The Hong Kong bank grew into one of the world’s biggest financial institutions. But poor results and a furore over Swiss tax make for an unhappy 150th anniversary. A new history shows how hands-off management and breakneck M&A under former chairman John Bond are partly to blame.
Commodities-dependent nations got more bad news, as BHP warned on iron ore prices. To survive, many will need to turn their economies upside down. Resources prevent long-term strategies, dull the good and bad governance gap and ultimately cloud voters’ views of who’s responsible.
The mysterious death of a prosecutor investigating President Cristina Fernandez has the stamp of cheap fiction. It’s emblematic of her rule, which ends later this year. Official data mask a looming recession and rising inflation. She’s leaving a credibility deficit for her successor.
Georgina Adam’s “Big Bucks” explores how contemporary art, buoyed by billionaires’ cash, has exploded as an asset class. The financial shenanigans are breathtaking but there were plenty in, say, the 1920s, another era of the super-rich. But today, the whole world is joining in.
President Nicolas Maduro, the hapless successor to Hugo Chavez, is struggling mightily to maintain the late strongman’s leftist Bolivarian movement. Tweaking forex rates may buy time, but falling oil prices work against him. Revolutions, as they say, tend to eat their children.
The People’s Republic is talking a good game on fighting counterfeit goods. Online exchanges like Alibaba’s Taobao are a handy target, and make it easier to find brand thieves. The trouble is that incentives aren’t straightforward. Stamp out fakes and there would be many losers.
The tragicomic true story of Mark Kitto’s doomed magazine empire may be a blast from the past, but is nonetheless relevant today. China’s wannabe media magnates – both foreign and homegrown – still walk a tightrope between the overbearing state and their commercial aspirations.
A new runway may be finally built near the UK capital at a cost of up to $28 billion. The three rival proposals all seem to be financially viable, but the independently conceived scheme that would double the length of one of Heathrow’s existing runways looks best placed.
Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn’t learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke’s knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much.
Worries about bad debts and a sliding share price have raised doubts about Chief Executive Peter Sands’ future. The main challenge for the emerging market lender is to boost returns and retain capital as growth slows. If Sands leaves, his successor will face the same issues.