White House wannabes give Wall Street much to fear

November 11, 2015

The fourth GOP presidential debate unleashed many fanciful notions about the financial crisis and its aftermath. Ben Carson blamed stock buybacks, Jeb Bush botched bank capital and Ted Cruz flubbed monetary policy. It’s modern history whose lessons are too dangerous to repeat.

ECB hits European banks where it doesn’t hurt

November 11, 2015

Europe’s banking supervisor wants to fast-track the phasing out of bogus capital like deferred tax assets. Greater harmonisation is exactly what Frankfurt should be pushing. But the ECB’s inability to tell national governments what to do will limit the fallout for most lenders.

Cleaner and leaner HSBC struggles to grow

November 2, 2015

The absence of big fines in the third quarter suggests the global bank’s compliance drive is paying off. Other costs are down, and bad debts under control. However, market turmoil dragged on revenue. A share price recovery will depend on HSBC showing sustained expansion in Asia.

Deutsche Bank looks like tortoise to Barclays hare

October 29, 2015

The German lender is cutting 35,000 staff and 20 pct of risk assets in John Cryan’s big revamp. Its UK peer did better in Q3 capital markets advisory, a business both seek to grow. With Barclays hit by UK ring-fencing, Deutsche’s investment bank could cope better long term.

The Devil’s Dictionary of Post-Crisis Finance

By Edward Chancellor
October 16, 2015

Ambrose Bierce wrote “The Devil’s Dictionary” a century ago, ranging acerbically across government, commerce and life. Breakingviews’ original re-use of the form for finance – in 2007, when the crisis was barely beginning – is no longer adequate. Herewith part two of the sequel.

Dimon diaspora extends to Barclays

October 13, 2015

Jes Staley, JPMorgan’s onetime investment banking chief, is poised to be the UK lender’s next boss. He would join a coterie of Jamie Dimon’s former lieutenants now in CEO roles including at First Data, Visa and StanChart. Staley will put the mega-bank skills to the biggest test.

Deutsche Bank’s kitchen sink augurs new plumbing

October 8, 2015

Germany’s biggest lender has shocked with a pre-announced 6.2 bln euro Q3 loss on writedowns of past M&A. Even the symbolic dividend looks endangered. In particular, a revaluation of the 1999 Bankers Trust deal implies new boss John Cryan may have a thorough renovation in mind.

New ANZ boss stuck in strategic mid-ocean

October 1, 2015

Mike Smith is leaving as CEO of the $55 bln Australian lender after eight years. Beefing up in Asia has proved less lucrative than he hoped. Yet a slowing home economy and tightening regulation mean successor Shayne Elliott may have to stay centered somewhere in between.

“People’s QE” is more sensible than unconventional

By Edward Hadas
September 24, 2015

The new Labour leader in the UK wants the government to use newly created money to pay for infrastructure investments. The gains are clear. It’s simpler and more just than borrowing, healthier for the financial system and not necessarily more inflationary. The risks are hypothetical.

Review: Regulation won’t stop bad banker behaviour

By Edward Chancellor
September 18, 2015

Wall Street’s growing abuse of conflicts of interest is exposed in John Kay’s “Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance.” But the remedy is simple. To put an end to these shenanigans, and get bankers to conduct themselves responsibly, incentives need changing.