit and legis- lation to protect the right to work up to the age of 65 through new anti-discrimination laws.

Labour promises to regulate only where necess- ary and has set targets to reduce the costs of administrating regulation.

It claims that the mer- ger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise will cut the costs of tax compliance for small businesses.

It also pledges to work with the financial services industry to address the problem of dormant bank accounts, establishing a common definition and record of unclaimed ass- ets with the aim of reuniting these assets with their owners over the period of next Parliament.

Prime Minister Tony Blair says: “Britain has some of the strongest cap- ital markets in the world. We are determined that they and our financial services industry should prosper.”

Capital Tower compliance and training manager Graham Clarke says: “We need politicians who understand the industry.

“This Government has no idea how financial services works. Leaving decisions to the Turner report is a typical response. People need an incentive to save, whether through compulsion or other means, but this manifesto does noth- ing positive.”

l Election analysis, p8; End FSA culture, p15


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James Dowey, Chief Economist, and Paul Caruana-Galizia, Economist

The conventional wisdom is that following a roughly 50 per cent rise in the stock market in 2013 in Yen terms, the Japan trade is over and done*. So the story goes, those big gains were due to a one-off boost from quantitative easing (QE) and a depreciation of the Yen — policies that one should think of as a palliative to Japan’s economic weakness, but not a cure. Rather the cure, and by implication the necessary condition for a longer-term investment case, is deep structural reforms — a painstaking re-weaving of Japan’s economic and social fabric, no less. The story continues: this is a much tougher test than launching a blast of QE, and one that prime minister Shinzo Abe, although well intentioned and well supported by the public thus far, is likely to fail. Stick a fork in Japan, it’s done…continue reading


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