BANKING 1 HBOS 65.1 2 Royal Bank of Scotland 63.3 3 HSBC 62.7 4 Northern Rock 56.8 5 Barclays 56.0
HBOS takes the laurels in a sector awash with record returns. Interim profits are up to a generous £2.3bn, a sign that the four-year-old merger of Halifax with Bank of Scotland is starting to motor. With CEO James Crosby expected to step aside in favour of 38-year-old Andy Hornby (now COO) next year, City expectations can only rise. Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin's expansion of RBS into new markets continues apace, with the acquisition of a 5% stake in Bank of China for £900m in August. Despite its mammoth £6bn surplus - and the news of Prince William's work experience there - HSBC drops off the top spot for the first time in five years. Fourth-placed Northern Rock may be a minnow in this list, but it's grabbing an ever bigger share of the lucrative mortgage market.
BUILDING MATERIALS & MERCHANTS 1 Wolseley 63.3 2 Pilkington 61.5 3 BPB Industries 60.8 4 Marshalls 60.8 5 Aggregate Industries* 56.0