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Nov 28, 2011
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Fed’s stress-test revamp brings good and bad news

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

There’s good and bad news in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to expand the scope of its annual stress tests of the nation’s top banks. Given the deteriorating economic picture, submitting the 31 largest lenders to even more awful scenarios than in the previous two years makes sense. So does putting the European exposures of the top six banks under the microscope. But the Fed’s latest move will leave many on both sides of the Atlantic unhappy.

Nov 8, 2011
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Crisis anniversary marked with much dead wood

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

How long does it take to recover from a crisis? It has been five years to the day since the first signs of the great credit crunch hit. That’s when Meritage Mortgage became the first notable subprime mortgage lender to fail, presaging a far broader collapse that exacted a heavy toll on individuals, banks, investors and governments worldwide. While there are some signs of progress, the U.S. financial system still hasn’t fully recovered.

Nov 4, 2011
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Jon Corzine becomes poster child of the times

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The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

By Antony Currie and Jeffrey Goldfarb

The crisis may finally have its fall guy. Jon Corzine, the boss of bankrupt MF Global, embodies all that Occupy Wall Street opposes – the elite 1 percent, failed high finance and compromised politics. Meanwhile, Corzine’s liberal agenda is part of what catalyzed the Tea Party movement. His fate could even unite a fractious America, if only against him.

Oct 31, 2011
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MF Global’s failure vindicates Volcker Rule

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

The failure of MF Global leaves egg on many faces. Paul Volcker and Barack Obama are among those to escape the mess. When the president added the complex proposal bearing the former Federal Reserve chairman’s name to new sweeping financial regulation last year, it looked like overkill. But the bankruptcy of the brokerage and wannabe investment bank run by Jon Corzine reinforces the idea that the ability to bet a firm’s own capital belongs only where its damage to the system can be limited.

Oct 19, 2011
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Citi’s CDO payout is ripe for the Rakoff treatment

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

Citigroup’s $285 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission looks ripe for the Rakoff treatment. Judge Jed already has established a reputation for taking the regulator to task for sometimes being too soft. Two years ago, for example, he upbraided it for having too light a touch on Bank of America’s lax disclosures related to its takeover of Merrill Lynch. This Citi case warrants a similar hearing.

Oct 14, 2011
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Goldman Sachs’s exceptionalism takes another knock

By Antony Currie and Rob Cox
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The exceptionalism of Goldman Sachs took another knock this week. For a brief period on Wednesday, shares of the Wall Street firm traded at a bigger discount to book value — or assets minus liabilities — than those of megabank rival JPMorgan. This rarely happens and suggests that investors fear the bank’s franchise, both as a trader of securities and financial adviser to corporations and governments, is somehow damaged.

Oct 13, 2011
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Jamie Dimon puts brave face on tough quarter

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

JPMorgan started the banking sector’s third-quarter earnings season with a thud. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon was confronted by a triple whammy of falling revenue, lower releases from loan loss reserves and fallout from his own increasingly incendiary comments on regulation. But Dimon still managed to put on a brave face.

Oct 10, 2011
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Will Wells Fargo get hooked on Wall Street crack?

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

Will Wells Fargo get hooked on Wall Street crack? The California-based lender mostly has resisted lower Manhattan’s siren call. But Wells kept Wachovia’s fledgling investment bank when it bought its struggling rival three years ago. It’s still hiring. A couple of senior M&A bankers joined just last week. But getting much bigger would come at a price.

Oct 7, 2011
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Volcker Rule draft still leaves many gray areas

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

It was a tall order, but America’s banking regulators have taken a good stab at devising a framework for the Volcker Rule. A draft of the document, obtained by the American Banker, suggests the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, FDIC and Treasury minimized the most worrying aspect of the rule — that a prop-trading ban could undermine client-focused market-making. But it still leaves gray areas.

Oct 3, 2011
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New Morgan Stanley woe is a drama lacking a crisis

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

Morgan Stanley’s October woes feel like a drama lacking a crisis. The Wall Street firm, which three years ago suffered a bank run, was already facing skepticism about its turnaround before the third quarter turned crummy. But that’s not behind its latest misery. Morgan Stanley’s stock tanked more than 10 percent on Friday after the cost of insuring its debt against default rose as investors again got the jitters about the investment bank’s exposure to Europe. But substance to the worries looks thin.

    • 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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