Feel free to join in the fight in comments, but bear in mind that in the long run, we’re all dead.
© The Financial Times Ltd 2013 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
For a financial journalist, one of the major challenges of the past couple of years has been to convey the scale of the numbers we are dealing with on a daily basis. What is a billion dollars? How many penny sweets can you buy with it? Pints of milk? And we know a trillion is bigger, but how much bigger?
An innovative and practical attempt to solve this problem has been recognised with one of the greatest international accolades, an IgNobel prize.
Asset managers like to boast of their lovely cushiony profit margins, but their profitability is another matter entirely. According to a survey by SimCorp Strategy Lab, nearly half of investment management businesses are struggling to break even.
They calculate a cost rate by subtracting ebit (earnings before interest and tax) from gross revenue and expressing the result as a percentage of gross revenue. Less than 20 per cent managed to keep that cost rate below 85 per cent, while 41 per cent saw it rise to 99 per cent or above.
FTfm reports the results of the survey but we would like to know what you think. Is asset management industry really this difficult to make a profit in? Is this a reasonable way to think about profitability? And are investment managers really as clueless about cost control as the survey authors think?
As many as half of Mongolia’s 2.7m people rely either on mining or agriculture for a living. Even the most basic economics will tell you this is not an ideal situation, and unlikely to make for a stable and growing economy. They are particularly concerned about the potential for substantial mining revenues to destabilise the economy, a phenomenon known as ‘Dutch disease‘.
So, unlike their ancestors who sought to boost their wealth by raiding outside their own borders, the modern Mongolians have announced plans for a Mongol Sovereign Wealth Fund or Mongol Hoard.
As the gold price tops $1000 amid worries over dollar weakness, many investors are piling into bullion as a safe haven.
Gillian Tett of this parish is wondering why more bankers are not in jail. She thinks it’s partly because all this finance stuff is too complicated for the poor little lawyers to understand. But there may be other reasons, like judges who think they should take the working environment of wrongdoers into account. Like the fantasy judge imagined by the Jets in Westside Story, who lets off a hoodlum because he pleads a tough childhood, this New Jersey judge seems to think working in a “pernicious and pervasive … culture of corruption” is a mitigation of accuseds’ offence.