Breakingviews

 
The Hong Kong bank grew into one of the world’s biggest financial institutions. But poor results and a furore over Swiss tax make for an unhappy 150th anniversary. A new history shows how hands-off management and breakneck M&A under former chairman John Bond are partly to blame.

India goes back to future with $137 bln rail push

The government’s ambitious plan will require finesse in raising money. But the investment case is strong. India’s British rulers reaped huge productivity gains by building out the railways 150 years ago. Modernizing the dilapidated network could produce even better returns.

StanChart board clearout is only the first step

Installing Bill Winters as CEO to replace Peter Sands ends the short-term uncertainty about the bank’s leadership. But the former JPMorgan executive will face an overflowing inbox when he takes charge in June. Capital, credit quality and returns will be the immediate priorities.

Rob Cox: Welcome to the new, global Tangentopoli

Corruption is causing trouble for elites from Sao Paulo to Virginia and Santiago to London. Inequality can be a tolerable byproduct of free-market capitalism, but not when the winners are profiting from a rigged system. As a new book argues, such gains encourage radicalism.

Australia's property market joins closed-door club

The government plans to charge fees to foreign buyers and enforce restrictions on sales of existing homes. After Hong Kong and Singapore, another hot real estate market is cooling to Chinese money. It adds to the political pressure on other countries to become less welcoming.

JPMorgan optimism reinforces industry mediocrity

Jamie Dimon and crew reckon growth, cost cuts and new fees can boost earnings 43 pct and help silence talk of a breakup. Trouble is, the bank’s 2017 target puts tangible ROE at just 15 pct. That’s not bad but underscores what an unimpressive investment big banking has become.

UK jail-a-banker rules will hike board pay

That’s the likely upshot of Britain’s new regime to hold financiers accountable for wrongdoing. Regulators have stopped short of applying the rules to all non-executives, but half of most boards still risk incarceration. As a result, they will probably demand more money.