Felix Salmon

Counterparties: Deutsche’s hope and “uncomfortable change”

January 31, 2013

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The SEC’s weird newswire investigation

By Felix Salmon
January 31, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, the WSJ’s Brody Mullins had a big story about the fact that the SEC was investigating a political-intelligence consultancy named Marwood. Marwood doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong, but the very fact that it was being investigated was, at least as far as the WSJ was concerned, front-page news.

Counterparties: The non-industrious military complex

By Ben Walsh
January 30, 2013

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

Europe’s robust financial-transactions tax

By Felix Salmon
January 30, 2013

The details of Europe’s new financial transactions tax won’t be made public for a few weeks, but the FT’s Alex Barker has seen a draft, and it looks impressively robust. The tax is being implemented by 11 countries, including most importantly Germany and France, and it’s going to be levied at two levels: 0.1% on securities trades, and 0.01% on derivatives trades. It’s also going to be very difficult to dodge: any trader whose institutional headquarters is in one of the 11 countries will have to pay the tax, as will all transactions taking place in those countries, and all transactions involving securities issued in those countries.

Counterparties: Winner winner prison dinner

January 29, 2013

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When banks face criminal charges

By Felix Salmon
January 29, 2013

Once again the question raises itself: what is the point of filing criminal charges against a bank — not a bank’s executives or employees, but the bank itself? The WSJ today says that the US wants RBS to plead guilty to such charges, in addition to paying the inevitable fine over Libor fixing. But only, it seems, insofar as such an admission wouldn’t have any visible practical consequences:

Counterparties: Not so golden, still delicious

By Ben Walsh
January 28, 2013

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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

By Felix Salmon
January 28, 2013

This year’s Davos was all about tail risk — or, more to the point, the absence thereof. The ECB’s Mario Draghi said — more than once — that he had “removed the tail risk from the euro”. His colleague Ignazio Visco went almost as far, saying that only a few tail risks remain. The EU’s Olli Rehn talked about how there’s “no tail risk” any more. The IMF’s Zhu Min said that “In Europe, the tail risk has been moved off the table”, which was exactly the same language also used by Ray Dalio. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said that “euro tail risk is now sorted”. The FT editorialized about the best policy response when “the tail risk of renewed financial chaos is reduced”. Even Nouriel Roubini declared that tail risks have declined in the past six months, although they haven’t gone away. And that was just the on-the-record comments: off the record, many more people, including at least one official US representative, were saying the same thing.

Branding and anti-branding, Davos edition

By Felix Salmon
January 28, 2013

Frank Tantillo has a good overview of the inescapable country-branding exercises that happen in Davos every year; this year Azerbaijan was rivaling India in the ubiquity stakes, while countries like Peru and Japan made do with events.