What Bob Diamond Really Tells Us About The City

A widely noted speech last week by Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, coincided with the 25th anniversary of Big Bang, the great shake-up of the structure of the City of London. The transformation of the man – who had told the world the time for remorse was over – into a figure who pleaded for more public understanding of his industry, was widely noted.

American Lessons in How to Run a Single Currency

In the 1990s, when European monetary union was a plan but not a reality, I would explain to students that the effect was to replace currency risk by credit risk. With exchange rates free to float, loose monetary and fiscal policies would lead sooner or later to a fall in the exchange rate. That expectation implied higher interest rates. Currency markets would limit the scope for bad economic policies.

Bonds Designed To Leave Savers Bemused

I have been studying the prospectus for a “kickout bond”. Many retail investors in Britain may recently have received solicitations for these products, probably with rather more appealing names. The typical structure of a kickout bond is something like this. If the FTSE index is higher in a year’s time than it is today, you receive a 10 per cent return and your money back (no doubt with an invitation to apply for a new kickout bond). If the FTSE has fallen, the bond runs for another year.