Breakingviews

Review: What the Great Depression taught the Fed

By Guest Contributor
January 30, 2015

Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn't learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke's knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much. 

Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

December 22, 2014

There’s no reason to think the $3.2 trln pace of deals will slow in 2015, but the uproarious reception from shareholders is already showing signs of subsiding. As easy pickings of squeezing costs from overlapping operations evaporate, the laws of corporate finance will prevail.

Billy Salomon dies as his trading era returns

December 10, 2014

In 15 years as boss of his father’s eponymous firm, Salomon, who passed at age 100, made it a bonds powerhouse. Wall Street twisted the model into prop desks that helped seed the financial crisis. U.S. banks are now barred from such trades. What’s left is more Salomon’s style.

Wall Street in grip of Geithner nostalgia

December 2, 2014

When the former U.S. Treasury boss made a surprise visit to a recent gathering of bank CEOs, the warm welcome he received could be misinterpreted as appreciation for an old softy. In fact, it was recognition that the current regime doesn’t have its heart in financial regulation.

American banking has its own Tea Party

November 25, 2014

Like the anti-establishment wing of the GOP, the Independent Community Bankers of America has emerged as a highly vocal opponent of all things Wall Street, including a Lazard banker’s nomination for a Treasury role. These are the plaintive cries of a dying breed of banker.

Dizzying revolving door risks overdone response

November 20, 2014

Going from a U.S. government job to the private sector raises conflicts, as shown by events at Goldman. And a banker’s possible role at the Treasury is under fire. Such moves warrant clear rules, but cross-fertilization is valuable. It would be a shame to make it too hard to do.

Review: The secret cause of economic crises

By Guest Contributor
November 7, 2014

Trust, not self-interest, is the main support of market economies, says Geoffrey Hosking. He persuasively argues that widespread trust is crucial for growth. He explains how business cycles are propelled by mutual confidence, too little at the bottom and far too much at the top.

Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

November 3, 2014

Top brass at the $45 bln Wall Street firm peed in cups and chastised the press for writing about salacious charges against one of its rainmakers. The response is not exactly confidence-inducing behavior for a business built as much on trust as the assets on the balance sheet.

FX business now shares equities’ harsh economics

October 21, 2014

That’s why recently resurgent volatility in currency markets won’t restore investment banks’ revenue. Blame a secular shift in FX, and the rise of electronic trading.

Goldman pulls every lever to make machine run

October 16, 2014

Bankers and traders helped the firm increase profit 50 pct from a year ago. Investments like Tesla supplier Mobileye contributed, too. Socking away less for pay, though, provided the real fillip to 11.8 pct return on equity. In tough times especially, that’s how it should work.