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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

This week's roundup sees us cast our eye over news of a profit drop for BP, the FTSE edging higher after falling for five consecutive sessions, a potential landmark inheritance ruling and a tripling in pension liberation frauds. 


BP announces sharp profit fall

A significant profit drop has been reported by BP, with lower oil prices having a marked effect on the company's performance. The oil firm announced that its underlying profit for the three months to the end of June stood at $1.31 billion (£841 million), which was considerably lower than the $3.63 billion recorded a year earlier.

After setting aside $7.5 billion for further costs relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster that made headlines around the world in 2010, the company recorded a loss of $6.26 billion. It has also lowered its expected full-year organic capital spending to below $20 billion after previously reducing it by 13% as a consequence of low oil prices across the industry.

Bob Dudley, BP's Chief Executive, commented: "Our work to increase efficiency and reduce costs is embedding sustainable benefits throughout the group and we continue with capital discipline and divestments."   

RSA and GKN help FTSE edge higher

The FTSE 100 edged higher on Tuesday morning thanks to gains for RSA Insurance Group and engineering company GKN. Britain's top share index was up 0.6% at 6,544.11 points, which put an end to five consecutive sessions of falls.

RSA witnessed an 11% climb after rival firm Zurich Insurance said it was considering making a bid for its British rival, while GKN gained 6% after announcing a deal to acquire Fokker Technologies in the Netherlands.

Another newly announced deal has seen Hikma Pharmaceuticals rise by almost 6%, with the company revealing it is to purchase the US speciality generic drug business of German company Boehringer Ingelheim. 

Daughter wins inheritance after being left out of will

A potential landmark ruling regarding wills and inheritance has seen a woman awarded inheritance after having originally been left out of her mother's will. The Court of Appeal ruled that Heather Ilott, whose mother left her £486,000 estate to various animal charities when she died in 2004, should be handed a third of the estate. 

Mrs Ilott's mother had cut her daughter out of her will because she had not forgiven her for eloping with her boyfriend when she was 17. As a result of the ruling, Mrs Ilott is set to receive £164,000 inheritance.

The ruling may prove highly significant because it could impact a person's right to only leave an inheritance to those they wish to receive it. For instance, if a parent wishes to leave money to other people or organisations and not their children, they would have to explain their connection to these parties. 

Pension liberation fraud 'more than tripled' in May

Members of the public reported losses of £4.7 million in May due to pension liberation fraud, it has been revealed. Action Fraud, which forms part of the City of London Police, announced the amount is more than triple the £1.4 million reported in April and significantly greater than the £932,000 in March.

Action Fraud said it is too early to tell, however, whether the upsurge in April was due to the new pension freedoms introduced that month - designed to give people more flexibility with their pension pot, including how they receive their income once retired - especially as people may not report being defrauded immediately.