Aug 13

The CEO’s case for rocketing equity markets

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.


Jan 13

Where power now resides

Banks & the three p’s: press, public and political opinion

Guests at the Lorünser Hotel in Zürs pay the equivalent of the value of a “small car” for their stay, in the words of a former senior partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a prestigious international law firm. Yet the hotel, built in 1927 in the Austrian Alps, lacks the glamour associated with the Palace Hotel in Gstaad or the Grand Hotel du Cap in Cap Ferrat.

What distinguishes it is the combination of the gemütlichkeit atmosphere, excellent service and unchanging guests. The same families stay during the same weeks every year; sojourn in the same room; sit at the same table in the dining room. The only variables are due to births, deaths and divorce.

Nov 12

Of heroes and superheroes

Foreigners and the City

As soon as I find it, I shall briskly dust off my Canadian passport and claim kinship with Mark Carney, the next Governor of the Bank of England. It is now fashionable to come from the frozen north, while interlocutors express condolences at an admittance of warm Spanish blood. Yet this hero worship of the Goldman Sachs alumnus will not last.

A couple of years ago Sir Howard Davies, former chairman of the FSA and deputy governor of the Bank of England, co-authored Banking on the Future. His book called for the end of the central bank and central bank governors as we know them.

Aug 12

The Bank of England’s Tucker time

Asian crisis lessons for Spain and Italy

Knees to chest in the womb position, I bounced in the harness attaching me to the two- inch thick, descending cable. Picking up speed, I accelerated to more than 70 kilometres per hour over the Costa Rican valley open before me.

The finish, 750 metres away, was lost amidst faraway trees, as was the tiny body of the fool who had zip lined across before me.

“I am a widow with an 11-year old child and a thirst for life. WHY AM I DOING THIS?!” I screamed. Perhaps I only imagined the scream as my lips were frozen in petrification. I was powerless to stop the horrific experience. There is no rational reason to be separated from the earth by 200 metres.*