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The Big Bang

So that was the Big Bang was it? What revolutionised the Stock Exchange and shook the City actually made no difference to most. Workers woke up one morning to a deregulated Stock Exchange, but would not have had much time to ponder the significance of such a revolution on their lifestyle before they had to get to their work or their place in the DHSS queue.


 But of course, such matters must be important mustn't they? After all, it's on the news every evening, after the royal item and before the Granny parachuting-for-charity, we get the summary of the share price fluctuations, and hear how the Pound struggled, rallied, finished weakly. As one who after a usual day's work (struggled, rallied, finished weakly) cannot see the significance of it all, I sent off for the Stock exchange's glossy pamphlet An Introduction to the Stock Market. Thinking that "bull" was what economists talked about (rather than a type of market), I needed to see what all the fuss was ab…

bankers cash in

Royal Bank of Scotland investment banking boss John Hourican pocketed £4.7 million yesterday as he exercised lucrative share options in the bank – after helping push through thousands of redundancies in the division last year.
Hourican’s sale of 17.6 million shares after exercising share options, at an average price of about 27p, comes after RBS’s global banking and markets division has made some 5,000 people redundant. This has been with the encouragement of the UK government as RBS has scaled back its investment banking activities to focus on UK lending. Recently, it emerged that Hourican received a total pay and awards package, including bonuses, of about £7.5m last year.

It came on the same day that Toby Strauss – insurance chief at Lloyds Banking Group, sold 1.2 million shares worth more than £380,000.

workers shares - a share in losses

For Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland workers, the chance to buy discounted shares in their employer seemed a no-lose deal. Schemes such as the Sharekicker plan at HBOS, which allowed employees to buy the bank’s shares with their bonuses and get 50 per cent more free shares after three years.

In December 2007, the HBOS share price was 741.5p. A year later, after its takeover by Lloyds, it had plunged by more than 90 per cent to 69p, giving thousands of employees who had taken up the Sharekicker plan not only their jobs to worry about, but their savings.

Many staff were confident of prosperity-laden future of their employer and invested much of their cash back into the very company they worked for. The tragedy is that when things went pear-shaped, many lost both their jobs and their savings.

The Deputy Prime Minister talked of a democratic share ownership culture. A lot of bank workers can be forgiven for feeling cynical towards Nick Clegg’s proposal for employees to have a uni…

Capitalism Shares- Or Does it ?

The proportion of shares owned by small shareholders is down to an all time low of 13 % , reported the Independent.

There are as many as 10 million private investors, and BT, for example, retains about half of the people who bought its shares in 1984, but few have a holding in more than one company. Those who own share portfolios with a value of, say, £50,000 to £100,000 is put at no more than 100,000, or 200,000 people.

Half of the UK stock market was controlled by individuals in 1963, that proportion has fallen steadily to this all-time low. The 12.8 per cent headline figure would be even lower were it not for the privatisations and demutualisations of the 1980s.

It is certainly not the Peoples Capitalism , that the apologists of the free market had hoped for .