Breakingviews

Bank stress exams may test investor patience

June 28, 2016

Results are due this week from the Fed on how 33 financial institutions performed in a simulated bad economic downturn. Countercyclical factors included this year could mean even banks that ace the tests will be required to keep more profit rather than pay out bigger dividends.

Cox: An appeal to London’s Brexit banker castoffs

By Rob Cox
June 16, 2016

If Britain votes to leave the EU, global financial institutions have said they’ll need to relocate thousands of jobs to the continent. A fictional letter from Antwerp’s mayor to JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon sums up the pre-emptive pitch cities and regions are sure to make.

Bankers can learn from miners about culture change

June 15, 2016

Rio Tinto, BHP and their peers have spent years improving their safety records. The finance industry can learn a thing or two from the way that miners have tried to clean up their act. Not least is the ambition to attain higher standards than absolutely required by the law.

Hong Kong could be a black belt in green bonds

June 14, 2016

China is pushing environmental finance, but rules and definitions are fuzzy. Hong Kong’s large pool of capital and transparent regulation give it the credentials to whip this immature market into shape. With just one green bond under its belt, however, the city has work to do.

Sops for overworked bankers miss real problem

June 3, 2016

While UBS now offers two hours of personal time a week, Morgan Stanley is dangling paid sabbaticals. If only gruelling work culture were going out of fashion. A temptation to wring more out of fewer people will persist as long as firms and investors fixate on the short-term.

Deutsche’s latest mess looks like a Protium moment

May 20, 2016

The German bank is probing a deal that enabled ex-trading boss Colin Fan and others to profit, with leverage provided by their own employer. The investigation is ongoing. But it looks to have similar flaws to Barclays’ Protium deal - with staff interests above shareholders’.

Blockchain teamwork could help banks fight hackers

May 13, 2016

An $81 mln central bank heist and a new attack on a commercial lender underscore the rise of cyber-related risks. The European Central Bank wants banks to log serious incidents. But industry collaboration - as seen with distributed ledgers - would do more to shore up defences.

Credit Suisse investment bank decline will persist

May 10, 2016

The Swiss bank cut costs briskly while keeping capital levels steady in the first quarter. Net margins in wealth management also outdid bigger rival UBS. But boss Tidjane Thiam’s botched restructuring of Credit Suisse’s trading arm is in danger of leaving lasting scars.

Credit Suisse sheds problem assets but not stigma

May 4, 2016

The Swiss bank has sold $1.2 billion of distressed credit to buyout group TPG, locking in an extra $100 mln of writedowns. High-yield prices are similar to what they were in October. Hence Credit Suisse hasn’t gained much financially for the dent in its credibility.

RBS sale delays hit credibility more than finances

April 29, 2016

The part-state owned UK bank says it may miss an EU-mandated timeframe to dispose of 300 branches. Even if it takes another 12 months, RBS’s capital position should be OK. But for investors to believe the path to dividend reinstatement, it needs to avoid any missteps.