The front page of the Financial Times on 29 December 2010
|Founded||9 January 1888|
|Headquarters||One Southwark Bridge, London, UK|
|Circulation||230,470 (print, March 2014)|
Chinese online edition
The Financial Times (FT) is a UK English language international daily newspaper with a special emphasis on business and economic news internationally. The paper, published by Pearson PLC in London, was founded in 1888 by James Sheridan and Horatio Bottomley, and merged with its closest rival, the Financial News (which had been founded in 1884) in 1945.
The FT has an average daily readership of 2.2 million people worldwide (PwC audited figures, November 2011). FT.com has 4.5 million registered users and over 285,000 digital subscribers, as well as 600,000 paying users. FT Chinese has more than 1.7 million registered users. The world editions of the Financial Times newspaper had a combined average daily circulation of 234,193 copies (88,000 for the UK edition), for January 2014 . In February 2014 the world editions, combined, of the Financial Times sold 224 thousand copies. In October 2013, the combined paid print and digital circulation of the Financial Times reached nearly 629,000 copies (282,000 for print and 387,000 for online sales), the highest circulation in its 125-year history. Current (August 2014) print sales for the paper (all editions combined) stand at 210,182.
The FT was launched as the London Financial Guide on 10 January 1888, renaming itself the Financial Times on 13 February the same year. Describing itself as the friend of "The Honest Financier and the Respectable Broker", it was a four-page journal. The readership was the financial community of the City of London, its only rival being the slightly older and more daring Financial News. On 2 January 1893, the FT turned light salmon pink to distinguish it from the similarly named Financial News: it was also cheaper to print on unbleached paper (several other more general newspapers such as the Pink 'Un had the same policy), but nowadays it is more expensive as the paper has to be dyed specially. From initial rivalry, the two papers were merged by Brendan Bracken in 1945 to form a single six-page newspaper. The Financial Times brought a higher circulation while the Financial News provided editorial talent. Lex column was also introduced from Financial News. Pearson bought the paper in 1957.
Over the years, the newspaper grew in size, readership and breadth of coverage. It established correspondents in cities around the world, reflecting early moves in the world economy towards globalisation. As cross-border trade and capital flows increased during the 1970s, the FT began international expansion, facilitated by developments in technology and the growing acceptance of English as the language of business. On 1 January 1979, the first FT (Continental Europe's edition) was printed outside the UK, in Frankfurt. Since then, with increased international coverage, the FT has become a global newspaper, printed in 22 locations with five international editions to serve the UK, continental Europe, the U.S., Asia and the Middle East.
The European edition is distributed in continental Europe and Africa. It is printed Monday to Saturday at five centres across Europe. Thanks to correspondents reporting from all the centres of Europe, the FT is regarded as the premier news source involving the European Union, the Euro, and European corporate affairs.
In 1994, FT launched luxury lifestyle magazine How To Spend It. In 2009, The Financial Times launched How To Spend It magazine’s standalone website.
On 13 May 1995, the Financial Times group made its first foray into the online world with the launch of FT.com. This provided a summary of news from around the globe and was supplemented in February 1996 with the launch of stock prices followed in spring 1996 by the second generation site. The site was funded by advertising and contributed to the online advertising market in the UK in the late 1990s. Between 1997 and 2000, the site underwent several revamps and changes of strategy as the FT Group and Pearson reacted to changes online. FT introduced subscription services in 2002. FT.com is one of the few UK news sites successfully operating on subscriptions.
In 1997, the FT launched the U.S. edition, printed in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando and Washington, D.C., although the newspaper was first printed outside New York City in 1985. In September 1998, the FT became the first UK-based newspaper to sell more copies internationally than within the UK.
In 2000, the Financial Times started publishing a German language edition, Financial Times Deutschland, with news and editorial team based in Hamburg. Its initial circulation in 2003 was 90,000. Originally a joint venture with German publishing firm Gruner + Jahr, FT eventually sold its 50% stake to its German partner in January 2008. FT Deutschland never made a profit and is said to have accumulated losses of €250m over 12 years. The German business daily closed on 7 December 2012.
The Financial Times launched a new weekly supplement for the fund management industry on 4 February 2002. FT fund management (FTfm) was and still is distributed with the FT newspaper every Monday. FTfm is the world's largest circulation fund management title.
Since 2005, the FT has sponsored the annual Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.
On 23 April 2007, the FT unveiled "refreshed" version of the newspaper and introduced new slogan "We Live in Financial Times".
In 2007, FT also pioneered metered paywall, which lets visitors to its site read limited number of free articles a month before asking them to pay. Four years later FT launched its innovative HTML5 mobile web app. Smart phones and tablets now drive 12% of subscriptions and 19% of traffic to FT.com. In 2012 the number of digital subscribers passed the circulation of the newspaper for the first time and FT drew almost half of its revenue from subscriptions, rather than advertising. “It’s a big shift”, said FT's Gillian Tett.
According to authoritative Global Capital Markets Survey, which measures readership habits amongst most senior financial decision makers in the world’s largest financial institutions, the Financial Times is considered the most important business read, reaching 36% of the sample population, 11% more than The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), its main rival. The Economist, which is 50% owned by FT, reaches 32%. FT's The Banker also proved vital reading, reaching 24%. In addition, FT was regarded as the most credible publication in reporting financial and economic issues among the Worldwide Professional Investment Community audience. The Economist was also rated the third most credible title by most influential professional investors (those who personally managed asset funds worth $5 billion or more), while the WSJ was second.
The FT is split into two sections. The first section covers domestic and international news, editorial commentary on politics and economics from FT journalists such as Martin Wolf, Gillian Tett and Edward Luce, and opinion pieces from globally renowned leaders, policymakers, academics and commentators. The second section consists of financial data and news about companies and markets.
About 110 of its 475 journalists are outside the UK.
The Lex column
The Lex column is a daily feature on the back page of the first section. It features analyses and opinions covering global economics and finance. The FT calls Lex its agenda-setting column. The column first appeared on Monday, 1 October 1945. The origin of the name may stand for Lex Mercatoria, a Latin expression meaning literally "merchant law". It was conceived by Hargreaves Parkinson for the Financial News in the 1930s and moved to the Financial Times when the two merged.
Lex boasts some distinguished alumni who have gone on to make careers in business and government – including Nigel Lawson (former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer), Richard Lambert (CBI director and former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee), Martin Taylor (former chief executive of Barclays), John Makinson (chairman and chief executive of Penguin), John Gardiner (former chairman of Tesco), David Freud (former UBS banker and Labour adviser, now a Conservative peer), John Kingman (former head of UKFI and a banker at Rothschild’s), George Graham (RBS banker), Andrew Balls (head of European portfolio management at PIMCO) and Jo Johnson (Conservative Member of Parliament for Orpington).
The FT publishes a Saturday edition of the newspaper called the Financial Times Weekend. It consists of international economic and political news, Companies & Markets, Life & Arts, House & Home and FT Magazine.
How to Spend It
How to Spend It is a monthly magazine published with FT Weekend. Founded and launched by Julia Carrick with Lucia van der Post as founding editor, its articles concern luxury goods such as yachts, mansions, apartments, horlogerie, haute couture and automobiles, as well as fashion and columns by individuals in the arts, gardening, food, and hotel and travel industries. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, FT launched the on-line version of this publication howtospendit.com on 3 October 2009.
Some media commentators were taken aback by the online launch of a site supporting conspicuous consumption during the financial austerity of the late-2000s recession. The magazine has been derided in rival publishers' blogs, as "repellent" in the Telegraph and "a latter-day Ab Fab manual" in the Guardian. A 'well-thumbed' copy of the supplement was found when rebel forces broke into Colonel Gaddafi's Tripoli compound during the 2011 Libyan civil war.
The FT advocates free markets and is in favour of globalisation. During the 1980s, it supported Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan's monetarist policies. It showed support with the Labour Party in the UK, starting with the 1992 general election, when Neil Kinnock was attempting for the second time to return Labour to government for the first time since they had been ousted from power in 1979.
FT editorials tend to be strongly Eurosceptic, supporting the European Union only in the context of a common economic market and opposing any political or monetary integration. The FT was firmly opposed to the Iraq War.
In the 2008 United States presidential election, the Financial Times endorsed Barack Obama, although raising concerns over tones of protectionism, the FT praised his ability to 'engage the country’s attention', his calls for a bipartisan politics, as well as his plans for 'comprehensive health-care reform'.
In the 2010 general election, the FT was receptive towards Liberal Democrat positions on civil liberties and political reform and praised the then Labour leader, Gordon Brown, for his response to the global financial crisis but on balance, backed the Conservatives, though questioning their Euroscepticism.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal dubbed the FT an "orthodox Keynesian company". An article in the FT in November 2011 referred to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal as "the conservative bible".
The Financial Times Group is a division of Pearson PLC. It includes the Financial Times, FT.com, FT Search Inc., the publishing imprint FT Press, a 50% shareholding in The Economist, Mergermarket (an online intelligence reporting family) and numerous joint ventures including Vedomosti in Russia. In addition, the FT Group has a unit called FT Business which is a provider of specialist information on retail, personal and institutional finance segments. It is a publisher of The Banker, Money Management and Financial Adviser (a publication targeted at professional advisers), This Is Africa, fDi intelligence and Professional Wealth Management (PWM).
The Financial Times Group announced the beta launch of newssift FT Search, Inc. in March 2009. Newssift.com is a next generation search tool for business professionals indexing millions of articles from thousands of global business news sources, not just the FT. The Financial Times Group acquired Money Media (an online news and commentary site for the industry) and Exec-Appointments (an online recruitment specialist site for the executive jobs market). The FT Group had a 13.85% stake in Business Standard Ltd of India, the publisher of the Business Standard. FT Group has since sold this stake in April 2008 and has entered into an agreement with Network 18 to launch Financial Times in India, though it is speculated that they may find it difficult to do so, as the brand Financial Times in India is owned by The Times Group, the publisher of The Times of India and The Economic Times. The group also publishes America's Intelligence Wire, a daily general newswire service.
The Financial Times’ Financial Publishing division provides print and online content for consumer and professional financial audiences. Examples of publications and services include: Investors Chronicle, a personal finance magazine and website; FT Money, a weekly personal finance supplement in FT Weekend; FT Wealth, a magazine for the global high-net-worth community and FTfm, a weekly review of the global fund management industry. Money-Media, a separate arm of Financial Publishing, delivers a range of digital information services for fund management professionals around the globe, including: Ignites, Ignites Europe, Ignites Asia, FundFire and BoardIQ. Intelligence, includes publications and events for the European pensions industry (Pensions Management, Pensions Week and schemeXpert.com). Financial Publishing also provides local language services through Nordic Region Pensions & Investment News (nrpn), Nederlands Pensioen & Beleggingsnieuws (npn), Deutsche Pensions & Investmentnachrichten (dpn), Schweizer Pensions & Investmentnachrichten (spn), The group also publishes MandateWire, a financial information company that provides sales and market intelligence for US and European investment professionals.
FT Knowledge is an associated company which offers educational products and services. FT Knowledge has offered the "Introducing the City" course (which is a series of Wednesday night lectures/seminars, as well as weekend events) during the Autumn and Spring since 2000. FT Predict is a prediction market contest the Financial Times is hosting that allows users to buy and sell contracts based on future financial, political, and news-driven events by spending fictional Financial Times Dollars (FT$). Based on the assumptions displayed in James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds, this contest allows people to use prediction markets to observe future occurrences while competing for weekly and monthly prizes.
The Financial Times also ran a business related game called "In the Pink" (a phrase meaning "in good health", also a reference to the colour of the newspaper and to the phrase "in the red" meaning to be making a loss). The player is put in the virtual role of Chief Executive and the goal is to have the highest profit when the game closes. The winner of the game (the player who makes the highest profit) will receive a real monetary prize of £10,000. The game ran from 1 May to 28 June 2006.
The Financial Times collates and publishes a number of financial market indices, which reflect the changing value of the constituents. The longest running of these was the former Financial News Index, started on 1 July 1935 by the Financial News. The FT published a similar index, which was replaced by the Financial News Index—and the Financial News Index was then renamed the Financial Times (FT) Index on 1 January 1947. The index started as an index of industrial shares, and companies with dominant overseas interests were excluded, such as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later BP), British-American Tobacco, Lever Brothers (later Unilever) and Shell. The oil and financial sectors were included decades later.
The FTSE All-Share Index, the first one of the FTSE series of indices, was created in 1962, comprising the largest 594 UK companies by market capitalisation. The letters F-T-S-E represent that FTSE is a joint venture between the Financial Times (F-T) and the London Stock Exchange (S-E). On 13 February 1984 the FTSE 100 was introduced, representing about eighty percent of the London Stock Exchange's value. In 1995 FTSE Group was made an independent company. The first of several overseas offices was opened in New York City in 1999, Paris in early 2000, and Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and San Francisco in 2001. Madrid was opened 2002, and Tokyo in 2003.
Other well-known FTSE indices include the FTSE 350 Index, the FTSE SmallCap Index, the FTSE AIM UK 50 Index and FTSE AIM 100 Index as well as the FTSE AIM All-Share Index for stocks, and the FTSE UK Gilt Indices for government bonds.
- Lionel Barber (Editor) (1 January 2006 – present)
- Gillian Tett (Markets and Finance Columnist; Assistant Editor)
- Lucy Kellaway (Management Columnist)
- John Authers (Head of Lex)
- Tim Harford (Senior Columnist)
- Gideon Rachman (Chief International Affairs Commentator)
- Martin Wolf (Chief Economics Commentator)
- Jurek Martin (Columnist and former Washington Bureau Chief)
- Michael Skapinker (Columnist and Associate Editor)
- Edward Luce (Washington, D.C., Bureau Chief)
- Roula Khalaf (Foreign Editor; Assistant Editor)
In July 2006, the FT announced a "New Newsroom" project to integrate the newspaper more closely with FT.com. At the same time it announced plans to cut the editorial staff from 525 to 475. In August, it announced that all the required job cuts had been achieved through voluntary layoffs.
A number of former FT journalists have gone on to high-profile jobs in journalism, politics and business. Robert Thomson, previously the paper's US managing editor, was the editor of The Times and is now the publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Will Lewis, a former New York correspondent and News Editor for the FT, is the current editor of the Daily Telegraph. Dominic Lawson went on to become editor of the Sunday Telegraph until he was sacked in 2005. Andrew Adonis, a former education correspondent, became an adviser on education to Tony Blair, who was the British prime minister, and was given a job as an education minister and a seat in the House of Lords after the 2005 election. Ed Balls became chief economic adviser to the Treasury, working closely with Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer (or finance minister) before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2005, and has been Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families since July 2007. Bernard Gray, a former defence correspondent and Lex columnist, was chief executive of publishing company CMP before becoming chief executive of TSL Education, publisher of the Times Educational Supplement. David Jones, at one time the FT Night Editor, then became Head of IT. He was a key figure in the newspaper's transformation from hot metal to electronic composition and then onto full-page pagination in the 1990s. He went onto become Head of Technology for the Trinity Mirror Group.
Sir Geoffrey Owen was the editor of the Financial Times from 1981 to 1990. Thereafter he joined the London School of Economics – Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) as Director of Business Policy in 1991 and was appointed Senior Fellow, Institute of Management, in 1997. He continues his work there. During his tenure at the FT he had to deal with rapid technological change and issues related to it, for example, repetitive strain injury (RSI) issue which affected dozens of FT journalists, reporters and staff in the late 1980s.
- 1888: Leopold Graham
- 1889: Douglas MacRae
- 1890: William Ramage Lawson
- 1892: Sydney Murray
- 1896: A. E. Murray
- 1909: C. H. Palmer
- 1937: D. S. T. Hunter
- 1940: A. G. Cole
- 1945: Hargreaves Parkinson
- 1949: Sir Gordon Newton
- 1972: Fredy Fisher
- 1981: Sir Geoffrey Owen
- 1991: Richard Lambert
- 2001: Andrew Gowers
- 2006: Lionel Barber
- List of newspapers in the United Kingdom
- Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award
- Periodical publication
- Business Journalism
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