Jun 20, 2013 05:03 UTC

Fear of Fed: Where to hide in Asia?

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

The end of the cheap-cash era may not be good news for Asian equities, but it need not lead to an across-the-board stampede. The end of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programme has triggered fears of a liquidity drought. However, not all markets are equally vulnerable.

Jun 19, 2013 20:07 UTC

Google shareholders get modest future-proofing

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By Richard Beales 

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

Google shareholders are getting some modest future-proofing. A novel deal protects owners of the company’s non-voting stock against a discount – and from the day when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin no longer wield full control. The convoluted legal settlement, however, only goes to show it’s better to avoid a shareholder caste system in the first place.

Jun 17, 2013 21:11 UTC

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go

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By Robert Cyran

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

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The telecom company had a $93 billion bid for Telefonica blocked by Madrid, according to a Spanish newspaper. The target has denied that it received any expression of interest. But the report is a sign of the problem AT&T faces: it has a lofty stock multiple, which makes M&A tempting, but it seems shut out of both domestic and foreign deals.

Jun 6, 2013 19:56 UTC

U.S. defense on Big Data as murky as industry’s

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By Robert Cyran and Antony Currie

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

The Obama administration argues the National Security Agency’s secret collection of Verizon phone records doesn’t compromise privacy and is good for the country. Wall Street and Silicon Valley often make similar claims. History suggests it often ends up better for those controlling the data than for those supplying it.

Jun 4, 2013 21:36 UTC

Could UBS resurrect partnership investment banking?

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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.

May 24, 2013 09:39 UTC

China-U.S. audit truce wisely avoids big issues

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By John Foley

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

Deng Xiaoping used to say that ideological disputes were best left for future generations to solve. Audit authorities in China and the United States are wisely following the former Chinese leader’s advice. Their compromise on inspecting the audits of Chinese companies listed overseas, a non-binding memorandum announced on May 24, leaves the biggest questions unanswered. That’s exactly as it should be.

May 23, 2013 20:41 UTC

Bank governance stigma can be fixed lickety-split

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

It’s time to escalate the kerfuffle over corporate governance at U.S. financial institutions. Jamie Dimon fought aggressively to retain both the chief executive and chairman roles at JPMorgan, in large part because a shareholder vote to separate them could have been seen as a demotion. After all, if peers like Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs hold the two top jobs, others who are just CEOs might be left feeling like second-class citizens of sorts. Regulators should turn the division of labor into a virtue.

May 22, 2013 08:14 UTC

Goldman trumps HSBC in financial Chinese chequers

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By John Foley

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

Who’s the smarter investor in China – HSBC or Goldman Sachs? The UK lender’s business in China has grown impressively. But based on their recent sale of stakes in two of China’s biggest financial groups, the Wall Street investment bank has the edge.

May 21, 2013 13:33 UTC
Edward Hadas

Apple tax fight needs global response

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By Edward Hadas 

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

In 1961, the six-year-old Steve Jobs probably didn’t notice U.S. President John Kennedy’s criticism of American companies’ use of foreign tax shelters. Corporate taxation had slid down the public agenda by the time the founder of Apple was achieving success, and it stayed that way for the rest of his life. But now it’s back, and Tim Cook, Jobs’ successor as Apple chief executive, has a public relations problem.

COMMENT

It is in the nature of governments and their politicians to compete for taxable business ventures. The result of this competitiveness among nations, states, provinces, cities, is that a company is able to create a profit in spite of the taxing tendencies of its own local government thereby causing governments to create competitive laws and codes; for example, clothing distributors can overcome the distance-costs between their customers’ markets and the manufacturers of that clothing in Bangladesh…said simply, it makes business sense to invest in Bangladesh.

If the tax-field is “leveled” across the globe, by some dictatorial mandate of the U.N. or other Utopian dreamer there is no reason to go to Bangladesh, or Ireland, or Detroit, or Monterrey, Mexico, or Johannesburg, or Kabul, or Tel Aviv…in other words the motivation to invest, develop and improve is neutralized with an ultimate result of spreading even less wealth.

If its all equal on taxes, me and my money might as well just stay home, invest in Gold, and wait for the Utopians to put the poorest countries out of business, and back into 3rd world (or worse) status (again — just like the good old days).

The tax distraction is just that, a distraction. The real story, for example, is the improvement to day-to-day plight of the man on the street which the clothing distributors have brought to Bangladesh…and yes, the safety, security, and hygiene of the workers and their families must improve, but not by killing the very reason for business to be there, i.e., the combined attractive costs of taxes, labor, and occupancy.

The unintended result of level, global taxation will be the return of bone-crushing poverty to those nations and cities who are just now achieving 2nd World economic status.

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May 20, 2013 20:22 UTC

Dimon has little to lose in shareholder vote

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By Antony Currie

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

Jamie Dimon has little to lose if JPMorgan’s shareholders choose to split the chairman and chief executive roles at Tuesday’s annual meeting. Quitting, a response that has been hinted at by the board in recent weeks, would be a rather childish move. There are better options for all concerned.