Alex Brummer

It’s time for the Serious Farce Office to get serious

By Alex Brummer, April 4, 2014

It has not been an easy ride for David Green, who completes his second year as director of the Serious Fraud Office in April. He inherited it at a low ebb. Phillippa Williamson, the former CEO, was caught up in an expenses row and a parliamentary watchdog said it had “been undermined by a catalogue of errors and poor judgement”, hitting staff morale.

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Facebook deal is a sign of technology values gone mad

By Alex Brummer, March 13, 2014

There is a natural cycle faced by financial markets across the globe.

A generation of managers often leave space for successors to repeat their ghastly errors.

One cannot help but feel that many blunders made in the late 1990s — when any enterprise with a website and “dot.com” attached to its name was seen as a sure winner — are being repeated.

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Cameron's Israel visit is all about the trade

By Alex Brummer, March 13, 2014

In the recent past, visits by British leaders to Israel have all been about diplomacy and gesture politics. David Cameron cannot ignore the peace talks during his brief visit to the Jewish state nor can he completely deviate from the Foreign Office’s agenda of halting settlement expansion.

But the reality of the Prime Minister’s visit is that it is all about trade and technology.

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There is much more to Israel’s economy than high-tech

By Alex Brummer, February 28, 2014

The International Monetary Fund’s annual inspection of national economies is a pivotal event that shapes political debate.

Israel’s latest report card, issued in Washington this month, must generally be regarded as favourable.

Output growth is seen as solid, unemployment low, the financial sector in good health and the international trade is strong.

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Independent Scotland must work with Bank of England

By Alex Brummer, February 14, 2014

Before Mark Carney went to Edinburgh last month to meet with leaders to discuss use of the pound sterling in an independent Scotland; debate surrounding the referendum this year was strangely subdued.

The Bank of England governor’s visit marked a pivotal point.

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Bill Gates has answer to relieve poverty in Middle East

By Alex Brummer, January 31, 2014

With the support of Britain, the European Union is preparing to roll-out an unprecedented package of financial aid to support a Middle East peace initiative led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Recovery, jobs and exports - a 2014 economic forecast

By Alex Brummer, January 17, 2014

Robust economic recovery on both sides of the Atlantic, led by the United States and Britain, will provide the backcloth to the world economy and financial markets in 2014.

The eurozone will continue to be constrained by fiscal adjustment in the periphery, a weak economic outlook in France and the failure to fully confront the underlying weaknesses of the banking system.

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Retail sales changed the way we now shop

By Alex Brummer, January 17, 2014

v Retailing has become a great deal more complicated. Never was this more evident that over the festive season when so much money was spent on the high street. As is the case almost every year, the message in the build-up to the season was dismal.

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Israel’s economy is on top, but relative poverty is dismal

By Alex Brummer, December 20, 2013

Diaspora Jews are rightly proud of Israel’s stellar economy and its renowned science and technology.

The Jewish state was one of the few advanced economies — out of the 34 countries under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — to survive the “Great Panic” and subsequent recession virtually unscathed.

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Actions of Co-op Methodist are back to haunt the bank

By Alex Brummer, December 16, 2013

The melt-down at the Co-operative Bank should not have come as a huge surprise to JC readers.

But serious allegations against the bank’s former chairman, Reverend Paul Flowers, have come as a shock.

His alleged drug-use has disgraced the Co-op Bank and led to his suspension from the Methodist Church and the Labour Party, where until recently he was a respected councillor.

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Top women are now leading the world of high finance

By Alex Brummer, November 22, 2013

The departure of Angela Ahrendts from Burberry and Marjorie Scardino from Pearson has left Britain’s FTSE100 boardrooms woefully short of women chief executives.

But in the world of high finance, it is becoming a very different story.

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Stamp of disapproval for Royal Mail bonanza deal

By Alex Brummer, November 7, 2013

The widely criticised Royal Mail flotation of shares has broad significance.

It has reflected an appetite for new equity from private investors in the UK.

Yet, negotiators of the Royal Mail deal are guilty of under-pricing. They have cost the taxpayer in excess of £1 billion as the shares soared to a 50 per cent-plus premium.

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Middle East economy slumps in face of Syrian refugees

By Alex Brummer, November 4, 2013

Hope for economic prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring have been dashed by successive crises in the region.

Global disappointment at the situation was palpable at the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting in Washington this month.

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‘Mick the Miner’ is back with a multi-million pound bang

By Alex Brummer, October 17, 2013

Mick Davis, the former chief executive of Xstrata, has lost no time getting back into the corporate swim following the takeover of the mining group by its biggest investor Glencore in May.

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Slash business rates to save out high street

By Alex Brummer, September 26, 2013

Outside of Britain’s biggest city centres, the high street is dying on its feet.

Governments, both national and local, do not seem to recognise that we are still a “nation of shopkeepers”. Indeed, the sector comprises around 95,000 firms, uses £326bn of gross assets and borrows £65bn each year.

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Carney leads the way on banking changes

By Alex Brummer, September 13, 2013

New Bank of England governor Mark Carney has made a positive impact on the UK economy.

The Canadian-born banker and chairman of the G20 Financial Stability Board has shifted the focus from inflation to growth.

When I interviewed Carney he made it clear that interest rates would remain at record low levels for ordinary households and smaller businesses.

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A toast to the bosses who deserve high pay

By Alex Brummer, August 30, 2013

Critics of high pay in the boardroom have rounded on the former chief executive of Diageo, Paul Walsh.

Walsh, who led the spirits and beer giant for more than a decade, parted this year with a package of £14.8 m — the larger part of which was represented by bonuses in shares.

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Ocado bid for online supermarket sweep

By Alex Brummer, August 16, 2013

Britain has been a laggard in the the global battle to establish a leading internet company.

Shopping group Ocado, launched by three former executives at Goldman Sachs, is our only player.

But the company’s share prices have been on a roller coaster ride.

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Co-op overhaul could change political view

By Alex Brummer, August 4, 2013

Months after the Co-operative Bank’s financial difficulties were brought to our attention, the actual scale of the damage has been revealed to the public. As well as affecting the Bank, issues are likely to impact the whole Co-operative Group.

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A central element in the road to recovery

By Alex Brummer, July 21, 2013

Before the recession, central bankers were seldom seen and rarely heard.

But now they are taken on by governments to sort out the economic mess.

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