Finance set to surpass tech as most-profitable U.S. industry

Greece’s former finance minister should be prosecuted, lawmakers say

Former socialist Finance minister George Papaconstantinou at the Greek Parliament in Athens on January 17, 2013.

John Shinal is a technology columnist covering high-tech stocks. (Photo: USA TODAY) Today, while U.S. financial services companies do the majority of their business here, tech companies garner a large share of their sales from overseas. And while the U.S economy keeps growing at a slow-but-steady pace, prolonged recessions in Europe and slowing growth elsewhere have turned hardware and software exports once a strength of the tech industry into a relative weakness. “Technology has a lot more exposure to international markets, and the economic picture overseas isn’t as strong as it is here right now,” says Sheraz Mian, director of research at Zacks Investment Research.

Finance Ministry Proposes Liberalization of Insurance Rates

Sogaz’s CEO Sergei Ivanov supports theidea but said that thegradual replacement ofrigid price regulations with economic regulatory mechanisms would require strict state control. Vice president ofIngosstrakh Ilya Solomatin says theinsurance industry’s reform should be approached with caution. He said that thestate was initially forced tobegin regulating theinsurance industry when other types ofvoluntary insurance had failed. Former finance minister Alexei Savatyugin is even more sceptical suggesting that thereform can bring theindustry tothe situation ofthe early 2000’s, when “everybody was insuring himself” or relied on”Russian luck.” Dmitry Yanin, head ofthe International Confederation ofConsumer Societies Association, says mandatory types ofinsurance will never be fully revoked because they have thehighest profit margins.

High-ranking D.C. finance official is being ousted

Efforts to replace the outdated System of Accounting and Reporting, or SOAR, date back to 2009, with a new system expected to be in place by October 2012. But that rollout date has been pushed back indefinitely. Gandhi told the D.C. Council in March that key parts of the new system were not working as of last summer, leading to the delay.

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If convicted, he faces a prison sentence. Papaconstantinou served as finance minister from October 2009 to June 2011, and was finance minister when Greece negotiated its first international bailout. Because he is a lawmaker, Parliament has to approve the lifting of immunity before any prosecution can proceed. In a secret ballot late Monday, 220 deputies in the 300-seat Parliament voted in favor of the former minister being prosecuted for at least one charge, and 166 for all three. Seventeen deputies were absent.

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