VW’s new fiasco puts governance back in crosshairs

November 3, 2015

The carmaker is taking a 2 bln euro charge after saying it may have cheated on fuel-economy stats, too. This escalation yet again flags VW’s rotten processes and culture. Appointing outsiders as directors, chairman and even CEO would be the best way to prove it’s cleaning house.

Credible VW cleanup calls for external chairman

September 24, 2015

After replacing its chief executive, the German carmaker should look for a new chair. Picking long-term CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch was questionable even before the emissions cheating was uncovered. It’s now untenable - VW’s restart needs to be driven by an independent outsider.

Bankers get ammo but no ally in regulation tussle

May 22, 2015

Financiers unhappy with tougher regulation can cite new analysis from the BIS. The central banks’ own central bank says new standards will probably change how economies and markets work. But the BIS is firmly focussed on coping with the new paradigm, not returning to the old one.

UK jail-a-banker rules will hike board pay

February 25, 2015

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.

Asia’s top-down corporate reforms vary in promise

August 25, 2014

Newish leaders across the region are pushing to change the way companies work. Although the mechanisms and targets vary between countries, increasing efficiency appears to be a common theme. But investors eyeing improved returns will find not all reforms are equal.

Qualcomm turns from predator to prey in China

July 25, 2014

Beijing has branded the US chipmaker a monopolist, even as its dominance, which rests on smartphone chips and 3G patents, may be sliding. If that weren’t enough, some Chinese customers aren’t paying their dues. As friction over US-China spying persists, things may only get worse.

Alibaba is case study in U.S.-China legal gulf

June 23, 2014

As the Chinese ecommerce giant prepares for its U.S. IPO, a congressional group is flagging the dangers in its ownership structure. Uncertainty in PRC law is to blame. The certainty that American authorities have the right to pursue graft in China is another less obvious risk.

Glaxo wrestles with its past

May 28, 2014

A UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the pharma group has knocked almost $2 bln off its market value. Fines in China are well flagged, but the scale of SFO’s concern is unclear, as is the cost of staying ethical in future. Investors are still betting on a benign outcome.

Astra has small tactical advantage over Pfizer

By Chris Hughes
May 1, 2014

Time can benefit bidders rather than targets – that’s why Kraft left Cadbury flailing for months. But uncertainties around regulatory clearance and Washington politics complicate the dynamics of Pfizer’s approach to AstraZeneca. The U.S. group will want a quick, recommended deal.

StanChart anti-U.S. rant will resonate

August 8, 2012

The reported denunciation of “f—ing Americans” shows a disrespectful attitude to the U.S. ability to impose financial rules well beyond its own borders. It’s hard to fight against the economic superpower, but the cavalier U.S. approach could eventually be self-defeating.