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Nov 24, 2014
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Boris should pay up but not shut up over U.S. tax

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Boris Johnson has a point about his U.S. tax bill, but he should still cough up. The London mayor objects to the fact that his dual UK and U.S. citizenship means he has been issued with an American tax bill, and he says he won’t pay. Though many U.S. expats will share his frustration, it does not warrant civil disobedience.

Nov 19, 2014
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Deutsche’s CoCo buyers are not totally irrational

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There’s method in the madness of those investing in Deutsche Bank CoCos. The German lender confirmed on Nov. 19 that it had sold $1.5 billion of so-called contingent convertible debt with a 10-year maturity, following the May sale of 3.5 billion euros of six-year paper. Buying bank debt that is written down when the share price is tumbling sounds crazy, but it might not be right now.

Nov 12, 2014
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Barclays’ forex delay looks like bad news

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Barclays is once again exposed. In June 2012, the UK bank was the first to settle claims that its staff attempted to fiddle Libor rates. It promptly lost its senior management and a good deal of its reputation. A decision this time round to hang back from an industry settlement for multiple failings in foreign exchange trading is harder to immediately assess. But it probably isn’t good news.

Nov 10, 2014
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Global banks prepare for un-level playing field

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

No bank should be too big to fail. The world has taken a step closer to that admirable goal with the Nov. 10 capital proposals from the Financial Stability Board, the body responsible for global coordination of bank regulation. But the latest plan has too many national carve-outs to do much for the FSB’s other aim of establishing a “level playing field.”

Oct 29, 2014
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Deutsche Bank’s fixed income wager yet to pay off

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Deutsche Bank’s strategy is still on probation. The German group decided earlier this year not to follow Barclays, its largest European rival, in cutting back its investment bank. The bet will only pay off if the recent slowdown in bond trading is merely cyclical, not part of a structural decline. The evidence from the third quarter results is inconclusive.

Oct 27, 2014
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EU bank stress-test winners still short of capital

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Investors are turning their noses up at the European bank stress tests. Shares in the sector fell 1.9 percent on average on the morning after publication, with both banks that passed and those that failed being targeted. That’s because a clean bill of health on the test’s headline terms does not necessarily mean a lender has enough capital over the medium term.

Oct 1, 2014
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Sovereign doom loop haunts EU bank stress tests

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The euro zone’s nascent banking union was supposed to unpick the “sovereign doom loop” by which ropey banks endangered weak countries, and vice versa. Its first task was to be a rigorous test of how much capital each lender could count on in adverse scenarios. Yet the new single banking supervisor’s exercise could tighten, rather than loosen, the state/bank co-dependency.

Sep 19, 2014
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Scots’ no to independence still leaves UK in limbo

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Scotland’s landmark decision to reject independence is not the end of British uncertainty. The 55:45 split, with almost all the votes counted early on Sept. 19, leaves the UK intact. But the terms of the unionist victory introduce tensions which could yet lead to a national division.

Sep 11, 2014
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RBS/Lloyds moving plans leave key questions opaque

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Scotland’s largest banks have moved to head off a crisis. Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group say they will shift their Edinburgh-domiciled operations to London, should Scots vote for independence on Sept. 18. That’s a step towards financial stability – but not if you’re a Scottish consumer.

Aug 20, 2014
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Latest blunder hits StanChart where it most hurts

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Standard Chartered’s latest blunder hits the UK bank where it hurts most. New York State’s Department of Financial Services has slapped a $300 million fine on the emerging markets-focused lender for compliance lapses. It reinforces the disturbing impression that StanChart’s top brass aren’t on top of things.

    • About George

      "George Hay writes about the banking and property sectors. He joined from Thomson Financial News, where he was a companies correspondent. Before that he worked at United Business Media, where he was news editor of Building Magazine. He has a first in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and was nominated in two categories at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards."
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