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from Breakingviews:

More is less for Credit Suisse’s three co-heads

By Dominic Elliott

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

Three looks a crowd at the top of Credit Suisse’s investment bank. The Swiss firm has promoted Jim Amine and Tim O’Hara alongside existing co-chief Gael de Boissard, adding a new twist to the turf wars typical when big sections of lenders are run by co-heads. But the moves could prefigure a more significant succession – that of Chief Executive Brady Dougan.

Triumvirates during the Roman Empire tended to end in civil war. There are no precedents in investment banking, although Bank of America Merrill Lynch briefly had three executives running a division that included corporate banking three years ago. But even two co-heads can be too much: witness the fallout between Morgan Stanley co-heads Paul Taubman and Colm Kelleher, where the latter eventually took over. Having three separate managers for the three distinct areas of investment banking – equities, fixed income and advisory – could cause bigger rifts.

The key question is whether any of the trio is now more likely to take over from Dougan, who has been in the post for seven years and who should have stepped down after Credit Suisse was fined $2.6 billion by U.S. regulators in May. The most likely is De Boissard, who has already co-led the investment bank for a year with Eric Varvel, who is departing to Asia. O’Hara runs equities and previously headed up fixed income in North America, so could potentially run both trading businesses if De Boissard moves upstairs.

from Breakingviews:

Traders need help to make Wall Street shine

By Antony Currie

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

Wall Street’s fixed income trading desks welcomed a rare return of volatility. It probably hasn’t been enough, though, to ensure decent profitability for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley in the quarter just ended. They’d need to generate up to $12 billion of extra revenue among them trading bonds, foreign exchange and commodities to achieve a return on equity of 15 percent.

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.

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.

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