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Latest Bank Merger Rumour

Reuters reports that shares in Fortis rose in early trading Tuesday on speculation that the Belgian-Dutch financial services group is to merge with ABN AMRO.

Bonuses - You Are The Weakest Link (Goodbye)

Well, almost. Financial News reports that UK broker Bridgewell is to pay bonuses next month. 20% of the firm's 135 staff are expected to get a doughnut (sweet zero). Bridgewell, which says that its 'new executive team is focused on building high performance', now grades its staff into 5 brackets. A bottom ranking is thought likely to result in a zero bonus. 'Doughnut' recipients are not expected to hang around long.

Fidelity, FSA, Goldman, Nikko, State Street, Pipe Bombs

The Financial Times reports that US securities regulators have fined Fidelity Investments a total of $3.7m for 'supervisory and e-mail retention failures uncovered during a crackdown on'. The firm was found to have brorken its own ethics and entertainment policies as staff were plied with lavish gifts allegedly in exchange for passing on business.

Hedge Funds - More Trouble Ahead ?

Bloomberg reports that Red Kite Metals, part of the $1bn hedge fund group run by London-based RK Capital Management, lost around 30% of its value in January as metal prices fell away. The fund expects prices to rebound later this month in response to increased industrial and housing demand in China. Having said this, concern is growing that hedge funds which specialize in commodities may be playing with fire.

JPMorgan Mulls Docklands Move, HSBC To Sell HQ Building

The Evening Standard reports that JPMorgan is mulling over a possible move to Docklands, joining Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and a raft of other firms. If the move goes ahead, the only top-tier investment banks remaining in the so-called 'square mile' will be Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and UBS.

Trading Efficiency & Trader Bonuses

Reuters reports that although the top US investment banks all posted record sales and trading revenues last year, some firms were more 'efficient' than others - that's according to rankings released by Bernstein Research.