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The UK’s second largest insurance firm is planning the transfer of £9 billion in insurance investment assets to Ireland ahead of an anticipated hard Brexit, it was reported this week. It has already transferred £1 billion in general insurance policies.

Aviva and other financial firms had been awaiting news of some kind of agreement between the UK and Brussels which would provide certainty on the treatment of insurance policies. Aviva has successfully applied to the High Court for permission to transfer the assets prior to the 29 March hard Brexit deadline. It was concerned that policy holders would be harmed in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We are transferring some of our customers’ policies in the EEA to our Irish subsidiary, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, to ensure that when the UK leaves the EU we can continue to service these policies,” the company said in a statement this week.

Dwarfing the Aviva transfer was the much bigger transfer by Barclays, to the tune of £166 billion, on behalf of 5000 clients, because the bank was not able to wait any longer for the British government to come to terms with the EU.

GAM fires fund manager Tim Haywood

Meanwhile fund manager GAM has finally sacked portfolio manager Tim Haywood after an internal investigation found him guilty of “gross misconduct.” The firm confirmed his dismissal as part of its annual report, which demonstrated that it has lost approximately a third of its assets under management, largely as a consequence of the scandal.

While Haywood himself was responsible for some of GAM’s bond portfolios, the debacle once again illustrates how bad news around a star fund manager can seriously impact the assets under management for a mid-sized firm like GAM.

“Following the conclusion of the investigation and the disciplinary proceedings, the suspended investment director has now been dismissed from the company for gross misconduct,” GAM said in a statement.

Haywood has already told the press that while he has been gagged as a consequence of the disciplinary proceedings, it was his intention to appeal.

UBS slammed in French tax evasion case

Finally the bad boys of UBS are again in the regulatory spotlight as a French court has ordered the biggest of the Swiss banks to pay €4.5 billion for illegally helping French clients to hide billions of euros from the tax man in alleged tax evasion schemes between 2004 and 2012.

UBS has faced a series of major suits from governments for its activities around the world, helping investors to stash funds offshore to avoid taxes. The bank said it strongly disagreed with the French verdict, and that it was planning to appeal. It has argued that the conviction is not supported by concrete evidence.

The French case focuses on the movement of funds belonging to thousands of French residents to Swiss accounts, costing the French state in excess of €10 billion in lost revenue. UBS also stands accused of instituting services that would help its French clients to protect their assets from the tax man. UBS has already been forced to pay hefty fines to the governments of the US and Germany for similar offences.

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Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent over 20 years in journalism and financial communications, including six years as a wealth management correspondent for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong.

Stuart has worked as head of content at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Stuart continues to work with hedge funds, private banks, stock exchanges and other financial institutions on their communications, data and marketing requirements.

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