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News digest 19/2/16: NHS faces referral over ‘cash-for-pensions’

19 February 2016 by Henry Ker

 NHS faces referral over ‘cash-for-pensions’ - read more

NHS faces referral over ‘cash-for-pensions’

The NHS could face referral to regulators over concerns that newly-qualified nurses are being offered cash payments to give up their NHS pension.

Concerns about have been raised with the NHS Pensions Board over a new pay deal offered by a south-east London NHS trust. The deal gives newly-qualified nurses the option to receive a higher salary if they opt out of the NHS pension. The board is concerned the deal breaks government rules on automatic enrolment for all workers and now must decide whether to refer the trust to the Pensions Regulator.

 

Financial services productivity falls

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that productivity in Britain’s financial services sector has fallen significantly since 2009.

The figures, measured by output per hour worked, suggest since 2009 the sector has been going in reverse, with productivity now only slightly ahead of Germany and behind the US, France and Italy. The figures are down from the period between 2005 and 2009 when the UK figures were higher. There are suggestions that this is due to ‘over-regulation’.

 

Rolls-Royce prepares to bring activist investor onto board

Rolls-Royce looks likely to back a bid by ValueAct for a seat on their board. This will give the US-based investor influence over the company, which is currently trying to recover from a string of profit warnings. ValueAct is a San Francisco-based fund and is Rolls-Royce’s largest shareholder with a 10% stake.

 

Bank of England counters criticism

The Bank of England has responded to criticism from Sir John Vickers, the man behind the UK’s banking reforms following the financial crisis, and denied that it has ignored his recommendation for minimum capital levels for the biggest lenders.

In a response to Vicker’s Financial Times article, the BoE argued that it has in fact gone beyond his recommendations: ‘The Bank of England continues to support the conclusions of the ICB [Independent Commission on Banking] but is proposing a higher level of capital and overall resilience in the banking system than was proposed by the ICB in their final report’.

 

ACCA warns of weak financial governance in charities

A joint report from ACCA and Responsible Finance has cited a lack of robust financial control and problems with governance standards at charities. It also criticised aggressive fundraising methods and said they were eroding trust in the charity sector.

Ben Hughes, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance, has commented ‘With short-termism so prevalent and the fact that relatively low numbers of senior managers in the sector currently come from a financial background, it will be a challenge for these organisations to grow in a structured and sustainable way.’

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