No time should be wasted asking them to reform – just do it
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Saturday 02 October 2010
Another week, another astonishing list of complaints about our banks. On Thursday it was the Financial Service Authority's turn to release statistics demonstrating just how little banks care about customer service. The City watchdog reported that around 1.3 million complaints about poor service or the misselling of financial products were logged against the high street banks in just six months.
Friday 24 September 2010
The future of HSBC, Britain's largest bank, was last night thrown into disarray as it emerged that Micheal Geoghegan, its chief executive, is now almost certain to step down at the end of the year after failing to secure the chairman's role.
Wednesday 22 September 2010
Handbags at dawn in the bottled water industry. Volvic, the French water giant, has put out a triumphant press release championing what it claims is the "UK's first plastic bottle made using plant material". That's really got up the nose of Belu, one of its British rivals, which is renowned for its high ethical and environmental standards. A spokesman haughtily points out that it has been using bottles made from corn since 2006. Thank goodness these folk don't drink anything stronger than water.
Monday 20 September 2010
Monday 20 September 2010
The London Stock Exchange has appointed MWM Consulting, the headhunting company run by Anna Mann, to help it find a possible new chairman.
Sunday 19 September 2010
Is the Putin administration secretly funding the Tory party? I only ask because of an intriguing donation that has popped up on the Electoral Commission's register of interests, from a mysterious Russian hedge fund. In March this year, £10,000 was donated by Xenon Capital Partners, a Moscow-based fund created apparently for the sole purpose of advising Russian state-owned companies in the energy industry, which also manages a $2bn state-owned power utilities fund. Of course, it's all above board, as the company is also registered to an address in London, and British companies are allowed to donate as much as they like to political parties. Still, makes you wonder.
Saturday 18 September 2010
It looks like Virgin Trains picked the wrong man to annoy when a string of its staff rather let down Simon Middleton at Crewe station recently. Mr Middleton is in the process of promoting his book, Build a Brand in 30 Days, and thus has access to the services of a public relations agency. It promptly put together a press release cataloguing Virgin's shabby treatment of Mr Middleton, and sent it to hundreds of journalists. Virgin seems to have forgotten the golden rule: the customer is always right, especially if he has some influence.
Tuesday 14 September 2010
To BGC Partners in Canary Wharf, for its annual charity day. The brokerage, part of Cantor Fitzgerald, has been hosting the bash for several years to commemorate the 9/11 attacks on the US, in which more than 650 of its staff lost their lives. Yesterday's event produced a good turnout, with celebrities including Jonathan Ross, Penny Lancaster, David Coulthard, Honor Blackman, Johnny Vaughan, Lisa Snowden and Cilla Black all swapping places with BGC's brokers to close out deals. The event raises millions of pounds for around 75 charities, but there's no news yet on whether the stars also made more money for BGC than its own brokers normally manage.
Tuesday 14 September 2010
Muslims left to face hatred
Friday 10 September 2010
We're loving Fascinating Aida (they style themselves as Britain's top female comedy singing trio, though it can't be a large category) and their take on the blessed Ryanair. Check it out for yourself on YouTube, but this sample lyric sums it up: "Cheap flights, cheap flights, we should have gone by sea; there's no such thing as fecking flights for 50p." The tirade – though no doubt Ryanair will see it as more of a tribute – continues in that fashion for a good five minutes.
Wednesday 08 September 2010
Outlook It is almost two years to the day since the British Government, via the Financial Services Authority, effectively vetoed Barclays Bank's plan to buy Lehman Brothers, condemning the failing American investment bank to collapse. And although Bob Diamond, the Barclays man championing the takeover, was furious, he has much to be grateful for. Had Barclays been saddled with Lehman in its entirety, its ability to ride out the rest of the financial crisis would have been in question. Instead, it bought Lehman's choicest assets at a knock-down price and Mr Diamond came up smelling of roses.
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