Tag Archives: finance

Arthur sends his apologies

The apology of Arthur Tresbit by Robert Thayer

“Arthur Tresbit is about to cause the destruction of civilisation as we know it… And for that he’s very sorry.”

Robert ThayerAuthor Robert Thayer gave a balanced and interesting talk about the nature of high finance, and in particular the financial crash of 2008, to the Paddington Library Reading Group recently.
The illustrated talk formed a backdrop to his recently published novel, The Apology of Arthur Tresbit, an amusing fictional account of an ordinary man who destroys the world financial system.

To find out more about forthcoming events at Paddington Library, visit our News & events page.



Financial essentials

Use the Financial Times Historical Archive via Westminster LibrariesIn this age of austerity, many of us can’t even afford to buy the Financial Times at £2.50 a pop – £3 on Saturdays – and even those who managed to inherit or accumulate stock portfolios during the good times may well be cashing them in now to pay for the heating in the ancestral pile or to get Granny into a decent care home.

Still, some of us, even the hopeful and industrious poor, do need access to the Financial Times, with its authoritative articles, and above all its comprehensive price listings for shares, commodities, bonds, currencies and such like.

So it’s reassuring to know that several Westminster libraries buy paper copies of the FT, with Marylebone Information Service and Westminster Reference Library keeping their back copies for one month and three months respectively; and also that for some time all our members have had access to text versions of FT articles going back to 2nd January 1998 on NewsBank… but that’s old hat…

No, our newest baby, the Financial Times Historical Archive 1888-2007, was brought back from the maternity hospital already singing, dancing, painting the walls tartan and displaying every page of the Financial Times from 1888 onwards.

When we first bought it last year, its coverage reached to 2006, but at the time of writing (Febuary 2012) it’s been extended to 2007. So on the one hand, it’s a lovely long facsimile archive of every issue from the very first, including all those daily prices; but on the other hand, they deliberately keep this sensitive and expensively-compiled financial information five calendar years out of date for people who haven’t bought the paper in the first place or subscribed to their internet version….

Never mind, there are other ways of getting more recent information. For instance, Google finance and Yahoo! Finance are both links from the Business & economics section of the Gateway to websites. This one’s searchable by text and browsable by issue date. It also has juicy extras like “helpful introductions” and Research Topics, and facilities to save, bookmark, print and email articles Just one word (well, a few words) of warning: searches for share prices or other items from the listings can be made difficult by the fact that company names are often abbreviated; also, the text recognition software doesn’t always work on the small print used in these tables. So do be ready to try more than one method of entry into the information you want. It’s often simplest to find your date then browse through the listings yourself.

The Financial Times Historical Archive 1888-2007 is accessible in any Westminster Library, or remotely using your Westminster Library card number. You’ll find links to it on the Exclusive Resources page in our 24/7 Library, and in the News and Magazines section of our Gateway. NewsBank is available via the same links.


In the money with Euromoney [e-resource of the week]

EuromoneyWhether you are fortunate enough to have to manage your considerable financial liquidity, or are merely researching into the many ups and downs of the global economy, Euromoney is a very good place to start.

Perhaps your business is investment or even banking? Then you must already know this monthly journal is definitely for you. Now over 40 years old, it continues to cover the rollercoaster ride that is international finance and global markets.

The hard copy publication, available at Westminster Reference Library, is complemented by a detailed and full online archive back to 1996 – including news, comments, analysis, rankings, reports, quarterly league tables broken down by industry and much more.

You will also find Euromoney’s benchmark surveys and awards, including the prestigious Private Banking Awards and Awards for Excellence essential reading if you are bravely seeking to work in this somewhat beleaguered industry. Even a quick glance at Euromoney will make you fluid in finance speak and give you an insight into the precarious, some would say exciting world, of the finance industry.

So why not begin your journey by investing your time in a visit to the Business Information Point at Westminster Reference Library – get access to Euromoney and more!

[Westminster Reference Library]

FT Historical Archive, 1888-2006 [e-resource of the week]

About the The Financial Times Historical ArchiveWhen the London Financial Guide was first published in 1888, it could have equally have been called the World Financial Guide. For many commodities and services, the London market was the World market.
This “stockbrokers’ bible” eventually became the Financial Times, later merging with its arch-rival, the Financial News. Very early on, it turned salmon pink, so the city gents could easily find it on the newsstand.

Meanwhile, other financial centres grew up in Europe, America and around the World, and the FT kept ahead of the curve. Not only was the coverage extended well beyond the shores of this country, the paper was also published and printed around the globe. For the first time in the late 1990s, more copies were sold abroad than in the UK.

Easy to dismiss as just for finance nerds, the FT, its coverage and its own history provide a fascinating timeline of globalisation. Of course, the FT is still at it, in print, online, on handhelds and smart phones. But the broad picture is probably best appreciated by digging into the FT Archive, now available online (in full facsimile) from the first issue in 1888 until 2006. All you need is your library membership card to access it from anywhere.

The FT would probably suffer a corporate heart attack if I suggested that it was a scandal-rag, but it’s often been the first to uncover the juicy scams. In the 1880s it was Her Majesty’s Dockyards knocking out snuff boxes for the private market; much later we can read about Robert Maxwell and his unsavoury activities, It’s all there for the dedicated scumbag-collector. There are nearly 21,000 hits for “scandal” – lovely!


e-resource of the week: Experian

Find out more about ExperianOne of our best-loved business resources, Experian B2B Researcher is an online UK company database listing thousands of businesses & company contacts. It’s ideal for finding business contacts, UK company information and for creating mailing lists, and is available to use at all our Business Information Points across the City.

As well as providing detailed UK company information (including contact details, financials, ownership data etc), business searches can be made using a wide range of criteria i.e. by location (town, city, local authority, ward and postcode), industry or activity, turnover, no of employees etc.

Experian is especially useful in that it includes both larger, registered companies and unregistered companies i.e. SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) and sole traders. Industry searches can be made not only by using the SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes, but also using Thomson and Yellow Pages codes, which include activity descriptions which people are often more familiar with i.e. fashion, leisure, football, aromatherapy etc. This allows searchers to find company listings for businesses in niche sectors i.e. Dog walking, Party Planners & Organisers Fancy Dress, Designers-TV, Film & Theatre, Theatres & Concert Halls etc.

All search results can be usefully downloaded into an excel spreadsheet and used to create tailored mailing lists.

So whether you are starting a business and need to find out how many businesses already operate in a particular sector and/or where they are located, or are seeking to market your products & services to other businesses, or are looking for work in a particular industry and need to find company listings, check out Experian. This is a database which really has a lot to offer!


Banking crisis? What banking crisis?

City of Thieves, by Cyrus MooreFiction author and ex-corporate banker, Cyrus Moore, and financial journalist Deborah Hargreaves debated the banking crisis at Mayfair Library earlier in the week.

It was a riveting evening, a blend of fact and fiction. This is Moore’s take on what is wrong with the banks:

  • Bankers’ pay is too high – bring it down;
  • Banks will continue to take excessive risks if the government continue to bail them out;
  • Bankers are tempted to put our money destined for safe investments into risky investments, without telling us about it – a huge conflict of interest.

As you can imagine it led to some interesting questions from the 40 people who attended the event. Moore became disillusioned with corporate banking in 2002 and predicted the collapse, (as did Hargreaves who was then at the Financial Times), he left and wrote a novel about it describing some of the unethical practices he experienced. Funnily enough none of his former colleagues recognised themselves…

Hargreaves considered that City of Thieves accurately described the macho ethos of the banking world. Both agreed that the unreal salaries and bonuses should stop and the banks should be broken up, and both agreed that since nothing much has changed we are probably heading for another crisis. When asked what we could do about it, Hargreaves suggested marching in protest and Moore said stop paying taxes – you heard it here first!

Comments from some who attended:

‘A brilliant event, what a coup to get such good quality speakers’

‘Brownie points for Mayfair for such a good event’

‘A really interesting evening, I learnt so much’