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Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Bonds designed to leave savers bemused

The theory that the right answer to the gap in information and knowledge between the investment bank’s structured products division and the person in the street is to give the person in the street more information is absurd.

Better a distant judge than a pliant regulator

There is a loss of intimacy in knowledge and understanding, and a reduction in subtlety and flexibility of approach that comes from insistence on judicable principles and rigid rules. But the prevalence of regulatory capture is such that it is often a price well worth paying.

How to spot a good from a bad quango

Good quangos have specific technical expertise and their purpose is to take issues out of politics. Bad quangos have no distinctive skills and are designed to put issues into politics.

Barbarians at the gates of complexity

The defining characteristic of civilisation is the complexity of its organisation. But complexity breeds complexity, and is subject to diminishing returns. Eventually the costs of increased complexity exceed the benefits.

Cutting costs so often leads to cutting corners

Today’s managers are victims of the tyranny of the quarterly earnings report. And that is why yesterday’s cost-savings are so often today’s corporate crisis.

Sir John Vickers will hear a lot of tosh on separation...

The Independent Commission on Banking headed by Sir John Vickers which the coalition Government has established will be told that such a separation between utility and casino can't be done – although it was done in Britain for most of the 20th century.

A royal invitation to raise the debate on finance

We do need to increase the scope for structured and independent inquiry outside government, but with the kind of authority that only official status can confer.

The left is still searching for a practical philosophy

Was there a “third way”, a politics which reconciled the market economy with the values of compassion and fairness that had traditionally motivated the political left? When was government interference with the operation of free markets justified, even necessary, and when did such intervention reduce choice and welfare?

Iceland should stand up to shameful bullying

The assertion that depositors in Kaupthing and Landsbanki have a claim on ordinary people who were too prudent to put money there, or did...

True and fair values melt under a spotlight

The true and fair view is subjective, and no accounting principles, however extensive, can cover all conceivable situations.

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