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from Breakingviews:

Bank synchrony hints at right kind of collusion

By Antony Currie

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

Banks may finally be participants in the right kind of collusion. In recent days, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS each has socked away big sums for legal expenses, much of it related to currency rate manipulation. That suggests a multitude of U.S. and UK regulators are working together on a rare single settlement.

In most cases, agencies join forces to censure or fine a single institution or, sometimes, a subset of a larger group. Consider, for example, the staggered agreements on Libor and mortgage-backed securities. This time, however, regulators have the opportunity to rope in all the major players in one big penalty fiesta.

The scale of the fines seems to be taking clearer shape. In some earlier cases, the amounts discussed have swung in big, unexpected ways. Now, however, Citi sounds more convinced after recent conversations that an extra $600 million over its third-quarter litigation pot of $950 million will suffice. RBS and Barclays were both clear that the $640 million and $800 million they were shoveling respectively into legal reserves were for the forex investigations.

from Breakingviews:

REIT scandal could be good test for Sarbanes-Oxley

By Reynolds Holding

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

A scandal at one of America’s biggest real-estate investment trusts could be the perfect test for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. American Realty Capital Properties’ stock tanked nearly 20 percent on Wednesday after the company said mistakes in its financial statements were intentionally left uncorrected. That sounds tailor-made for a case under the often-ignored law inspired by Enron, WorldCom and other accounting debacles.

from Breakingviews:

EU bank stress-test winners still short of capital

By George Hay

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

Investors are turning their noses up at the European bank stress tests. Shares in the sector fell 1.9 percent on average on the morning after publication, with both banks that passed and those that failed being targeted. That’s because a clean bill of health on the test’s headline terms does not necessarily mean a lender has enough capital over the medium term.

from Breakingviews:

Twitter free-speech chirps carry overtone of risk

By Reynolds Holding

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

Twitter’s chirping about corporate free speech carries an overtone of risk. After its UK super-injunction tiff, the microblogging service is fighting for the right to disclose secret U.S. demands for data. The two cases show firms have power to resist being muzzled – or forced to speak. That helps check judicial and government overreach, but it could also undermine useful regulation.

from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

GMF @HedgeWorld West, World Bank/IMF and Financial & Risk Summit Toronto 2014

(Updates with guest photos and new links).

Join our special coverage Oct. 6-10 in the Global Markets Forum as we hit the road, from the West Coast to Washington to the Great White North.

GMF will be live next week from the HedgeWorld West conference in Half Moon Bay, California, where we’ll be blogging insight from speakers including Peter Thiel, former San Francisco 49ers great Steve Young and other panelists' viewpoints on the most important investment themes, allocation strategies, reputation risk management ideas and more.

from Breakingviews:

Tax clampdown could deter half-baked pharma M&A

By Neil Unmack and Robert Cyran

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

The U.S. clampdown on tax-driven cross-border M&A should deter half-baked pharma deals. Some U.S.-led transactions, like AbbVie’s recent agreement to buy UK-based Shire, may survive on strategic logic. But pure tax-avoiding combinations look tricky.

from Breakingviews:

Blackstone finds way to outsource skin in the game

By Neil Unmack

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

Blackstone has devised a novel definition of ”skin in the game”: other people’s money. The buyout and debt management firm is taking advantage of newly relaxed rules on how much risk needs to be retained in securitisations, to improve its returns. Its structure looks acceptable – but regulators and investors should still watch for sharp practice from future copycats.

from Breakingviews:

Latest blunder hits StanChart where it most hurts

By George Hay

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

Standard Chartered’s latest blunder hits the UK bank where it hurts most. New York State’s Department of Financial Services has slapped a $300 million fine on the emerging markets-focused lender for compliance lapses. It reinforces the disturbing impression that StanChart’s top brass aren’t on top of things.

from Breakingviews:

Ushering Eric Cantor to revolving door

By Rob Cox

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

The following is a fictional letter that could be circulated in the corridors of K Street, the canyons of Wall Street and the hedgerows of the Hamptons this summer:

from Breakingviews:

“New Deutsche” just got pushed back again

By Dominic Elliott

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

Raising $12 billion last month now looks like the easy part of Deutsche Bank’s renewal. The German lender is, it emerges, under fire from United States regulators for a raft of procedural failings. Deutsche may have repaired its capital position and revamped its strategy this year. But persuading investors the bank holds itself to higher standards than before the crisis is starting to look like a generation’s work.

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