Shocks & Stares » Financial Times http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-21/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-21/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:08:05 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=319 Hello all and happy Sunny Friday. It’s a good thing the rays are shining outside, because things are still looking decidebly wintery for the global economy. The Fiver touches on this issue this week as you’d expect, but we’ve also comments on Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party conference and we profile some of the work we’ve been doing with Aviva. Thanks to Sallie, Ed, Jonathan and Joey.

Towards anomie? The human cost of the Greek crisis…..Yet another round of crisis talks were required this week to try and resolve the seemingly irretraceable problem of European sovereign debt and avoid a situation where Greece defaults on its financial commitments. Needless to say, further funds have been made available to help prop up struggling nations. In a fascinating piece for Newsnight, Paul Mason went beyond the bailouts to examine the human cost of Greek debt. The Newsnight broadcast can be found here and we’d encourage you to watch it.

The Greek economy continues to burn (Image: Belfast Telegraph)

The message to take away from the piece was that Greek society is in a fragile condition. Young people expect nothing from the state and are understandably disillusioned by the situation they find themselves in. This sense of betrayal extends beyond the nation’s youth and up into many middle class families. Mason’s report refers to the potential for anomie – not a word we were familiar with – which describes the worrying potential for a breakdown of social norms. It’s all too easy to see events through the big picture prism of the EU politicians and German parliamentary debates but it is worth sparing a thought for those who face the consequences of these decisions.

Choose your leader…..A leader in waiting addressed the Labour Party conference this week. He looked unassuming, strode the stage with confidence and was greeted with a standing ovation…..Step forward Rory Weal, the 16 year old who took Liverpool by storm, enthusiastically embraced by the actual leader Ed Miliband, who some might argue could learn a thing or two from the young man.

Labour found a new star this week, but Ed Miliband's speech was hampered by technical difficulties (Image: Daily Telegraph)

The leader’s speech itself was just getting going when the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) struck all the main broadcasters whose screens cut out missing the middle section. It meant Ed Miliband could not deliver his message of a ‘quiet crisis’ engulfing Britain. Not that it mattered much. We all knew what was in it anyway.

There were jeers from the party faithful for the mere mention of Tony Blair, yes he who so awfully delivered them three General Election victories, two of them landslides. How dare he! On the evidence available the speech was well received by the party, if not in the media. That suggests Ed Miliband has aptly captured the mood of the party – and it is one that doesn’t want to be in Government. Thanks goodness for that then.

House of bubbles…..The Financial Times today reported on an increasingly sticky situation in the Chinese property market. Construction in the country is big business in both senses of the word – skyscrapers are still sprigning up daily, and apartments are going for well over $10m according to the paper.

The problem for Chinese officials with all this growth is twofold – one, rapid growth leads to bubbles and we know what happened last time there was a big one of those involving housing. And two, property developers in China are a mixture of “dragons and fish tumbled together” in the words of one official. In other words, while some developers know what they’re doing, many others don’t.

China is keeping the world economy going - but a bubble is growing there

The Chinese authorities have therefore come up with a plan which hopefully tackles both these issues – tightening up bank mortgage lending. It seems to be working. As the FT notes, “stocks and bonds of Chinese property developers have been battered this year”, prices are falling and transactions are down.The question now, which the FT asked in a seperate article yesterday, is whether the fall signals the controlling or bursting of the bubble.

Dancing with Diversity…..Our Aviva team were very excited this week to see their hard work pay off on the very worthy Street Dance for Change campaign. This saw young people from across the country upload their own street dance videos to raise money for the Railway Children charity and the chance to win VIP Diversity 2011 Tour tickets.

Dancing, Diversity and the Railway Children - our campaign of the week

We had some great young people come to a dance workshop with Diversity and learn some of their latest street dance moves at the world renowned Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden. Plus, Diversity created a fab new video specially for the campaign, which is well worth a view. If you want to see some behind the scenes shots from the video check out Diversity’s Twitter feed.

For any who fancies getting involved and uploading a routine but just needs a little inspiration, Ashley Banjo shows off a few basic moves here. For every view of every competition entry Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children and the video that raises the most money, i.e. gets the most views, will win VIP Diversity 2011 Tour tickets and meet the group. The team enjoyed working with the boys (thanks for tweeting about the campaign!) to raise money for Railway Children and hope that the competition hits its £50,000 target.

Video of the week: Trader or hoaxer…..This video made the rounds after ‘independent trader’ Alessio Rastani stunned BBC viewers and presenters in a painfully frank interview where he said the “market is toast” and that the stock market is essentially finished.

TV's newest hate figure - Alessio Rastani (Image: Metro.co.uk)

His candid remarks were not well received with many viewers questioning his authority to make these comments. Some even branded him a hoaxer, choosing to believe that Rastani is the work of Andy Bichlbaum from The Yes Men rather than accept the bleak future he painted. Could we really be heading towards another economic recession? What do you want to believe?

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Our Top 5 Business Columnists http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/04/our-top-5-business-columnists/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/04/our-top-5-business-columnists/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2011 12:45:03 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=20 As you might expect, our Financial & Professional Services team consume a truckload of traditional and new media every day on all things money. Despite the never-ending torrent, one thing we always make time for is to read the many excellent business columnists and commentators that try to make sense of everything going on.

We read a lot of these, and websites too, but which are our favourite business columnists?

With that in mind, here’s a list (in no particular order) of five of our favourites who appear in the business pages each week. This is by no means definitive, and indeed there are many others who we love to read as well – we’d welcome thoughts on your favourites too:

Anthony Hilton - one of our absolute must reads (Image from PRWeek.com)

1. Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard – A consistent hit in our team, Hilton has been providing commentary on the City for several decades. Never afraid to pull punches when it comes to analysing an issue, he always presents clear, concise, logic behind his arguments. Simply put, a must-read for us and thousands of others involved in financial services.

2. John Authers, Financial Times – Authers used to write the daily ‘Short View’ column analysing the markets but recently moved to head up the ever-excellent Lex Column. A shrewd commentator, he has the gift of making complex financial and economic jargon sound relatively simple and easy to understand for the general reader – ably demonstrated by his regular Friday ‘Long View’ column. Mentions to Gillian Tett and Martin Wolf as well here.

3. Ian King, The Times – King took over the Business Editor’s desk at The Times late last year. Before him, David Wighton also provided a concise viewpoint on the business stories of the day. King has continued in that vain, injecting a touch of humour into his column alongside strong but fair viewpoints, and cutting-edge analysis. For his part, Wighton now writes a regular Saturday business column amongst other things.

4. Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph – Formerly the Independent’s star Business Editor, we love to read Warner’s twice-weekly column in the Telegraph for its more in-depth look at key business and economic issues. He’s not afraid to take a swipe at those he disagrees with either, as his little dig at the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee earlier this month showed. He’s also a prolific tweeter.

5. Pauline Skypala, FTfm – More specialised than the others in this list, but we include Skypala because of her talent for probing the inner workings of the fund management industry and asking tough questions of it as a result.  An excellent way to start off the week with a cup of coffee on a Monday morning. Another good tweeter to follow as well.

6. Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times – Ok, so this makes six, but we like to enjoy the lighter side of business commentary as well, and Kellaway’s ‘On Work’ column on a Monday certainly provides that. I may not always agree with what she writes, but for examining office-based issues that affect us all in a humourous way, there are few better. You can look for her latest column on Twitter too.

Lucy Kellaway - Perfect Monday morning reading

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‘The first in an occasional series…’ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/04/the-first-in-an-occasional-series/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/04/the-first-in-an-occasional-series/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2011 12:11:59 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=42 I thought I’d kick off the week, and indeed my contributions to Hill & Knowlton’s new FPS (Financial and Professional Services – for those still wondering) team blog ‘Shocks & Stares’, with a brief post, drawing your attention to the Financial Times’ Elections 2011 feature and more importantly the excellent little graphic on page 2 of today’s FT (and below).  The feature highlights the importance of May 5th in shaping the political landscape for the remainder of this Parliament and beyond. Much like this post, ‘this is the first in an occasional series on the May 5th elections’ from the FT so we look forward to the next instalment, especially if they contain more infographics like the one below.

Financial Times 'Elections 2011' infographic - Monday April 11 2011, page 2

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