Antony's Feed
Feb 22, 2013

Breakingviews-Citi pay plan raises the bar, just not enough

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Citigroup’s (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
new executive pay plan raises the bar, just not quite far
enough. The bank’s board has implemented a compensation scheme
with more rigorous targets for Chief Executive Michael Corbat
and his lieutenants. One important performance metric, however,
keeps expectations too low.

Feb 20, 2013

Breakingviews-U.S. debit-card deal recalls value of subprime

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Just when U.S.
banks are finally working through all the bad loans, along comes
a deal to remind them of the value of subprime. Since the
crisis, mainstream lenders have all but abandoned customers with
middling to poor credit history. Yet prepaid debit-card provider
NetSpend (NTSP.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is selling itself to payment processor Total
System Services (TSS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for a cool $1.1 billion.

Feb 19, 2013

Bank firewalls: a guide for the perplexed

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

By George Hay and Antony Currie

LONDON/NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Regulators
in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States all agree on
the need to protect their lenders from the casino-like antics of
investment bankers. That’s no great surprise: who wouldn’t want
to shield regular customers from the billions of pounds of
losses caused by rogue traders like Kweku Adoboli of UBS
(UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research)? But beyond this shared objective, there’s little
agreement.

Feb 12, 2013

Breakingviews-Nasdaq both good and too good as LBO target

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nasdaq (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
is a good target for a leveraged buyout – but in one way,
perhaps too good. The U.S. bourse, which also operates exchanges
in Europe, recently held fruitless talks with private equity
firm Carlyle Group (CG.O: Quote, Profile, Research). A sum of the parts suggests it may be
worth at least $7.5 billion – almost 50 percent more than its
public market value. That kind of gap ought to lend itself to an
LBO.

Feb 7, 2013

Lazard keeps antsy activists at bay

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Lazard (LAZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
boss Ken Jacobs is keeping antsy activist investors at bay. He’s
making progress on the firm’s promise last spring to boost
margins. And last year Lazard returned $200 million of excess
cash to shareholders, a year ahead of target. On top of that,
business is looking robust.

Jan 29, 2013

Wall Street minnow gets whale-size bonus

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.) (Refiles to broaden distribution.)

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – One of Wall
Street’s relative minnows is getting a whale-size paycheck.
Jefferies (JEF.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is paying boss Richard Handler $19 million for
the year to November 2012. That might not sound too rich
considering that Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Lloyd
Blankfein raked in $21 million. But Jefferies is a much smaller
firm, meaning Handler’s compensation equates to a whopping 5.9
percent of earnings.

Jan 24, 2013

Wall Street finds new way to put investors second

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Wall Street has
found a new way to put shareholders second. While many banks are
finally bowing to pressure to restrain compensation, Goldman
Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are now trying to stifle
investors from voting on legitimate matters at their upcoming
annual meetings.

Jan 24, 2013

Breakingviews:M&A boutiques show signs of staying power

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – If Greenhill’s
(GHL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) results are anything to go by, M&A boutiques should have
a certain degree of staying power. The firm led by Scott Bok on
Wednesday reported a 4 percent drop in advisory revenue last
year, a week after larger rivals JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Morgan
Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) posted declines of 17 percent and 21 percent,
respectively. It’s a good sign for smaller shops if they can
handle a weaker market as well as a strong one.

Jan 22, 2013

Breakingviews-U.S. Bancorp puts rivals big and small to shame

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Don’t look to
Wells Fargo (WFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for the best earnings among America’s top 20
banks. The San Francisco-based lender bested the likes of
JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and dusted laggards
Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research). But it’s U.S.
Bancorp (USB.N: Quote, Profile, Research) that puts both industry behemoths and smaller
peers to shame.

Jan 17, 2013
via Breakingviews

Citi, BofA give investors only reasons to fret

Photo

By Antony Currie and Agnes T. Crane

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

Bank of America and Citigroup are giving investors nothing but reasons to fret. The two U.S. banks’ stocks were among the best performers last year – BofA’s doubled, while Citi’s jumped by 50 percent. But their fourth-quarter earnings, which both unveiled on Thursday, offer little to support further optimism.

    • 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."
    • Follow Antony