New year resolutions for the business world
by Andrew Clark, The Observer
Perhaps bankers could go to charm school, BA could make friends with the unions and Warren Buffett could understand where he went astray
Out with the old and in with the new. We've slammed the door on 2010 – a year of quantitative easing, cuts, oil slicks and eurozone crises. As austerity tightens its thorny grip, it promises to be a tough 12 months. So here are a few suggestions to the movers and shakers in the business world for new year resolutions to make 2011 a little happier, more harmonious and more prosperous.
Halt your threats and turn on the charm. We've heard enough dire warnings that JP Morgan, HSBC and hordes of hedge funds will quit the square mile in favour of Hong Kong or Geneva if higher taxes and bonus restrictions come into play. The public, for the most part, doesn't care – in fact, there are plenty of volunteers who would pay bankers' taxi fares to Heathrow in the hope of seeing the back of them.
If you want an end to "banker bashing", change tactics. Make the case persuasively for the contribution that finance makes to Britain's economy. Explain how you're helping business to grow. Teach us about how you can put our savings to work. Give us lessons that you've learned from the credit crunch. Tell us why we should love bankers. Nicely.
. . . .Goldman Sachs
Improve your quality control. Goldman sponsored two of the biggest stock market flotations of the year – Ocado and Betfair. Both turned out to be dogs. Betfair is languishing at little more than 950p, a sharp drop from its placing price of £13. The online supermarket Ocado, initially slated for a price of 200p to 275p a share, ended up joining the market at 180p, then slumped by an immediate 10%. Given how much your big-brained executives get paid, we expect better.
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