Heaven : No Volcker, No Vickers

Syria , the jobless and the banks

Heaven is a long mountain slope of perfect powder snow and a sky of an intense blue only found in the Austrian Alps. Amid the brightness and the swishing sound of my skis drawing perfect curves in the snow, a Norfolk terrier scampers around, capturing the prey that always eludes him, while an eleven year old boy relishes the lack of carrots and broccoli.

This exemplifies heaven for me, my son and his dog. Or I can describe heaven by quoting the Book of Revelation which says it is a cube of 12,000 …

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Obama the war president

Why stockmarkets will rise 50% in 2012

Waiting for my host in Zafferano, an Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge, I eavesdropped on my lunchtime neighbours and found myself surrounded by the themes of the moment. The husband and wife couple to my left were Germans, on a romantic weekend break in London, accompanying the gourmet menu with a bottle of Crystal champagne and undoubtedly heading to their hotel bedroom for an afternoon of nookie. They had an air of confidence, as befits the new masters of Europe.

On my right, the 35-year old Scottish redhead was working hard. He was making …

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Chinese banks vs UK banks

Base instincts kept at bay

As I jostled the respectable blonde next to me in order to move forward in the EasyJet queue at Rhodes Airport, the equivalent in August of a circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, I could quite see myself throwing bricks at a store front in the midst of the London riots in order to walk off with some loot. It would have been the Etro store on Bond street rather than Footlocker and its Nike trainers. Still, the veneer of civilisation in all of us is barely skin deep.

Good manners are, though, a help …

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New era regulators and a passionate conversion

How tinkering may ruin bank boards

Take a look at the Financial Times, where Robinson Hambro authored an editorial on the Financial Services Authority and its excessive interference in the running of the boards of banks.

Or read the article in the text below:

The passion of the convert is a frightening thing. Be it former smokers who cast glances of derision at office staff puffing away on the pavement or, more specifically, the regulatory backlash on the back of the financial crisis, converts allow little room for a nuanced approach.

One hopes that the government will allow for a …

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The coming Euro Ministry of Finance

SIF and the Mayr: intrusive interventions

How the mighty are fallen! Not only Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF head who allegedly sexually assaulted a chambermaid, or former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Tunisian counterpart Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

There are a host of others: one of the world’s foremost Israeli football agents, a household-name UK broadcaster, plus a number of European chairmen. Last week they were all at the infamous Mayr Clinic, whose mission it is to clean out its residents’ guts to restore them to health and energy via a quasi-liquid fasting cure. One would imagine the conversation …

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Spanish opportunities

Regulatory tales from Switzerland and the EU

Sitting to the right of Mexican Commerce Secretary Herminio Blanco Mendoza at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1995 was like being present at a wake where thoughts of the deceased shadowed all conversation.

The tequila crisis, based around the sudden devaluation of the Mexican peso in December 1994, meant that the usually overrun Mexican evening party consisted of only one table, with a lowly journalist in the seat of honour next to the host. Mexico was going nowhere in the eyes of an international community which shuns failure.
In this subdued …

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