Antony's Feed
Jun 27, 2011
via Breakingviews

Wall Street may get temporary stay of execution

Wall Street is once again aflutter with talk of impending job cuts. But jittery traders may have a few months more grace before the knives come out. With trading revenue falling, the pressure is growing for investment banks to lay off staff. But executives are still debating whether the current slump is a blip. Nobody wants to slash ranks right before a turnaround. The summer could be safer than many think.

It has happened before. Morgan Stanley scaled back its fixed-income operations after the 2008 crisis, leaving an already-damaged franchise unprepared for the bailout-fueled market recovery the following year. The firm has since hired 400 or so people in interest rates and other more liquid markets, but has not yet made much progress toward its goal of increasing revenue by around a third to 8 percent of the top 10 players’ share.

Jun 23, 2011
via Breakingviews

Why the World Bank is hiring Lehman’s ex risk boss

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

The World Bank is hiring Lehman Brothers’ former head of risk management. It might sound like a bad joke. After all, the Wall Street firm collapsed precisely because it placed too many bad bets. But Madelyn Antoncic, who is now joining the international lending institution as treasurer, was one of the few senior Lehmanites who consistently warned top brass they were playing too fast and loose.

Jun 21, 2011
via Breakingviews

Jefferies’ results should have Wall Street quaking

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

The latest results from Jefferies should have the rest of Wall Street quaking. The smaller investment bank’s shareholders were spooked by a 17 percent jump in non-compensation expenses since February — and the stock tumbled more than 3 percent before partly recovering mid-morning. But investors in other banks should worry more about the 30 percent fixed-income revenue decline at Jefferies since February.

Jun 20, 2011
via Breakingviews

PNC’s $3.45 bln deal shows banks’ growth dilemma

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

PNC’s $3.45 billion swoop on Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. retail branches highlights the growth dilemma facing American banks. Thanks to improving balance sheets and regulatory pressure, financial institutions have been building up capital. But there are few new lending opportunities on which to deploy the money. That leaves consolidating with rivals and cutting costs as the primary avenue to juice returns.

Jun 13, 2011
via Breakingviews

Suitors offer TMX owners uninspiring choice

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

Pity TMX Group’s poor shareholders. The owners of the Toronto stock exchange face an unenviable choice of suitor. Neither the London Stock Exchange nor Maple Group, which went hostile with its C$3.7 billion ($3.8 billion) counteroffer on Monday, has made a compelling bid for the bourse.

Jun 13, 2011

Banks, regulators should stop publicly bickering

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) – It may be time
for U.S. bankers and regulators to lock themselves in a room and
negotiate capital standards. Over the past week, they’ve done
this publicly. That’s created unnecessary uncertainty and
slammed stock and bond market investors alike. Debate is
important. But the way they’ve gone about it seems
counterproductive.

Jun 7, 2011
via Breakingviews

Ford’s punchy ambition not as worrying as it looks

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

NEW YORK — Ford’s punchy global ambitions aren’t as worrying as they look. The Motor City automaker expects to sell 8 million vehicles by the middle of the decade, according to the plan unveiled on Tuesday by Chief Executive Alan Mulally. That’s 50 percent higher than Ford’s showing in 2010 and more bullish than the one-third sales pick-up he sees for the industry. Such unbridled optimism from Detroit usually falls flat. But there’s less to fear from failure than in the past.

May 19, 2011

Pandit’s new bonuses make mockery of $1 hair shirt

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The Citigroup boss’s financial crisis hair shirt wasn’t all it seemed. While the megabank was bleeding red ink and relying on U.S. taxpayer aid to survive, Chief Executive Vikram Pandit made the smart political move of taking only $1 a year in compensation until Citi returned to profitability. But now that has happened, his board is piling the largesse back on.

May 13, 2011
via Breakingviews

Self-help from Bill Rhodes easier read than done

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

By Antony Currie

It’s hard to quibble with what Bill Rhodes has accomplished. That much is obvious from the veteran banker’s career battling the world’s major financial crises. He reviews many of them in “Banker to the World,” a well-paced account of his 50 years in the business. He eschews a traditional memoir in favor of a more didactic approach: the book’s subtitle is “Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance.” But for all his strengths, Rhodes is no management guru.

May 3, 2011
via Breakingviews

Fiat’s Marchionne gets auto deal of the century

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

It may not look it at first glance, but Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne may have engineered the auto deal of the century. When the Italian automaker agreed to take bankrupt Chrysler into its workshop two years ago, it looked like a relatively risk-free, if out-of-the-money, bet on a turnaround: the U.S. government gave Fiat management control and a 20 percent stake — since increased to 30 percent — for nothing. Had Detroit’s number three proved unsalvageable, Fiat would have lost little but time spent.

    • 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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