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Jun 7, 2013

Partnership’s success hinges on killer data set

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

By George Hay

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Partnership’s
(PA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) IPO pricing isn’t as conservative as it looks. The
insurer’s shares started trading on June 7 over 20 percent above
the 385 pence at which it finally listed – which was near the
top of the range. With the offering oversubscribed almost 10
times, it might look like the advisers left too much on the
table. Yet the pricing could also just reflect how heavily
Partnership’s future growth depends on its much-vaunted set of
mortality data.

Jun 6, 2013

Breakingviews:How lucky SNS wasn’t based in Nicosia

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

By George Hay

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The gory details of
SNS’s nationalisation will leave Cypriots hopping mad. The Dutch
bank has finally unveiled its 2012 accounts, five months after
being bailed out. They show how lucky SNS’s senior creditors
were to be spared a Cyprus-style bail-in.

Jun 4, 2013

UK should stop dithering over Co-op

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

By George Hay

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The UK government
needs to stop dithering over the Co-op (CPBB_p.L: Quote, Profile, Research). Weeks after a
six-notch downgrade to junk status and a self-imposed shuttering
of new corporate lending, the mutual is still waiting for the UK
regulator to nail down how much capital it needs. The continued
uncertainty increases the risk that corporate deposits walk.

May 27, 2013
via Breakingviews

How capital controls are prolonging Cypriots’ pain

Photo

By George Hay

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

Cyprus has a liquidity problem. It has been barely two months since depositors of the two largest lenders of this small island state, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, learned they were to face losses of 60 to 100 percent on the part of their deposits exceeding 100,000 euros. Yet Nicosia’s streets haven’t been savaged by furious rioting, nor have the banks fallen victim to visible panic. The harm is more pernicious: capital controls are slowly smothering a domestic economy already hit by a heavy dose of austerity.

May 27, 2013

Breakingviews-How capital controls are prolonging Cypriots’ pain

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 27 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cyprus has a
liquidity problem. It has been barely two months since
depositors of the two largest lenders of this small island
state, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, learned they were to face
losses of 60 to 100 percent on the part of their deposits
exceeding 100,000 euros ($129,278). Yet Nicosia’s streets
haven’t been savaged by furious rioting, nor have the banks
fallen victim to visible panic. The harm is more pernicious:
capital controls are slowly smothering a domestic economy
already hit by a heavy dose of austerity.

May 22, 2013

UK’s bank capital tsar all bark and no bite

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Britain’s new bank
capital tsar is all bark and no bite. Back in November, the Bank
of England’s Financial Policy Committee warned that UK lenders
could be looking at a 50 billion pound capital hole. On May 22
it emerged that Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) won’t actually need to raise any new capital at
all. It’s not a great start for the new regulatory framework.

May 10, 2013
via Breakingviews

BT’s free sports gambit tries to out-Sky Sky

Photo

By George Hay and Quentin Webb

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own

BT’s free sports gambit is an attempt to out-Sky Sky. The UK telco on May 9 surprised investors by offering new broadband users the chance to watch live Premier League soccer for no extra charge. The 2 percent, 6 percent and 12 percent drops in the share prices of BT, BSkyB and smaller competitor TalkTalk may look like an extreme response to the move, but they reflect rational fears of a price war.

May 10, 2013

Breakingviews:UK’s sovereign debt precaution at odds with EU

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions
expressed are their own)

By Peter Thal Larsen and George Hay

HONG KONG/LONDON, May 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Britain’s
principled approach to banks’ holdings of sovereign debt could
have a perverse outcome. The watchdog has taken the sensible
step of demanding that lenders expect big losses if government
bonds default. That helps fix one of the biggest flaws in
measuring bank capital. But pan-European rules mean that risky
euro zone debt is excluded from the precautions.

May 8, 2013

Sainsbury’s slow approach to banking makes sense

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
has taken another baby step towards becoming a real bank. The UK
supermarket chain confirmed on May 8 that it would buy out
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) from their 50:50 joint venture,
but continued to shy away from offering the main products that
banks offer – current accounts and mortgages. The apparent
timidity could be a holding strategy.

May 3, 2013
via Breakingviews

RBS needs to make the case for freedom

Photo

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

Royal Bank of Scotland needs to make the case for its freedom. The UK bank’s management is now publicly stating that the process to sell down the UK government’s 81 percent stake will begin in under a year. But a quick sale looks as double-edged as RBS’s own current performance.

    • 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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