Where the investment banking jobs may be in 2012

December 27, 2011

The industry is shrinking globally, but opportunities abound for enterprising financiers. Sovereign debt crises are forcing companies to hedge risk. Regional banks need consolidating. Private equity is awash in cash. And forex traders may have some new currencies to play with.

More corporate carve-ups to delight M&A bankers

December 28, 2011

2011 was the year of the spinoff. Fiat, ConocoPhillips and ITT helped deal volume nearly sextuple to $230 bln. Rocky economic times probably won’t give CEOs much reason to shop, so 2012 could bring still more. Maybe even holdouts like GE, Goldman and Pepsi will consider a split.

Imagined Goldman Sachs memo that wouldn’t shock

December 28, 2011

It has been a rough year for Wall Street’s pre-eminent firm. Its stock has even underperformed the likes of Citi and Morgan Stanley. With regulatory and other headwinds still strong, big changes can’t be ruled out in 2012. Breakingviews envisions some of the possibilities.

Next digital tidal wave target: 3D objects

December 28, 2011

The ability to turn music, books, films and newspapers into easily transferable electronic files up-ended these industries, destroyed old businesses and created new ones. The rise of printing technology now threatens to wreak similar havoc on producers of physical things.

SocGen’s wholesale arm gets new boss for new times

December 29, 2011

Didier Valet, the French bank’s CFO, is to run its investment bank. The group is cutting staff and assets in the division as it struggles to meet new capital and funding rules. Outgoing Michel Peretie had been tasked to grow the business. But the time has come for a numbers man.

Sino-Forest investor tests limits of activism

December 29, 2011

Richard Chandler, the troubled Chinese firm’s biggest investor, made a fortune from contrarian bets. He may be right to back Sino-Forest amid doubts over its accounting. But its structure, which strongly favours the company, gives investors little hope of exercising their rights.

Corporate bonds push for sovereign status

December 29, 2011

Finance directors may start giving finance ministers a run for their money. The woeful state of national balance sheets will push risk-averse investors into highly rated companies such as Microsoft. Corporate bonds could prove more attractive than even top quality sovereigns.

Long live gloom – it’s a great time to buy stocks

December 29, 2011

It’s the oldest saw in the investment handbook: buy low and sell high. But with global shares at their cheapest in a generation, confident investors are a rare breed. If the bad times persist, however, 2012 could be another classic year to accumulate equities.

Stock up on gold, tinned food and shotgun shells

December 30, 2011

OK, there’s no need to be too melodramatic. But hard times bolster the case for hard assets. When protesters fill the streets and the only cure for debt crises is printing money, it’s tempting to head for the hills. Assets offering true security fit in a suitcase.

It’s back to the future for RBS’s investment bank

January 3, 2012

The UK government has set out a vision for the state-owned lender’s wholesale arm - a small operation focused on domestic corporates. This might resemble the original County NatWest business in the firm’s ancestry; but could hardly be called a proper investment bank.