2013 - the business year in review: Happy days may be on their way
The scandals continued, but the main message the City took home from 2013 was that the good times are back
Saturday 28 December 2013
It was a fine year for financiers. After a half-decade of misery, the FTSE 100 index gained 11 per cent and the Dow Jones managed double that gain. US shares consistently hit new records but UK ones peaked in May and then stuttered on: thanks in no small part to the largesse of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve’s money-printing.
It was a good year, too, for women in the City, with the FTSE seeing a 33 per cent jump in the number of female bosses at top companies. The growing army includes Royal Mail’s Moya Green, Carolyn McCall at easyJet and Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco. Angela Ahrendts announced she was leaving Burberry to head home to America next year but Liv Garfield will be joining as boss of Severn Trent. And of course, it’s less than a fortnight since Inga Beale was confirmed as CEO of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
Lord King took a woman off the banknotes but another man put a woman back. Jane Austen will grace the £10 note, bettering Elizabeth Fry’s old position on the fiver. That’s inflation for you.King’s PR-savvy replacement was the Canadian Mark Carney, who arrived by Tube on his first day as Governor of the Bank of England. He then rocked up at the Wilderness music festival in polo shirt, shorts and loafers. Plastic banknotes should come in by 2016.
The more he talked of recovery, the more austere Chancellor George Osborne’s hairstyle became. The rumour was that the comb-forward was to hide a bald spot.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby laid into payday lenders, only to be told the Church was an investor in the biggest – Wonga. He admitted being “very embarrassed” but continued his crusade against big bad business, meeting the big six energy bosses, most of whom had avoided a grilling by MPs.
Speaking of the guys in the black hats, banks were never out of the headlines. But the ones leading to the arrest of former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers over drug allegations were extraordinary. The week before he had told the Treasury Select Committee the bank had assets of £3bn when it actually had £47bn.
Fox-hunting Stephen Hester fell out with the Chancellor and quit as chief executive of 81% state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland. It was fined £325m for rigging Libor and £62m for sanctions breaches. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Standard Chartered all picked up hefty fines.
Business secretary Vince Cable defended accusations he sold Royal Mail too cheaply. The shares were sold off at 330p in October and surged to almost 600p today.
On the high street, Blockbuster (twice), Barratts shoe shops, Jessops and HMV all went under.
Cricket-playing Simon Lee quit as chief executive of insurer RSA after it found a £200m hole in its Irish arm’s reserves. Nick Buckles escaped from security giant G4S following its shambolic performance at the London Olympics.
On the whole, though, as they say in the City, there were more risers than fallers.
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 2 Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
- 3 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
- 5 Carol Vorderman reveals she is 'covered in burns' after she fell off her treadmill while running naked
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...
£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...
£20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...