Dayo Olopade’s “The Bright Continent” describes “kanju,” the hustling, striving and rule-breaking that make modern Africa work. The canny invisible hand can outwit the dead hand of corrupt bureaucracy. Sadly kanju makes the continent a tough place to do fully organized business.
The stock exchange is poised to launch a debate on shareholder voting rights after Alibaba cancelled its listing in the former colony. Dumping “one share, one vote” won’t necessarily attract many new IPOs. But it would undermine Hong Kong’s already shaky corporate governance.
Market speed junkies are accused of behaviour akin to front-running, scalping investors, and serving no useful purpose. High-frequency traders say they provide liquidity, drive down costs for everyone, and stop investors being fleeced. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth.
Chinese buyers are a key new factor pushing up the UK capital’s property prices. As Beijing relaxes capital controls, the wall of money could intensify. UK politicians will need to decide whether to protect London’s global financial status, or the citizens who have to live there.
A boom in mainland sales has mostly boosted foreign brands and their local joint venture partners. But the alliances look increasingly unstable. Foreign groups would like a bigger say, while Beijing wants more competitive local brands. The tension could lead to future break-ups.
The Financial Stability Board is supposed to coordinate global oversight of banks. But in key areas like avoiding another AIG and resolving cross-border busts, Asian countries are sidelined. They need to speak with one voice – and Europe and the U.S. need to start listening.
Capitalism is dying, says Jeremy Rifkin in a new book. The wealthy can no longer expect to get rich at the expense of those wanting access to capital. As profit becomes a thing of the past, the age of collaboration is dawning. It is an intriguing but unconvincing thesis.
Agitators like Carl Icahn say they operate for the benefit of all investors. It depends on the goals and methods. Critiquing lax governance or nominating qualified new blood to a dozy board fits the bill. Special dealing doesn’t. Breakingviews shows how to spot the right animals.
“The Sabermetric Revolution” debunks some of the numerical analysis craze sweeping baseball. Two Smith College professors expose how many of the stats rely on poor measurement, dodgy theory and small data sets. Even good metrics quickly get arbitraged. Just like on Wall Street.
UK and German authorities are probing daily gold “fixings.” They are yet to turn up evidence of market manipulation, and no bank traders have been suspended. But benchmark-setting for the precious metal is archaic, laborious and methodologically unsound. An overhaul is overdue.