The Great Debate UK

from Reuters Investigates:

Morbid money-spinners


If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.

Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.

What they were buying sounded kosher, even if it did depend on how fast their wealthy American counterparts were dying. Of course, the investors may not have known that.

As is so often the case with these things, the projections were a little optimistic. And then some other irregularities blew up. Around 100 million pounds went missing, one of the business’s partners dropped dead in Singapore and the investment company was shut down by the regulators, leaving British pensioners like Tony and Pam Tobin out of pocket.  The Serious Fraud Office is investigating.

What is Cameron offering India?

- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’.  The opinions expressed are his own. -

Prime Minister David Cameron has loaded a 747 full of British business leaders and government ministers, all on a charm offensive aimed at securing deeper trade ties between the two nations. But what is he offering the Indians?

In football, the biggest losers win

“Football is just a business nowadays, isn’t it?”

Well, actually no, it’s not, and it never has been – at least not if a business means an enterprise intended to maximise shareholder value.

In the “good old days” – so called because they were bloody awful – football clubs were financed by a Big Sugar Daddy, often the millionaire who owned the local mill or maybe a small chain of shops in the town.

Businesses face concerns over a hung parliament

- Paddy Earnshaw is customer director at Travelex business payments. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The fears of many British businesses were confirmed today after the first hung parliament in three decades was declared on Friday.

Managing staff shortages during the volcano disruption


Melanie Franklin-Melanie Franklin is CEO at Maven Training. The opinions expressed are her own.-

Businesses should have learned by now, from the unexpected eruptions of volcanic ash and the global havoc it has wreaked, that flexibility, creativity and the ability to adapt to an unpredictable environment is crucial to survival.

Having the skills to manage a crisis, such as what to do when 25 percent of the workforce may not turn up to work on Monday morning and how to manage the impact, is vital. Those that learned such project management skills will have been putting contingency plans in place as early as Thursday – when the mass flight cancellations started totting up into the thousands.

New gateway for British business opens in Asia


Ash Verma- Ash Verma is Chairman, Gateway Business Consultants Limited and Founder of Gateway Asia. The opinions expressed are his own. -

London has long had a reputation as a city where entrepreneurs from Asia have come to seek their fortune.  From its early 19th century roots when Sake Dean Mahomed opened up Britain’s first Indian restaurant and introduced the city to shampoo, London’s Indian diaspora has now grown into one of the largest communities outside the country. The Chinese community in London, too, is Europe’s oldest and largest.

Budget not as generous as it first appears


Julie Meyer-Julie Meyer is CEO of Ariadne Capital, a technology investment and advisory firm backing entrepreneurs in media, moble Internet and communications. The opinions expressed are her own.-

I recently spoke at an IBM event alongside former chancellor Norman Lamont about the issues that face entrepreneurs and how we can turbo-charge these value creators to help rebuild the country’s wealth.

Price of tax collection hits small businesses hardest


The cost of tax collection in the UK is almost 20 billion pounds per annum, according to a recent report from Britain’s Institute of Economic Affairs, a free-market lobby group.

The amount reflects the cost of compliance and administration as well as Britain’s handicap of having the longest tax code in the developed world, co-authors Francis Chittenden, Hilary Foster and Brian Sloan write in “Taxation and Red Tape”.

Bullying in the workplace


yapp-Dr Maria Yapp, CEO Xancam Consulting Ltd (Business Psychology Consultancy). The opinions expressed are her own.-

What is bullying?

Bullying is not restricted only to obvious verbal and physical abuse. More subtle and insidious forms include:  isolation (by preventing access to opportunities; withholding important information); unreasonable demands (in terms of workload, standards or deadlines) or destabilisation (by removing responsibility; giving meaningless tasks; withholding recognition when it is due or inappropriately taking the credit for others’ work).

Battle for key professional roles ongoing for women



-Angela Eagle is Minister of State for Pensions and Ageing Society. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.-

International Women’s Day is still as relevant today as it was almost a century ago when it was first established. In Britain, when the suffragettes won the right to vote on equal terms with men in 1928, there was a feeling that there would be an inevitable journey towards full equality with men. But we now know that there are other battles that still need to be won.