Banks must probe clients’ motives

By Hugo Dixon
February 11, 2013

Should an investment bank worry about a client’s motive when it engages in a complex and potentially suspicious transaction?

Mario Draghi’s poisoned banking chalice

By Hugo Dixon
February 4, 2013

When euro zone governments agreed last year to give the European Central Bank the power to supervise its banks, that looked like another victory for its president Mario Draghi. It is more like a poisoned chalice.

MPS saga not just a local affair

By Hugo Dixon
January 28, 2013

The Monte dei Paschi di Siena saga is not just an Italian affair. Revelations that complex financial transactions used by the country’s third largest bank had the effect of hiding losses are causing a political storm in Italy.

Dos and Don’ts of EU banking union

By Hugo Dixon
December 10, 2012

Conventional wisdom has it that the euro zone needs a banking union to solve its crisis. This is wrong. Not only are there alternatives to an integrated regulatory structure for the zone’s 6,000 banks; centralisation will undermine national sovereignty.

Euro zone doesn’t need Disziplin union

By Hugo Dixon
October 22, 2012

European leaders nudged forward plans for a fiscal union with discipline as its leitmotif at last week’s summit. But such a “Disziplin union” is neither desirable nor necessary. It may not even be politically feasible.

Banks should learn to say “Just Go”

By Hugo Dixon
September 24, 2012

Shortly after last year’s bonus round I was having lunch with the boss of an investment firm. He told me how he heard a handful of staff had been grumbling about what, by most people’s standards, were still extraordinary pay packages. He called them into his office and told them that, since they were unhappy, they should “Just Go”.

Can EU defend supranational interests?

By Hugo Dixon
September 17, 2012

European integration tends to advance first with squabbling then with fudge. Every country has its national interest to defend. Some politicians appreciate the need to create a strong bloc that can compete effectively with the United States, China and other powers. But that imperative typically plays second fiddle to more parochial concerns with the result that time is lost and suboptimal solutions are chosen.

How to clean the banking cesspit

By Hugo Dixon
August 6, 2012

Five years after the credit crunch erupted in August 2007, banking still looks like an industry running amok. Scandals keep tumbling out of the closet: an alleged ring of banks including Barclays that attempted to rig interest rates; money laundering by HSBC; insider tips passed by Nomura to its clients; and terrible risk management by JPMorgan, where traders have so far lost $5.8 billion.

Who will watch the Bank of England?

By Hugo Dixon
July 16, 2012

A year ago Rupert Murdoch was probably the most powerful unelected person operating in Britain. The media baron could seemingly choose prime ministers. Then came the phone hacking and police bribery scandal, after which politicians sought to distance themselves from him.

The perils of an indispensable boss

By Hugo Dixon
July 9, 2012

Was Bob Diamond really irreplaceable? Barclays’ board operated for 15 years on the assumption that he was. As a result, the UK bank’s chief executive became more powerful – and ever harder to replace. Now that he has been kicked out in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging scandal, Barclays is struggling to find new leadership.