Breakingviews

Asian cull makes Goldman Sachs look rattled

September 26, 2016

The Wall Street bank is laying off nearly a third of its Asian investment bankers. Lumpy deal flow, fierce competition and low fees are endemic in Asia, but Goldman's pullback suggests the scandal over Malaysia's 1MDB may have also dampened its appetite for risk.

Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

July 22, 2016

After the financial crisis, the Wall Street firm overhauled its business practices in an effort to avoid big reputational as well as financial risks. But its dealings with scandal-hit sovereign fund 1MDB, spelled out in new lawsuits, cast doubt on the depth of Goldman's changes.

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.

Cox: Who’s the Chinese buyer we’ve never heard of?

By Rob Cox
April 14, 2016

That’s the question every investment banker now asks when selling a company or asset anywhere in the world. M&A advisers are even flying China specialists across oceans for pitches. Anbang-like hiccups won’t stop the trend. But extra due diligence and vigilance is required.

Credit Suisse’s epiphany is late and embarrassing

March 23, 2016

By adding cost cuts and lowering risk assets, the Swiss bank should make acceptable returns in 2018. Tidjane Thiam could have done more when he outlined his strategy in October. Instead, positions in illiquid assets have helped lose $1 billion – and the bank is on the back foot.

Jamie Dimon to Wells Fargo: Go ahead, make my day

March 1, 2016

The JPMorgan boss suggests that if his big, boring rival wants to compete internationally, it’ll have to buy an investment bank. Bulking up on Wall Street would recklessly push the lender led by John Stumpf into businesses it doesn’t know well. Dimon wouldn’t want that. Right?

New Barclays investment-bank boss may revise realm

February 19, 2016

Tom King is leaving and liable to be replaced by an outsider. Recruiting a new leader won’t be easy for Barclays CEO Jes Staley, himself an investment banker now atop one that lacks top-five clout. Just who he picks, though, could send a clearer signal about the strategy.

Lesson from UBS: Who’d be an investment bank CEO?

February 2, 2016

Andrea Orcel has made the Swiss bank’s broker-dealer arm the envy of rivals, but it could only squeeze out a 4.4 pct return in the fourth quarter. With deal volumes at rock bottom, the industry as a whole looks beset. Alternative careers may never have looked so appealing.

Deutsche Bank risks its own “keep dancing” moment

January 28, 2016

Despite a rotten quarter in investment banking, Germany’s biggest lender will keep adding risk and rainmakers. CEO John Cryan is entitled to see fixed-income issues as cyclical. But in time his stance may echo ex-Citi boss Chuck Prince’s 2007 pledge to stay at the subprime ball.

Cleaner and leaner HSBC struggles to grow

November 2, 2015

The absence of big fines in the third quarter suggests the global bank’s compliance drive is paying off. Other costs are down, and bad debts under control. However, market turmoil dragged on revenue. A share price recovery will depend on HSBC showing sustained expansion in Asia.