Breakingviews

RBS sale delays hit credibility more than finances

April 29, 2016

The part-state owned UK bank says it may miss an EU-mandated timeframe to dispose of 300 branches. Even if it takes another 12 months, RBS’s capital position should be OK. But for investors to believe the path to dividend reinstatement, it needs to avoid any missteps.

Barclays inches forward as rivals inch back

April 27, 2016

The UK lender’s first-quarter investment banking performance was less calamitous than peers’, but group return on equity was a sparse 3.8 pct. It should tick up if boss Jes Staley can keep selling unloved assets. If speed sometimes takes precedence over price, that’s okay.

Finance wakes up to fintech’s systemic dangers

April 19, 2016

The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane and Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan are among 53 financial leaders backing the launch of a new forum to debate financial technology. The abuse of data is a concern. But a bigger risk is how fast and obscurely money can move.

One thing Tesco doesn’t stock is pricing power

April 13, 2016

Same-store sales and operating profit are rising, but prices on the UK grocer’s shelves keep falling. It’s a problem for rivals too. Tesco used to be dominant in a concentrated market; now it’s just plain big. Consumers’ gain will be investors’ loss for the foreseeable future.

The British Museum should ask for more from BP

April 7, 2016

Climate change activists are protesting against the London institution’s sponsorship from the oil group. For the museum, the cost of accepting patronage has risen. More to the point, BP pays less of its annual pre-tax profit in charitable giving than FTSE 100 peers on average.

Dixon: Greece’s problems could become Britain’s

April 4, 2016

If the IMF and the EU can’t quickly resolve their conflict over Greece’s bailout, graphically highlighted by a WikiLeaks transcript, Athens could run out of cash in July. The sense of crisis would mount in the preceding weeks, just as the UK votes on whether to stay in the EU.

Banks on Brexit: deeds count more than words

March 30, 2016

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s B-word ban is the latest sign global financial firms are tying themselves in knots over the UK’s European Union referendum. If big banks want to keep the union, silence is helpful. But a better plan is to hire more people outside London.

Dixon: EU could fall apart without flexibility

December 21, 2015

Brussels’ knee-jerk reaction to crises is to ask for more power. Its latest series of problems has fuelled right-wing populism, which feeds off the idea that the EU already has too much influence. Unless the bloc adopts more decentralised solutions, it could unravel.

Dixon: UK’s EU bind not quite a blind alley

December 14, 2015

Prime Minister David Cameron has boxed himself in by asking the EU to let him deny “in-work” benefits to European migrants. Though other countries almost certainly won’t agree to this, there may be ways out of the box. Hopefully one will work. Otherwise, the UK could quit the EU.

Modi chooses awkward time for UK rock star welcome

November 9, 2015

India’s prime minister will address a crowd of 60,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium this week. Courting the diaspora makes sense. But the rapturous welcome is out of tune with UK-India business ties and a big local election defeat at home, where Modi mania is definitely over.