Features

MoneyWeek's quiz of the year 2019

Between Brexit, a general election and now the impeachment of the US president, it’s been an eventful year. But how many big financial stories can you recall? Take our quiz to find out. Compiled by Faye Rowlands.

Maurizio Cattelan's "Comedian" © Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Expensive and tasty: but is it art?

Money

1. Performance artist David Datuna this year made headlines for eating a piece by fellow artist Maurizio Cattelan. The work of art, titled Comedian, consisted of an overripe banana duct-taped to a wall. How much did it initially sell for?a) $80,000 b) $120,000 c) $30,000

2. This year, despite divorcing MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of 25 years, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos retained the title of "world's wealthiest man". She is reported to have received 25% of his Amazon shares. What overall share of the company did that represent?a) 16% b) 4% c) 2%

3. Which South American country's inflation rate was projected by the International Monetary Fund to hit 10,000,000% by year-end?

4. In March, the European Commission fined five investment banks for participating in a cartel that saw them collude in sharing sensitive trading information in order to profit from foreign exchange moves in 11 currencies, including the dollar, euro and pound. What was the total fine levied?a) €1.07bn b) €953m c) €2.22bn

5. September 2019 saw thousands of tourists stranded when tour operator Thomas Cook collapsed. CEO Peter Fankhauser said the liquidation was a "matter of profound regret", but defended his pay packet. Including pay, benefits, bonuses and pension entitlements, how much did Fankhauser earn since being appointed in November 2014?a) £8.3m b) £5m c) £3.5m

6. In July, the Federal Trade Commission issued its largest ever fine against Facebook for violating consumers' privacy. How much did Facebook have to pay under the settlement?a) $4bn b) $5bn c) $6bn

7. Lionel Messi was the world's highest-paid sports star this year, according to Forbes. Including endorsement deals, how much did he make?a) $99m b) $155m c) $127m

8. Office space rental company WeWork is now thought to be worth around $8bn. Before the company was forced to shelve its initial public offering (IPO) in September, due to widespread scepticism among investors, how much did its key backer, SoftBank, hope to list it for?a) $112bn b) $47bn c) $21bn

9. According to Nationwide figures, at the start of this year the average UK house price was £212,281. What was the average price across the UK by November 2019?a) £210,402 b) £213,102 c) £215,734

10. To the nearest 5%, how far did the price of Argentina's 100-year bond fall this year, the day after the business-friendly Mauricio Macri lost the presidency to the leftist Peronist candidate, Alberto Fernndez? And how many times has Argentina defaulted on its debt since 1816?

People

1. Christine Lagarde took over from Mario Draghi as the head of the European Central Bank this year. As a teenager, Lagarde represented France as a member of the national team in which sport?

2. Which airline industry giant, described by Fortune magazine as "the best CEO in America", died in January this year? Which company did he found?

3. Which American singer-songwriter raked in $185m this year, making her the world's highest-earning musician this year, according to Forbes?

4. Pop star Madonna was paid $1.3m for performing just two songs this year at which annual music event?

5. Which reality TV star topped Forbes' list of youngest self-made billionaires this year, then went on to sell a controlling stake in her cosmetics company for $600m?

6. Jack Bogle died earlier this year. Why should all private investors be grateful for his life's work?

7. Which American businesswoman hit headlines earlier this year when she became embroiled in a controversy involving Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his term as Mayor of London?

8. Which US businessman and former New York City Mayor, recently announced his campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the 2020 US presidential election?

9. Name the disgraced American financier and convicted sex-offender who this year was found dead in a New York City prison cell.

10. Paul Volcker, known as the Federal Reserve governor who crushed inflation in the early 1980s, died this year. At what level did interest rates (as set by the US central bank) peak under his tenure?

11. What do Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, actor Matt Damon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates all have in common?

12. Which British TV presenter managed to overturn demands for £1.2m in back taxes from HMRC this year, after the judge agreed that she was a "self-employed star" rather than an employee?

Quotes: put the words with the person who said them

979-quiz-faces

1. "Today's big tech companies have too much power too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy."

2. "I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."

3. "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"

4. "On the pitch I am doing my hardest so my team win. That's my job and you want to do as well as you can in the job you're paid to do. So all I wanted to do was get back to work."

Companies

1. Which Chinese telecommunications giant continued to be a major focus of trade war talks between China and the US this year?

2. Which state-owned group became the world's largest listed company (by market value) when it floated 1.5% of its shares in a record-breaking IPO? From which company did it take the top spot?

3. Which cake shop collapsed into administration in January, following the discovery of a massive hole in its accounts, then was rescued in a private equity-backed management buyout in February?

4. Following a series of safety failings, Transport for London revoked the licence of which US transport company?

5. Which US company fired its CEO after he admitted to breaching company policy by engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee?

6. Iconic jewellery chain Tiffany & Co was recently purchased by which luxury retailer in a deal worth more than $16bn?

7. Which New York headquartered investment bank is set to offer digital wealth management services from next year as part of its plans to increase its retail banking arm?

8. Which telecoms company gave investors a nasty shock in May this year when it cut its dividend for the first time ever, despite assuring shareholders that it would maintain the payout just seven months earlier?

Markets

1. A battered old investment trust got a shiny new name this month Schroder UK Public Private Trust. What was the trust previously known as?

2. In summer this year, the total value of a group of financial assets with one very unusual characteristic rose to a record level of more than $17trn. What assets are we talking about?

3. In June, tech giant Facebook announced its plan to enter the digital currencies market. Concerns from regulators and central banks in particular mean the project looks as if it will struggle to get off the ground but what is the name of the proposed currency?

4. In August this year, which well-known recession signal flashed a warning sign in the US government bond market?

5. Which open-ended commercial property fund was this month forced to suspend withdrawals for the second time in less than four years, due to a lack of ready liquidity to fund redemption requests?

6. The price of which automotive-related metal hit record new highs this year, making it more valuable, per ounce, than platinum or gold?

7. The pound reached a ten-year low (ignoring the "flash crash" of October 2016) against the euro in August 2019. At its low point, how many euros would £1 buy?a) €1 (parity) b) €0.98 c) €1.06.

8. Which well-known British retail stock, a founding member of the FTSE 100, fell out of the index for the first time ever this year?

9. MarketWatch recently published a list of the 20 top-performing stocks of the past decade. With a 3,767% return, which Nasdaq-listed company took the top spot?

10. In the last decade since the financial crisis, how many bear markets (defined as a drop of 20% or more from close to close, ignoring the intraday highs or lows) has the main US stock index (the S&P 500), endured?

Answers

Money

1. b) $120,0002. b) 4%3. Venezuela4. a) €1.07bn5. a) £8.3m6. b) $5bn7. c) $127m8. b) $47bn9. c) £215,73410. 27%; eight times

People

1. Synchronised swimming2. Herb Kelleher; Southwest Airlines3. Taylor Swift4. The Eurovision Song Contest5. Kylie Jenner6. He popularised cheap index funds, saving private investors a great deal of money7. Jennifer Arcuri8. Michael Bloomberg9. Jeffrey Epstein10. 20%, in June 198111. They all dropped out of Harvard University12. Lorraine Kelly

Companies

1. Huawei2. Saudi Aramco; Apple3. Patisserie Valerie 4. Uber5. McDonald's 6. LVMH7. Goldman Sachs 8. Vodafone

Markets

1. Woodford Patient Capital2. Bonds with negative yields3. Libra4. The yield curve inverted5. M&G Property Portfolio6. Palladium its price rose above $2,000 per ounce7. €1.068. Marks & Spencer9. Streaming group Netflix10. None, although it came close in both 2011 and 2018, with the index dropping by nearly 20% in both cases

Quotes

1 B Elizabeth Warren2 C Mark Zuckerberg3 D Greta Thunberg4 A Ben Stokes

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