Commentaries

Now raising intellectual capital

Is Goldman’s Chinese convertible really a taxi?

Photo
-

BRITAIN/The number of London’s trademark black taxis booked and waiting outside the European headquarters of Goldman Sachs — meters running — was once used by some as a barometer of the health of London’s investment banking business.

When times were good, the queue was long and it was impossible for anyone else in the vicinity to hail a cab. But when the fees dried up, or markets turned, the cabbies who’d been at Goldman’s beck and call suddenly had to find new customers.

Last year, Goldman was reported to have stopped free taxis home for staff working in the office after 9pm, extending this to 10pm.

Now it looks as though taxis may be in vogue again at Goldman, at least indirectly.

Turner is right to take on swollen banks

-

So the watchdog can bark after all. Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, says the financial sector has “swollen beyond its socially useful size”. That is a striking statement for any financial regulator, particularly one that counts promoting London’s financial centre as one of its goals. Identifying the problem, however, is the easy bit. Reversing decades of financial expansion will require global agreement on tough new rules, and the determination to make sure they are consistently enforced.

Turner’s comments, in a debate hosted by Prospect magazine, underscore the extent to which the crisis has upended the received wisdom among policymakers. For years they assumed markets were self-correcting, that financial innovation brought lasting economic benefits, and that regulators should think twice before getting in the way.

How global cities rank after the financial crisis

Photo
-

London bus passes Swiss Re Gherkin building Reuters photoLondon, once one of the world’s most expensive cities, now ranks in the middle of the pack of European cities in terms of the cost of living. The sharp drop in the value of British pound largely is to blame for the decline of London’s ranking from the second priciest city three years ago to No. 22, according to a study of comparative purchasing power by UBS of 73 cities around the globe.

New York, Oslo and Geneva now have the highest living expenses in the world.  Excluding rent and energy, Oslo, Zurich and Copenhagen have the highest prices. Offsetting those costs, these cities also rank as having some of the highest gross wages in the world. Zurich, the headquarters of UBS, tops the scale in terms of gross wages, but also enjoys relatively low tax rates.

Chocolate-coated IPO to tempt Dubai investors?

Photo
-

Chocolate CamelsListings in Dubai have been few and far between — despite the best efforts of the emirate’s rulers to encourage foreign companies to float there.

There has only been one IPO completed on the Dubai Financial Market in the past 14 months and that was for construction contractor Drake & Scull in July last year.

Water down the tube in London heatwave

Photo
-

waterLondon’s transport bosses are telling travellers on the tube system to beat the heat by carrying a bottle of water with them when they venture underground.

But how many of us are refilling our bottles with tap water rather than pouring money down the tube — not to mention the cost of recycling the plastic bottles — by buying a new bottle of water each day?

Is that it for Michael Jackson gigs?

-

How is AEG Live going to make it up to fans who had bought tickets for Michael Jackson’s 50 sell-out “This Is It” concerts?

The promoter should consider the following idea as a way of preventing losses facing organisers, insurers, hoteliers, caterers, travel operators and of course the 750,000 or so fans who were coming from far and wide to see the pop idol perform.

This won’t suit everyone cycling in London

Photo
-

Rapha cycling suitLots of irregular/wobbly cyclists taking to the streets of London today. The tube/subway/metro system is at a standstill due to strike action by transport workers.  There were plenty of lycra and day-glo outfits on display, as well as a few brave souls venturing out in their work clothes.

But I was disappointed not to see anyone on their way to Canary Wharf sporting one of these specially-designed three-piece cycling suits.

  •