Breakingviews

Chinese stock markets need more than lip service

June 30, 2015

The selloff is dramatic but only affects the relatively few people who own equities. A wider risk is that a prolonged slump would slow reforms and undermine faith in China’s rulers. In the short run, overt state support may be the most effective way to avoid losing credibility.

Subject financial fiefs to modern Magna Carta

June 15, 2015

Companies in the 21st century can learn from 13th century England. Overmighty, overpaid CEOs are the new King Johns. They are held to account, sort of, by the barons of fund management. What’s needed is more respect for finance’s neglected yeomanry: ordinary savers.

How to tell if Japan’s shareholder love-in is real

June 15, 2015

Japan Inc. faces unprecedented pressure to get leaner, better-run, and more profitable. Real success means higher returns on equity. First comes a tough AGM season that could embarrass the likes of Sony and Sharp. Then expect more buybacks, stake sales, activism and M&A.

Anshu Jain’s painful lessons for new Deutsche boss

June 8, 2015

The co-CEO’s departure has pleased investors irked by the bank’s lack of progress on cutting costs and boosting capital. Jain was slow to re-engineer what proved to be a flawed business model for the post-crisis era. New broom John Cryan can learn from his predecessor’s mistakes.

Edward Hadas: FIFA and the root of all evil

By Edward Hadas
June 3, 2015

The soccer federation’s corruption shows how much harm abundant money can do to weak institutions. The problem goes well beyond sport. Modern affluence spreads lucre’s poison to everything from drug crime to the perfectly legal but socially destructive spiral of executive pay.

Corporate divorce expenses matter beyond activism

June 2, 2015

Acquisitive CEOs talk a lot more about deal synergies than costs. Warren Buffett once said he had never heard the word “dis-synergies” mentioned but had witnessed plenty. Managers under pressure to split companies may similarly overstate the negatives, but they’re still real.

The FIFA big boss guide to executive survival

May 28, 2015

Soccer’s supremo Sepp Blatter may win a fifth four-year presidency at the scandal-wracked governing body. Even if he fails, his tenacity is remarkable. It owes much to FIFA’s financial success, but also cumbersome governance and tin ears. Those help all boardroom Machiavellis.

Rob Cox: Why Remington’s investors shouldn’t sell

May 19, 2015

Gun safety groups and Snoop Dogg pressured Cerberus to cleave the maker of a notorious assault rifle from its funds. Now Cerberus can get back to work raising money. Social activists need to behave more like their shareholder brethren to have any hope of changing this business.

SoftBank’s next boss more symbol than succession

May 12, 2015

Chairman Masayoshi Son has no plans to retire but has named ex-Google executive Nikesh Arora as his likely successor. Appointing a foreigner to the role may be mainly a way for SoftBank to gild its international credentials, but the gesture is still a valuable one.

Alibaba generation shift treats investors as kids

May 8, 2015

The e-commerce group is swapping its chief executive for a younger insider. The plan was drawn up before the company’s IPO. Yet Alibaba has offered no explanation. Founder Jack Ma wants to promote young leaders, but investors deserve adult answers on who makes decisions and why.