Breakingviews

LSE-Deutsche Boerse hangs over Brexit precipice

June 22, 2016

UK equities could crash if Britons vote to leave the European Union. Among other things, this could upend the carefully composed share split in the British and German exchanges’ merger. For Frankfurters carping at where the new company would be based, it could be the final straw.

France at risk of catching referendum bug

June 21, 2016

Giving French voters a say on EU membership would pose a far bigger risk to the bloc than the British vote. Mainstream Gallic politicians know this. Yet the rise of the far right could make it tempting to take the sort of pre-election gamble that enticed UK premier David Cameron.

Brexit is trigger for market liquidity migraine

June 20, 2016

If asset managers are anxious before Britain’s EU vote, traders who handle their orders are just as troubled. Sterling’s 1992 ERM exit made them huge profits. In 2016, too-high volatility and growing illiquidity mean market-makers could struggle even to ensure normal service.

UK turmoil shows up markets as amoral and impotent

June 17, 2016

Sterling and stocks rebounded due to speculation that the killing of a pro-EU British lawmaker might affect the outcome of a June 23 referendum. Traders trade on any scrap of information, even tragedy. In this case, they are more at the mercy of events than shaping them.

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.

How Cameron could still pull plug on Brexit vote

June 13, 2016

Picture the scene: the UK’s referendum on EU membership looms, and polls have swung heavily in favour of leaving. Panic grips 10 Downing Street. Yet there may be another way. Breakingviews imagines how a senior adviser to the prime minister might suggest the unthinkable.

Merger “synergies” can’t just be code for job cuts

June 8, 2016

Most mega-deals leave companies with fewer staff, and higher sales and profit per head, a Breakingviews analysis shows. That’s capitalism. But the mood is changing, at least in pro-market Britain. Synergies do exist, but those reliant on cutting jobs may get harder to realise.

Money-for-nothing idea will survive Swiss rebuff

June 6, 2016

Welfare systems once seemed as outlandish as the proposed guaranteed basic income for all that has been rejected by Swiss voters. Advocates must provide more details on funding and the potential social impact. Other countries, such as Finland, will be the lab for the experiment.

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.

Tehran timidity says more about banks than Iran

May 13, 2016

European lenders seem reluctant to follow U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s entreaties to do business in the republic. An avalanche of legal and practical banana skins hint at why. These could be surmountable - if bank bosses believe their systems are up to the job.