Latest Posts

Tesco – another profit warning.

Another profit warning from Tesco and another strategy presentation for the beginning of the year.   We’ve been here before. Let me just remind you of the pricing chaos that is currently ongoing at Tesco with last week’s Times column: I was appalled to discover that I spent £160 in store as discussed in my column.   I objected […]

Times column on banks

Why fines taxes and regulation are not helping the UK to recover: I would add the following comment to my column: Individuals who break that rules need to be held to account.  At the moment they keep their bonuses and just lose their jobs.  Not much personal downside.  What the regulator should do is […]

Osborne’s financial games

This morning I wrote about the big fall in government borrowing costs (gilt yields) from 3% in the summer to just below 2% now.  In hindsight this was timely (even if I say so myself).  Why?  Because the main reason Osborne has cut yearly borrowing figures despite tax revenue being lower than expected is because he now assumes lower gilt yields.  […]

A Gilt Edged Chancellor?

The big event of the day will be the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.  Osborne stands up at 12.30 to deliver his mini budget just over five months before the General Election.  Generosity to the NHS, road building and business has already been leaked.  Although given the political situation, there may be a few bunnies pulled from his (imaginary) hat. But what is clear […]

Food Shopping is a funny old game.. until you reach the checkout..

My Times business column:  

WTF Tesco Visit…

Sadly Lidl’s car park was closed for maintenance on Saturday.  Never keen to carry a weekly family food shop further than absolutely necessary, I was forced back to Tesco.  I discovered yet more pricing obfuscation and complexity.  And for a customer I felt even more ripped off than usual thanks to both its prices and “promotions”.  The total bill […]

Psychopaths in Banking.. My Times column.

After all the fines and misdemeanours, is a poor corporate culture to blame or does banking just attract the dishonest and psychopathic? I argue both.  The prevailing culture in financial services was and possibly still is deeply toxic. And the criteria for success in investment banking are the personality attributes of psychopaths.

More debt before Christmas…

This morning’s Public Sector Borrowing Requirement showed the government borrowing £7.7bn more than it received in revenue in October.  So far this year the government has racked up £64.1bn of debt, actually up £3.7bn from last year.  And yet the economy has grown around 3%. This makes any Christmas giveaways in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement on 3rd December difficult.  Like many […]

Centrica – no longer boring.

“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly an English translation of a Chinese curse.  But many sources claim there is no such original Chinese proverb.  Even so shareholders are feeling the pain of Centrica being a far more “interesting” investment that they may have wanted it to be. Since Ed Milliband’s attack on the industry in September last […]

RBS £56mn poorer….

I am beginning to feel like Bill Murray, playing a weather man in the film Groundhog Day.  I have written about bank fines so many times before.  It is beginning to feel like a daily occurrence. Such are the clean up costs of past failures, these fines seem not to “extraordinary” or “exceptional” items – one off costs […]