Reuters blog archive

from The Great Debate UK:

Abortion debate

George Tiller A Kansas doctor reviled by anti-abortion groups for his work providing "late-term" abortions was shot and killed in his Wichita, Kansas church.

Representatives from Britain's Abortion Rights and ProLife Alliance share their thoughts on the murder of George Tiller. What is your opinion?

from The Great Debate UK:

Black box trading drives descent of Man

REUTERS-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Apparently, investors in Man Group's flagship fund value liquidity and safety above performance. At least Peter Clarke, the company's chief executive, hopes so.

He needs them to do so because, over the last five months, the investors in AHL, Man's "black box" quantitative fund, have been suffering. Unlike many rival funds, Man did not "gate" its funds during the market panic, and Clarke believes that investors will remember this and reward Man for it.

from The Great Debate UK:

Age against the job machine

michelle_mitchell- Michelle Mitchell is Charity Director of Age Concern and Help the Aged. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Reports in the media about job losses are commonplace these days, with young people’s struggle to find work dominating coverage. Yet at the other end of the age spectrum, the lives and future prospects of older workers have been set in turmoil by the recession.

from The Great Debate UK:

Investment trusts wrong target for EU

REUTERSWell-intentioned legislation often has the opposite effect. The European Commission's new alternative investment directive threatens investment trust companies, an attractive form of pooled investment.

The Commission aims to "enhance investor protection." However, in addition to hedge funds, the original French and German target, investment trusts would be caught in the new regulatory net. Unlike other pooled funds, investment trusts offer transparency, low fees, the discipline of a public limited company and a vote.

from The Great Debate UK:

Justification of new nuclear power in the UK

Paul Dorfman- Paul Dorfman is with the Nuclear Consultation Group and a senior research fellow at the University of Warwick. The opinions expressed are his own.

"Justification" of new-build nuclear power is a high-level assessment of whether the benefits of building new nuclear plants outweigh the detriments. Once the justification decision has been taken it will be difficult if not impossible to re-open this major issue.

from The Great Debate UK:

Lloyds’ Blank cheque

REUTERS- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Sir Victor's Blank cheque has finally bounced. Drawn on the Bank of Gordon, it looked like a dodgy piece of paper from the start, and now it has been sent back, marked "Refer to Drawer".
Shares in Lloyds Banking Group rose in relief that someone, anyone, has finally agreed to take the rap for the disastrous takeover of HBoS, at the behest of the UK government, during last year's financial panic.
Dazzled by the prospect of a market position in the UK which the competition authorities would never have allowed in normal times, Blank and his chief executive Eric Daniels failed to look their gift horse in the mouth, and discovered it was really a broken-down old nag.
The acquisition obscured the fact that the Black Horse itself was hardly in shape, and even without the handicap of HBoS, would almost certainly have been obliged to limp to the government for help. That is as much Daniels' fault as Blank's, and he will have to pay once a new chairman has been found.
This will not be easy. It would surely be too venal, even for this government, to impose finance minister Alistair Darling on the suffering shareholders, once he finds himself out of a job next year.
Lord Sandy Leitch, the Labour luvvie elevated to deputy chairman at the weekend, might fancy his chances, but his background is in insurance. The fashion for bank chairman who know nothing about banking has, mercifully, been blown away by the crisis.
More sensibly, Lord Mervyn Davies seems to have little to do since he quit Standard Chartered Bank <STAN.L> for the administration, while Doug Flint from HSBC would be a fine, and popular choice as chief executive if he could face the challenge.  He's a Scot, which would also play well in the Brown bunker.
However, John Kingman, the civil servant in charge of UK Financial Investments, the government's fig leaf covering its 43 percent stake in the bank, had signally failed to endorse Blank's re-election at the forthcoming annual meeting. Perhaps he is showing signs of independence after all.
Philip Hampton, who was ousted as finance director from Lloyds five years ago for urging a cut in the dividend, would have been the ideal candidate. Unfortunately, he was tapped to chair RBS last January.

Win Bischoff, 67, who stepped down as chairman of Citigroup earlier this year, may consider another politically-contentious banking chairmanship unpalatable.
Whoever heads the new team has much to do. The combine is barely profitable, and more write-offs from the massive property-backed loan books, both domestic and commercial, are a racing certainty. It will be a long time before the Black Horse starts to show the paces that Blank expected when he galloped in without thinking last September.

from The Great Debate UK:

Savers must start becoming investors

david-kuo_motley-foolthumbnail- David Kuo is director at The Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee decided to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5 percent in May. This came as no great surprise given that the Central Bank has already slashed interest rates to a level where further cuts would have made no discernible difference to the cost of money.