Mar 6, 2015 11:35 UTC

UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

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By George Hay

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

Re-privatising Royal Bank of Scotland used to mean creating a world-class universal bank and selling out at a profit. The first objective has already fallen by the wayside – RBS is well on the way to becoming a UK-focused retail bank. Happily the second, judging by comments by Chancellor George Osborne on March 5, could soon follow.

Mar 5, 2015 15:39 UTC

Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The world’s top billionaires are battling for Spanish property. Bill Gates, George Soros and Amancio Ortega have all taken stakes in real estate companies or bought emblematic buildings in Spain. Now Carlos Slim is building his own Spanish empire on the cheap.

Mar 4, 2015 16:57 UTC

Actavis sale dresses up barely investment grade

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By Robert Cyran

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

Actavis is showcasing the value of being barely investment grade. The acquisitive drugmaker attracted huge demand this week for $21 billion of bonds a mere notch above junk. They yield less than Verizon’s bigger and better-rated issue did in 2013. Buyers of top-tier debt can’t help but keep looking further downward.

Mar 3, 2015 20:30 UTC

Trust Citi to win from losing most profitable unit

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By Antony Currie

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

Trust Citigroup to benefit from offloading its most profitable business. The U.S. mega-bank has at last sold OneMain, to rival Springleaf, for $4.25 billion. The subprime consumer finance unit has generated returns that far exceed anything else at Citi. And yet the deal provides all manner of relief for the erratic lender run by Michael Corbat.

Mar 3, 2015 12:28 UTC

Barclays’ trading woes offset pay restraint

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Barclays has got one thing right. Last year the UK bank found itself in the eye of a PR firestorm for hiking staff bonuses when profit fell. On the face of it, Chief Executive Antony Jenkins has managed to get things the right way round in his 2014 results, announced on March 3. Barclays’ investors shouldn’t celebrate just yet, though.

Feb 26, 2015 16:14 UTC

StanChart board clearout is only the first step

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

An “orderly succession plan balancing stability with fresh perspective.” That’s how Standard Chartered described the boardroom clearout which led to the departure of Chief Executive Peter Sands, its Asia head, its chairman and three non-executive directors. Others might have used a more violent expression. For anxious investors, regulators and employees the arrival of Bill Winters as CEO is welcome. But the ex-JPMorgan executive will face an overflowing inbox when he takes charge in June.

Feb 25, 2015 17:17 UTC

JPMorgan optimism reinforces industry mediocrity

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By Antony Currie

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

JPMorgan’s optimism reinforces the overall mediocrity of the banking industry. Growth, cost cuts and new fees can boost earnings 43 percent, boss Jamie Dimon and his crew told investors on Tuesday. They also suggested that’s enough to silence talk of a breakup.

Feb 25, 2015 12:46 UTC

UK jail-a-banker rules will hike board pay

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By Dominic Elliott

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

New UK rules enabling the jailing of bankers could mean more pay for board directors. New reforms from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England could see those with oversight duties at banks and insurers donning prison scrubs if they screw up. More detail published by the FCA on Feb. 23 only marginally lightens the load.

Feb 24, 2015 17:28 UTC

London’s FTSE can extend its record-breaking run

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By Robert Cole

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

It has been a long time coming. But after 15 years the FTSE 100, the main UK equity index, finally set a new record on Tuesday. Yet while the nominal value of London stocks is higher than ever, and the investment proposition is a long way from risk-free, the FTSE 100 is attractive.

Feb 20, 2015 20:25 UTC

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk goes down to wire

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk is going down to the wire. The $45 billion sale to larger rival Comcast has already been under consideration for nearly a year by U.S. regulators. A Federal Communications Commission preoccupied with its decision to treat the internet like a utility caused part of the delay. The agency’s decision to raise the standard for high-speed broadband also sparked fresh concern it might influence the Department of Justice’s analysis. Implied chances for success are now at 60 percent, close to the lowest in the market since the transaction was announced.