And also this week...

Willis predicts M&A?boom

The insurance industry will see an increase in mergers and acquisitions activity in 2010, according to Willis Capital Markets & Advisory chief executive Tony Ursano. “As markets stabilise, valuations boost confidence, and acquisition financing capacity and terms improve, we expect to see a significant increase in M&A activity in the insurance space,” Ursano said.

Mixed feelings for Novae

Novae’s half-year results were materially worse than its peers at Lloyd’s, said a report compiled by analysts at Charles Stewart. However, the firm was encouraged by the creation of Novae Re. “We see this as a relatively low-risk way for Novae to deploy more capital, without the upfront dilution of goodwill from M&A,” the report said.

Gender pay gap hits 80%

Woman working in the UK’s leading finance companies get 80% less in performance-related pay than their male colleagues, according to an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Commission chairman Trevor Phillips said: “The financial sector has the potential to play a central role in Britain’s recovery. But it has to address this shocking disparity of rewards.”