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from Breakingviews:

Argentine opportunity cost is reason to cut deal

By Martin Hutchinson

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

Argentina’s debt negotiators need to think about opportunity cost. A failure to reach agreement with holdout creditors by Wednesday might not make things immediately worse. But it would set back recent efforts to curry favor with international financiers – efforts that could pay off richly for the Argentine economy.

If a deal can’t be done with hedge funds led by an affiliate of Elliott Management – which want about $1.5 billion in payments on debt that predates Argentina’s last restructuring – then, according to New York court rulings, the Latin American nation won’t be allowed to pay other creditors either. Those bondholders took a haircut for new bonds after Argentina defaulted last decade.

Argentina has two financial problems. One is that the hedge funds are the tip of the iceberg, with a larger group of relatively passive holdout investors potentially due as much as $15 billion. That figure tops half the nation’s foreign exchange reserves and is much more than it could easily borrow. Second, the country told holders of exchanged bonds that it wouldn’t voluntarily offer anyone else better terms, at least until after the end of this year – a so-called “rights upon future offers” or RUFO clause.

from Breakingviews:

Goldman’s new lead director better as chairman

By Antony Currie

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

Goldman Sachs has found the right man for the half-right job. The bank tapped Adebayo Ogunlesi to be its new lead director. The former head of client coverage for Credit Suisse might not be the most obvious candidate. For example, he has never led a public company. On balance, though, he’s a good choice. If only Goldman saw fit to call him chairman.

from Breakingviews:

Medtronic-Covidien is blast from M&A advisory past

By Antony Currie

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

Investment bankers had a rude awakening over the weekend. A mega-merger like the $43 billion cash and stock tie-up Medtronic and Covidien announced on Sunday often provides a feast for a raft of advisory firms. Not this time. The two medical devices companies are only using one each.

from Breakingviews:

Review: A crisis-like evaluation of “Stress Test”

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

To judge the merits of Tim Geithner’s crises reflections in “Stress Test,” six Breakingviews columnists digested different pieces of the book in a short amount of time. Like the regulators who often lacked broader context, the assessments vary. Yet there’s also consensus it’s a useful tome for the financial library.

from Breakingviews:

Corbat’s Citi takes a step backward

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

Mike Corbat’s Citigroup has taken a step backward. The mega-bank’s chief executive ends his first year in charge with third-quarter earnings below estimates and a meager 6.4 percent return on equity. Granted, markets over the summer were hardly amenable. But the breaks Citi got elsewhere make the bank’s overall performance look that much worse.

from Breakingviews:

Goldman isn’t yet the envy of Wall Street again

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

Goldman Sachs isn’t yet the envy of Wall Street again. The investment bank generated $1.9 billion of profit in the second quarter, twice the figure of a year ago and beating the estimates of analysts by a third. Though it sounds like a return to Goldman’s good old days, it hasn’t managed to solidly outpace rivals.

from Breakingviews:

Could UBS resurrect partnership investment banking?

By Dominic Elliott

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

Goldman Sachs’s initial public offering in 1999 seemed to hammer a nail in the coffin for the partnership model in investment banking. Now activist investment firm Knight Vinke is suggesting that UBS might adopt something like a partnership structure as part of its plan to split wealth management from investment banking. The breakup idea is overambitious today. Only with time, luck and possibly more capital, could an employee-owned UBS investment bank be made to work.

from Breakingviews:

Japan lifts Nomura from its lost half decade

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Nomura has spent most of the past five years trying to break out of Japan. So it’s ironic that the investment bank’s best full-year results since 2007 were propelled by a revival at home. As with Japan’s economic renaissance, however, investors’ hopes are running ahead of reality.

from Breakingviews:

Radical career move: become a Chinese citizen

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Here’s a radical career choice for investment bankers: become a Chinese citizen. American-born Marshall Nicholson has swapped his U.S. citizenship for a Hong Kong passport. Though the move is largely for family reasons, it will also go down well with clients on the mainland. For Western financiers seeking a local edge, it’s the ultimate display of commitment.

from Breakingviews:

Japan helps Nomura put a bad year behind it

By John Foley

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

Who wants to be a global investment bank anyway? Not Nomura. The Japanese financial group delivered a solid quarter-on-quarter boost in underlying pre-tax profit in the final three months of 2012, driven largely by a recovery in its home market. Last year’s insider trading scandal and subsequent resignations punctured the global dreams Nomura was pursuing when it bought parts of bankrupt Lehman Brothers in 2008. For investors, that may be no bad thing.

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