An advisor to Europe’s highest court has said that Uber should be regulated as a transportation company, subjecting it to local licensing regulations which could have been considered disproportionate under EU law had it been deemed an "information society service". In a opinion handed down Thursday, Maciej Szpunar, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said “Indirect control such as that exercised by Uber, based on financial incentives and decentralised passenger-led ratings, with a scale effect, makes it possible to manage in a way that is just as — if not more — effective than management based on formal orders given by an employer to his employees and direct control over the carrying out of such orders.” The decision handed down today is non-binding, though ECJ rulings have historically followed the advice of the advocate general. A final ruling is expected later this year.
At a meeting last week, CPEG, the pension fund for the Swiss canton of Geneva, has unveiled a set of structural measures to improve its funding level that could have the effect of cutting future pension benefits by up to 15%. The committee which manages the CHF12bn (€11bn) fund (employee, pensioner, and employer representatives) confirmed a plan to raise the age at which members can take a full pension from 64 to 65 as of 1 January 2018. In the same occasion, it released the decision to lower the target pension level. The pension fund said this measure would be accompanied by other technical measures of less importance, but the cumulative effect could be a lowering of pension benefits by up to 15% for active members.
The idea of Italy leaving the eurozone, or 'Italexit', "does not have the slightest basis" in fact, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Wednesday in a verbal tussle with a Dutch MP. Draghi repeated that the euro is "irrevocable, and that's what the Treaty says". Confronted with the possibility of the Netherlands quitting Europe’s monetary union by Eurosceptic MP Thierry Baudet, an angry Mr Draghi said: “The euro is irrevocable. This is the treaty. I will not speculate on something that has no basis.” Highlighting the ECB’s role in the eurozone’s economic recovery, he said policies had helped create 4.5m jobs. “That’s the reality, the rest is speculation." In other remarks, Draghi said it was "up to the eurozone countries to prepare for the end of quantitative easing".
Zurich Insurance Group referred its profit fell from a year earlier in the first quarter, but added that an improved economic outlook could help the company's prospects for the rest of the year. The Swiss insurer said net income fell to $607 million in the first quarter from $875 million a year earlier. A more than 3 percent change to Britain's Ogden rate, a tool for calculating personal injury and accident claims, dampened Zurich's core property and casualty business in the first three months of 2017.
According to latest reports, a slowdown in the housing market and a weakness in the construction industry only worsened amid higher costs. In your point of view, should we expect a further decrease in the UK economy? Why? Our base case scenario is that we are expecting a slowdown in the UK economy in 2017. If we ask what has been propping the UK economy up since Brexit, the answer would be the consumer spending story; we have seen consumption being fairly resilient since Brexit. On the other hand, we have seen investment taper a little bit less, therefore, what has been driving the UK economy is really consumer spending. Though, at this point, the outlook looks pretty bleak, especially if we take into account the fact that we have got a squeeze in household consumer incomes, coming from higher fuel prices, higher inflation, and a lack of wage inflation. Real incomes are being squeezed, which in theory leads to weaker consumer spending power. Thus, the channel which has been propping up the UK growth is likely to weaken a little bit going into 2017.
Switzerland will limit Bulgarian and Romanian citizens' access to the Swiss labour market for the next 12 months, the government said on Wednesday, as it seeks to slow increased migration from those two countries since last year, Reuters reported. The number of five-year "B" residence permits for people coming from the two countries will be fixed at 996: the decision would be due to the threshold of workers from those countries taking largely seasonal jobs had been exceeded between June 2016 and May 2017.
Art investors, collectors and owners will be able to trade shares in fine art for the first time on a unique online marketplace powered by blockchain technology. Maecenas is a new marketplace for fine art investment that uses blockchain technology to revamp what its founders claim to be a market that has largely remained unchanged for more than 300 years. It will also allow any investor to have a fractional share of a masterpiece. Maecenas focuses on masterpieces and proven successful artists. The platform only lists art pieces worth US$1 million and above.
The Swiss National Bank unveiled the second note in its new banknote series on Wednesday. The new 20 franc note, which will be in circulation from May 17th, follows the release of the first in the series, the 50 franc note, last year. Overall, the National Bank’s new series of banknotes is intended to reflect “the many facets of Switzerland”. The design of each note centers around a primary theme. On the 20-franc note, this will be light. A hand, the earth and butterflies are the main motifs on the note.
Swiss Life had a «good start» to the year 2017, with fee revenue of 340 million Swiss francs, an increase of 5% compared with the same period a year ago. Premiums dropped 1% to 6.5 billion francs, the company said in a statement today. Five analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected gross premiums to fall 1.3 percent to 6.595 billion francs. "Swiss Life has made a good start to the year," Chief Financial Officer Thomas Buess said in a statement. "We also managed to increase fee income and assets under management in the first quarter of 2017. That shows we are continuing our progress toward implementing our group-wide program 'Swiss Life 2018'."
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