Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 460

Fat returns

6 November 2009 / Issue 460

How to profit from junk food... PLUS:

  • The best way to invest in tidal energy
  • Revealed: the truth about tax havens
  • Tony Blair's £15m road to riches


We can do without the talent

I don’t think we can ignore it any more. In the upper echelons of finance, certain people are clearly failing to do their jobs properly.

I’m talking about public relations advisers.

I mean, who thought that it was a good idea for Barclays chief executive John Varley to stand at the pulpit in St Martin-in-the-Fields earlier this week and defend bonus payments?

“Profit is not satanic,” said Mr Varley. “Talent is highly mobile. If we fail to pay or are constrained from paying competitive rates then that talent will move to another employer.”

It’s nothing we haven’t already heard (well, perhaps not the ‘satanic’ bit). But you have to bear in mind that this little homily was delivered within days of Chancellor Alistair Darling announcing that taxpayers would be forking out another few dozen billion to shore up the finances of Lloyds and RBS.

Didn’t anyone consider how this was going to play out?

• Read the full editor’s letter here: We can do without the talent