Tuesday Newspaper round up.

Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust has slashed its exposure to UK equities by a third since the start of the year, to 200m pounds, in anticipation of a weaker pound and a correction in equity markets worldwide. Amongst others, it has cut its holdings of stock in the following corporations: Vodafone, BP and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as smaller companies. The funds have been redeployed towards buying 150m more pounds in overseas equities and to reduce debt by 50m pounds. Gearing, a measures of the use of debt, has come down to 12 per cent from 15.8 per cent at 2012 year-end, The Times comments.

Asset managers, including hedge funds, were recently alleged by the Financial Times to be paying brokers up to $20,000 an hour to meet Chief Executives of their corporate clients, often without the CEOs having any idea that their time was being sold. This may lead to a crackdown by the FSA on the practice according to Ed Harley, head of asset management supervision at the regulator. While some industry sources suggest the practice will now be curtailed others are of the belief that it should not be stigmatised, the FT writes.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover´s (JLR) Chief Executive, announced that JLR has increased the size of its planned investment in a new UK engine manufacturing centre near Wolverhampton.: “Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine manufacturing centre in the UK is a clear demonstration of our business strategy guiding our investment plans,” he said. The new installations will lead to the creation of 1,400 jobs, almost double the previously expected number, The Telegraph says.

Half a decade after the dawn of the financial crisis Britain’s small businesses remain locked in a credit crunch, despite government efforts to ease credit conditions. Thus, interest rates on loans to small businesses climbed in January to their highest levels since the time of the bank bailout in late 2008, according to the Bank of England. Similarly, separate figures from the British Bankers’ Association reveal that the value of new loans to the country’s small companies fell to £1.47bn in the final quarter of 2012, from £1.62bn a year earlier, The Times reports.

HSBC has “postponed indefinitely” its previous practice of carrying out a thrice yearly review of where to domicile its operations, in the UK or Hong Kong.
Despite the threat of new European bonus restrictions the bank is committed to maintaining its headquarters in in the UK, having all but ruled out its relocation overseas, the FT says.

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