Breakingviews

Hildebrand shows stark exposure of central bankers

January 10, 2012

The Swiss National Bank chief has been forced out after his wife engaged in ill-advised currency trades. Hildebrand’s policies made him a political target. It’s a reminder to central bankers around the world that, to retain their independence, they have to be whiter than white.

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.

Botched BATS IPO at least good test of markets

March 26, 2012

Scrapping a public debut is embarrassing for any company. But it’s a potential killer for an upstart stock exchange already being investigated over high-frequency trading. The relief for investors is that the failure by BATS wasn’t the catalyst for a broader meltdown.

Libor rigging looks like victimless crime

July 2, 2012

Barclays’ deception is bad for the banking industry, but the artificial quotes probably didn’t significantly distort borrowing costs or the economy. There may have been big losers in this scandal, but they aren’t likely to be found too far afield from other banks’ trading desks.

Coffey to go

October 18, 2012

Greg Coffey can afford to retire from Moore Capital at 41. He made a fortune from his drive, personality and talent, along with luck - plus leverage and high fees. It’s a good time for him to leave. Characters are less welcome in the new era of institutionalised hedge funds.

Investment banks’ trading needs better disclosure

August 3, 2010

Investment banks offer a plethora of detail on awards and league-table credits in their quarterly results. But they provide only the broadest information on their all-important trading divisions, which generate more than two-thirds of industry revenues. Shareholders should demand greater transparency.

Higher volatility is the new normal in credit

July 10, 2013

The end of Fed bond buying will remove a crutch that supported credit markets even as investment banks cut their trading inventory. Worse, it would come as credit ETFs are suffering outflows. Less liquid markets bring bigger price swings. For the smart money, it’s an opportunity.

Wealth Addicts Anonymous? It misses the point

By Edward Hadas
January 20, 2014

Ex-trader Sam Polk says that money-sucking finance types should meet up to get a grip on their bonus addiction. If such support groups are needed, meetings should start with a firm lecture on why greed is not good. But there’s a better way – common-sense pay regimes.

JPMorgan commodities sale shows trading’s opacity

March 20, 2014

The bank is selling what is probably a low-return unit with regulatory headaches to privately held Mercuria. The lack of financial details makes the price hard to judge, but at $3.5 bln the buyer seems to be paying top whack. With commodities under pressure, that’s a bold move.