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Dec 18, 2014

Breakingviews: James Gorman can leave Brian Moynihan in slow lane

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – James Gorman will leave
Brian Moynihan in the slow lane in 2015. It’s the year the
chairmen and chief executives of Morgan Stanley and Bank
of America, respectively, mark five years in charge of
the two global banking powerhouses. Neither has had an easy time
of his first half-decade. Gorman, though, looks on track to lead
his firm’s return on equity back above 10 percent.

It’s an important goal, representing the point at which
large banks comfortably cover their weighted average cost of
capital. Some six years after the worst of the financial crisis,
though, it’s also a pretty humdrum one. Moynihan has, of course,
had to shell out more than $60 billion to cover legal fees and
to buy back dud mortgages. Gorman, meanwhile, has had to
overhaul both trading and wealth management. And both, along
with the rest of the industry, are adapting to new regulations.

Dec 18, 2014
via Breakingviews

James Gorman can leave Brian Moynihan in slow lane

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

James Gorman will leave Brian Moynihan in the slow lane in 2015. It’s the year the chairmen and chief executives of Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, respectively, mark five years in charge of the two global banking powerhouses. Neither has had an easy time of his first half-decade. Gorman, though, looks on track to lead his firm’s return on equity back above 10 percent.

Dec 16, 2014
via Breakingviews

Jefferies closes annus horribilis on wicked downer

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Jefferies closed its annus horribilis on a wicked downer. The Wall Street securities firm lost $93 million in its fiscal fourth quarter as revenue slumped by 43 percent. For much of the period, the firm was in the news because of the very public proceedings of senior banker Sage Kelly’s divorce. Boss Richard Handler says the financial impact of Kelly-gate was “immaterial” to the bottom line.

Dec 10, 2014
via Breakingviews

Billy Salomon dies as his trading era returns

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Billy Salomon has passed away at 100 just as the trading era he ushered in is returning. As boss of his father’s eponymous firm in the 1960s and 1970s, he turned Salomon Brothers from a U.S. Treasuries shop into, among other things, a bonds powerhouse. All the while, though, he kept a handle on risk and an eye on what was best for the client.

Dec 9, 2014

Breakingviews: Citi boss etches a dangerous line

(The author is a Breakingviews columnist and his opinions are
his own.)

By Antony Currie

(Reuters Breakingviews) – Michael Corbat is etching a
dangerous line. The Citigroup boss reckons a $3.5 billion
fourth-quarter charge unveiled on Tuesday, most of which will
cover expected legal costs, “will largely put those issues
behind us.” That’s a bold call, especially given the bank’s
approach to reserves.

Estimating how much to set aside for litigation expenses is
no easy task. For starters, banks don’t want to tip their hand
to the other side before a settlement by revealing how much they
think they might need to fork over. Cases brought by
governments, meanwhile, have been subject to fine inflation in
recent years.

Dec 8, 2014

Breakingviews: Morgan Stanley boss may get biggest deferral bonus

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Morgan Stanley’s
latest fiddle on pay should help boss James Gorman inch closer
to his earnings target. The investment bank is deferring fewer
annual bonuses. The plan was a handy way to help slash costs in
leaner days not long ago. Reversing the policy will remove
expenses that had been baked into future years. That should
boost returns.

Forcing dealmakers to wait for up to 80 percent of their
annual incentive payouts served two purposes. First, the way
deferrals are accounted for meant Morgan Stanley could postpone
booking some of each year’s bill. Second, it positioned Gorman
and the bank as leaders on reforming a culture of excessive
bonuses.

Oct 31, 2014
via Breakingviews

Bank synchrony hints at right kind of collusion

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Banks may finally be participants in the right kind of collusion. In recent days, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS each has socked away big sums for legal expenses, much of it related to currency rate manipulation. That suggests a multitude of U.S. and UK regulators are working together on a rare single settlement.

Oct 16, 2014
via Breakingviews

Goldman pulls every lever to make machine run

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Goldman Sachs pulled every lever to ensure its machine ran properly over the summer. The bank earned $2.1 billion in the three months to September, blowing past Wall Street expectations. Its dealmakers and traders played their part, as did the firm’s own investments. The real fillip, however, to the bank’s annualized 11.8 percent return on equity came from socking away less for pay.

Oct 14, 2014
via Breakingviews

Jamie Dimon returns to challenges old and new

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingview columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Jamie Dimon is back in the saddle after battling cancer – just in time for the JPMorgan boss to face challenges old and new. Overall results in the third quarter released on Tuesday missed estimates thanks to rising costs. The group’s investment bank is punching below its weight. Cybersecurity is a growing worry. Even the timing of the bank’s earnings was off.

Oct 8, 2014
via Breakingviews

Traders need help to make Wall Street shine

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Wall Street’s fixed income trading desks welcomed a rare return of volatility. It probably hasn’t been enough, though, to ensure decent profitability for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley in the quarter just ended. They’d need to generate up to $12 billion of extra revenue among them trading bonds, foreign exchange and commodities to achieve a return on equity of 15 percent.

    • About Antony

      "Antony Currie has more than a decade of experience as a financial journalist, having worked with Euromoney since 1996, most recently as a U.S. editor. He has worked on assignments in the major financial centers of Europe and the U.S. and written stories on capital markets, global economies and the investment banking industry. He holds a bachelor's degree in German language and literature and a master's degree in politics and international relations from the University of Bristol."
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