Uk Estate Agent Foxtons Makes $1.2 Billion Stock Market Debut

The bank is facing separate probes by various government agencies into areas that include possible bribery in hiring practices in China and potentially fraudulent sales of mortgage securities. Following the “Whale” scandal, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon faced a bruising battle with some shareholders to retain his chairman title and has since been under pressure to improve the bank’s relationship with regulators. Two former bank employees – Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout – have already been charged with trying to hide some of those losses by deliberately giving inaccurate values to the sophisticated securities involved in the trades. Bruno Iksil, the trader whose large bets earned him the nickname “London Whale,” has signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors and has not been charged with any wrongdoing. (Reporting by David Henry in New York and Huw Jones in London; Editing by Gary Hill) Also on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow London Whale The bank’s chief investment office gambled on credit derivatives, losing $5.8 billion (so far), and its trading desk may have tried to hide the losses from the home office. The bank says it is being sued by shareholders over the losses and has gotten subpoenas and requests for information from “Congress, the OCC, Federal Reserve, DOJ, SEC, CFTC, UK Financial Services Authority, the State of Massachusetts and other government agencies, including in Japan, Singapore and Germany.” Milan Swap Deal The bank has faced lawsuits and criminal investigations over an interest-rate swap deal it made with the city of Milan, Italy, back in 2005. The bank settled a civil suit, but criminal charges are still pending against the bank and several employees, with hearings in the trial “occurring on a weekly basis since May 2010.” Enron The bank and some of its executives are still being sued over the bank’s relationship with the failed, fraud-ridden energy giant, more than a decade after its failure. Energy Manipulation Speaking of Enron, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is investigating charges that JPMorgan manipulated power markets in California and the Midwest. Credit Card Swipe Fees The bank said in the filing that it will pay about $1.2 billion to settle charges that it conspired with MasterCard and Visa to rig credit-card swipe fees. Libor The bank is being investigated by regulators all over the world for its alleged involvement in manipulating Libor, a short-term interest rate that affects borrowing costs for people, businesses and governments all over the world. Madoff Ponzi Scheme Several lawsuits have accused the bank of aiding and abetting Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the biggest in history. The Madoff bankruptcy trustee and others have also sued the bank to get back some Madoff clients’ money. MF Global The bank is under investigation by regulators for its relationship with the failed brokerage firm MF Global. It is also being sued for allegedly aiding and abetting MF Global misuse of customer money. Mortgage Backed Securities The bank is being sued by hordes of investors for its bundling and selling of mortgage-backed securities packed with bad mortgage debt before the financial crisis.

A Foxtons estate agent sign is seen outside a branch in north London September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

By 1425 GMT they were trading at 271.5p. Foxtons sold 60 percent of its equity to become the latest UK property-related company to float on the back of a recovering housing market, following real estate agency Countrywide (CWD.L) and housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST.L) earlier this year. Both have seen their shares rise more than 50 percent since going public, but some investors said last week Foxtons was late to the party and too exposed to London. While Britain’s housing market has been boosted by signs of an improving economy as well as help from the government and the Bank of England to ease access to finance, the pace of recovery has raised concerns about a new property bubble. Data last week showed British house prices recorded their fastest rise in almost seven years. However, despite being wary of proposed further government stimulus measures, housebuilding analyst Tony Williams said London was not yet experiencing a market bubble and rising interest rates in coming years would act as a natural brake. “A bubble is when you have people buying and flipping within the space of months. What you have in London is a shortage of supply and a planning system that gums up the works,” he said. “This particular run will end some time between the back end of 2014 and 2016, as rising mortgage rates will cause the market to plateau,” Williams added. Foxtons, which last year earned more than half its revenue from its lettings business, is focused on expansion within London, home to 40 of its 42 branches, and has said it is aiming for five to 10 new branch openings a year between 2014 and 2018. But analyst Anthony Codling at brokerage Jefferies said that while estate agents were the best way to gain exposure to the UK housing market, prospects were better for nationwide firms. “We see more significant potential for house price growth outside of London than inside,” he said in a note.

UK to open 8 Sikh ‘faith schools’ to inculcate tolerance

More kids Safina Qureshi, a grade six student, and her sibling Zain Qureshi both of whom come from Islamic families, are meditating with their Sikh friend Harjinder Pal Singh inside one of the large halls of Guru Nanak Sikh Academy in Hayes in Middlesex. These students are part of the UKs first state funded Sikh secondary school that was inaugurated in 1993 by then British home secretary Jack Straw and went to attain the same status of an academy as Roman Catholic and Anglican Church schools in the state sector. Nearly 20 years later, UK government has now officially announced opening of 15 similar new faith schools, including eight Sikh schools. The objective is to arrest the problem of racism and intolerance for other religions. The plan, as part of 102 new free schools, which are to be opened from 2014 and beyond, was approved in July this year by UK education secretary Michael Gove. Free schools in the UK are run by teachers rather than a local or central government authority and have the freedom to decide the length of the school day and term, the curriculum, and how they reward their teachers and spend their money. In cosmopolitan countries like the UK, where you have a big number of Sikhs, Buddhists from China or Shinto Japanese, the objective is to strengthen bonds between home, community and school and providing a preparation for each pupils entry into the wider community. This is where faith schools are the next big future of our society, said British Indian MP Paul Uppal, who opened a similar Sikh ethos school in his constituency Wolverhampton. According to a 2011 Race for Equality report by National Union for Students (NUS), a confederation of 600 students unions, amounting to more than 95% of all higher and further education unions in the UK, showed that 1 in 6 Black students have experienced racism in their current institution. Such is the growing popularity of faith schools that one Nishkam School in Houslow in West London due to open in September had received nearly four applications for each seat. The Nishkam School Trust, which already runs a primary school in Birmingham, claims the Hounslow School will be the UKs first all-round faith school, catering to pupils from the age of four to 18. These schools are also aimed at providing community elders such as grandparents to share their skills in sewing, cooking and storytelling with the kids of single working parents. The purpose is to bring back diminishing respect for family values. Of course, we will teach the national curriculum but there will be an emphasis on compassion and family life, which are not so cool values any more, says Rajinder Sandhu, principal, Guru Nanak Sikh Academy. Source: TOI