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Jun 30, 2015
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Willis-Towers Watson insure against market turmoil

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

Willis Group and Towers Watson have taken out a spot of insurance against future troubles in the sectors they serve. Willis, an Irish-domiciled broker big in the United States and the UK, is joining forces with Towers Watson, a U.S.-based risk and healthcare consultancy. The tie-up has a defensive logic, but carries positive rationale as well.

Jun 10, 2015
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UK blithely signs up to Germany’s worst idea

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

George Osborne is about to put UK fiscal flexibility in another straitjacket. Fresh from pledging not to raise taxes in the next parliament, the chancellor will use a speech on June 10 to announce legislation committing governments to run budget surpluses – a move reminiscent of the German government’s self-defeating “debt brake”. It’s further proof of the increasing bifurcation between public opinion and mainstream economic principles.

Jun 10, 2015
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UK blithely signs up to Germany’s worst idea

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

George Osborne is about to put UK fiscal flexibility in another straitjacket. Fresh from pledging not to raise taxes in the next parliament, the chancellor will use a speech on June 10 to announce legislation committing governments to run budget surpluses – a move reminiscent of the German government’s self-defeating “debt brake”. It’s further proof of the increasing bifurcation between public opinion and mainstream economic principles.

May 19, 2015
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UK taxpayers hurt more by EU split than HSBC exit

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

Another day, another big bank threatens to leave London. At first sight, news that Deutsche Bank could move operations out of the City in the event that Britons vote to quit the European Union may sound little different from HSBC’s decision over whether to shift its head office. But for UK taxpayers, the former would be more painful.

May 19, 2015
via Breakingviews

UK taxpayers hurt more by EU split than HSBC exit

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

Another day, another big bank threatens to leave London. At first sight, news that Deutsche Bank could move operations out of the City in the event that Britons vote to quit the European Union may sound little different from HSBC’s decision over whether to shift its head office. But for UK taxpayers, the former would be more painful.

Mar 20, 2015
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ECB torn between two roles in Greek bank support

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

The European Central Bank is responsible for the stability of both the euro and the single currency zone’s biggest banks. The two goals are not perfectly aligned, as a spat over Greece is making clear.

Mar 6, 2015
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UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

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By George Hay

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

Re-privatising Royal Bank of Scotland used to mean creating a world-class universal bank and selling out at a profit. The first objective has already fallen by the wayside – RBS is well on the way to becoming a UK-focused retail bank. Happily the second, judging by comments by Chancellor George Osborne on March 5, could soon follow.

Mar 6, 2015
via Breakingviews

UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

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By George Hay

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

Re-privatising Royal Bank of Scotland used to mean creating a world-class universal bank and selling out at a profit. The first objective has already fallen by the wayside – RBS is well on the way to becoming a UK-focused retail bank. Happily the second, judging by comments by Chancellor George Osborne on March 5, could soon follow.

Feb 27, 2015
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Lloyds investment case hinges on its next dividend

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By George Hay

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

The last time Lloyds Banking Group paid a dividend, Gordon Brown was UK prime minister, Lehman Brothers still existed, and “banker” was yet to become a term of abuse. The fact the UK bank is making its first shareholder payout since August 2008 is therefore an encouraging milestone. But in valuation terms, this year’s dividend is more important.

Feb 5, 2015
via Breakingviews

ECB’s Greek bank warning stays within reason

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By George Hay

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

The European Central Bank is playing politics. Its governing council decided on Feb. 4 to remove a waiver allowing Greek banks to pledge domestic government-backed collateral in return for cash. Technically, the ECB remains within its mandate. In fact, it is pressuring a European Union government to tone down its rhetoric and come to an agreement with its euro zone partners. Yet even in this political role, the ECB’s decision looks reasonable.

    • About George

      "George Hay coordinates European financial coverage and writes about macroeconomics, the euro zone and UK/European financial policy. He covered European banks for Breakingviews during the financial crisis, and has also worked as a correspondent for AFX News and at United Business Media. He attended Edinburgh University and his work has been recognised at the UK’s Business Journalist of the Year Awards. Follow George on Twitter @gfhay"
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