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December 2009 Archives

The business headlines are quite rightly being dominated by the demise of Globespan.

It is a situation affecting thousands of people not least the 800 or so who have lost their jobs just before Christmas.

There are also a number of suppliers to the airline who will be counting the cost of a large customer going out of business.

But away from that awful news there have been a couple of positive glimmers with two very different Scottish firms confirming expansion plans in the USA.

I was at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 90th anniversary President's Lunch this week.

Held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre it was a mix of business people and members of the trade body.

Star draw was undoubtedly CIMA president Aubrey Joachim who flew in for a whistle stop engagement in Scotland.

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After the event he took the time to sit down with me for a short interview.

Even though the print edition of Business7 isn't back until January 8 it has still been a really busy few days.

I would hope a few of you have listened to our podcast or downloaded it from iTunes.

We also did our first ever live web coverage of an event and our Pre-Budget Report updates, with expert opinions from Tenon, Henderson Loggie, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, McGrigors and Lesley Campbell, can be accessed here.

Throw in a strategy and planning meeting for the paper, Insider magazine and our whole web operation and it would have been easy to miss some of the really positive Scottish business news which has been announced in the past few days.

Revealing details have now been published by HM Treasury on exactly what sort of assets Royal Bank of Scotland will put into the government's Asset Protection Scheme.

The due diligence of the assets RBS proposed to add to the APS, conducted by Ernst & Young and KPMG for a collective £16.4m fee, identified £43bn of assets they either rejected from the scheme or deemed to "no longer require protection."

So this reduced the £325bn in toxic assets RBS hoped to dump into the APS to £282bn.

However, the Treasury report documenting which of the Scottish bank's assets are entering into the scheme is rather scant on the details of those assets which the auditors refused to add to the APS.

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LOVELY to see a Scottish company right at the cutting edge of technology and continuing to innovate.

Touch Bionics has just commercially launched the world's first bionic finger.

Prodigits is aimed at patients with missing digits to help them regain hand function and retain independence.

Around 1.2 million people around the world could benefit from the prosthesis.

So the wrappers are off and the results can be heard here.

Launching a business podcast is something we have been talking about for a while but have only just found the time to do.

Joining me in the studio were business growth consultant Gordon MacIntyre Kemp and Howard Teale from Indicia Training.

A fairly frank discussion on banking bonuses and the state of business education in Scotland (based on this piece I did with Susan Hart from Strathclyde Business School) followed.

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Some rather important and positive news for the Scottish gaming industry.

Almost £1m in funding from the European Regional Development Fund has been allocated to help 20-start up companies and support 30 existing businesses.

The prototype fund will help developers to create demo games to showcase to potential investors.

There will also be coaching in entrepreneurial skills such as deal-making and practical advice on areas including improving business processes.

Some encouraging news this morning from Scottish Engineering whose latest quarterly review shows the best order intake for 18 months.

It says its fourth trends survey of the year is the most encouraging of 2009 with most of the measurable areas maintaining a negative result, but fast approaching the point where they will become positive.

However SE's chief executive Peter Hughes says small machine shops are really feeling the pain as a result of larger companies keeping more work in-house rather than sub contracting.

In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, banks in the United States were banned from mixing commercial and investment banking for more than 60 years.

The first of two Bills which made up the Glass-Steagall Act was brought into law in February 1932 in an effort to curb deflation and increase the US government's ability to provide financing to the banking sector.

This was followed by the second Act, passed in June 1933 separating banking types according to their business.

The argument being the new law would protect shareholders from undue risks made by the investment side of the business which investors had no voting control over.

But the separation of investment and commercial banking enshrined in the Glass-Steagall Acts of 1932 and 1933 were repealed in 1999.

The Treasury appears to have won its battle with the Board of Royal Bank of Scotland over a speculated £1.5bn bonus pot for its investment banking arm.

RBS, having bowed to intense political pressure, has now agreed to pay bonuses at the "low, low end of the scale" - even if this means it will lose staff to better paying rivals.

Lloyds have also announced a bonus package for its top 200 executives of up to 80 per cent of their salaries, in a shares only package spread over three years.

And this on the same day the National Audit Office revealed the actual cost to the taxpayer so far for the banking crisis currently stands at £850bn.

SME 300 winners

By Greig Cameron on Dec 4, 09 02:58 PM in Awards

Just a few pictures from Insider's SME 300 Awards for those who couldn't make it along on the night.

First up is Richard Dixon from Vets Now who took the Business Leadership gong.

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Authors

Alasdair Northrop

Alasdair Northrop

Editor of Insider, editor in chief of Business7 and business editor of the Daily Record provides his take on the big stories.

View all of my postings.
Scott McCulloch

Scott McCulloch

Delivering a no nonsense view on the Scottish business community.

View all of my postings.

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