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Feb 19, 2013

Breakingviews-RBS share giveaway: a shareholder writes

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The UK government
is toying with the idea of giving away its RBS shares (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) to
the public. It should consider the law of unintended
consequences. A putative investor sets out what could go wrong
in this unhappy letter to the bank’s chairman, after throwing in
the towel in 2015.

Feb 19, 2013

Bank firewalls: a guide for the perplexed

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

By George Hay and Antony Currie

LONDON/NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Regulators
in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States all agree on
the need to protect their lenders from the casino-like antics of
investment bankers. That’s no great surprise: who wouldn’t want
to shield regular customers from the billions of pounds of
losses caused by rogue traders like Kweku Adoboli of UBS
(UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research)? But beyond this shared objective, there’s little
agreement.

Feb 13, 2013
via Breakingviews

SocGen short of options to solve biggest problem

Photo

By George Hay

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

Societe Generale looks short of options to solve its biggest problem: it doesn’t make enough money. Full-year results on Feb. 13 indicate that the French bank is improving its capital position, and the threats from strict government regulation have receded. But even after the bank restructures its business, it will take time before it solves its fundamental problem – poor return on equity.

Feb 12, 2013
via Breakingviews

Barclays takes first step to a re-rating

Photo

By George Hay and Dominic Elliott

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

Barclays has taken the first step towards a re-rating of its persistently underperforming shares. New Chief Executive Antony Jenkins set out on Tuesday how the UK bank would move on from the disastrous era of his predecessor Bob Diamond, which left Barclays as the biggest loser from the Libor-fixing scandal. He’s on the right track – assuming he can carry his employees with him.

Feb 6, 2013
via Breakingviews

RBS moves away from Libor danger zone

Photo

By George Hay

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

Royal Bank of Scotland is inching away from the Libor danger zone. The UK bank has been fined 390 million pounds for its role in fixing the interbank rate, higher than Barclays’ 290 million pounds but much less than UBS’s 1 billion pounds. It’s a big deal, but less serious than it could have been.

Jan 29, 2013

RBS shares bake in Libor’s known unknowns

(Adds details on share move in paragraphs 1, 4)

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) shares look to be baking in Libor’s known
unknowns. The UK bank fell 6 percent on Jan. 29 amid fears it
may be found criminally liable for fixing the London interbank
offered rate. The movement – 2.5 billion pounds off RBS’s market
value – strikes a reasonable balance between the likely and
relatively manageable outcome, and the small risk of a really
painful one.

Jan 24, 2013

ICAP’s Libor woe comes at awkward time for broking

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – ICAP’s Libor woe
comes at an awkward time for the broking industry. The
London-based inter-dealer broker is being investigated by the
Financial Services Authority for possible breaches related to
the fixing of interbank interest rates. Amid trading conditions
described in September by ICAP Chief Executive Michael Spencer
as the toughest in his 36-year City career, it adds a decidedly
unhelpful layer of uncertainty to an already troubling picture.

Jan 24, 2013

Dutch headed for good old, 2008-style bank bailout

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – SNS Reaal’s (SR.AS: Quote, Profile, Research)
difficulties show that bank rescues are still stuck in 2008. The
Dutch bancassurer is running out of options to address big
losses on its commercial property exposures. The government has
a chance to test a new law that gives it wide intervention
powers . But even with these, the Dutch taxpayer may have to
contribute – again.

Jan 18, 2013

Breakingviews:Lloyds should change CEO bonus vesting, not size

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – A storm is brewing
over at Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) over Antonio
Horta-Osorio’s bonus. Like peers, Lloyds was shamed in 2012 for
past mis-selling of mortgage insurance. Yet there was progress
in restructuring and its chief executive deserves recognition.
The question for UK Financial Investments, which manages the
government’s 40 percent stake, is how it can advocate the award
to its political masters.

Jan 16, 2013

Mervyn King exit may detoxify BoE/bank relations

(Corrects date in final paragraph)

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Mervyn King’s
departure from the Bank of England could well detoxify relations
between the UK central bank and its domestic lenders. The
financial sector and its regulators shouldn’t be best buddies.
But bankers whisper that the outgoing governor’s tough
regulatory stance, seen once again in front of UK lawmakers on
Jan. 15, partly reflects his own previous mistakes.

    • 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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