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Apr 5, 2011
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ICE gets better end of joint Nasdaq bid for NYSE

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

The stock market seems to think IntercontinentalExchange is getting the raw end of the NYSE Euronext deal. The derivatives exchange’s shares have fallen some 4 percent since its joint $11.3 billion bid with Nasdaq OMX was announced on Friday, while its partner’s have shot up almost 9 percent. But by most measures, ICE comes out on top.

Apr 5, 2011

Goldman wallops pay restraint with one-two punch

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The culture of entitlement is back at Goldman Sachs.

Apr 1, 2011
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With NYSE bid Nasdaq stretches to avoid obscurity

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

By Antony Currie

Nasdaq OMX boss Robert Greifeld faced a tough choice as rivals merged around him: compete, but put his shareholders and his balance sheet under strain; or forgo the chance and be forgotten on the sidelines. He has chosen the former — teaming up with IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) to make an $11.3 billion cash-and-stock counteroffer for NYSE Euronext that trumps Deutsche Boerse’s bid by 19 percent.

Mar 31, 2011
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Barclays’ HQ move talk puts regulators on the spot

It should come as no surprise that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg welcomes the idea of Barclays moving its headquarters to Manhattan. It would be a prominent feather in his cap in the long-standing feud with London over who is the dominant global financial center. But U.S. regulators would be unlikely to match the mayor’s warm welcome.

Barclays executives are considering making the Big Apple their new home if UK capital charges end up going too high. If it weren’t for the financial crisis, such a move would be little more than a matter of lost tax revenue and national pride. But it would be the most glaring example yet of global regulatory arbitrage. It would also be ironic: U.S. banks have been complaining that new rules in last year’s Dodd-Frank Act give Europeans the upper hand. And JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a speech on Wednesday that he feared U.S. bank capital requirements could end up more onerous than elsewhere.

Mar 23, 2011
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Blocked BofA dividend at least shows fed using teeth

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

By Antony Currie
The Federal Reserve was right to block Bank of America’s plan to increase its dividend later this year. After all, the Charlotte-based bank remains deep in recovery mode. But nor is the regulator turning a deaf ear to BofA’s progress — it’s allowing the bank to submit a revised plan for an increased payout and other capital-related moves. It all makes it look as though the Fed is on top of keeping banks’ balance sheets healthy. But the U.S. central bank should still reveal more about its rationale.

Mar 22, 2011
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U.S. shouldn’t get too excited about covered bonds

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

NEW YORK, March 17 — U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle are persevering with their efforts to develop a covered bond market. Importing this European method of funding home loans makes sense, not least considering the blows dealt to the reputation and efficiency of mortgage securitization. And there’s even a growing appetite for the product among U.S. investors, who bought $30 billion worth of foreign covered bonds sold in America last year. But no one should get too excited about covered bonds just yet.

Mar 22, 2011

Goldman shareholders bow to Buffett, Uncle Sam

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – It makes sense that Warren Buffett should secure the best return among the three big Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) crisis supporters. After all, he was first to kick in to the roughly $25 billion of new capital the Wall Street firm raised in 2008 and 2009. More surprising is how well the U.S. government did and how Goldman shareholders brought up the rear.

Mar 10, 2011
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CFO departure throws spanner in GM’s gears

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

By Antony Currie

General Motors is starting to look careless with its senior executives. Last August Ed Whitacre stepped down as CEO after only a few months on the job and right before the automaker was set to go public. Now the Motown manufacturer has lost its well-regarded finance chief Chris Liddell. Some management turnover should be expected — and is a sharp contrast to the longevity of the lead-footed bigwigs who steered GM into bankruptcy. But Liddell’s swift departure just over a year after he joined leaves the impression that GM’s top management is struggling to gel.

Mar 9, 2011
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U.S. $16 bln debit fee clampdown needs a do-over

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

Washington’s plans to clamp down on the $16 billion U.S. financial institutions make each year from debit card fees needs a do-over. Sure, the interchange fees look high compared to those in other countries. But that’s in part because America’s system is less secure and less efficient. The Federal Reserve’s current proposal won’t change that. In fact, it only allows banks to charge merchants enough to break even — and that’s based on some simplistic cost assumptions. Worse still, smaller banks could be hit hardest. Even Fed chief Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair are having second thoughts. Lost and confused already? Check out our Interchange FAQ below.

Feb 24, 2011
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Middle East crisis puts GM’s restructuring to test

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

The Middle East is giving General Motors its first big test since exiting from the junkyard and returning to public markets. As the carmaker’s shares hover at their November public offering price, investors aren’t forgetting what happened when oil prices surged last time around. As crude prices crested over $100 a barrel in 2008 — which they did briefly again earlier this week — GM’s profit center in trucks and SUVs took a big hit.

    • 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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