If you believe that increased shareholder engagement is the key to a corporate nirvana in which responsible investors can force companies to change their behaviour - for example by thinking longer-term and eschewing corporate excess - there's been a most welcome development.
It seems that some of the institutions who found themselves on the losing end of US subprime mortgage securitizations want this same standard of commercial logic to apply to transactions in which, by most accounts, no one, including the losers, did anything remotely resembling due diligence...
There is no shortage of commentators out there willing to give the European Central Bank a good kicking. The comments have been trotted out many times. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, this is not the picture that ECB insiders see. They hear the noises but to them, what is being described is fictional rather than real.
When the PIIGS crisis was at its height in May, many economists believed the eurozone was going to hell in a handcart and that the euro was doomed. There were predictions that fiscally-challenged economies such as Greece faced bankruptcy, ejection from EMU and a reversion to currencies such as the drachma.
Agriculture has been the poor cousin to industry for more than a century, but rising population pressures in the developing world are focusing the attention of investors and industry alike on the central role food production is likely to play in the decades ahead. Nothing signals this more vividly than mining giant BHP Billiton’s hostile $39 million bid for the Canadian fertilizer manufacturer, PotashCorp.
I wrote a blog post six months ago saying that Americans should not be paranoid about the possibility that China, the country’s biggest lender, will cause economic mayhem by dumping the $1 trillion plus of US Treasury Bills and dollar-denominated assets it currently holds.
On Thursday August 12, after weeks of shall-we, shan’t we, investors finally decided, in large numbers, that equities had reached the point where they were just too scary and that gold was the place to be...
On a visit to New York in December 2003, I interviewed Jim Rogers, the renowned investor and ex-colleague of George Soros. Rogers – who, in my view, speaks a lot of sense about macroeconomics – had recently returned from the round-the-world trip on which he based Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip.
Take an index that many of the “smartest” economic commentators like to use as a bell-weather for the coming ups and downs of the next six months and, well, wobble it up and down a bit, and what do you get? The answer, of course, is a good deal of froth and confusion.
There was a time at the height of the credit crunch when everyone was convinced that the days of the multi billion pound merger were over. However, while the non-availability of cheap lending from banks means that it remains difficult, if not impossible, for large private equity groups to lead huge mergers, this has simply cleared the field for the large multinationals to pluck the low hanging fruit.