Monthly Archives: March 2013

John Gapper

I struggle to see any logic behind the European Parliament’s latest initiative to crack down on financial industry pay, beyond a dislike of bonuses. The idea that investment funds should be treated similarly to systemically important banks has even less merit than the original idea.

The basis on which the EU proposed to rein in bank bonuses – despite UK opposition and criticism from supervisors including Andrew Bailey, the incoming head of the Prudential Regulation Authority – was that excessive bonuses gave bankers a perverse incentive to take risks. Read more

Andrew Hill

HSBC’s strategic overhaul is already heading for a place in the business school curriculum. This was, after all, the group that called itself “the world’s local bank” in its advertising campaigns and once relocated its chief executive to its traditional Asian hub in Hong Kong. But current, (firmly London-based) incumbent Stuart Gulliver has more modest international ambitions. Read more

It has been a frustrating week for well-intentioned and interventionist political leaders. Michael Bloomberg and David Cameron have been roundly defeated in their efforts to prod citizens into health.

Andrew Hill

Pat Howard is getting some undeserved flak for suspending four players from Australia’s national cricket team.

The manager was once chief operating officer of a listed company, but never in his corporate management career can he have taken a more controversial decision. Read more

The debate about “work-life balance” will generate contributions weightier than Erin Callan’s short article in last weekend’s New York Times, but few will be sadder.

John Gapper

The article by Erin Callan, former chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers, on how she lost herself in work, is an interesting reflection not only on women on Wall Street, but also on how relentlessly many bankers work.

Ms Callan, who lost her job in 2008 “amid mounting chaos and a cloud of public humiliation only months before the company went bankrupt”, writes in the New York Times of the extreme work culture at the top of the former investment bank: Read more

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is unhappy with Forbes magazine, accusing it of prejudice in estimating his wealth at $20bn – a mere 26th among the world’s 1,426 billionaires. The Saudi investor has broken off his “longstanding relationship with the Forbes billionaires list” and sought comfort in the Bloomberg Billionaires ranking.

Andrew Hill

Microsoft has been fined by the European Commission. Getty Images

Jaron Lanier is a “partner architect” at Microsoft but he doesn’t speak for the software company. As the scientist, composer and author explained to an audience at The Economist’s Technology Frontiers conference on Tuesday, what he says “probably horrifies any number of individuals within the company”.

Even so, in retrospect, it his hard not to read some of his remarks differently, in the light of the European Commission’s €561m fine for Microsoft, confirmed on Wednesday, for breaching a high-profile competition agreement with the European Union. Read more