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Any-Other-Business

Santander’s secret: to conquer the world, stay like a small-town bank

20 September 2014

Four years ago, I wrote that I knew no dark rumours about Santander, the rising force in UK high street banking, but that history taught me banks which expand rapidly… Read more

Closed beaches due to the   Deepwater Horizon disaster off the Gulf Coast, 2011

BP's been punished enough – but not because Americans hate the Brits

13 September 2014

I should declare two connections before I start offering opinions about the latest US judgment against BP relating to the ‘Macondo’ disaster — the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig… Read more

Head of the French Socialist party Jean-Christophe Cambadelis Photo: Getty

Rona Fairhead will be good for the BBC – but who was so keen to nobble her rival?

6 September 2014

Hats off to Rona Fairhead, the former Financial Times executive who will succeed Lord Patten as chairman of the BBC Trust. It requires a brave spirit to take on this… Read more

Mario Draghi Photo: Getty

Europe's leaders worship Mario Draghi. They should listen to him instead

30 August 2014

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi secured a place in history by his demonstration, on 26 July 2012, of the power of words in a financial crisis. Not long in… Read more

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This time, the lefties are right: we really do pay our bosses too much

23 August 2014

The FTSE100 index stands precisely where it did in the first week of December 1999. Whichever way you look at it, shareholders — including pension funds — have had a… Read more

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Fine, get a job in the City. But reach for your dreams first

16 August 2014

August is the season for conversation about career choices. Every holiday party seems to include new graduates or next year’s graduands in need of grown-up advice. Many yearn to be… Read more

Centricas new boss: Iain Conn Photo: Getty

The man who could sell the British public on fracking

9 August 2014

Iain Conn, who will succeed Sam Laidlaw as chief executive of Centrica, would have been a dead cert for the top job at his current employer, BP, were it not… Read more

Vladimir Putin talks to Rosneft President Igor Sechin Photo: AFP/Getty

I know how ineffective sanctions are – but these ones just might work

2 August 2014

‘Sanctions,’ said Kofi Annan, ‘are a necessary middle ground between war and words.’ Neither the EU nor the US will deploy troops or missiles to defend Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists,… Read more

Day 35 of the Queen's Baton Relay in Scotland

Forecasting is a mug’s game – but I was right about the economic revival

26 July 2014

‘Perhaps I should shift my prediction to 23 July 2014,’ I wrote in April 2012. ‘That’s the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and we must all start thinking… Read more

AOB

Any other business: trouble spots in European banking

19 July 2014

‘1914: Day by Day’, the Radio 4 series by the historian Margaret MacMillan, is a gripping reminder that significant global events often arrive not in a single eruption but in… Read more

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Gold-fixing is the last ghost of the old City. It won't be around much longer

12 July 2014

In a season obsessed with sport and personal misbehaviour — separately or in combination — the word ‘fixing’ immediately brings to mind ‘match-fixing’, as in ‘Two World Cup referees suspected’… Read more

AOB

‘Dark pools’ are just another conspiracy of bankers against the public

5 July 2014

It was at the Mansion House dinner last year that a City gent two seats away announced himself to be the custodian of one of London’s ‘dark pools’. The phrase… Read more

Chancellor George Osborne And Prime Minster David Cameron Visit Manchester

George Osborne’s cynical grab for northern votes (and why I’m for it)

28 June 2014

When John Prescott used to wax garrulous about a ‘superhighway’ from Hull to Liverpool, everyone assumed it was a wheeze to spray southern taxpayers’ money across the region he saw… Read more

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The return of oil price anxiety is a timely reminder to get fracking

21 June 2014

‘Iraq turmoil sends crude oil prices to nine-month high’ is the sort of headline that used to send shivers down economists’ spines, especially if it appeared on the same page… Read more

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The internet is broken – and we can no longer do without it

14 June 2014

‘The internet is broken,’ a corporate chieftain told me last week. It was an arresting remark, but he did not mean that his home Wi-Fi hub had gone down and… Read more

England And Scotland Fans Arrive To Renew The Oldest Rivalry In Football

I salute the wisdom of young Scots on independence (they're voting no, by the way)

7 June 2014

It’s a constant theme of this column that today’s young need to stop whingeing about their prospects and get on with making their own future. But a quick north-of-the-border tour… Read more

Thomas Piketty Photo: Getty

Fight Thomas Piketty or face a mansion tax

31 May 2014

The postman at the door is stooped by his burden like an allegorical statue of Labour Oppressed by Capital. His wearisome, low-waged task is to deliver a copy of Thomas… Read more

American Pharmaceutical Company Pfizer Propose To Takeover British AstraZeneca

Forget about saving British big pharma – it's little pharma we should be helping

24 May 2014

Readers in all sorts of places — at the club bar, over a birthday lunch, even along the church pew — had been telling me I was wrong not to… Read more

Barclays Bank Cuts 14,000 Jobs

Are we killing investment banking? And if we are, should we care?

17 May 2014

Do we really mean to kill investment banking, or are we trampling it by accident in a fit of righteous zeal? By ‘we’ I mean politicians, regulators and public opinion,… Read more

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty

Pfizer’s already beaten Ed Miliband. Now it just needs to offer the right price

10 May 2014

Pfizer will almost certainly have to offer more than its second bid of £50 a share for rival drug giant AstraZeneca, but the American predator seems to be winning the… Read more

Curse of the Gherkin

Why the bankers’ bonus debate is not going away

A bouquet to Alison Kennedy, ‘governance and stewardship director’ at the Edinburgh-based pensions provider Standard Life, for leading the rebellion of Barclays shareholders against the bank’s decision to pay increased… Read more

Chancellor George Osborne Visits Business Affected By The Budget

George Osborne is entitled to look smug

26 April 2014

The popular pastime for financial commentators this season is sticking pins in George Osborne. To those on the left who hate everything about him, to those on the right who… Read more

AOB

Should the Co-op be preparing for its own funeral?

19 April 2014

‘Care, respect, clarity and reassurance’ are what the Co-operative funeral service says it offers the bereaved, and the parent Co-op Group may soon find itself in need of just such… Read more

Don’t blame ministers for the Royal Mail sell-off. Beat up the bankers!

12 April 2014

Vince Cable and Michael Fallon, ministers responsible for the Royal Mail sell-off, have been summoned for another select committee grilling after Easter. Meanwhile, Labour’s irritatingly smug business spokesman Chuka Umunna… Read more

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Is full employment just another of George Osborne’s political stunts?

5 April 2014

‘Full employment’ usually means the lowest achievable rate of unemployment — somewhere south of 5 per cent compared with 7.2 per cent today, or to put it in numbers, fewer than… Read more