Breakingviews

Quickie stock sales toy with Volcker Rule spirit

July 3, 2014

Wall Street has used block trades to move $23 bln of equity for public companies this year, almost as much as IPOs have raised. They’re a handy tool and easy way for banks to gain league-table credit. But at times the line blurs between capital-raising and banned prop trading.

Volcker Rule draft still leaves many gray areas

October 7, 2011

It was a tall order, but America's banking regulators have taken a good stab at devising a framework for the Volcker Rule. A draft of the document, obtained by the American Banker, suggests the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, FDIC and Treasury minimized the most worrying aspect of the rule -- that a prop-trading ban could undermine client-focused market-making.

Volcker muddies debate about his own rule

February 13, 2012

The former Fed chairman’s eleventh-hour comments serve as a decent primer for why banning prop trading is a good idea. But he doesn’t address any of the practical concerns big banks have raised. And Volcker’s argument about the downside of liquidity seems a dangerous red herring.

Dodd-Frank opponents return to the drawing board

May 14, 2012

JPMorgan’s prop-like $2 bln trading flub gives ammo to proponents of more stringent bank oversight. Yet Mitt Romney and many in the GOP have promised to gut Dodd-Frank and Volcker. One tactic may be to embrace Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher’s call to make banks smaller.

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.

Bankers should be in bonus penalty box

By Hugo Dixon
February 3, 2010

Bankers have earned themselves a cut in pay.