Jeremy Warner: Myners wants to force investors to be more engaged

Outlook Lord Myners, the minister for the City, made an appropriate stand-in guest speaker for the Investment Management Association's annual dinner the other night, because the man who was meant to give the speech was none other than John McFall, chairman of the very same Treasury select committee of MPs which has just issued a scathing report on Lord Myners' handling of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension. In it, Lord Myners is accused of naivety and failure to grasp the issue.

Jeremy Warner: There's a thing: We've won the IMF's praise

Outlook Even the International Monetary Fund, it seems, now concedes Britain is getting at least something right in its management of the economy. There was faint praise in an IMF report card issued yesterday for Britain's handling of the banking and economic crisis, not that this is likely to help Prime Minister Gordon Brown very much in his quest to get re-elected.

Jeremy Warner: Investors vent fury at Shell

Outlook With all the focus on the excesses of bankers, other corporations must have thought it possible to get away with big pay packages to senior executives largely unnoticed. Yesterday's protest vote by shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell provides a timely reminder that executive excess remains an issue wherever it lurks. Shareholders have rightly given their board a bloody nose. It is outrageous that such sums should be paid for doing little more than riding the boom in oil prices while so many are being asked to make sacrifices.

Jeremy Warner: Steady as she goes at Vodafone

Outlook As everyone around is cutting dividend payouts, Vodafone trundles on regardless. The company cannot claim to be entirely recession-proof. Some of its markets have been badly hit by the downturn, most notably Spain. Roaming revenues and business traffic are also under pressure. But in the round, the mobile phone seems to be one of those things that, however bad things get, people are not prepared to do without. What is more, certain elements of mobile telephony, such as data, continue to display growth company characteristics. At Vodafone, mobile date grew by 26 per cent last year in money terms. Nor is this just some flash-in-the-pan insignificance. In some maturer markets, data is now a meaningful proportion of overall revenues.

Jeremy Warner: Dividend cut highlights M&S board's failings

Outlook What a shame the dividend decision at Marks & Spencer doesn't conform with the slogan of its transformation programme – "doing the right thing". Directors have done very much the wrong thing in slashing the dividend by a third, but please don't call it a cut. Rather, this is simply a question of "re-basing" so as to provide "a stronger foundation for moving forward". OK, so these things are in the end a matter of judgement and Sir Stuart Rose, the chairman, may be right in thinking he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. If he'd held or increased the dividend, he might have been accused of hubris and recklessness. But somehow I doubt it, and there was evident disappointment in the stock market yesterday, where, after an admittedly good run, the shares fell back by nearly 10 per cent.

Jeremy Warner: Bank may just have got its sums correct

Outlook To the relief of the Bank of England, which has no real need to justify itself over its policy of zero interest rates and quantitative easing, but was beginning to get a little worried about the apparent stubbornness of the inflation rate, price inflation is at last beginning to ease as projected.

Jeremy Warner: Don't count on China to rescue world economy

Outlook: There's good reason for optimism about emerging market economies, not least India

Jeremy Warner: Who are MPs to attack the City bonus culture?

Outlook We have to assume that MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee are relatively clean, for none of the present crop seems yet to have appeared in The Daily Telegraph's exposé of MPs' expenses. Even so, the timing of their latest report on the banking crisis, which fulminates against the City bonus culture, could scarcely be more unfortunate.

Jeremy Warner: Pension deficit may force BT break-up

Outlook What is to become of poor old British Telecom? It was only eight years ago that Britain's incumbent telecoms operator, groaning under a £30bn mountain of debt, had to be rescued from oblivion by what was then a record-breaking £6bn rights issue.

Jeremy Warner: Intel gets it in the neck from Kroes

Outlook You can get almost any merger past the European Union these days. The recession has also caused the rules governing state aid to be virtually scrapped. Yet at least one area of European competition policy remains reassuringly intact. Ploughing an ever more lonely furrow, Neelie Kroes, the European Competition Commissioner, has slapped a record-breaking fine on Intel. And there we all were thinking the one-time scourge of big business was going soft.

Jeremy Warner: Bank of England chief warns of slow economic recovery

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, seem to agree on one thing at least. They both think the economic contraction is slowing and that activity will rebound, possibly quite sharply, towards the end of this year, early next year.

Jeremy Warner: Printing money seems powerless to halt rise in gilt yields

Outlook No wonder the Bank of England is stepping up its programme of "quantitative easing" (QE). Proving the old stock market saying that it is better to travel in anticipation than actually to arrive, gilt yields fell precipitously ahead of the formal announcement of QE, under which the Bank of England is expanding the money supply by buying shed loads of gilt-edged stocks. But they have been rising steadily more or less ever since and after another surge yesterday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt is now higher than before the programme began. The rise has been particularly acute since the Budget, which laid out in glorious Technicolor quite how shockingly large gilt issuance is going to be in future years.

Jeremy Warner: Good bank, bad bank

Outlook What could have possessed Lloyds Banking Group to rush out its interim management statement on the same day as first-quarter numbers from Barclays? The contrast between the two could scarcely have been more humbling.

Jeremy Warner: Treasury calls Tata's bluff over JLR guarantees

Outlook The Government is right to play hardball with Tata Motors over £750m of aid being demanded to support Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Many of the problems faced by JLR – such as collapsing sales and an absence of credit – are common to the industry as a whole, but some are specific to JLR and its parent company, Tata Motors. Indeed, it can reasonably be argued that Tata is largely the author of its own misfortune. Its acquisition of the much larger JLR two years ago at a price which, even at the time, rivals considered grossly inflated was an act of folly that has ended up endangering the whole company.

Jeremy Warner: Women bankers are no protection

Outlook Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, would be well advised to read Gillian Tett's excellent new book on the origins of the banking crisis, Fool's Gold, before sounding off again on the merits of packing the boards of nationalised banks with women so as to protect us all from the supposed greed-fuelled recklessness of male bankers.

News
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Ben Chu reports on the case that has lifted the lid on investment bankers' astronomical rewards

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Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
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Hamish McRae thinks that there will be a deal that enables the government to continue functioning in response for concessions that it can argue are just about within its red lines
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