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Mar 23, 2011
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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.

Feb 18, 2011
via Breakingviews

Jamie Dimon’s pay reign may not last long

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

Jamie Dimon now occupies one of the most dubious spots in banking: he’s the highest-paid chief executive on Wall Street. It would have been the case anyway had JPMorgan’s board simply matched his bonus from last year. But a 20 percent hike, along with his $1 million salary, takes his total 2010 pay to $18 million — and he may yet get some cash on top. That’s more than the $13.2 million granted to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, or the nearly $10 million pocketed by BofA boss Brian Moynihan.

Feb 2, 2011
via Breakingviews

Lazard shows up rivals big and small

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

Lazard’s Ken Jacobs has an advantage over most of his fellow new Wall Street CEOs: he can look back on his first full year in charge in 2010 with a degree of satisfaction. Sure, James Gorman might argue Morgan Stanley’s turnaround is on track, while Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan might simply be relieved the year is over — though his $9 million bonus must be a comfort. But Lazard showed up rivals big and small.

Jan 31, 2011

Blankfein’s pay hike looks hard to defend

– 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, Jan 31 (Reuters Breakingviews) –

Breakingviews pens an imaginary letter to Goldman’s
directors from an irate shareholder.

Jan 21, 2011
via Breakingviews

Bank of America must be hoping for a dose of Citi’s tonic

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

Bank of America boss Brian Moynihan had a tough first year in charge. The Charlotte-based bank was the lightning rod for all mortgage-related storms, took $12 billion of goodwill writedowns against businesses bought by Ken Lewis, the former chief executive, and is the probable target of a forthcoming WikiLeaks campaign to boot. After all that, Moynihan must be hoping that he is finally in line for a dose of rival Citigroup’s tonic.

    • 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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