Oct 31, 2012 15:15 UTC

Barclays needs a decisive UBS-style strategy shift

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By George Hay and Dominic Elliott

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

Barclays needs a decisive, UBS-style change of direction. While rivals like Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse saw revenue in fixed income, currencies and commodities spike in the third quarter, Barclays’ normally strong FICC business underperformed. Worse, the results also included two fresh regulatory probes. It shows why new chief executive Antony Jenkins should consider changes as radical in tone as UBS’s root-and-branch restructuring.

Oct 30, 2012 16:47 UTC

UBS euphoria overdone

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Investors are taking a rosy view of UBS’s ability to execute a radical strategy to hack back its investment bank. The Swiss wealth manager’s market capitalisation is up 4.4 billion Swiss francs ($5 billion) since the plan emerged. While UBS deserves applause, it may be getting too much credit up front.

Oct 30, 2012 08:37 UTC

Three reasons China’s banks deserve their derating

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By John Foley

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

China’s banks enjoy valuations most Western rivals would kill for. But compared with the earnings they are throwing off, their share prices look miserly. The country’s seven biggest banks trade at an average of 1.2 times their most recently reported book value, according to Reuters Eikon, despite aggregate returns on equity above 20 percent. Five years ago, lesser returns allowed them to command multiples above 4.5 times book. Though the derating is harsh, it’s justified.

Oct 29, 2012 13:20 UTC

Frankenstorm is salient risk management reminder

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By Rob Cox

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

The Frankenstorm battering the east coast of the United States provides a salient lesson in the virtues of risk management. When it comes to natural disasters, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. The same is true in business, particularly banking: calamities often strike without warning – and there’s no such thing as too much capital.

Oct 29, 2012 12:30 UTC

UBS rethinks the impossible

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By Dominic Elliott

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

UBS is going where no bank has yet dared to tread. The Swiss wealth manager and investment bank is poised to reveal a radical strategy that could see it pull out of fixed-income trading. Such a plan would be expensive and slow to execute – that’s why rivals typically think such moves are impossible. But the decision could prove an industry game-changer.

Oct 25, 2012 13:56 UTC

Credit Suisse keeps on finding more costs to cut

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Credit Suisse is used to leading the pack on cost-cutting. The Swiss bank has been ahead of its peers since last year, when it made the first of three announcements that will see it reduce expenses by a cumulative 3 billion Swiss francs before the end of next year. Like an over-eager surgeon, it’s at it again – opening the European banks’ results season by announcing another 1 billion francs of cuts by the end of 2015. But with unrelenting pressure for more capital, investment banking remains a tough business.

Oct 25, 2012 07:28 UTC

Mixed messages for Chinese IPO hopefuls

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By Wei Gu

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

Chinese IPO hopefuls are getting mixed messages. Foshun Pharmaceutical, whose name means “revival” in Chinese, has raised $500 million in the first Hong Kong offering for three months. At the same time, however, a real estate trust backed by Li Ka-Shing has cancelled its Singapore listing. Despite a market recovery, the summer lull isn’t over yet.

Oct 20, 2012 19:46 UTC

Is everything sacred in Canada?

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By Robert Cyran

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

Is everything sacred in Canada? At first it was a hole in the ground. Then it was the stock exchange and a DIY chain. This week, regulators blocked two more big deals, including a $5.2 billion bid for Progress Energy by Petronas of Malaysia. Taken as a whole, these actions signal the market for corporate control in Canada – especially when it comes to foreign buyers – is effectively closed.

COMMENT

A wise decision. And so will be killing China’s takeover of Nexen.
“Canadians First” is smart politics and smart economic policy.
If foreigners want to buy Canadian resources they’re more than welcome to shop at the store. But, they can’t own it.

And, Canada doesn’t need economic advice from English-American opinion writers.
Both England and the U.S. are in terminal decline because they confused the best interests of Wall Street and The City with the best interests of the general economy.
Physician heal thyself…

Posted by IRA123 | Report as abusive
Oct 20, 2012 19:36 UTC

Internet parasitism powers Barry Diller’s returns

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By Robert Cyran

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

Barry Diller is abandoning Newsweek magazine’s print edition as the media mogul’s web businesses are thriving. But his IAC conglomerate seems to be powered by a risky form of internet parasitism. The $4.6 billion company’s stock rallied some 20 percent this year on a boom in online search largely driven by customers unwittingly downloading IAC toolbars. That’s no way to build a lasting business.

Oct 20, 2012 19:28 UTC

Review: The danger of trading machines

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

It’s a quarter-century since computerized program trading led to Black Monday on the U.S. stock market. A new and more advanced generation of arcane algorithms now threatens capital markets. That is the lesson of “Dark Pools,” a new book on machine-based equity trading by the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson. The book is a great read – and raises an important question: could the trading machines destroy the capital markets?