Lazard and Evercore do more with less in M&A boom

July 23, 2015

Second-quarter results show the two independent advisers have not reaped as much benefit as bulge-bracket rivals from the recent dealmaking surge. But their simpler business models and higher margins leave more of the gains for shareholders – especially owners of Lazard.

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.

Jefferies rubs salt into own wounds

March 17, 2015

The Wall Street firm avoided a second straight quarterly loss, but just barely. It reported only $12.5 mln in profit after missing the rebound in most fixed-income trading and relying too much on slowing LBOs. Boss Richard Handler can’t afford another dismal quarter like this.

Wells Fargo: first big bank simple enough to fail

November 26, 2014

The $1.6 trln lender secured a provisional stamp of approval from regulators for its living will. Less credible plans from 11 other titans suggest size isn’t the issue. Wells ranks fourth in assets and first in market cap. The real problems are complexity and interconnectedness.

JPMorgan offers peek into trading magic circle

February 29, 2012

Investment bank boss Jes Staley has broken Wall Street’s code by revealing new data on how much the firm rakes in as a market-maker. It won’t quell suspicions that some of it is really prop trading. But it sheds useful light - and may whet investors’ appetite for even more info.

Rothschild Anglo-French union secures family grip

By Pierre Briancon
April 5, 2012

The investment bank is merging its French and British subsidiaries into a single listed vehicle, Paris Orleans. But the new group’s limited partnership structure guarantees airtight family control - regardless of who takes over from current chairman David de Rothschild.

Time for banks to gang up on rating agencies

May 28, 2012

If Moody’s downgrades several large investment banks, short-term funding may dry up and collateral demands increase. In spite of well-known flaws, ratings remain hard-wired into global finance. The latest review gives bankers the perfect excuse to curb agencies’ power.

Goldman-Morgan rivalry gets personal in Asia

March 7, 2013

Morgan Stanley’s regional investment banking chief, Kate Richdale, defected to its main Wall Street adversary. It’s tempting to read her move as evidence of a decisive shift, especially following other high-level exits. However, the grudge match has proved remarkably enduring.

Goldman and Buffett scratch each other’s backs

March 26, 2013

They’re amending the terms of warrants used in a 2008 rescue investment of the bank. Buffett gets his profit without having to stump up $5 bln in cash. Goldman minimizes dilution, which helps its return on equity - while also easing stock buyback negotiations with the Fed.

Volcker Rule won’t so quickly squelch house bets

August 5, 2010

Don't think Goldman Sachs is finished putting its own capital at risk. The Wall Street firm may be rushing to either restructure or spin off its private equity and proprietary trading units to comply with the newly enacted Volcker Rule. But the directive remains vague and leaves ample room for Goldman and its Wall Street rivals to bet with plenty of the house's money.