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Friday newspaper round-up: Steelworkers, TM Lewin, AstraZeneca, Bulb

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Thousands of steelworkers were the victims of pension regulation failures that left some with losses of up to £489,000, an official report has found, prompting accusations that the UK financial watchdog was “asleep at the wheel”. The National Audit Office’s findings relate to a 2017 scandal involving members of the British Steel pension scheme, many of whom were persuaded to transfer their retirement savings by advisers who then pocketed huge fees. – Guardian

The shirtmaker TM Lewin has called in administrators for the second time in less than two years, becoming the latest victim of the general shift to working from home. The business, which operated 150 shops before the pandemic, has operated a solely online business since first calling in administrators in June 2020. As well as its specialism, shirts, it sells suits, knitwear, coats and accessories such as ties. – Guardian

AstraZeneca is braced to abandon efforts to get its Covid vaccine approved in the US if it is simply “banging its head against a brick wall indefinitely” with regulators. Sir Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s head of research and development, said the company did not need to “push [its Covid-19 vaccine] in places we are not needed or wanted”. – Telegraph

HSBC may be closing down dozens more of its branches in the real world, but in the virtual world the bank is embarking on an expansion drive. It has bought a plot of virtual real estate in The Sandbox, an online gaming space majority-owned by the Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands. The bank did not say how much it paid for the land, which it will use to engage with its customers and sports and gaming fans in the metaverse. – The Times

MPs have called on the government to explain why it has barred administrators to Bulb Energy from hedging its gas and electricity purchases, leaving taxpayers exposed to rising costs as prices soar. Britain’s seventh-biggest household energy supplier collapsed in November with 1.6 million customers and was placed into a government-backed special administration regime. The administrators, from Teneo, were provided with an initial £1.7 billion taxpayer loan. – The Times

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