Breakingviews

Edward Hadas: Tom Hayes had the wrong standards

By Edward Hadas
August 12, 2015

The convicted trader said he was like most people. They just “do their job” without asking whether it is honest or dishonest. He has a point. Society requires such upward ethical delegation and it usually works pretty well. Except, that is, in the financial world.

China hits the brakes on financial disruption

August 4, 2015

The central bank is cracking down on the $2 trln online payments market. Proposed transaction limits and stricter security rules would help traditional banks at the expense of online players Alibaba and Tencent. It’s a reminder that, even in China, tech innovation has its limits.

Timing looks right for RBS state selldown

August 3, 2015

Cutting its 79 pct stake in the lender would leave the UK with a paper loss, yet focusing on the exact in-price is unhelpful. Better to sell than hold on for a recovery in price that may never come. Besides, the good vibes that come from less state ownership should limit losses.

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.