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John Kay on the illusory nature of bank profits

April 16th, 2012 In this speech the economist and author John Kay examined how the financial sector continues to make — or claims to make — returns-on-equity which are way in excess of any reasonable estimate of cost of capital. Kay, a visiting professor at London School of Economics, examined various possible reasons but then focused on […]

April 16th, 2012 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

S&P downgrades Royal Bank of Scotland and 36 other banks

November 30th, 2011 I had a bizarre sense of déjà vu yesterday on learning of the mass downgrade of 37 of the world’s largest banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, by Standard & Poor’s. Something very similar took place in July 2007, when Moody’s downgraded hundreds of CDOs – opaque bundles of securitized ‘toxic’ subprime […]

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

Paul Moore: if profit’s the only goal, people inevitably pursue improper means

October 30th, 2011 Calls for a radical rethink of the political and economic system from the “HBOS whistleblower”, Paul Moore, could not have come at a more appropriate time. Moore — who was personally fired by HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby in November 2004 after seeking to warn the bank’s board that its sales-mad […]

October 30th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

The dukes and earls in America’s great tower of bullshit start to blink

By Ian Fraser Published: QFINANCE Date: October 20th, 2011 There may be a good few Maoists, Trotskyists, Anarcho-Syndicalists and even the odd deluded benefit scrounger among them, but it is simply wrong to characterize the Occupy Wall Street protestors who are camping out in 1,500 cities worldwide as wanting to overthrow capitalism, in the same way […]

October 20th, 2011 | Posted in Article Library,Blog,Latest Articles | Read More »

On banking, David Cameron is either clueless or a liar

October 5th, 2011 David Cameron displayed an astonishing lack of understanding of the banking sector in his interview with Sarah Montague on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday morning (as, I’m afraid, did Sarah, given her blinkered obsession with “bonuses”). If Cameron’s stumbling performance was due to ignorance, then it’s inexcusable. If it’s […]

October 5th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

Time’s panegyric to the City of London is beyond parody

September 29th, 2011 It’s incredible how some journalists got it so wrong about the City of London just prior to the crash of 2007-09. In January 2007 Time Magazine’s Adam Smith wrote an unctuous feature about the Square Mile which lavished praise on Gordon Brown’s “light touch” approach to financial regulation. In his second paragraph, […]

September 29th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

Cameron must not go soft on the banks

By Ian Fraser Published: Sunday Herald Date: September 3rd, 2011 As leader of the opposition, David Cameron gave the impression he intended to be tough on the banks. In an interview with Sky News in January 2009, he called for criminal actions against bankers and earlier said we needed “a day of reckoning” for those […]

September 4th, 2011 | Posted in Article Library,Latest Articles | Read More »

The City needs rehab; it’ll say ‘no, no, no’

August 11th, 2011 When my ex-boss Roger Neill launched the Centre for Creativity at City University London in winter of 2009, he staged a “Big City Brainstorm” which pulled together a diverse group of people – including several from the City of London. Roger and other people behind the CfC wanted to find ways of addressing […]

August 12th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

As markets nosedive, it’s clear the Smurfs are a danger to capitalism

August 4th, 2011 It must have seemed a good idea at the time. The Smurfs were welcomed by the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street last Friday, July 29th, to ring the opening bell. This may have been a good move for Sony Pictures, which has a movie to plug but it has turned […]

August 4th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »

It’s time investors saw sense and stopped giving credence to rating agencies

June 10th, 2011 The credit rating agencies performed so woefully in the run-up to the global financial crisis, one might have thought they would be discredited by now. One of the agencies’ biggest mistakes was their rampant mislabeling of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in 2004-07. At the time, the rating agencies had few qualms about […]

June 10th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Read More »