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Feb 28, 2014
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Citi’s Mexico fraud besmirches industry further

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

Not for the first time, Citigroup has stepped into a mess – and by extension besmirched the financial industry. Not that Citi committed a crime, or colluded to set foreign exchange rates or Libor prices, say. Rather the bank is the victim of fraud in Mexico that could cost it much as $400 million. The problem is that the lender has been cheated out of the cash in one of the most basic businesses in banking. That should worry Citi’s rivals, too.

Feb 5, 2014
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Lazard puts M&A feet firmly in big boys’ camp

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By Antony Currie

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

Lazard has put its feet firmly in the big boys’ camp. The advisory and asset management firm didn’t just make progress on financial targets that Chief Executive Ken Jacobs set two years ago. Its bankers also goosed revenue in the second half of the year. That makes Lazard look more like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan than smaller rivals Evercore and Greenhill.

Jan 24, 2014
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Dimon’s pay represents board’s own whale of a fail

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By Antony Currie

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

Jamie Dimon’s bonus represents another whale of a fail for JPMorgan. The board’s decision to give its chairman and chief executive a 73 percent raise, to $20 million, is unjustifiable after last year’s performance. Shareholders should have a loud say against this pay – and lead director Lee Raymond.

Jan 17, 2014
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Citigroup needs to channel boardroom aggression

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

Citigroup boss Mike Corbat needs to channel some of the aggression from his boardroom. At $2.6 billion, the mega-bank is alone falling short of estimates among peers who have reported fourth-quarter earnings so far. It leaves Citi with a weak return on equity and market valuation. Corbat, who rose to power by way of a harsh coup, can’t rely on cost cuts. He’ll have to scrap for revenue.

Jan 15, 2014
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GM’s dividend hits right spot on multiple levels

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By Antony Currie

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

General Motors is hitting the right spot on several levels with its return to paying a common stock dividend. The $1.7 billion annual payout looks punchy at some 30 percent of what analysts reckon the company’s net income will be for 2013. Ford Motor, after all, restarted its shareholder payouts at a more cautious 10 percent of profit just over two years ago and only last week took it up to around a third. But GM looks positioned to handle it.

Jan 9, 2014
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Bankers will get more joy from bonuses past

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By Antony Currie and Dominic Elliott
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Investment bankers will have to look backward, not forward, for joy this bonus season. A mediocre fourth quarter means Wall Street and City practitioners are unlikely to improve on their total compensation from 2012. With industry-wide revenue growth expected to be tepid at best for the next couple of years, the trend could persist. Bank share price performance, though, should help make up some of the difference.

Jan 2, 2014
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Chrysler deal gives Fiat a new year’s turbo boost

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

Sergio Marchionne could not have wished for a better start to 2014. On the first day of the new year, the boss of both Fiat and Chrysler managed to strike a deal allowing the Italian firm to become the sole owner of Detroit’s third-largest automaker. And the $4.3 billion two-part pact he has made with Chrysler’s union trust fund puts him on top.

Dec 20, 2013
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Wells will knock louder on bulge bracket’s door

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

Wells Fargo will start knocking more loudly on the bulge bracket’s door. The California lender is already one of the top 10 global investment banks by fees, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Much of that comes courtesy of middle-market clients. But if the bank run by John Stumpf starts going after bigger fish, it could put Wall Street’s bigwigs on the defensive.

Dec 10, 2013
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GM navigates smart route to CEO succession

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

 

General Motors has navigated a smart route to succession. Dan Akerson, who has run the company since mid-2010, is stepping down in January. Replacing him as chief executive is Mary Barra, who despite 33 years of service at the automaker, has mostly sidestepped the taint of pre-bankruptcy failures. GM, freshly liberated from the U.S. government on Tuesday, also appointed an independent chairman for good governance measure.

Dec 6, 2013
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Deutsche ditch divines commoditized commodities

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

Deutsche Bank’s decision to ditch commodities portends just how commoditized the business may be. The German lender is quitting energy, agriculture, base metals and dry bulk trading. That should free up capital without hurting results. And while it ought to ease the pain from a deep swoon in commodities, profits remain elusive for almost all banks involved.

    • 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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