Monthly Archives: February 2009

John Gapper

My column in the FT this week is on Sir Allen Stanford: Read more

John Gapper

Are the Detroit big three at last starting to get realistic about the long-term level of car sales in their home market?

Having pumped up light vehicle sales volumes to a peak of about 17m units a year with cheap credit, they have been hoping against hope to bounce back quickly from sales of about 11m in 2009. Read more

John Gapper

These are very tough times for the business jet industry. The now infamous trip by the heads of the Detroit big three to Washington on board corporate jets to plead for cash from the US government has caused a backlash against private travel.

Here comes a fightback: two groups involved in US business aviation have now launched a campaign to improve the industry’s image. The campaign is called “No plane. No gain” and even has its own web siteRead more

John Gapper

So Sir Allen Stanford has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a “massive fraud” involving his Antigua-based bank, which took in $8.5bn on depositors’ money and claimed to be investing it in safe, liquid securities.

Reading the SEC’s complaint against Sir Allen and two of his employees, James Davis and Laura Pendergest-Holt, a couple of points spring out for investors. Read more

John Gapper

In these tough economic times, it is sometimes hard to think of a silver lining. But Richard Florida proposes an interesting one: that what is bad for financial services firms may be good for artists and psychiatrists. I think he may be on to something.

In an essay in the latest Atlantic magazine, Florida suggests that New York City may not be as badly affected as some other US cities by the recession – despite being the home of Wall Street – because a lot of New Yorkers work in other industries, some of which are counter-cyclical. Read more

John Gapper

I have a column in the Weekend FT on whistleblowers:

King Lear may have been a terrible father but he was a tolerant employer. Faced with an in-house whistleblower who kept telling him that he was ruling his kingdom badly – and wrongly giving it away – he kept him on the payroll. Read more

John Gapper

My FT column this week is a report on my trip to Washington to watch Tim Geithner unveil his financial bail-out and listen to bankers being castigated: Read more

John Gapper

The bankers’ grilling did liven up a bit – or get somewhat fiercer – in the afternoon. At one point, Ken Lewis of Bank of America showed signs of finally losing his temper during what became a seven-hour marathon of questions and speeches, many of them repetitive.

The heat was turned up in the afternoon by Michael Capuano, the representative from Massachusetts, who devoted his five minutes to an impressively outraged rant about how awful bankers are, starting with the memorable quote: Read more