FirstFT: UK ministers face confrontation with regulators over insurance rules

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Tensions are rising between Downing Street and UK regulators over Boris Johnson’s landmark post-Brexit insurance sector reform, which aims to trigger a “big bang of investment” in UK infrastructure.

The prime minister told his allies he was “getting impatient” with the pace at which Solvency II rules were changing and with what he saw as overly cautious regulators. “He keeps asking why this isn’t happening,” one said.

Insurers have lobbied for years for the Solvency II regulatory regime to be changed, arguing that it requires them to hold too much capital and is too restrictive in defining the parameters within which they can invest.

Johnson suggested insurance companies will pump billions of pounds into infrastructure, including green energy schemes, after the overhaul.

But the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, which oversees insurers, wants to ensure that any easing of the regulatory burden does not create risk to policyholders or the stability of businesses.

Do you have any comments on the newsletter? Tell us at [email protected]. Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Jennifer

1. Corporate fundraising plummets 25% during market rout Companies globally raised $4.9 billion through new bonds, loans and equities in the first half of 2022, compared to $6.6 billion in the first half of 2021 – a record period – according to data from Refinitiv, while that the cold in capital markets has left bankers and corporate finance chiefs wary.

2. UK trade performance plummets The country’s current account deficit was calculated at 8.3% of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2022, a deterioration from an average of 2.6% in 2021 and the worst level since records began, accentuating the pressure on the pound sterling and highlighting the economic crisis. impact of Brexit.

3. Russian forces withdraw from Snake Island Moscow withdrew from the strategic Black Sea outpost in what its Defense Ministry described as a “goodwill gesture” to help restore Ukrainian grain shipments, but which Kyiv said was a humiliating retreat after his artillery bombardment.

  • Related Reading: Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to derail Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO bids again, demanding that Stockholm extradite 73 people accused of terrorism.

  • Interview: European leaders must hold their ground if they want to stop Vladimir Putin’s ‘war of exhaustion’, the head of Ukraine’s state-owned energy company has said.

4. France ready to bypass Hungary for a global agreement on corporate taxation Paris wants the EU to consider bypassing Hungary to guarantee a minimum corporate tax rate for large companies after Budapest blocked a deal brokered by 137 countries at the OECD last month, the French minister said yesterday Finance Bruno Le Maire.

5. London City Airport’s major post-pandemic plans The airport has established major expansion plans, including allowing more weekend flights and raising the passenger cap, to capitalize on the travel industry’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The coming days

ECB ends bond buying program The European Central Bank will conclude part of its stimulus measures introduced ten years ago, to curb stubbornly high inflation.

Changing of the guard Brazil assumes the presidency of the UN Security Council for July, while the Czech Republic assumes the six-month presidency of the EU.

Economic data The S&P Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers indices have been released for France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. European consumer prices are expected to rise further in June. UK releases consumer credit figures as US manufacturing activity is expected to decelerate. (FT, WSJ)

Julian Assange Delay It is the last day for the WikiLeaks founder to appeal against the UK’s decision to extradite him to the US to face espionage charges.

National holidays Rwanda commemorates independence from Belgium while Somalia marks the country’s creation from British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. Canada has a federal holiday celebrating the formation of the union of British North American provinces that created Canada in 1868. On Sunday, Belarus marks Independence Day.

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What else we read

Stolen millions and trophy cattle hang over Cyril Ramaphosa The majestic Ankole longhorns were love at first sight for the future South African leader. But his expensive hobby of herding the prized cattle has become his Achilles’ heel in an anti-corruption campaign after a mysterious burglary raised questions about the transparency of his wealth.

The Swedish island where World War III could break out Experts say a Russian invasion of the Baltic could start with Gotland, an idyllic 1,200 square mile island that is one of the most strategically important places in Europe. Military control of the “unsinkable aircraft carrier” would threaten not only Sweden but also Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Land forces patrol Gotland, Sweden

Gotland is also one of the tourist pearls of northern Europe © Bezhav Mahmoud/Swedish Armed Forces/TT News Agency/AP

How to avoid a privacy apocalypse Right now, we have the worst of both worlds: researchers are struggling to access data because people who have patient records are (rightly) reluctant to share them. Yet leaks are almost inevitable due to uneven monitoring. Tim Harford argues that we need a new kind of data infrastructure.

Will the crypto-contagion infect traditional finance? The carnage in the cryptocurrency market had a silver lining: the broader financial system was spared. Here’s why most regulators and industry heavyweights think banks and asset managers are protected.

Enough of the nanny employer Employers were increasingly concerned with looking after staff well-being during the pandemic, particularly mental health, often addressing issues that had previously been considered personal. But have they encroached too much on our personal lives?

food drink

From glass bottles to linen napkins, fresh cut flowers to sandwiches for everyone, here’s how to throw the perfect picnic.

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