The disappointment of mergers and acquisitions

Do mergers and acquisitions make sense?

Kraft and Heinz are to merge. Is that good or bad? The answer depends on who you are. But mergers and acquisitions rarely create shareholder value, according to received wisdom. Of course some (some shareholders, the advisers) are going to benefit otherwise they wouldn’t happen. But the businesses as . . . → Read More: The disappointment of mergers and acquisitions

What's wrong with finance?

Why are there so many scandals within the finance sector? From the many news reports the banking, finance and insurance sector across the world seems rife with malpractice.

Insurance seems to be commonly mis-sold – to those who don’t need it and to those who don’t care enough to shop around at the end of . . . → Read More: What's wrong with finance?

Do men behaving badly damage business?

American Apparel has been rebuked in the UK for the sixth time in two and a half years over its advertising. Each time for being offensive to women. It seems the corporate culture behind the ads has affected its share price – which has continued to fall over the past five years, while the markets . . . → Read More: Do men behaving badly damage business?

Does anybody know what banks are for?

The long litany of scandals suggests that bankers believe it is simply to make as much money as possible by any means possible. Yet surprisingly, they also have a social purpose.

Given the banks own the primary mechanisms that facilitate economic activity, there are quite a lot of ways for them to make money. That . . . → Read More: Does anybody know what banks are for?

Unsocial enterprise?

Worries over the role of the moneylenders (that’s excluding the banks, whom some think don’t deserve that name any more) is growing.

Wonga is but one of the many lenders to those who cannot really afford to borrow. But it’s catchy name means it will receive more adverse attention than most. Yet CSR strikes even . . . → Read More: Unsocial enterprise?

Paying for purity with disaster

Money laundering is a bad thing – it supports crime and terrorism. And the banks’ payments payments systems are the soil in which money laundering can grow. So Barclays has decided to close the accounts of 100 of the money transmission businesses that transport remittances from the UK to Somalia through accounts with Barclays. No . . . → Read More: Paying for purity with disaster

The Social Stock Exchange: making an impact by creating value?

The idea of increasing the flow of funds to social enterprises is a great idea. But how do we know that they really are social enterprises? Would Unilever count? What about Green & Black’s? See my Guardian blog here, which discusses some of the problems of knowing what to measure.

What are banks for?

Right across the world there is an epidemic of poor behaviour from the banking sector. Facilitating money laundering, interest rate fixing and mis-selling of products are big in the news right now. And these are the activities of organizations that were once known as ‘pillars of the community’, not criminal gangs. Yet there is very . . . → Read More: What are banks for?

Making corporate responsibility personal responsibility

Taking personal reponsibility for bank failure is one way the size of banks could be limited. And according to the director of financial stability at the Bank of England, there might be a need to do so.

One way to limit both company size and appetite for risk is to tie the fortunes of directors . . . → Read More: Making corporate responsibility personal responsibility

Protecting the public or protecting the banks?

The Vickers Report recommends ring-fencing the retail banks. The point being not to constrain retail banking, but to keep the other, risky stuff away from that part of banking that the economy, and the public, relies upon.

The CBI response comes out against the idea and talks a lot about costs, but doesn’t seem to . . . → Read More: Protecting the public or protecting the banks?