The appointment of Sebastián Abella and Ana Martínez-Pina as the chairman and deputy chairman of the CNMV has caused some controversy, revealing the confusion there is over what profile candidates for heading up any institution should have. You can choose people who are totally uncontaminated to lead any organisation, without having any link to its activities. But an increasingly more complex financial and stock market environment requires experienced professionals, not rookies.
Articles by Fernando Barciela
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They say that governing is all about choosing (between what is bad and what is worse) and this government is once again facing a difficult decision: whether to lower AENA’s airport tariffs, thus benefiting Spain’s tourism industry which generates the most jobs, or do their own thing and make money. I say this because, obviously, the best way of making money is not to lower the tariffs AENA charges the airlines.
Spanish construction firms could make their fortune in the US, given president-elect Donald Trump’s planned $1.3 trillion investment in infrastucture in the country over the next 10 years. But it won’t be as easy as it looks.
Talgo has been the big railway company protected by all Spain’s governments. So it’s no suprise that Talgo’s Avril – with its own traction power – has just beaten Alstom and Siemens and won the contract to build 15-high speed AVE trains for state-owned Renfe. The German company hardly even flinched, but the French had their doubts about how the calculations were made and have asked for clarification.
After the banking crises in the US and Europe, there was a generalised call – even from many bankers – for a more detailed regulation of the banking business which would avoid a repetition of what had happened. But now there are some signs of weariness, impatience and even underhand ‘rebellion’.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about Spanish pensions. But, it would appear, not enough. At least it is by no means clear that public opinion and voters are very aware of what is about to land on top of them: that in 2017 the pension piggy bank will be empty. And what will happen then?
Ebro Foods is the leading rice producer in the world and number two in pasta. It is no longer a sugar company but a group with a large portfolio of diversified products. It has won the respect of giants in the industry like Nestlé or the Mars Group.
Spain has been trying to push ahead with two projects which are vitally important for its energy sector: the sale of gas and electricity (basically renewables) to the EU. With practically no positive results to date. In 2012, an agreement was reached with France and Brussels to increase the electricity and gas interconnections with Europe via the Pyrenees. But in spite of that, and the fact the money is already ready there, the investments required are taking much more time to materialise than they should.
The most important thing is not the fact that Rajoy has been saved, although it is, because he is giving investors and businessmen reasons to still have confidence in Spain. But it is the fact that he has saved the country from the worst case scenario: a return to times of misrule, which in this case would have been even more bloody for the country.
The first thing that should be said about Ana Botin is that only a few weeks after taking over the reins of Santander in September 2014, she left no-one in doubt that she planned to put that house in order and take the bank’s problems seriously. After a wave of restructuring, including lay-offs and bank closures, things have turned nasty again for Santander in the first half of this year, with Brexit and Brazil key complications.