Breakingviews

Wall Street lead over EU banks looks set in stone

June 17, 2015

European trading and advisory revenue is down 30 pct since 2010 while U.S. investment banking has grown. Now Deutsche Bank and HSBC are cutting further, even more ground will be ceded. The region’s tentative recovery and capital markets project offer only slim hope of a reversal.

UBS pulls ahead of both activist and rivals

May 5, 2015

The Swiss lender’s Q1 profit leapt 88 pct to 2 bln francs. A strong return at the leaner investment banking unit further discredits Knight Vinke’s case for an exit. And with better capital ratios on both main metrics, UBS is piling pressure on less decisive competitors.

Swiss say-on-pay bodes ill for rainmaker wallets

April 2, 2015

UBS and Credit Suisse face binding shareholder votes on executive compensation for the first time. These will judge aggregate, not individual awards. But Swiss banks must also disclose their top-paid executive. That makes it harder for dealmakers to out-earn their CEOs.

FX fines are wake-up call on self-policing

November 12, 2014

The $3.4 bln settlement for five banks works out on average at 20 pct higher than Libor – because the firms failed to mend their ways. Regulators are seeking yet tougher internal controls. Banks have a last chance to show they can treat clients fairly.

Barclays shows why it needs to do a UBS

May 6, 2014

The UK bank saw Q1 fixed-income revenue fall even more than forecast. Its Swiss peer didn’t fare much better, but UBS is already well into a wealth management-focused turnaround. While Barclays has fewer options, its strategic revamp on May 8 needs to be similarly radical.

Banks swap rewards for risk on public deals

April 9, 2014

Deutsche Bank and UBS are now loath to offer long-dated swaps to municipalities. New capital rules make the business less attractive. But after legal tussles and bad publicity in Milan and Detroit, bankers are turning away business on grounds of reputational risk.

Investment bank cull won’t protect survivors’ pay

August 11, 2011

Bankers who escape the summer cull won't escape the pain. While they will get a bigger share of the bonus pie for this year, it seems clear that the pie itself, and their slice of it, will be much smaller.

Rogue trader puts UBS investment bank at risk

September 15, 2011

A $2 billion shock loss, apparently the fault of a single rogue trader, has dealt a huge blow to the Swiss bank's post-crisis revival hopes.

How could UBS not have learnt from SocGen?

September 15, 2011

It has happened again. UBS has $2 billion of losses from unauthorized trading in the Swiss bank’s supposedly safe “Delta One” equities business. This is the area that spawned a massive fraud at French bank Societe Generale in 2008, leading to $7 billion of losses as the trades were unwound.

UBS rogue trader a chance to test bonus clawbacks

September 20, 2011

Will UBS’s rogue trader leave staff with a “doughnut” bonus? The investment bank’s employees, already facing thousands of job losses, fear the $2.3 billion trading loss will wipe out this year’s payments.