Breakingviews

Review: Hank Paulson’s kiss-and-don’t-tell China guide

May 1, 2015

The former U.S. Treasury secretary paints a world where noble Chinese officials beg straight-talking American bankers to help get their finances in order. Some things have changed. What hasn’t is that contacts are everything, and that killer details are always left unspoken.

Rob Cox: Bitcoin enters age of Goldman and lawyers

April 30, 2015

For libertarian early adopters, the discovery of the cryptocurrency by Wall Street’s top firm and a bevy of legal eagles is a pivotal moment. Diehards will mourn the lost privacy and edginess of bitcoin. The flipside is the prospect of mainstream financial industry acceptance.

Morgan Stanley Q1 rivals Goldman by different path

April 20, 2015

James Gorman’s firm had its best quarter in years. Its Wall Street competitor still has the edge with returns and book value growth. By one key metric, though, investors value Morgan Stanley more highly. Gorman’s strategy, which downplays volatile trading, is starting to pay off.

Goldman’s improved returns come at higher risk

April 16, 2015

The bank left behind years of ho-hum profit with an estimate-beating $2.75 bln in the first quarter. The firm kept costs down, but trading accounted for much of the boost. That raises the issue of whether such earnings are sustainable – and how shareholders should value them.

Winner of “Survivor: Mega-Banks” may be loser

March 11, 2015

Brady Dougan’s departure from Credit Suisse leaves JPMorgan, Goldman and Wells with the last pre-2008 bosses. Dimon, Blankfein and Stumpf have overcome challenges but also are approaching a decade at the helm. One lesson from the crisis was the danger of sticking around too long.

Today’s Wall Street can’t produce a John Whitehead

February 9, 2015

The ex-Goldman Sachs boss, who died at 92, was instrumental in creating the global investment bank that exists today. He also took on prominent public service roles after leaving. Actions by both Wall Street and Washington have closed that path to high finance’s current leaders.

More Wall Street CEO cash is hint for shareholders

January 23, 2015

JPMorgan is paying a portion of Jamie Dimon’s bonus in hard money for the first time since 2011. Goldman is boosting Lloyd Blankfein’s cash. Meanwhile, stock gains are slowing. Bank bosses still get most of their comp in shares. But the switch may suggest equity has less to offer.

JPMorgan soul-baring cuts room for error

December 24, 2014

Jamie Dimon’s bank has followed Goldman Sachs’ 2011 lead by publishing a report detailing how it has responded to crises. Amid the PR-speak are some worrying admissions and much-needed improvements. Future failures and shareholder concerns will be harder to explain away.

Goldman updates IPOs for the Candy Crush era

December 12, 2014

CEOs of firms heading for public markets are hooked on the bank’s app, which enables them to track results of roadshow book-building in real time. With Apple and IBM coding mobile software for big companies, the smartphone economy is swiftly moving from living room to boardroom.

Dizzying revolving door risks overdone response

November 20, 2014

Going from a U.S. government job to the private sector raises conflicts, as shown by events at Goldman. And a banker’s possible role at the Treasury is under fire. Such moves warrant clear rules, but cross-fertilization is valuable. It would be a shame to make it too hard to do.