June 28, 2010 11:11 am

About Lex

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It is the oldest and arguably the most influential business and finance column of its kind in the world. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

Written with a sharp and authoritative yet often humorous voice, the column is unconflicted and fiercely guards its editorial independence. Traditionally it appears daily on the back page of the Financial Times, and sets the agenda on everything from company analysis and macroeconomics to financial markets to critical trends of the day.

Now, it goes much further than that. Lex appears in all four editions of the FT newspaper, with content editionalised for each region. Beyond that, its online offerings include:

A premium e-mail service. Available only to premium subscribers, Lex’s editors send out three e-mails each day, for the Asian, European and American readerships, setting out the day’s agenda, giving an exclusive look ahead to the notes in preparation for later in the day, and providing a summary and links for all the notes published in the previous 24 hours.

Lex Live videos. Every day of the working week, ft.com publishes a video debate between Lex columnists, arguing through one of the biggest stories of the day. Often entertaining, these arguments give a fresh analytical angle, and also give an insight into how the opinion column is put together.

Best of Lex. Each week, premium subscribers get a compilation of the week’s best commentary, with a wry summary of the way the week has gone and the main issues it presented.

Lex Live videos are available to all subscribers. All Lex’s other services are available exclusively to premium subscribers. To subscribe to the e-mails, go to FT.com’s Alerts Hub: http://nbe.ft.com/nbe/profile.cfm

With a premium subscription you can post comments on all Lex notes.

Lex’s History

Lex grew up within the City of London, but these days Lex is truly global, both in its coverage and in its writers, who are based in Asia, Europe and the US.

The first Lex column to appear in the FT was on Monday, October 1, 1945. The answer to the mystery of how Lex got its name died with Hargreaves Parkinson, who conceived the column for the Financial News in the 1930s, and took the column with him when the FN merged with the FT. At first, it was called “Notes for Investors” and was by-lined “by Lex”. One explanation is that Lex derives from the phrase “De minimis non curat lex” (”The law is not concerned with trifles”) and was intended as a gibe at a rival column signed “Autolycus” - Shakespeare’s “snapper-up of unconsidered trifles”.

Lex still aims to provide useful “Notes for Investors,” and the global investment community is its core constituency. To stand up for the interests of investors, it is fair but contrarian, cutting through the hype that surrounds corporate announcements or big moves in the market, explaining significant news items of the day, and drawing attention to points of view that general readers otherwise ignore.

The column long ago gave up the pretence of being the work of a single person, and now includes writers in London, New York and Hong Kong. Most of the team has prior industry experience at investment banks, management consultancies or research houses, allowing Lex to conduct the primary analysis essential to its intellectual independence.

Lex remains the template that other financial commentary follows; its alumni have also founded or are running many of the newer columns inspired by Lex, including Reuters Breakingviews and the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street.

Other Lex alumni moved on to further heights in journalism, such as Dominic Lawson who subsequently edited the Sunday Telegraph, while many made careers in business, including Martin Taylor, former chief executive of Barclays Bank, John Gardiner, former chairman of Tesco, Richard Lambert, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, and John Makinson, chairman and chief executive of Penguin. Others went into politics, such as Nigel Lawson, chancellor of the exchequer under Margaret Thatcher.

Contact Us

We are constantly working to make Lex even better. If you have suggestions on how we might improve the service please share them with us at lex@ft.com

We welcome feedback, and positively encourage news tips and story ideas. Email the editorial team or telephone +44 (0)20 7873 3938.

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