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Will the UK Election result unnerve investors?

– Falls of 2 to 3% likely in UK domestic sectors like property, media, retail and challenger banks – FTSE 100 sectors with international earnings – pharma, oils, mining, exporters – should gain on the weaker Pound – Domestically-oriented sectors such as housebuilding and building products can benefit in coming months – A barely workable […]

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The disappointing EU record on financial services

Could financial services take centre stage in the British referendum on EU membership? One of the UK’s strongest sectors now seems to be questioning what EU membership has delivered. A tide of legislation since the financial crisis has hit UK asset managers and banks hard. Asset managers, in particular, are not sure why. A working […]

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PwC Survey shows slow progress on UK executive pay and bonuses.

The latest PwC survey on executive pay and rewards in the FTSE 100 is presented as an improving trend. Yet it is remarkable that just 36% make full disclosure of bonus benchmarks. There is little sign of realism in incentives; many rewards remain detached from sustainable value creation. Too many do not disclose numbers to […]

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Why was Volkswagen in ESG and Sustainable Investing Funds?

Responsible investing must come clean about Volkswagen. Too many funds rated it highly on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Collateral damage will run well beyond the car sector. Already, the scandal has tarnished the brands of Volkswagen and Germany, with their reputations for trust and engineering excellence. But it is not just about mis-selling cars. […]

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Tougher regulation needed for UK listed company directors

A gap has opened up in UK regulation, leaving investors exposed to Companies Act and accounting issues without a clear remedy. Despite all the focus on governance and stewardship, investors are still getting nasty surprises. Tesco and Quindell are perhaps just the highest profile of those involved in further investigations. Making the stockmarket safer should […]

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Audit firm governance needs to reflect the public interest

Is audit quality good enough? In large part that must depend on how well firms that carry out audits are run, and the Financial Reporting Council has opened a consultation on its governance code for such firms. The Audit Firm Governance Code dates to 2010, when the FRC introduced it to address audit problems from […]

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Who wins from ‘adjusting’ earnings per share? Time for some rules.

Most companies in this results season are delivering reassuring updates, but can investors trust the numbers? Tesco’s issues have not only rattled its own shareholders; across the market, analysts wonder how widespread accounting concerns might be. Growth is scarce, and CEOs are under pressure to deliver. This has put more emphasis on presentation; but recent […]

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When will the ECB crack down on banks’ related party lending?

Will the European Central Bank’s asset quality review spot all the problem banks? Asset quality is a risk factor in the European Banking Authority (EBA) Comprehensive Assessment, but regulators may be missing a key underlying pattern in failure. Banco Espirito Santo has highlighted the issue of inter-related lending: loans to shareholders, affiliates and related parties. […]

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Why has the Referendum debate been misunderstood?

What will the Scottish Referendum leave in its wake? A re-energised or a divided Scotland? And will the threat of divorce leave the UK scarred? Many outside observers have misunderstood the debate, triggering misplaced advice. The divisions are deep, and unlikely to be resolved in a single vote. A yes vote may not just hit […]

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Private Equity : the tricks of the trade

Private equity has a serious image problem – an overhaul of its practices is overdue. The industry has always been seen as hardheaded, but now there is a growing perception of a callous attitude to other stakeholders. Private equity now faces attacks from regulators, investors and politicians. Against a weaker economic background, a re-run of […]

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