Banks to pay compensation
Britain’s biggest banks are to pay as much as ￡1.3 billion (US$2 billion) to compensate customers wrongly sold insurance to cover credit-card and identity theft. A group of 13 banks and credit-card issuers, including Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Capital One and MBNA, will fund the redress program the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in a statement yesterday. Regulators said in November last year that CPP Group, which provided the insurance for the lenders, overstated the risks and consequences of identity theft and failed to tell buyers of its card-protection product that they were already covered for losses of as much as ￡100,000 by their banks. About 7 million customers who bought the insurance since 2005 will be able to claim a refund on the premiums they paid plus 8 percent interest, the FCA said.
Tourist arrivals reach record
Officials yesterday announced record tourist arrivals last month as British, German and French holidaymakers packed its beaches at a time of unrest in Egypt and Turkey. A total 7.9 million international tourists arrived in the country last month, up 2.9 percent from the same month last year, government figures showed. Britain, Germany and France led the tourist influx. The latest figures brought tourist arrivals for the first seven months of the year to a record of 34 million, up 3.9 percent from the same period last year.
Business activity increases
Business activity picked up sharply this month, hitting a 26-month high point as the economy climbed out of a record recession, a closely watched survey showed yesterday. The Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) compiled by Markit Economics jumped to 51.7 points for this month from 50.5 last month, pushing further beyond the 50-points boom-or-bust line. Markit said its separate PMI for the services sector — which accounts for the bulk of economic activity — rose to 51 this month for a 24-month high, from 49.8 last month.
Everbright president resigns
The president of China’s Everbright Securities (光大證券) brokerage has stepped down, the company said yesterday, just days after a trading glitch that roiled the country’s stock market. Everbright said it had accepted the resignation of Xu Haoming (徐浩明) as president and board director. The government is investigating Everbright, China’s seventh largest brokerage by assets, after a “design defect” in its proprietary trading system briefly sent the benchmark stock index up more than 5 percent on Friday last week. Separately, China’s market regulator said it would investigate computer program trading following the incident, according to another statement.
App enhances Google Glass
The spectacle-like computing device Google Glass can serve as an automated tour guide with the help of a new application from a little-known startup hatched within the Internet’s most powerful company. The app, called “Field Trip,” is being released on Wednesday by Google-owned Niantic Labs for the 10,000 people currently testing an early model of Glass known as the Explorer edition. It becomes just the ninth app to be approved by Google Inc for use on Glass before the device’s anticipated mass market release early next year.