Kamal Ahmed

Kamal Ahmed Business editor

Welcome to the Business Blog – my latest take on the major business stories and analysis of the facts behind the headlines

Lloyds’ results will focus on the dividend and pay

  • 27 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Lloyds Bank sign reflected

There are two major points to be made about the Lloyds results. First, the paying of the first dividend since 2008 shows that the core banks - Lloyds and Halifax - are performing well, with underlying profits up 26% to £7.8bn.

There are nearly three million shareholders in Lloyds, many of whom saw the value of their stake in the bank (often a large part of their savings) destroyed when it nearly collapsed.

The government, as the largest shareholder, will receive a payout of £130m.

Second, there will certainly be controversy over the chief executive's pay which totals £11m. The main reason is the three-year long-term incentive plan agreed by the government in 2012 which completes, or "vests", this year.

Because the share price has risen so rapidly - on the back of the bank's successful turnaround - the shares Antonio Horta-Osorio will receive are much more valuable - 78p compared with 35p in 2008.

Read full article Lloyds’ results will focus on the dividend and pay

RBS – the amazing shrinking bank

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan

Ross McEwan, when he's waded through the arguments about why bankers are paid lots of money, is running a bank that in many respects is on the road to recovery.

Yes, legal costs for misconduct are ballooning (£2.2bn has been "provisioned" for 2014) but its core operation is actually making a profit of more than £3bn.

Read full article RBS – the amazing shrinking bank

Investors heap pressure on HSBC chairman

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Douglas Flint

After disappointing results on Monday and a conveyor belt of announcements on misconduct and multi-billion pound fines, there is a palpable feeling of concern among some of HSBC's biggest investors - the institutions that own the bank and rely on its profits to invest in our pension funds and savings.

I have spoken to three significant holders of HSBC stock and they are not very happy. Change at the bank is too slow, they say, and it is time for a new, more radical approach.

Read full article Investors heap pressure on HSBC chairman

Oil: Shocking how vital it still is

  • 24 February 2015
  • From the section Business
A general view of the Bashneft-Ufaneftekhim oil refinery outside Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia

Today the BBC has launched its Big Oil Drop project, a series of interconnected online articles and data packages, alongside broadcast pieces.

The idea is a pretty simple one. Every now and again - amid all the swirling reports and breaking news - it is worth taking a pause and bringing together what we know about the most important resource in the world.

Read full article Oil: Shocking how vital it still is

Tax is just one of HSBC’s problems

  • 23 February 2015
  • From the section Business
HSBC's London headquarters

In all the coverage of HSBC's Swiss private banking arm and Stuart Gulliver's banking arrangements (channelled through Switzerland and Panama), it is easy to miss the fact that HSBC has more broadly had a torrid year.

Its return on equity (the key marker of the return a bank is making on the money it invests) has fallen from 9.2% to 7.3%.

Read full article Tax is just one of HSBC’s problems

Centrica boss urges UK – stay in Europe

  • 19 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Centrica sign

Centrica boss Iain Conn has been in the job for less than two months and has just announced that profits are down, capital expenditure will be cut and the dividend slashed by nearly a third.

For investors - and the 650,000 individual holders of Centrica shares - that is pretty bad news. The share price is down 8% this morning.

Read full article Centrica boss urges UK – stay in Europe

HSBC whistleblower: There are 'more revelations'

  • 13 February 2015
  • From the section Business

He came across as credible, assured and clear in what he is trying to achieve.

Nothing less than a "battle against secrecy".

Read full article HSBC whistleblower: There are 'more revelations'

Treasury looking at tightening tax evasion laws

  • 12 February 2015
  • From the section Business
George Osborne

So, what is to be done?

After all the sound and fury over tax evasion, a question in many people's minds is whether anything is actually happening to tighten the rules on income and capital held abroad.

Read full article Treasury looking at tightening tax evasion laws

HMRC calls in police and SFO on HSBC leak data

  • 11 February 2015
  • From the section Business

Amid all the political theatre of today's clash between Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, and Lin Homer, the chief executive of HMRC, there was some significant substance.

First, HMRC has now revealed it is looking to expand the scope of its investigation and is meeting other law enforcement agencies later this week.

Read full article HMRC calls in police and SFO on HSBC leak data

The £4bn battle for Premier League rights

  • 6 February 2015
  • From the section Business
Spurs v Crystal Palace

Today is the deadline for the first round of bids for the rights to broadcast live Premier League football from 2016 onwards.

For the big sport broadcasting guns - Sky and BT - live football is, or has become, a vital part of their business model.

Read full article The £4bn battle for Premier League rights

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About Kamal

Kamal joined the BBC after four and a half years as business editor of the Sunday Telegraph's award-winning team. He also helped launch the Telegraph's annual festival of business, the major conference for small and medium sized enterprises. Before that, Kamal worked at The Observer as head of news and earlier, as its political editor.

His love of journalism started at Leeds Student, Leeds University's student newspaper, where he first tasted life as a reporter in a basement office with no windows. Essential workplace furniture included half-drunk pints of beer with cigarettes stubbed out in them. In those days, you needed a strong constitution to be a volunteer hack.

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