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Feb 27, 2015
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Review: Building HSBC’s sprawling, flawed empire

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

On March 3 it will be exactly 150 years since the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation opened for business. Normally such a milestone would prompt celebration: after all, the bank founded by colonial merchants now ranks among the world’s largest financial institutions. However, any merriment is likely to be mute. For HSBC the birthday brings challenges as great as any it has ever faced.

Feb 27, 2015
via Breakingviews

Review: Building HSBC’s sprawling, flawed empire

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

On March 3 it will be exactly 150 years since the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation opened for business. Normally such a milestone would prompt celebration: after all, the bank founded by colonial merchants now ranks among the world’s largest financial institutions. However, any merriment is likely to be mute. For HSBC the birthday brings challenges as great as any it has ever faced.

Feb 26, 2015
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StanChart board clearout is only the first step

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

An “orderly succession plan balancing stability with fresh perspective.” That’s how Standard Chartered described the boardroom clearout which led to the departure of Chief Executive Peter Sands, its Asia head, its chairman and three non-executive directors. Others might have used a more violent expression. For anxious investors, regulators and employees the arrival of Bill Winters as CEO is welcome. But the ex-JPMorgan executive will face an overflowing inbox when he takes charge in June.

Feb 26, 2015
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Australia’s property market joins closed-door club

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Australia is rolling up its welcome mat for foreign property investors. Faced with soaring house prices and worries about hordes of buyers from China, the government is imposing fees on purchasers from overseas while tightening up existing rules. It’s another case of a red-hot real estate market trying to close the door on Chinese cash.

Feb 23, 2015
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HSBC’s operating woes trump Swiss tax furore

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

HSBC’s financial woes trump its Swiss tax headache. Revelations about the global bank’s past fiscal fiddles – and Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver’s offshore accounts – have brought new scrutiny and raised the bar for future conduct. Investors care more about whether HSBC will be able to reach its newly reduced financial targets. These still look some way off.

Feb 18, 2015
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Japan Post pays $5.1bln for global expansion stamp

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Japan Post is paying a hefty price to stamp “global expansion” on its roadshow presentation. The state-owned giant’s cash offer for Australia’s Toll Holdings values the logistics group at $5.1 billion. Adding an international arm will help spruce up Japan Post’s upcoming initial public offering – and fuel further deal-making.

Feb 5, 2015
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World’s swelling debt calls for radical surgery

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for deleveraging. Despite near-universal promises to reduce borrowing, global debt has escalated since the financial crisis. Governments, households, companies and banks owe $53 trillion more than they did at the end of 2007, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute. The swelling demands more radical surgery.

Feb 5, 2015
via Breakingviews

World’s swelling debt calls for radical surgery

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for deleveraging. Despite near-universal promises to reduce borrowing, global debt has escalated since the financial crisis. Governments, households, companies and banks owe $53 trillion more than they did at the end of 2007, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute. The swelling demands more radical surgery.

Jan 19, 2015
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Credit crackdown exposes flimsiness of China rally

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Regulators are withdrawing some of the air from China’s stock market bubble. A two-pronged crackdown on margin trading and shadow finance has temporarily reversed the near-vertical rise in mainland stocks. It’s a reminder of how much the recent mania depends on borrowed money.

Jan 8, 2015
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StanChart equities closure is overdue but welcome

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

For most investment banks, underwriting and broking equities is a poor business. Revenue rarely exceeds the costs of providing the service. Yet most institutions insist the business is essential. Standard Chartered just became a rare but welcome exception.

    • About Peter

      "Peter is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He oversees coverage of financial services and regulation. Prior to joining Reuters, Peter spent 10 years at the Financial Times. From 2004 to 2009 he was the FT’s banking editor, leading the paper’s award-winning coverage of global banking during the credit crunch. Between 2000 and 2004 Peter reported for the FT from New York. He played a leading role in the paper’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. A Dutch national, Peter has degrees from Bristol University and the London School of Economics."
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