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Jan 26, 2012
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Commerzbank bonus case is echo of a greedier era

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By Margaret Doyle

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

The Commerzbank bonus trial is a throwback to a greedier era. Just as the furore over bankers’ pay reaches its annual climax, an English judge is set to hear 104 bankers’ claims that they are entitled to around 50 million euros of unpaid bonuses for 2008 – the same year their German employer lost over 6 billion euros. The case may smack of hubris. But even if the bankers win, new pay regulation makes future claims much harder.

Jan 25, 2012

Ireland needs euro help for its banks

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

By Margaret Doyle

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Ireland remains at
the top of the austerity class. The country so far has met its
debt, deficit and bank deleveraging targets. But the global
slowdown puts its plan in peril, and Dublin will struggle to
return to the market in 2013 as planned. It wants its partners’
help with 31 billion euros of promissory notes the government
gave to Anglo Irish Bank -– accounting for some 80 percent of
the total — and two smaller lenders. It’ll be hard to pull off.
But with Greece on the brink of default, Europe may want to
reward good behaviour.

Jan 13, 2012
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RBS has tough fight to put value in wholesale arm

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By Margaret Doyle

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

Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-owned UK lender, is cutting its investment bank, again, and is merging it with its international payments unit. The new division aims to make more than the 12 percent groupwide cost of capital. It must do at least that to have any value. But it is a big ask given regulatory and political headwinds.

Jan 3, 2012
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Investment banking dreams may die in 2012

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Will there be fewer investment banks at the end of 2012? Brutal market conditions forced almost all wholesale banks to cut costs and jobs in 2011. New regulations will force further shrinkage simply to generate acceptable returns. Unless the market picks up soon, smaller players may conclude they’re better off out of the game altogether.

Jan 3, 2012
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It’s back to the future for RBS’s investment bank

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

It’s back to the future for Royal Bank of Scotland’s investment bank. The UK government has said the state-backed bank should further shrink its wholesale arm and focus on serving UK companies. The outcome could be something resembling County NatWest, the UK progenitor of RBS’s current Global Banking & Markets (GBM) unit. But that could hardly be called a proper investment bank.

Jan 3, 2012

Breakingviews-It’s back to the future for RBS’s investment bank

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

By Margaret Doyle

LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters Breakingviews) – It’s back to the
future for Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) investment bank. The
UK government has said the state-backed bank should further
shrink its wholesale arm and focus on serving UK companies. The
outcome could be something resembling County NatWest, the UK
progenitor of RBS’s current Global Banking & Markets (GBM) unit.
But that could hardly be called a proper investment bank.

Dec 29, 2011
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SocGen’s wholesale arm gets new boss for new times

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Radical measures for tougher times. With its share price plumbing new depths, Societe Generale is moving chief financial officer Didier Valet to be head of its investment bank. The division is at the heart of the French lender’s struggle to meet new capital and funding rules. Outgoing CIB chief Michel Peretie did a good job restructuring the division he took over after the 2008 Kerviel debacle. But his remit had clearly been to grow the business and restore it to its former glory. Someone else will now prune it back.

Dec 16, 2011
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Did MF Global clients forget Lehman’s lessons?

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Have MF Global’s clients suffered an action replay of the collapse of Lehman Brothers? That’s the intriguing question posed by the broker’s demise, which has left executives facing accusations of misusing client funds. One theory is that MF Global was able to use a legal process called rehypothecation to use customers’ money to back its own trades.

Dec 13, 2011
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Anglo-Saxon law rare winner from euro crisis

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The euro zone crisis has European bankers scrambling for their Latin primers. Lex monetae – the legal principle that states can redenominate their currency without defaulting – could leave banks nursing large losses in a euro breakup. There is precious little lenders can do to limit risks on existing bonds and loans. But they are likely to favour foreign law for euro zone contracts in future.

Dec 7, 2011
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UK Investors’ bank bonus campaign needs teeth

By Margaret Doyle
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

UK investors have finally grown a backbone. Having suffered several years of collapsing share prices and dividends, the Association of British Insurers is demanding that banks cut high pay to ensure they earn the cost of equity. Though the proposals are sensible, the plea will be in vain unless investors are willing to vote against poor remuneration plans, or the directors responsible for them.

    • About Margaret

      "Margaret Doyle is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, based in London. She writes about investment banking. She has been a journalist for over 14 years. She has written for The Daily Telegraph and The Economist and presented various radio programmes for the BBC. She began her career as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. She has an economics degree from Trinity College, Dublin and an MBA from Harvard Business School, which she attended as a Fulbright scholar. She is a Conservative Member of Westminster City Council."
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