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Nov 27, 2012
via Breakingviews

Lehman’s Archstone saga twists till the end

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

The Lehman Brothers Archstone saga is twisting till the end. The U.S. apartment empire that helped buckle the investment bank in 2008 is being sold for $6.5 billion to rivals Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities. Accounting changes and poor disclosure muddle the valuation. It’s a perfectly confounding denouement.

Nov 21, 2012

RBS’s Citizens unit all dressed up, nowhere to go

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Citizens Bank, a
fixture of the northeastern United States, is a prize asset. And
its owner, RBS (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research), could be a forced seller. In theory,
that should mean a bidding war if the taxpayer-owned UK bank
decides to sell. But the need to pay cash, keep their own
investors happy and satisfy watchdogs may give buyers pause.

Nov 20, 2012

JPMorgan CFO rejig leaves only Dimon unpunished

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters Breakingviews) – JPMorgan’s
(JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) latest executive reshuffle is one more step in
consigning the disastrous “London Whale” trade to history.
Promoting Marianne Lake to replace Doug Braunstein as chief
financial officer ticks a number of boxes for the bank. But one
last trick is needed to harpoon the episode for good. Chief
Executive Jamie Dimon remains unpunished for the fiasco
responsible for more than $6 billion of losses. Clawing back
some of his pay would complete the clean-up.

Nov 13, 2012
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Tesla’s risky vision puts Detroit to shame

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

Tesla’s risky vision for the car of the future is putting Detroit to shame. The Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker run by Elon Musk is racking up some prestigious awards for its new sedan. On Monday, Motor Trend became the third respected industry publication to bestow the Model S with a 2013 Car of the Year gong. That’s better than Motown, European or Japanese manufacturers managed.

Nov 5, 2012
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Morgan Stanley thumbs its nose at UBS approach

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

Morgan Stanley is thumbing its nose at the UBS approach. The Swiss group decided last week to close large swaths of its fixed income business, putting Wall Street rivals on the spot. Morgan Stanley also has struggled to earn a decent crust buying and selling bonds, commodities and the like. But Chief Executive James Gorman is tapping FICC boss Colm Kelleher to run the entire investment bank, suggesting he thinks he can make a serious go of the business.

Oct 31, 2012
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Disney puts faith and $4 bln in power of the Force

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By Antony Currie and Rob Cox
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions epxressed are their own.

Bob Iger and George Lucas are either flaunting their California roots, or they’ve got something to hide. The Walt Disney boss unveiled a $4 billion purchase of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator’s homegrown studio, Lucasfilm, on a day when Wall Street and stock markets were shut down by Hurricane Sandy. It’s just as well: Iger is asking his shareholders to put lots of faith in the power of the Force.

Oct 25, 2012
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Lazard advises Wall Street on how to take the pain

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

Lazard is showing Wall Street how to take the pain. The M&A advisory and asset-management firm will slice off $125 million of expenses, or some 8 percent of the total, by the end of the year. That means Christmas has come early for investors, chiefly activist Nelson Peltz, though not for some of Lazard’s employees. While the firm still shells out more on its staff than rivals, the move is consistent with Chief Executive Ken Jacobs’ goal to boost shareholder returns.

Oct 22, 2012
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Goldman exposé doesn’t go according to plan

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

The Goldman Sachs exposé by a disgruntled former trader hasn’t gone quite according to plan. Greg Smith, who quit the bank earlier this year by publishing an op-ed in the New York Times, doesn’t blow the lid on anything new or untoward about Goldman or even the industry. The real revelation is what his tenure says about the firm’s apparent erosion of employment standards.

Oct 12, 2012
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Review: Bairing the strain of failed regulation

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

There is one clear and simple message from “Bull by the Horns,” Sheila Bair’s account of her five years in charge of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp: financial regulators still need a good kick up the backside. Bair is not one to pull her punches – she delivers her poor opinion of several financial CEOs in the first couple of pages of her tell-all, and doesn’t stop there in her critiques of America’s banking system.

Oct 11, 2012
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Wall Street, City pay still must fall by a third

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By Antony Currie and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. This view has been updated to reflect refined inputs to the Breakingviews calculator.

James Gorman is right that investment banking is overstaffed and overpaid, as he told the Financial Times last week. But neither the Morgan Stanley boss nor his global peers have proven adept at taking action. Last year, total wages at securities firms that are members of the New York Stock Exchange and the average pay per employee in New York increased even as industry profit fell, according to a report this week from the state’s comptroller.

    • 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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