Breakingviews

Deutsche Bank smart on growth, shabby on costs

July 30, 2015

Germany’s biggest bank grew capital buffers and revenue briskly in the second quarter. But expenses devoured 85 pct of the top line – the same as a year ago. New co-CEO John Cryan needs to pull Deutsche out of some of the 60-plus countries it aims to be in, and cut headcount.

Review: A partial defence of financial innovation

July 24, 2015

The crisis has made many suspicious of new ideas in finance. “Smart Money” sets out to plead for the other side. The optimistic tone is refreshing, and the book offers many interesting examples of new business models. However, the case has too many gaps to be truly persuasive.

Hugo Dixon: Mario Draghi is having a good war

July 20, 2015

The ECB president has done almost everything he can to keep Greece in the euro without breaking the central bank’s rules. Although Draghi has been attacked by Athens for asphyxiating the country and hardliners for showing excessive leniency, he has got the balance about right.

Hugo Dixon: Syriza split best outcome for Greece

By Hugo Dixon
July 11, 2015

PM Alexis Tsipras secured overwhelming parliamentary backing for his U-turn on austerity and reform, but his party has splintered. A new government, which is more serious about implementing whatever bailout programme is negotiated with creditors, will now probably be formed.

Tsipras U-turn only lowers short-term Grexit risks

July 10, 2015

Greece’s latest bailout plan accepts most of what its July 5 referendum rejected. Creditors will have to actively want a Greek exit from the single currency for it to happen now. Yet fresh austerity, capital controls and Athens’ weak reform record mean the truce may not last.

Barclays investment bank is hardest to turn round

July 9, 2015

The UK lender, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have all changed chief executives this July. Each has a distinct investment banking challenge. The Swiss bank is capital-light, Deutsche needs to cut costs. Yet Barclays’ shrinking top line suggests its revamp will be the toughest.

Euro is poor yardstick for euro existential stress

June 22, 2015

The Greek crisis is compromising FX traders’ reputation for being the first and fastest to react to big news. Currency market signals are currently so muddied that stocks and bonds are better barometers of investors’ views on how close Athens is to default or euro exit.

Subject financial fiefs to modern Magna Carta

June 15, 2015

Companies in the 21st century can learn from 13th century England. Overmighty, overpaid CEOs are the new King Johns. They are held to account, sort of, by the barons of fund management. What’s needed is more respect for finance’s neglected yeomanry: ordinary savers.

HSBC in 2020: An imagined letter to shareholders

May 15, 2015

Moving its head office to Shanghai marks a new era for the bank, writes chairman Hank Paulson in a make-believe memo. However, despite escaping hostile regulators in the aftermath of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, HSBC faces many challenges, both familiar and new.

ECB’s bank board-crashing makes sense – to a point

May 7, 2015

The euro zone’s financial stability gnomes will observe board meetings. Handled right, the ECB should glean extra insight – after all, corporate culture starts at the top. But regular sessions with board committees may reveal more about how Frankfurt’s 123 charges really operate.