Archive | December, 2013

Seasons greetings and thanks

22 Dec


to my loyal band of followers – and trusting that you are all the later model, post-ghosts versions of Scrooge this Christmas! (NB – you may need to zoom in to read the captions.)

“Go & lobby in Washington” – Angus Deaton, author of The Great Escape

12 Dec

Just finished listening to Angus Deaton’s lecture at the LSE in October – see the link below. He was introducing his book about the “great escape” from poverty and ill health, and touching briefly on his controversial views on foreign aid (he doesn’t favour it). But listen to the end for his advice – as in the title – as to what his Princeton students should do about world poverty. The other great theme: don’t think in silos – people’s welfare involves politics and health as much as economics. Enjoy:

Whizzo! – tax relief is coming for social impact investing

6 Dec

Desparate dan


I am indebted to the Financial Times, today’s edition, bottom of p5 , for alerting me to George Osborne’s plans for tax breaks for “social capital” – see p 87 of the Autumn Statement, which you can download here –

This seems to mean equity or loan investments will qualify for relief at the investor’s marginal tax rate, as already happens for Venture Capital Trusts (see, for example, this from Citywire  – As we are promised a “road plan” for this in January, we should know more then. Here is the relevant paragraph in the AS:

2.51 Social investment tax relief – The government will introduce a new tax relief for equity and certain debt investments in social enterprises with effect from April 2014. Organisations which are charities, community interest companies or community benefit societies will be eligible. Following consultation, investment in social impact bonds issued by companies limited by shares will also be eligible. The government will publish a roadmap for social investment in January 2014. (Finance Bill 2014) .



HSBC (USA) vs Brett King – the five deadly sins

4 Dec

No doubt many of you will have read the hilarious story of Brett King & his tussle with HSBC USA over their closing his business banking account (see Only hilarious, mind, if you are not Brett King, one of his employees, or a shareholder in HSBC.

It’s really a mind-boggling list of sins:

  • failure to check if business account holder had other accounts (he did, and one assumes profitable ones to HSBC)
  • using wrong (and expensive) communication method (snail mail – Brett uses internet banking)
  • failing to keep data up to date (Brett had moved – which presumably was on the public record apart from anything else)
  • giving wrong advice on channel use (go to a branch when branch is closed)
  • failing to monitor & respond to social media comments (if you are going to run a social media presence, you had better watch what your customers post on it)

Now – confession time. Several years ago, I actually moved my accounts to HSBC – from Barclays, as they were (at the time) even worse. And as a customer I would actually rate HSBC pretty highly – especially on internet banking, where their Global View facility works very well. But then, I’m not Brett King, who doubtless has other thoughts.

And who will no doubt be using this case to strengthen his argument for Movenbank (see