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Mar 18, 2013
via Breakingviews

Europe’s bank-run defences have limits

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By George Hay

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

Europe’s defences against bank runs have limits that may be about to be tested. The decision to force insured depositors to fund part of Cyprus’ bailout has sparked fears that their counterparts in Italy and Spain will try to head off hypothetical losses of their own by withdrawing their holdings. If they do so in bulk, the European Central Bank would struggle to hold the line.

Feb 21, 2013

Breakingviews-European insurer dividend angst looks overdone

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Feb 21(Reuters Breakingviews) – The angst that has
gathered around European insurers looks overdone. The shares of
UK insurer RSA (RSA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) tanked 14 percent on Feb. 20 after it cut
its dividend by a third. Then on Feb. 21, Allianz (ALVG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), AXA
(AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) and Swiss Re (SRENH.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) respectively held, slightly
increased and substantially increased their own payouts. The
latter trend is the one that matters.

Feb 19, 2013
via Breakingviews

RBS share giveaway: a shareholder writes

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

The UK government is toying with the idea of giving away its RBS shares 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.
To: Philip Hampton, RBS chairman
From: Ivor Duff-Holding
Sent: April 1, 2015

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

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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

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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

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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.

    • 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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