Companies

Valentina Romei

European banks have been shrinking since the financial crisis, dwindling both in terms of their market value, number of branches and staff. Their fortunes have suffered and profits fallen as a result of stricter regulations, general economic weakness and low interest rates.

It’s unlikely that they will ever be the same again. All the more so as the decline in Europe’s over-reliance on banks could present new opportunities for the region to develop much-needed alternative financing channels. Read more

Valentina Romei

If the UK were to leave the European Union, it will mean that it will also be outside the Capital Markets Union (CMU), when completed. The CMU is a set of measures designed to clear obstacles between companies and potential investors. The idea – in the words of the European Commission that created it – is “to mobilise capital and channel it to all companies, including SMEs, and infrastructure projects that need it to expand and create jobs”.

The EU economy is slightly bigger than that of the US, but its capital market is very different. Its equity market is about half the size of that of the US and its securitisation market is less than a quarter of the US. Read more

When is 30 seconds worth $5m? That is the question facing Super Bowl advertisers as they gear up for February 7, the biggest day in US marketing. The Super Bowl economy in charts provides some more figures behind the big game.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, gave a speech last week lamenting that the liberalising policies adopted by the Thatcher government in the 1980s never led to widespread share ownership:

The Tories promised a “shareholding democracy” would arrive through privatisation. A “trickle-down effect” would mean that, even if the rich got very rich indeed, everyone else would be a little better off.

But the promises of freedom and “popular capitalism” turned out to be illusory.

Today, share ownership by individuals is at the close to the lowest level ever recorded. Just 12 per cent of shares are owned by individuals in the UK, down from 28 per cent in 1982, and pension funds own only 3 per cent.

It would be fair to call these figures misleading and point out that people can own shares through insurance companies or they might have a stake in other kinds of funds as well as their pension. So if between them individuals and pension funds own just 15 per cent of shares who owns the rest? Read more

Bank chief executives’ pay has rarely been out of the news in the six years that Equilar and the Financial Times have been publishing this annual analysis. While the pay of almost all the bank bosses in the study increased in 2014, it remains well below pre-crisis levels and is likely to remain so.

2013 protest in Manchester against widening pay gap  © Getty

By David Oakley

Britain’s top 10 highest paid bosses earn more than a combined £100m in the most recent financial year. For these top earners, their £118.9m aggregate pay packet was 27 per cent higher than what they received in the previous year.

This – at a time when real household median incomes in the UK is only just returning to 2007-2008 levels – is likely to put executive pay firmly back into the spotlight as the UK general election approaches and shareholders gather at upcoming annual general meetings. Read more

From General Motors in the 1950s, to Apple today, the list of the top US companies by net profits tell a story about how the American economy has changed through the ages. Explore this history with our interactive graphicRead more

Andrew Whiffin

Subscription revenues for video on demand services like Netflix are set to grow by nearly 30 per cent during 2014 but will still account for only 2 per cent of the total market for pay television. North America and Europe currently lead by market share with growth of 29 and 19 per cent respectively this year, but in emerging regions where on demand is more novel growth will exceed 50 per cent in 2014.

As the Fed aims to end QE in October and the normalised interest rate policy during 2015 looms, a matter for debate among investors is whether the strong performance of both equities and Treasury debt in recent years has peaked.

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by Henry Foy, ‎Automotive Correspondent

Henry Ford, the grandfather of the car industry and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, its current saviour (or enfant terrible depending on your point of view and stockholding) had similar views on spreading warm and fuzzy love around with rivals.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself,” Ford once said. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business,” another Ford pronouncement, is certainly a view shared by Musk – who has said making electric cars successful is more important to him than making his company successful.

But Ford would be turning in his Detroit grave at Musk’s latest decision to make all of Tesla’s patents availble, free of cost, to its rivals.

Ford — who ironically broke the famous Selden patent monopoly that allowed the US car industry to get off its feet — loved patents. He racked up more than 150, and liked to be in control of every aspect of his cars. That control has percolated throughout the car industry since, as rivals look to corner emerging technologies.

But what exactly is in the box of secrets that Musk has opened to the world — and to his competitors? Read more

Top bankers examined for the Financial Times’ annual research of bank chief executive pay have been rewarded more generously in 2013, making good for a drop in the previous year and bringing pay back above 2011 levels.

Average chief executive pay at 15 leading US and European banks increased 10.1 per cent last year to $13m, according to data compiled exclusively for the FT by Equilar, the executive pay research firm.

Explore the bank chief executives and their pay in this interactive graphic.

 Read more