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Berkshire business model is simple and effective, yet rarely copied

Buffett’s method is to find well-run companies and give them more freedom than they would enjoy on public markets. Yet other conglomerates use financial engineering and impose “transferable” management skills.

Trade debate in EU referendum should focus on UK as world leader in services

Britain has a trade surplus in almost every service sector except tourism. As a result, world trade negotiations have not played to British strengths because advanced economies tend to trade freely in manufactures but retain home-country bias in their purchases of services. This should frame any debate on trade in the EU referendum.

HBOS report yields three important lessons for all businesses

British regulators have finally published their report into HBOS, the bank formed from the merger of Halifax with Bank of Scotland, more than seven years after its collapse. The 600-odd pages contain much detail on events and personalities. But there are general lessons for all businesses. Avoid the diversifier’s fallacy. Beware the winner’s curse. Fear adverse selection.

Let’s challenge our fixation on the principle of one share, one vote

The Savoy Group and Google both adopted share structures that give individuals disproprtionately greater voting rights than their diverse set of shareholders. It has worked well for these companies and their investors over the long run. Perhaps we should reopen the debate over share structures?

Taxi apps should be hailed for breaking the cabby cartel

Taxi licensing illustrates regulatory capture, the phenomenon by which regulation intended to serve the public is hijacked by industry interests.

The Co-op’s mistake was to detach responsibility from power

The test of an organisational structure is not how it handles success but how it copes when things go wrong.

The startling human progress that economists fail to see

The most important source of economic advance comes not from doing the same things better, but from achieving the same objective in a completely different way.

Currency unknowns weigh on an independent Scotland

Whatever Mr Salmond may say, there has to be a plan B.

Do not criminalise traders just for being in the know

Obtaining better information about companies is essential to the efficiency of markets and society: obtaining it fractionally earlier is of no public value at all.

The world’s rich stay rich while the poor struggle to prosper

The dispersion of productivity among already rich countries has increased. Norway and Switzerland have surged ahead but laggards such as Italy – and indeed Britain – have struggled to keep up with the pack.

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