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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

This week's roundup includes news of a parliamentary defeat for David Cameron regarding EU referendum rules, an agreed merger between betting companies Betfair and Paddy Power, suggestions that around one million homeowners will have no way of paying off their mortgage and the latest on Asian stocks.


EU referendum rules defeat for David Cameron

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, suffered a defeat in parliament on Monday regarding proposed rules for a European Union membership referendum. Members of Mr Cameron's own Conservative party, along with Labour MPs, rejected the proposed plans to amend so-called 'purdah' rules, which limit government activity in the run up to the referendum and prevent the government from publishing anything that could influence the result.

A membership vote regarding Britain and the EU is planned for before the end of 2017, but while overall legislation on the referendum passed a vote in the House of Commons, MPs voted 312-285 against the proposed purdah rules, with ministers claiming a full period of purdah must be followed.

Mr Cameron has previously claimed he wants Britain to remain in the EU, but only following reforms. However, he may be willing to reconsider should renegotiations not produce the desired outcome. 

Betfair and Paddy Power agree merger

Betting companies Betfair and Paddy Power have agreed to a £5 billion merger. The two will combine to create a new firm called Paddy Power Betfair, in a move to become Britain's market leader in competitive online gambling.

As part of the deal - the provisional agreement for which was announced last month - Paddy Power shareholders will own 52% of the group and Betfair shareholders will own the remainder.

The new firm will have a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Irish Stock Exchange. Breon Corcoran, Chief Executive Officer of Betfair, is to become the Chief Executive of the new firm.

Andy McCue, Chief Executive of Paddy Power, will become the group's Chief Operating Officer. He commented: "The sheer scale and capabilities of the group would mean that we'd be best-placed to compete internationally." 

Nearly 1m 'will never pay off mortgage'

By choosing an interest-only loan, nearly one million homeowners will have no chance of paying off their mortgages. This is according to Citizens Advice, which explained 934,000 homeowners do not have a plan in place for paying back money when their mortgage term comes to a close.

The sale of millions of interest-only mortgages took occurred before a tightening of the rules took place three years ago. But now, Citizens Advice has warned that time is of the essence for those who need to get their finances in order.

In a statement to the BBC, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy said: "People buy a home for stability, but interest-only mortgages have forced many into a financial black hole." 

Asian stocks rise, but are capped by slowdown fears

Tuesday saw a rise in Asian stocks, bringing an end to six consecutive days of falls. However, the gains were capped by fears that a fall in China's imports in August could result in the country's economy experiencing an even more severe downturn.

Although China's exports fell less than anticipated, there remain concerns that the economy remains in poor condition. The movement has raised fears that the coming months could result in the introduction of more policy easing.