Ian King

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Career: The Times: Business & City Editor, 2011- [1]

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Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2014

  • Why the sun may yet shine on the turbulent seas of the floats market - 16th June
  • Bonds in turmoil as low inflation set to become the ‘new normal’ - 9th June
  • Grassroots opinion shows that real confidence is stoking the economy - 2nd June
  • Universities have a problem, and it’s not just academic - 26th May
  • As investors party, this time it may end less painfully - 19th May
  • Co-op activists heading for fall - In a former life, it is possible to imagine the Co-op activists and members who yesterday succeeded in adding the scalp of Lord Myners to that of Euan Sunderland among those who believed the earth to be flat - 11th April
  • It’s time to put pets outside - During his first stint running Procter & Gamble, AG Lafley built up the business via acquisitions of rivals such as Clairol, Wella and Gillette - 10th April
  • Forecast fails to pass test - Is it really only a year since Olivier Blanchard, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, was warning that George Osborne was “playing with fire” by persisting with austerity? - 9th April
  • Emerging from the shadow - It is not without reason that Mark Barnett, the Invesco Perpetual fund manager saddled with succeeding Neil Woodford, was yesterday being compared with David Moyes, the under-fire Manchester United manager - 4th April
  • All hands to the pumps - Never write off British manufacturing. Confirmation of this newspaper’s story that Weir Group has proposed an all-share merger with Metso, of Finland, raises the exciting prospect of a global business, based in Britain, that would be a leader in its field - 2nd April
  • Vince Cable can catch the second post - The Sunday after next marks an auspicious date for Vince Cable - 1st April
  • Air no clearer around energy - An “opportunity to once and for all clear the air” was how Dermot Nolan, the new chief executive of Ofgem, described his referral of the energy sector to the Competition and Markets Authority - 28th March
  • Bulking up to ensure a future - Quantitative easing has widened inequality. Also, by boosting the value of assets held more widely by older people, it has led to an increase in inter-generational inequality - 27th March
  • Insurer should set an example - In January 2011, after deciding that the market lacked effective competition on price, the Office of Fair Trading urged companies and institutional shareholders to exert greater pressure on underwriting fees - 26th March
  • Market abusers on every side - Few people will have sympathy for a £2.4 million-a-year trader who tries to make money from the Bank of England’s asset purchase scheme - 21st March
  • Osborne tries to keep core voters sweet - It has been known for a while that, with left-wing policies aimed at shoring up his base, Ed Miliband will pursue a “core vote” strategy at the next general election - 20th March
  • Victory for the consultants - The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street has swallowed a textbook on management consultancy - 19th March
  • Vast riches can prove a burden - As manager of Manchester City, Roberto Mancini often complained that the asking price for any player in which he was interested would be inflated once the selling club became aware of City’s interest, because of the latter’s awesome financial resources - 18th March
  • Captain Philips is in trouble - To date, Dalton Philips has had the benefit of the doubt. The Morrisons chief executive took the helm of a business with no convenience stores or online offerings and with information systems so antiquated, in places, they were based on a pencil and notebook - 13th March
  • In for a penny, in for a pound - It seems private equity has learnt its lesson and been forgiven by the stock market. The over-hasty flotation in 2006 of Debenhams, barely three years after its takeover by a trio of private equity firms, cast a long shadow - 13th March
  • Pensions need some protection - It’s commendable of Ed Miliband to guarantee jobs for all young people if he is elected. Of course it is. So why does his pledge generate a sinking feeling? Because of how he plans to pay for it - 11th March
  • Mobile mergers are inevitable - Vodafone’s sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless has attracted comment mainly on whether it makes the mobile operator a takeover target - 7th March
  • The best politicians don’t bash the wealthy - In a previous incarnation, I was Business Editor of The Sun - 7th March
  • Bank’s standing is on the line - Is the Bank of England to be the latest institution floored by a reputational body blow? Confidence in Fleet Street, MPs, the Church, the BBC and the Metropolitan Police has been eroded by scandals in recent years - 6th March
  • A relaxed view of the future - It’s a fair point. If Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin do not know how the situation between Russia and Ukraine will play out, how is Ivan Glasenberg, the Glencore chief executive, supposed to, even with the mining and trading combine’s spread of assets in that part of the world? - 5th March
  • Lending where it is needed - It is clear, from the latest figures published for its Funding for Lending Scheme, why in November the Bank of England removed incentives to lend any more to households - 4th March
  • Getting RSA back on track - It is the message drummed into every new chief executive by their chairman: control the balance sheet before it controls you - 1st March
  • Crozier performs a balancing act - Remember the Ghana v Uruguay clash during the last football World Cup? Adam Crozier does. ITV’s chief executive notes that an astounding 11 million viewers tuned in for a fixture that was, on paper, less than gripping. It bodes well for this summer’s tournament and for ITV’s advertising sales - 27th February
  • An economy to marvel at - As David Cameron sits down tomorrow with Angela Merkel, the discussion will centre on possible reforms to the European Union - 26th February
  • Float fever can have a downside - As emerging markets lurched lower last month, parallels were drawn with the “tequila crisis” of 1994, when Mexico’s years of living beyond its means caught up with it after the US Federal Reserve suddenly raised interest rates sharply to see off inflation - 20th February
  • Waking up to pension deal - If a product offers extraordinarily poor value then, at some point, people will catch on and stop buying - 19th February
  • Quick fix puts RSA on spot - That keen gardener Stephen Hester is plainly not letting the grass grow under his feet. The new RSA chief executive is, it seems, talking to institutional investors about a £350 million placing to shore up the insurer’s capital position - 18th February
  • Sputtering Rolls must improve - For years, Rolls-Royce has been one of Britain’s premier engineers, the aircraft engine maker’s shares deservedly trading at a premium to the sector - 14th February
  • Carney set to mind the gap - If you heard hollow laughter around the Bank of England, as Mark Carney tore up specific forward guidance in favour of something fuzzier, it may well have been Lord King of Lothbury - 13th February
  • Battle to bend Jenkins’ ear - It comes to something when the Institute of Directors, one of the most strident voices there is for free markets, accuses you of running the business more for the benefit of its executives than its owners - 12th February
  • Shameless ploy defies all logic - Who needs Ed Miliband when there is Ed Davey? The Energy Secretary’s letter to Ofgem yesterday, wading into a supposedly independent energy market assessment by the energy regulator and the competition authorities, is an embarrassingly political stunt - 11th February
  • Forex and the gathering storm - How bad could the various investigations into alleged wrongdoing in the foreign exchange market get? According to a growing number of voices, the answer is worse than the one into alleged Libor-rigging - 7th February
  • Taking from the honeypot - Near the end of the Green Budget published yesterday by the Institute for Fiscal Studies is a disquieting chapter entitled “Taxation of private pensions” - 6th February
  • Microsoft looks back to its future - Satya Nadella, the new chief executive of Microsoft, says that his main vice is to sign up for online courses he will never have enough time to complete - 5th February
  • Share sale with strings attached - It won’t be a case of “Tell Sid” if, as looks likely, Lloyds Banking Group is set for a big retail share offer later in the year. It will be “Tell Ed” - 4th February
  • Training must take the strain - Anyone wondering why so many migrants find work quickly in Britain, while some locals struggle, need look no further than the survey published yesterday by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills - 30th January
  • It’s no time for woolly thinking - If ever there was proof that the good times are back in the City, it has to be in the uncritical hearing seemingly being given to Elliott, the activist investor said to be urging Wm Morrison to hive off its property assets into a separate listed company - 29th January
  • Markets deaf to rates pledge - It will be welcomed by those hitting Europe’s ski slopes in coming weeks, but the rise in sterling threatens to become a headache for exporters - 24th January
  • Finances mask state of unease - It would be easy to overlook them, given all the excitement over the jobs data, but the figures for the public sector finances, also published yesterday, merit attention - 23rd January
  • Unilever battle is not yet over - Economies, like businesses, do not grow in linear fashion. So it is no surprise that companies with a larger than average exposure to emerging markets see volatile swings in sentiment when such markets are struggling - 22nd January
  • Bank that takes the long view - There are two ways to view Deutsche Bank’s results for the fourth quarter of 2013 - 21st January
  • Warning: watch out for American ‘justice’ - BP is being fleeced in the US courts. And it’s not the only foreign company getting a raw deal - 16th January
  • Suntory deal will test spirits - It may make the acquirer the world’s third-largest spirits company, but, on these terms, Jesus would not have wanted this Sun-Beam - 14th January
  • It’s goodnight from him ... - Fans are heartbroken when a popular double act go their separate ways. Accordingly, news that Richard Meddings is stepping down as chief financial officer of Standard Chartered, ending a longstanding and successful partnership with the chief executive, Peter Sands, drew gasps from the pair’s City audience - 10th January
  • It’s not such a super market - It is always a danger for chief executives when track records become totemic. Many remain haunted by the way Sir Clive Thompson, dubbed “Mr 20 per cent” after Rentokil’s earnings rose by that much for 17 consecutive years, fell from grace as the sequence ended - 9th January
  • Fear factor is draining talent - The continued batterings handed out to energy companies by politicians have, for some time, raised the danger of rendering some of these businesses uninvestable - 7th January
  • Motoring towards the biggest prize - American motorists have long disparaged Fiat as standing for “Fix It Again, Tony” - 3rd January
  • The boardroom leaders, creators and doers lost to business in 2013 - 2nd January

Articles: 2013

  • Looking back at hits and misses - New year predictions are easy to make, but harder to get right. However, of the ten predictions that appeared here last year, at least half have come true, which, as these things go, is pretty respectable - 31st December
  • Jobs risk poses fresh dilemma - It can scarcely have occurred to Mark Carney, as he accepted the post of Bank of England Governor, that his biggest headache would be in the recovery proving stronger than anticipated - 19th December
  • French economy taxed all the way to the guillotine - No one could accuse Mario Draghi of not trying. The European Central Bank’s president has told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that France cannot regain fiscal stability by tax increases alone - 18th December
  • French economy taxed all the way to the guillotine - No one could accuse Mario Draghi of not trying. The European Central Bank’s president has told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that France cannot regain fiscal stability by tax increases alone - 17th December
  • Nation betrayed by debt burden - It may be a country of just two million souls but the eurozone’s great and good were watching Slovenia nervously before yesterday’s assessment of its banking sector’s funding needs - 14th December
  • Be quiet in the back seat - It takes serious chutzpah to call yourself a “responsible owner” who takes “stewardship responsibilities seriously” when you are a hedge fund that has been on a shareholder register for a matter of weeks - 12th December
  • Perpetual is now in motion - Since Neil Woodford announced he was leaving Invesco Perpetual in October, the market has been agog - 11th December
  • Mystery of the phantom float - It does not hurt HSBC, only days after George Osborne announced plans to whack the banks again with another hike in the banking levy, for reports to suggest it is mulling a partial flotation of its UK business - 10th December
  • War may be only option - The best that can be said for Tesco’s quarterly results is that they were no worse than expected - 5th December
  • Don’t blame Fred this time - Good old Fred Goodwin. He hasn’t been chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland for more than five years but, like Churchill or Hitler, he will be helping writers to make a living for decades to come - 4th December
  • Making the most of revival - If the makers are not quite marching, as the Chancellor once said they would, at least they are hinting at it - 3rd December
  • MPs deliver a beating too far - It is the job from hell. Who, in their right mind, would be Ofgem’s chief executive when politicians of all parties clearly think they can do the job better? - 29th November
  • Read between the lines - Exhibit one, in the case against Vince Cable and Michael Fallon for selling Royal Mail on the cheap, were yesterday’s maiden half-year results - 28th November
  • Don’t bank on a sale just yet - Just as markets overshoot and undershoot, so do banks - 26th November
  • New era needs change at the top - As the end-of-year round-ups approach, one theme of 2013 has been the number of companies changing their chief executive - 22nd November
  • Peering through the clouds - Just how much business investment is there at present? - 21st November
  • End of the line for small print - It will be little consolation to the 20,200 customers of Bank of Ireland UK and West Bromwich Building Society who discovered earlier in the year that the tracker mortgages they thought they had were anything but - 20th November
  • An exit timed to perfection - Paul Pindar has always laughed off the “Crapita” quips with good grace, even though, as chief executive of Britain’s largest outsourcing group, they must have come his way with tiresome regularity during the past 14 years - 19th November
  • Let Miliband win race to bottom - It was inevitable, after Ed Miliband’s cynical pledge to freeze energy bills, that the Government would seek an equally eye-catching raid on business dressed up as an attempt to cut the cost of living - 15th November
  • Reading between the lines in China - Cut through the jargon in yesterday’s communiqué from China’s communist leadership and it is clear there is a determination, during the next decade, to see more private sector activity in the country - 13th November
  • Beware the unkind cut - Insurers know all about reversion to the mean, the concept that highs and lows are temporary and that a price will tend to go back to its average over time - 12th November
  • Guilt trip will hit workers - Clunk. That was the stable door shutting as Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister, yesterday unveiled a consultation paper on workplace pensions aimed at deterring the handful of companies still running final-salary pension schemes from closing them - 8th November
  • The best hope for Portsmouth - It was almost like Bannockburn 1314, or at least Wembley 1977, at times yesterday. It is certainly tempting to paint the decision by BAE Systems to carry on building warships at Scotstoun and Govan in Glasgow, not Portsmouth, as a case of English jobs being sacrificed for Scottish votes - 8th November
  • Growth gathers a head of steam - Is rebalancing of the UK economy finally under way? - 6th November
  • Hedge is no hiding place - Inspect the small print of its financial restructuring and it seems, at first blush, the Co-op Bank is sincere in wishing to retain an ethical stance after its capture by hedge funds - 5th November
  • Shell has that haunted look - It is almost a decade since the reserves scandal exposed the old stock market adage “Never Sell Shell” as being rather less than failsafe - 1st November
  • Lloyds promises begin to be met - It takes stamina, these days, to plough through a bank’s results and the various interpretations of what constitutes a profit - 30th October
  • Investors keep the faith in Aberdeen - Investors usually worry when a deal is called “transformational”. It conjures images of managers so bored with running a business day to day that they would rather be doing something else - 26th October
  • Testing issue for the banks - Investors face 12 long months before the European Central Bank releases the results of the stress tests it unleashed yesterday on 128 eurozone lenders - 24th October
  • Ethical question is unresolved - It never looked a fair fight and now, it seems, the herbivores of The Co-operative Group have, indeed, come off worse in their tussle with the sabre-toothed tigers of the hedge fund world - 23rd October
  • US hit by crisis of confidence - A deal has been done, but so has the damage. The US Government is now funded until January 15, its debt limit has been extended to February 7 and default has been averted - 18th October
  • Thames sent on new route - George Osborne must hope his Chinese hosts do not ask him today how their investment in Thames Water is going - 17th October
  • Osborne rolls out the red carpet for China - If you have money, you can make the Devil push your grindstone, according to a Chinese proverb. In other words, money talks - 16th October
  • Learning to work as a team - If you thought Britain’s universities were only for education and research, think again. That is the theme of today’s report for the Government by Sir Andrew Witty, who argues that universities also need to be given the task of promoting growth - 15th October
  • Pity the pensioners who missed out - So much for popular capitalism. Retail investors will get just 33 per cent of Royal Mail after last night’s share allocations. That is more than the 30 per cent originally made available by the Government, but not much - 11th October
  • At the top of Yellen’s in-tray - Is Janet Yellen the right choice as the new head of the US Federal Reserve? It depends whether you think Ben Bernanke has been a good Fed Chairman - 11th October
  • Ed Miliband’s energy pledge is hot air - Anyone still doubting the insanity of Ed Miliband’s recent pledge on energy bills need only read National Grid’s warning yesterday that safety margins, the difference between peak demand and available supply, are close to half last year’s levels - 8th October
  • More to it than a missing stapler - Accountants’ arguments generally concern matters such as who has mislaid the office stapler or the hole punch - 4th October
  • Why size matters at the bank - It is nearly a week since Royal Bank of Scotland said that it was selling 314 branches to a consortium led by the American private equity firm Corsair Capital. The initial response has been enthusiastic, helped by some BBC coverage that was too starry-eyed at the Church of England’s involvement in the Corsair consortium, along with a promised new “ethical” bank - 3rd October
  • Battling with Brown’s legacy - It would be wrong to think the legal action George Osborne launched yesterday against the EU’s proposed cap on bankers’ bonuses is about the Chancellor defending his City pals - 26th September
  • What was the Fed frightened of? - If the US Federal Reserve’s decision not to taper its asset purchases looked timid last week, this week it looks positively pusillanimous - 25th September
  • Storing up trouble for the future - If nothing else, the Government’s decision this month not to subsidise gas storage gave reassurance that some parts of Whitehall still think markets know best - 24th September
  • Pensions industry let off the hook - The Office of Fair Trading’s report into defined contribution workplace pensions is damning - 21st September
  • Don’t celebrate, this is bad news - Be careful what you wish for. Last night’s shock decision by the US Federal Reserve to keep asset purchases at $85 billion a month and not taper them propelled the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs as cheap-money junkies celebrated - 19th September
  • Ideal solution to GSK’s dilemma - It is now almost a year since it was first reported that GlaxoSmithKline had begun the hunt for a successor to its chairman, Sir Christopher Gent, ahead of his expected departure some time during 2014 - 18th September
  • Lloyds trots past turkey Barclays - It will take a tough fund manager to resist being stuffed with banking shares between now and Christmas - 17th September
  • Royal Mail damaged by late delivery - It is a hardy newspaper perennial: a postcard, sent from Blackpool in 1935, finally reaches its intended destination 78 years later. Royal Mail’s flotation has not quite been so long in arriving, but is just as overdue - 14th September
  • Keep the pension raiders at bay - If your local Polish tradesman looks down-in-the-mouth, it is with good reason: they may just have seen a chunk of their retirement savings appropriated by the State -11th September
  • Savers will win if we tackle charges - It is, of course, coincidental that Martin Wheatley, the Financial Conduct Authority’s chief executive, is due to appear before the Treasury Select Committee this morning - 9th September
  • Markets defying Carney’s logic - John Maynard Keynes once noted that “the market can remain irrational longer than you and I can remain solvent” - 7th September
  • Nokia bows to the inevitable - It was made official yesterday, but Nokia’s handsets arm was destined to become part of Microsoft the moment, in January 2011, that the Finnish company committed to using the Windows mobile platform - 4th September
  • Vodafone deals, George Osborne wins - Vittorio Colao has never seemed much of a gambler. Vodafone’s chief executive is more the type for cool calculation - 3rd September
  • Britain no longer upwardly mobile - The storms following foreign takeovers of UK companies such as Cadbury, P&O and BAA in recent years may soon be outdone by the Big One - 30th August
  • The clue is in the timing - It’s not quite a climbdown by the “Capital Taleban”, as Vince Cable recently called the Bank of England - 29th August
  • The storm clouds that threaten our optimism - Middle East war, more euro bailouts, higher oil prices . . . any of these could hit a UK recovery - 28th August
  • Time for more people power - It is one of life’s ironies that Wall Street, usually so keen on the kind of efficiency savings in which activities once done by human beings are automated, has yet again fallen foul of such a process - 23rd August
  • Amazon can be held at bay - Speak to any retailer and, before long, talk will turn to the threat posed by Amazon - 21st August
  • Tide turns for flow of money - Never lend to a country with green in its flag,” is one of the City’s oldest maxims. A newer one might advise avoiding emerging market currencies whose name starts with “R” - 20th August
  • Oil majors offer a prayer for China - It hasn’t been a great week for the oil majors, with Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil yesterday following BP in reporting second-quarter numbers that fell short of market expectations, while Eni, of Italy, has cut its annual production targets - 3rd August
  • Pensions burden claims new victim - Invensys, successor to BTR and Siebe, two grand old names of British engineering, has been sold to Schneider, a French company. Cue more groaning about British industrial decline - 1st August
  • Passing the hat around this way - It was the question Antony Jenkins did not answer that is most troubling about the monster rights issue Barclays unveiled yesterday - 31st July
  • His lordship’s lasting legacy - It’s the Mervyn King memorial cash call. The former BoE Governor has gone but his parting demand for Barclays to lift its leverage ratio to a minimum 3 per cent, leading Vince Cable to moan about the “capital Taleban”, is why the bank will unveil a thumping rights issue today - 30th July
  • Let’s find out who cut the coupon - Day by day, new revelations emerge surrounding the Co-op Bank, none of them edifying - 26th July
  • The challenge of the long haul - We are just not an attractive organisation, with all the turmoil that has been going on. We are not seen as a good company for people to have on the CV.” - 25th July
  • Batting away the market’s fears over Yorkshire champion Croda International - After Joe Root’s heroics at Lord’s, it was the turn of another Yorkshire champion to swing its bat yesterday. But Croda International, the only FTSE 100 company ever to be based in the East Riding, did not receive quite the rapturous response from the market that the plucky opener did in NW8 - 24th July
  • Big Four dodge the bullet - If the best compromises leave everybody unsatisfied, the Competition Commission’s provisional remedies for the audit market are a triumph - 23rd July
  • It pays to keep them guessing - Is Mark Carney Superman, after all? In only his third and fourth days in the job, the BoE’s new Governor has succeeded in bringing unanimity to the Monetary Policy Committee, something that had eluded his predecessor Sir Mervyn King during the previous eight months - 18th July
  • Cuckoo among the Nest eggs - It is an unhappy coincidence that the National Employment Savings Trust, created to handle the retirement savings of millions of low-paid Britons, has admitted to suffering a £1.4 million fraud on the same day that it emerged active membership of occupational pension schemes is at a record - 17th July
  • No need for bonus cap any more - Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you, as Joseph Heller wrote. It is a sentiment that comes to mind when reading the raw data released on the number of bankers paid more than €1 million each in 2011 - 16th July
  • Fed is failing to lead by example - It is one of Wall Street’s oldest aphorisms that you “don’t fight the Fed”. However, to judge from events during the past two months, fighting the Fed is a perfectly sensible thing to do - 12th july
  • Curious move to get Carter - Just fancy that. Informa, the publisher and events group, switched its domicile from Britain to Switzerland when, in 2009, it faced a higher tax bill as a result of changes made by the Brown Government to the controlled foreign company rules - 12th july
  • Man at the helm hints at direction - It must have been lack of space that caused Royal Dutch Shell to omit an intriguing detail from the CV of Ben van Beurden as it named him yesterday as its new chief executive - 10th July
  • Hero to zero in one weekend - There’s a funny smell emanating from SSP, but from the travel caterer’s boardroom, not the Firecracker Chicken being prepared in its kitchens - 9th July
  • Carney makes his impact clear - It’s forward guidance but not as we know it. Yesterday’s Bank of England and ECB statements represent a significant turning point in how monetary policy is presented - 5th July
  • Surprises strike an optimistic note - It’s the chats with chairmen and chief executives between sessions, as well as the lively panel discussions, that make The Times CEO Summit so valuable in gauging current business thinking - 3rd July
  • Meeting supply and demand - Those who wondered last year why Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing was ready to pay as much as £1.38 billion for the London Metal Exchange now have an answer - 2nd July
  • Amazon and the heart of darkness - Amazon has only itself to blame for the anger it has attracted - 28th June
  • A fixed bundle is key down the line - It’s all about Die Bündelung. Having eschewed being in fixed-line for most of its existence, Vodafone has decided that now it must offer a bundle of services in certain markets, hence its €7.7 billion bid for Kabel Deutschland - 25th June
  • Brace yourselves for a bumpy ride - It’s easy to see why markets confuse people. The chairman of the Federal Reserve has said that the US economy is growing strongly enough for him to stop spraying cheap money at it by next summer - 22nd June
  • New minister has world of experience - Prime Ministers have always been dazzled by business people - 20th June
  • Neat ideas, and some messy ones - It should be no surprise that a cross-party commission that took a year to report has come up with a 650-page doorstopper full of ideas veering wildly between the sensible and the other-worldly - 19th June
  • Banking’s survival of the fittest - Biodiversity is vital in a healthy ecosystem. The rescue of the Co-op Bank, a herbivore in a market full of carnivores, makes the financial jungle a little less diverse - 18th June
  • A small-minded solution for RBS - Seldom can the investment case for a top bank have been offered in a radio phone-in. Such was life as Stephen Hester’s exit from RBS moved yesterday from tragedy to farce - 14th June
  • Marched out of the trenches - In the week that ministers unveiled their plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, how fitting that someone in Government has sung one of 1914’s most popular hits to Stephen Hester - 13th June
  • Deal remains logical option - England and Scotland have had their ups and downs since the Acts of Union in 1707. The on-off Anglo-Scottish merger between Britvic and AG Barr, which feels as if it has been under negotiation since then, is much the same - 12th June
  • Familiar losers in credit stakes - The law of unintended consequences is set to strike again. As of April next year, regulatory responsibility for consumer credit will transfer from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority, the consumer watchdog that has risen from the ashes of the old FSA - 11th June
  • Button waiting to be pushed - Two opinions seems to be emerging from those fund managers who are being charmed by Moya Greene, the Royal Mail chief executive, as investor roadshows get under way before a possible initial public offering - 7th June
  • A vintage reply by the Chinese - The days when drinkers in China would dilute Château Lafite Rothschild or Château Margaux with Coca-Cola or Sprite are, oenophiles in the country say, over - 6th June
  • At last it’s springtime for Britain’s economy - Barely a month ago, the talk was of a triple-dip recession. Now the momentum is growing - 6th June
  • Time for breaking up has now passed - The leak of a draft report from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, discussing a split of Royal Bank of Scotland into a “good” and “bad” bank, means that battle lines are being drawn - 5th June 2013
  • From triple dip to growth spurt - It is hard to believe that, barely a month ago, some commentators were talking seriously about a possible “triple dip” for the economy - 4th June
  • FTSE fall ignores brighter outlook - Markets climb a wall of worry, it is said, so there should be no surprise at the setback seen yesterday - 24th May
  • Bubble can keep going up and up - Ask any market practitioner in London where stocks are heading and they will tell you two things - 23rd May
  • Strike three and Nick Buckles is out - You know the writing is on the wall when Lord Prescott, who as a minister was a byword for ineptitude on an ocean-going scale, starts accusing you of incompetence - 22nd May
  • Long reign took a terrible turn - It is hubristic to compare oneself with Sir Alex Ferguson, as Martin Gilbert did this month - 21st May
  • Big yield found close to home - Another British utility’s independence may be going down the gurgler as the Kuwait Investment Office and Borealis Infrastructure, of Canada, prepare an offer of as much as £9 billion for Severn Trent - 15th May
  • Steady signs of improvement - Another day, another sign that the economy is continuing to grind out a recovery - 10th May
  • The thin end of the pledge - Soon Coca-Cola’s new slogan may have to be “I’d like to teach the world to slim”. After decades of trying to persuade the world to guzzle more of its fizzy produce, yesterday the Atlanta giant pledged to stop advertising to children under 12 - 9th May
  • Raise a glass to world leader - When most FTSE 100 chiefs last three years or so, to stick around for thirteen years, as Paul Walsh has done at Diageo, is little short of remarkable - 8th May
  • A level of interest to beat negativity - Paul Tucker, the Bank of England’s deputy governor, created a stir in February when he suggested that banks could be hit with negative interest rates to get them lending to SMEs - 3rd May
  • High price of energy inertia - Only a brave equities analyst tells investors to avoid many of the stocks in their sector. After all, if investors don’t trade the stocks you cover, you don’t eat - 2nd May
  • New owner can deliver success - One could be forgiven for thinking, bearing in mind the promises made by its owner in recent years, that City Link, the parcel courier, has turned the corner so many times that it ended up going around in circles - 30th April
  • Double take on great recession - As the lurid “triple dip” headlines go back on the shelf, here is an enticing possibility: did the UK even suffer a double dip? - 26th April
  • Deal fails the reality test - Every shopper has done it. Strolling supermarket aisles, popping items into their basket, they quickly realise they are buying more than intended and must swap the basket for a trolley - 25th April
  • Germany joins the shift south - Mario Draghi’s pledge this month that the European Central Bank was “ready to act” to support the eurozone will be called in shortly - 24th April
  • Half-measures are better than none - The age of satire is not dead. Last month, Vince Cable lashed out at “unnecessary bureaucracy” that he said was “costing business time and money”. Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Business proposed creating a state-backed regulator for pubs - 23rd April
  • Barclays tries out trendy joint rule - Rich Ricci always stood out at Cheltenham, despite country types claiming his loud checked tweeds were insufficiently distressed. Now Antony Jenkins, his erstwhile boss, also turns out to be a fashionista - 20th April
  • Mining’s marriage made in hell - It became clear a while ago that Glencore and Xstrata’s merger was anything but. The cat was out of the bag when Mick Davis, the latter’s outgoing chief executive, called it a takeover. Now it transpires it is a hostile one, at that - 17th April
  • What goes up . . . - Forget Spandau Ballet’s “you’re indestructible”. Yesterday was, as The Stone Roses put it in 1989, more a case of “I don’t need you to tell me what’s going down”. Gold is what’s going down - 16th April
  • Lawyers keep eye on Lloyds case - Royal Bank of Scotland and several of its former executives, as The Times revealed last year, face two lawsuits from investors who backed its £12 billion rescue rights issue in April 2008 - 11th April
  • Two down, with one still to go - In volunteering for debasement and a 30 per cent cut in his pension, Sir James Crosby shows pragmatism and, yes, honour, although some will argue that, in retaining an annual retirement income north of £400,000, he is hardly on the breadline - 10th April
  • The wrong man to railroad - Yet again, a soundbite served up by politicians on a Saturday night for the delection of the Sunday papers turns out not to be valueless - 9th April
  • Here’s hope against hope - As the Financial Services Authority is bid a not-so-fond farewell, hopes linger that its successors will do better - 29th March
  • Biting the hand that lends - Sir Mervyn King and the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee gave the banks an unwanted present before Christmas in the form of a warning that they needed to raise a “material” amount of additional capital - 29th March
  • Bailed out on one hand, sunk on another - The Irish must be thanking their lucky stars that they had their financial crisis when they did - 28th March
  • Bright idea has only one guarantee: no one wins - If only politicians would talk with industry practitioners before launching their pet schemes. It is clear, having had George Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme sprung on them, that mortgage lenders do not expect it to improve availability - 22nd March
  • Cypriot robbery gives Putin a chance to shine - The biggest mistake of the great Cypriot bank robbery may not, after all, be the way the eurozone has driven a coach and horses through the EU’s own deposit protection rule - 21st March
  • Headache may await a future Chancellor - The Bank of England’s Quarterly Bulletin, while discussing matters as chewy as those involved in electing a new Pope, is worth a read. For the first time, it carries the potentially explosive admission that the Bank could make a loss on the gilts bought by its asset purchase facility - 14th March
  • Rules need bending to bolster lending - The funding’s there, if not the lending. Data from the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme reveal that net lending in the final quarter of 2012 by the mighty Monmouthshire Building Society exceeded that of Lloyds and RBS — both of which are still shrinking their balance sheets — combined - 5th March
  • Recovery put at risk by meddling ministers - Smoke again shrouds full-year results from Royal Bank of Scotland - 1st March
  • Bank cannot afford negative thinking - Negative interest rates would not only be, as the Bank of England’s deputy governor Paul Tucker says, “extraordinary”. They would signal despair - 27th February
  • Sometimes your old ideas are the best - At times, such as the past 72 hours, George Osborne must look back fondly on his days in Opposition. He was the coming man then, credited with scaring off Gordon Brown from calling a snap election - 27th February
  • PRA may yet stand for pragmatic approach - It’s just as well the Bank of England’s inflation target doesn’t include pay grades. Inflation in deputy governors appears to be rampant, with the Bank going from one to two in 1997 and, as of yesterday, from two to three - 20th February
  • Which way to turn for island in the storm? - Pity the eurozone’s finance ministers as they chew over whether or not to give Cyprus a bailout that, according to pessimistic scenarios, could be up to €17.5 billion - 12th February
  • The Bank’s top man is singing a quieter tune - Those tuning into Mark Carney’s testimony to the select committee yesterday will be baffled. The BoE’s new Governor was billed as a rock star central banker but, instead of Keith Richards trashing his hotel room, the committee was treated to gentle Canadian crooning by Michael Bublé - 8th February
  • Centrica loses patience with power vacuum - Britons may soon get to enjoy that authentic Super Bowl experience. Not the all-night parties replete with beer and greasy food, sadly, but the lengthy power cuts - 4th February
  • Brace yourselves for tightening by the Fed - Stock markets are on a roll. The FTSE 100 is up 6.72 per cent so far in 2013 and last night briefly topped 6,300 for the first time since May 2008 - 29th January
  • Realpolitik needs hard currency decisions - Currency wars, like real wars, are hard to stop once started - 24th January
  • Private-public dilemma that may not compute - During the first five years of its life as a public company, Dell grew its revenues at an annualised rate of 66 per cent. However, during the most recent five years, revenues have actually fallen as consumers have switched away from personal computers towards tablets - 15th January
  • ONS decision defies logic - The Retail Price Index, as it stands, has a bias towards exaggerating the true level of inflation. It is a bias that more enlightened countries, such as Canada, corrected more than 30 years ago - 12th January
  • What goes up must come down, or not - If the cover price of The Times was to rise from £1 to £1.20 in line with its competitors, most people would say, correctly, that this was contributing to higher inflation
  • Fiscal drift is real danger - Enjoy the rally while it lasts. A modest rise was due, as any deal to stave off the fiscal cliff was better than no deal, but yesterday’s euphoria was misplaced - 4th January

Articles: 2012

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