The 686th Lord Mayor & Women in the City
If I were a man, I would spend my money on women and wine and wandering.
I am, however, most definitely a woman and one who had occasion to feel immensely proud of her sex last Saturday, as fifty City women marched in the Lord Mayor’s annual parade, amid the driving rain and horse poo left by a mounted regiment. (The attached photo has little to do with reality). Perhaps the circumstances were a metaphor for what it takes to succeed in the City as a woman. But that was all forgotten as we waved at the half a million people lining the route and then passed by the Mansion House to salute Fiona Woolf, the second woman in 800 years to be elected Lord Mayor of the City of London. Continue reading...
Middle East and Korean peace in the offing
A year after writing about the unsustainability of the French economy, I found myself this August once again amidst the glory-on-earth that is inland Provence. The economy is in worse shape, even more of the profit-making elite have left the country and President Francois Hollande is beyond a blancmange.
Demand for places in the South Kensington Lycée is such that a new one is being built near Wembley football stadium. London’s gain is France’s loss. Continue reading...
JP Morgan’s Dimon on trial; business opportunities in Libya
Reading former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s gripping account of the 2008 financial crisis while playing at cowboys in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains was perhaps not as much of an incongruity as it seemed.
As we rode by a vertiginous cliff, I ruminated about On the Brink, the former Goldman Sachs CEO’s aptly titled memoir of the race to stop the collapse of the financial system.
What emerges from the book is how close we came to a total breakdown, how well the team of Paulson, New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner and US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke worked together, how irresponsible Congress was and what an outmoded mishmash of regulatory bodies governs the US financial system. Continue reading...
Criminal bankers, interest rate spikes & mythical holidays
I assume we will be seeing bankers in court, as UK Chancellor George Osborne is set to implement a reform suggested by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, namely introducing a new criminal offence: “reckless misconduct in the management of a bank”. Pandering to populism, it is aimed at capturing bank CEOs and directors.
But should not our new, state-of-the-art regulatory system be in the dock right now? The prosecuting lawyer would surely argue there was “reckless misconduct in the supervision of a bank” when the Co-operative Group’s bank was rescued last month. After all, there were plenty of warning signs when in 2012 the bank plunged to a £674m loss amidst almost £470m in write-downs due to commercial property loans acquired via a takeover in 2009. Continue reading...