Tim Ambler

Is government helping exports?

Written by | Friday 11 April 2014

Is the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), is a net hindrance or help to exporters?  UKTI can surely point to successes but could its expenditure of over £400M p.a. (up 70% since this government took office) be better spent? 

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The annuities market

Written by | Saturday 15 February 2014

The Financial Confusion Authority (FCA) has just spent a year, and a massive amount of our money, discovering that some annuities are better value for money than others. Fancy that!  Some brands of corn flakes are better value than others too.  Some brands of corn flakes are more trustworthy than others and the same applies to annuity providers.  Consumers consider it good use of their money to pay a premium for security.  And who is the FCA to tell them that they shouldn’t?  According to the FCA, differing annuity payments means the market is “disorderly”.

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Small firms and the EU: Curate's Exports

Written by | Monday 27 January 2014

It's good that Business for Britain is looking at the cost of regulation to small business, says Tim Ambler, but by focusing on devolution they push in precisely the wrong direction—more unified markets are lower regulation markets.

Institutionalised abuse of whistleblowers

Written by | Tuesday 22 October 2013

A few weeks back I wrote about the criteria used by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for inspecting dentists and their complete irrelevance to patient experience and assessing tooth maintenance.  The CQC inspectors do not see what matters and if they do see evil, they do not correct it.  Three brass monkeys preside over the CQC boardroom table: Speak no evil, hear no evil and CQC.

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Will EU red tape really be cut?

Written by | Friday 18 October 2013

On 16th October, the Government published the report commissioned from six UK business leaders on reducing EU business regulation.  This impressive document makes 31 recommendations under five headings: Reducing barriers on Competitiveness, Starting a company and employing people, Expanding a business, Trading across EU borders and, finally, Innovation.

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Diamond cuts to the chase

Written by | Monday 16 September 2013

The FT reports that Bob Diamond is giving his support to our long and oft expressed view that bank regulation should be global, not national or EU.  See for example “Saving the City”, March 2013.  Big banks now operate in a global market and a single market requires a single set of regulations.  Any more, or any fewer, in the major banking countries distorts competition.  A major bank failing in one country may well bring down others and at the very least have knock-on effects.  This is one of t

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Led by Donkeys

Written by | Tuesday 27 August 2013

By 2014, the Financial Ombudsman Service is expected to have grown its headcount 20 times since it was inaugurated 10 years ago with 200-300 people. The FOS is merely responding to the level of complaints and is not to blame. The chief executives of our financial institutions, notably the banks, are. Their leadership is reminiscent of that by our generals in WW1. It is a strange way to celebrate that centenary.

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Worse than nothing

Written by | Monday 19 August 2013

Like many countries, the government offers advice to new and would-be exporters. If the advice is sub-standard, it may be worse than no advice at all.

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The Fault, Dear Barclays, Lies in Yourselves

Written by | Friday 31 May 2013

Over the last three years, the caseload of the Financial Ombudsman Service FOS) has soared. The fault lies not with building societies, or insurers, or financial advisers, but with the big banks.

Few complaints come in about Building Societies and those are mostly not supported by the Financial Ombudsman.  The Building Societies are good at dealing with their own complaints.

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