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.

And yet I join a select group of forecasters who have to date been proved wrong. We …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Reputation loss: Rato, Mervyn and Dimon

The growth myth

If raw capitalism is about creative destruction, we have undoubtedly seen a lot of destruction. It is not yet clear how creative it will be.

On the back of the financial crisis there was a first wave of people such as Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers and Sir Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scotland.

We are now seeing the second wave. Mervyn King has lost his reputation as a competent governor, although he won’t lose his job. The Governor’s consistent refusal to commission a study of what went wrong at the Bank of England; a series …

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Bank governance: rejecting the check list

Morality and psychopaths

We all have a guilty secret. Confession is good for the soul, so in this post-Easter period, let me come clean about mine. It happened in the spring of 2008.

Shamsad Akhtar, the outstanding governor of the central bank of Pakistan at the time, was under attack from the government and her reappointment for another three year term looked uncertain. In an attempt to bolster her position, while I was on a visit to Karachi, she insisted I interview her on Pakistan state television. For 40 minutes we were filmed discussing monetary policy, provisions for bad loans, …

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