Who to trust at Alliance Trust?

Electronic read-out of share prices along its front of the Alliance Trust building

You might not notice the big modern black box on Dundee's West Marketgait unless your eye is caught by the electronic read-out of share prices along its frontage.

It's just across the road from Debenhams and the Overgate shopping centre, but this isn't a building most Taysiders would take in on a day in the city centre.

The people inside - it employs 250 - are keepers of a long pedigree of canny Dundonians.

Founded in 1888, this was where the city's jute barons invested in the empire, and it has retained that global investment outlook up to the present day.

At the start of last month its savings arm had £6.9bn of assets under management, while its investment division had attracted £1.9bn of third party funds. From that, the biggest stock picks included Visa, Walt Disney, Prudential and Google.

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Go compare: Scotland's place in the world


Ronald Reagan got into the White House with the question: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?". So 35 years later, are you better off than at the last election?

Part of the answer is the highly contested issue of real spending power. Tories can tell a positive story using real household net income (including benefit and tax changes as well as pay), while Labour prefers to tell a negative story about squeezed spending power, using real earnings.

Read full article Go compare: Scotland's place in the world

Scotland's full fiscal challenges

British banknotes

That £7.6bn figure won't go away. Until now, that is. It now has companion numbers. And they're even bigger.

So £9.7bn may now become the big number that gets batted around the final two weeks of the election campaign - and beyond.

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Is your job a flexible friend or foe?

Jobcentre window

Something has gone surprisingly right about the jobs market. Even David Cameron is describing it as a "miracle" - generously ascribing to supernatural powers what other prime ministers might have claimed, at election time, as their own handiwork.

The most recent figures show 248,000 more people in work across the UK, when winter is compared with last autumn. At the same time, 76,000 fewer people were looking for work.

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Clydesdale woes worsen

Clydesdale Bank banknote

Mis-selling payment protection insurance? Which bank wasn't at it?

The compensation of customers has been providing a financial stimulus to the British economy far greater than any of the magic money tree promises coming from the political parties currently on the campaign trail.

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Offshore profit slump

Shell logo on shirt

Recovery from recession includes at least three pay-out bonuses for those who own the capital. Competitors have been closed down or taken over. Assets are going cheaply for those feeling acquisitive. And workers are poorly placed to push for higher wages.

So it's no great surprise, after such a long downturn, that profitability is doing rather well. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just published figures showing as much.

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Rangers SNAFU, part 376

Rangers FC

It will come as no surprise to followers of events at Ibrox that it's back to code SNAFU - that is, the situation is normal, in that it's all, er, fouled up.

Thirty days ago, the nominated adviser for the holding company, Rangers International Football Club (RIFC), resigned. Trading on the stock exchange was suspended. The company was given 30 days to find a new one.

Read full article Rangers SNAFU, part 376

Scotch's trade winds turn stormy

Distillery worker

The mast and sails haven't been ripped off the good ship Scotch Whisky amid stormy trade winds, but after a decade of sterling export performance, she looks ready for a major overhaul.

The fall in total exports last year, published by the Scotch Whisky Association, won't come as a surprise to anyone who has been watching the big distillers publish their financial figures in recent months.

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New losses at Ibrox, new people to blame

Ibrox Stadium
The Three Bears are allies of fellow shareholder Dave King

Since the last time Rangers splashed its financial red ink in public, there's been yet another change of management at Ibrox.

And as there's another loss, and more bad news associated with it, the new chairman, Paul Murray, is stressing how disappointed he is by the mess he's been left.

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Heated politics of Longannet going cold

Longannet Power Station
The closure of Longannet is almost certain to be brought forward to next March

Longannet power station is a bit of a monster. At 2,400 megawatts capacity, the huge plant on the banks of the Forth can keep the lights on for most of Scotland.

Recently, it's been sweating its 42-year-old sinews to do so, particularly when the wind drops and all those turbines stop supplying the power grid.

Read full article Heated politics of Longannet going cold