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Weekend Roundup November 15, 2009

Sunday Times
Darling's blueprint to end the banks' casino culture The Chancellor will this week publish legislation that allows bankers contracts to be ripped up by regulators and their employers fined for encouraging too much risk-taking. The bill, which will be included in the Queen's speech on Wednesday, is part of a policy to ensure banks aren't in a position to bring down the economy again.

The news comes as remuneration adviser Patterson Associates has released research that finds the average remuneration package of a FTSE-100 boss has risen by nearly eight per cent -- seven times the rate of inflation, demonstrating the fat-cat culture is alive and well in the top roles of business

White teeth, brass neck The activities of one boss has proved too much for his employers however. The founder and owner of the the eponymous James Hull Associates dentist chain has been ousted as chief executive by after shareholders discovered he had filed an annual expenses bill of £180k. Hull follows the finance director and chairman of the company out the door and the chain is now without a senior management team. Hull will be retained as life president, although it's not clear what salary that commands.

Sunday Telegraph
Banker brain-drain The British Bankers Association warns that the upcoming Financial Service Bill could cramp the risk-taking style of British bankers overseas. It could also deter non-UK banks from locating here, argues the BBA's boss Angela Knight. But we don't want reckless bankers here was the response from City minister Lord Myners.

Madoff on sale Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard Madoff's ill-gotten swag sold for nearly £600,000 at an auction held in a Manhattan Sheraton. One fund manager bought his golf clubs for over £2,100, but didn't want "his vibes - my fund is doing better". And a record label owner bought a tree-stump table. "I'm going to cut it open and see if he stuck any money in it."
Young enterprise Enterprise Week kicks off with thousands of 14 to 16-year-olds challenged to come up with environmentally sound business ideas. This year's emphasis: business plans that make financial sense.

Hard cheese Cadbury chairman Roger Carr tells the Sunday Telegraph that supportive hedge funds are in it for the long haul. "I don't think they are foolish enough to let value flow through to the hands of Kraft, who are clearly hoping to acquire the business on the cheap. I don't see people letting that happen."

Woolworths bosses lash out Two of top brass at Woolworths have blamed the store's 2008 failure on a conflict of interest at Deloitte, the accountancy firm. Deloitte was both adviser to Woolies' bankers and the high-street store's administrator, which former chairman Richard North described as "manifestly a conflict of interest."

News of the World
Foster kids to get apprentice training and career advice Children's secretary Ed Balls is set to announce a scheme to promise children in care training, mentoring and access to jobs. The initiative has the backing of 30 companies including as Tesco, O2, Aviva and Marks and Spencer. Around 6,000 teenagers will be eligible for the scheme.

The Observer
BAIberia ready for departure BA's merger deal with Iberia is ready for takeoff - as long as the UK's airline can sort out a pensions deficit believed to be around £2.6bn. The combined business will become the third largest airline worldwide, and will keep its London HQ, though based in Madrid for tax reasons.

A loan against the world If it were vying for least popular bank in the UK, the Royal Bank of Scotland just got closer, thanks to its £630m loan facility to Kraft. Unite, the union, and MPs have complained that this works against the UK's interest and is inappropriate for a state-supported bank. But the RBS notes that it has opened its coffers to plenty of UK businesses - and after all, it is a bank.

Derailed by recession The Heathrow to Canary Wharf Crossrail scheme could be in jeopardy as projected cuts of £750m hit infrastructure projects. Crossrail and the £5.5bn Thameslink plans may have to be scaled back as all public sector projects face recessionary reviews.

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