Alex Brummer on Business

Joe Lewis still has that midas touch

By Alex Brummer, June 10, 2010

Every so often the business pages publish a picture of a kindly, balding man in a golf buggy who is variously described as a reclusive exile, a Bahamas based billionaire or a currency trader. This spring, one imagines, Joe Lewis - who began his career working in London's hotel industry - has a smile on his face.

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Time for the chairmen to stand up

By Alex Brummer, May 27, 2010

What is the job of a quoted company chairman? Before the days of corporate governance, the jobs of the chairman and chief executive were often wrapped up in one - they still are in the United States. But a series of UK corporate scandals - including those in the late tycoon Robert Maxwell's empire - discredited the model of supreme boardroom power.

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Why we've escaped the euro storm - so far

By Alex Brummer, May 13, 2010

One suspects that inside the Treasury the calamitous problems currently facing euroland are being watched more calmly than might be expected.

First, it demonstrated that the failure of Britain to pass Gordon Brown's five tests to join the euro back in 2003 was just as well given the battering that deficit nations inside the single currency area are taking.

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What next for Goldmans?

By Alex Brummer, April 28, 2010

There is a self-righteous gene in the DNA of Goldman Sachs which may not be serving it well in the court of public opinion. As the investment banker has come under intense scrutiny from the media, from the all powerful Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) - which has accused it of fraud - and the Senate, the bank has responded in aggressive fashion.

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The sun shines on retail again

By Alex Brummer, April 15, 2010

The speed with which retail has bounced back from the "Great Recession" is impressive. The high street was hard hit by the aftermath of the global credit crisis, consumer spending fell off a cliff and a number of retailers, including Woolworth, Zavvi, childrenswear chain Adams and footwear group Stylo went into administration.

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Labour caution paying off

By Alex Brummer, April 1, 2010

Ahead of next month's election, the Conservatives aim to position themselves as the party of probity and cuts and Labour as the stewards of recovery and investment.

The big theme for the Tories has been the desperate need to deal with Labour's legacy of deficits and debt. David Cameron and his economic spokesman George Osborne, adopting increasingly apocalyptic language, argue that unless the next government starts to bring those debt levels down immediately - a budget is promised within 50 days of taking office - then Britain could lose its coveted 'AAA' credit rating.

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The fund that avoids the herd

By Alex Brummer, March 18, 2010

Fund management groups come in all shapes and sizes. One boutique manager which is punching above its weight, with funds spanning the globe from Russia to Japan, is Hammersmith-based Neptune Investment Management.

Founded in 2002 by Rugby and Oxford educated Robin Geffen, Neptune has demonstrated an ability to succeed in the most difficult market conditions.

And despite Geffen's traditional English public school background he remains conscious of his Jewish heritage.

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Even Sandler may not polish Pearl

By Alex Brummer, March 4, 2010

Many of us, of a certain vintage, have a "with profits" or endowment policy stuffed into a bottom draw somewhere. Before the age of ISAs, VCTs and index linked funds, these were regarded as the ideal safe investment.

Over time they fell out of fashion for a variety of reasons, most notably in the late 1990s and early "noughties" when it was discovered that they were unlikely to pay off the mortgage as promised by the financial adviser who had sold them.

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It's a dynasty drama at Rothschild plc

By Alex Brummer, February 18, 2010

No dynasty is more associated with Anglo-Jewry and Israel — through the works of the Hanadiv Foundation — than the Rothschilds. So changes in the flagship London-based bank NM Rothschild remain of much fascination throughout the Jewish world.

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Finally, politicians boss the banks

By Alex Brummer, February 4, 2010

This weekend, finance ministers from the Group of Seven most advanced nations will gather in the town of Iqualit, just South of the Canadian Arctic Circle, to try to put some order into the chaos of banking regulation. The return to fat profits, bonuses and greed at the global banks, just 15 months after the ‘Great Panic’ of 2008 has been so swift that it has left politicians and policy-makers in the starting traps.

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