Bankers get painful and needed conflicts reminder

October 13, 2014

A $76 mln penalty against RBC for working both sides of a deal is the latest blow to skewed loyalties. Even with recent slaps at Goldman and Barclays, it isn’t clear the message is reaching Wall Street. Delaware courts seem up to the task of delivering it as loudly as it takes.

Crackdowns only make M&A leaks more tempting

April 17, 2013

Dealmakers say tougher rules and enforcement are behind new data showing news is trickling out less often about companies for sale. Loose lips come with less chance of deals closing, but they also coincide with higher premiums. Some bankers will always fancy that risk-reward mix.

Optimism over M&A may be deserved – at a discount

March 20, 2013

Bankers and lawyers telling a PR firm that specializes in deals they expect to see more merger activity makes for sweet echo-chamber music. Even pessimism expressed in the same survey in past years has proven too rosy. Maybe factor a typical premium of 30 pct into the answers.

Tip bankers like waiters

March 1, 2013

Forget Europe’s bonus caps for bankers. Why not put a ceiling on salaries and let clients reward good service, just as they do in restaurants? Banker pay could shrink to a more realistic level. After all, this is a business that likes to boast about serving its customers.

Bankers need to follow the money into China

June 21, 2012

Goldman’s new global vice chairman won’t be the last person to eschew the easier climes of Hong Kong. Mainland China is where foreign banks will add jobs, and where the majority of 2012’s IPOs in Asia took place. Attracting the right talent for the local market will be a challenge.

Jailing IPO bankers is a step too far

April 25, 2012

Hong Kong talk of allowing lawsuits against negligent sponsors sounds fair. Reputation isn’t the safeguard it was. But the regulator’s idea of adding criminal liability may just damage the market’s efficiency. And it misses the real problem: investors lap up overpriced deals.

Bankers behaving badly are no black swans

March 8, 2012

Job stress and simple statistics mean it shouldn’t be too shocking to hear of Wall Streeters stabbing a cabbie or defecating in public. More surprising is that such tales are relatively rare. After all, unlike their poor on-the-job decisions, such risks cannot really be managed.

UK fee disclosure shows bankers rule the M&A roost

January 23, 2012

Buyers of UK-listed companies now have to come clean about how much they paid to bankers, lawyers and PR firms. It’s too early to say whether transparency will change behaviour. But one thing’s clear: when it comes to M&A fees, bankers grab almost all the spoils.

Bankers not entirely political pariahs

November 17, 2011

The banking crisis might have made financiers unacceptable in the corridors of government. Yet Italy’s new premier – once an adviser to Goldman Sachs – just handed Intesa’s CEO a key position. New leaders of the ECB and FSB are also ex-Goldman. Oddly this all makes some sense.

Energy bankers may be 2011′s hottest commodity

December 13, 2010

Bankers in the oil and gas business know a thing or two about the laws of supply and demand. But they're not accustomed to being the commodity in question.