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Jul 12, 2012
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Europe’s bank recap strategy has reached its limit

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Europe’s bank recapitalisation strategy has reached its limits. The continent’s lenders have added 94 billion euros to their capital buffers since the end of September, comfortably exceeding demands set by the European Banking Authority. Yet they are not yet in the clear. To restore trust, banks will have to clean up their loan books – and hope the euro zone can solve its sovereign woes.

Jun 28, 2012
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Barclays’ board should replace Bob Diamond

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By Peter Thal Larsen
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Barclays’ chief executive has become a liability. A $450 million regulatory fine imposed after bank employees attempted to rig key interest rates has tarnished Bob Diamond’s track record. Added to previous controversies over tax and pay, it undermines his attempts to revamp the UK bank. Though Diamond has been an asset to Barclays for most of his 16-year career at the lender, the bank will find it hard to move on while he is in charge.

Jun 25, 2012
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The world’s central banks are running out of road

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

In the global economic crisis, central bankers are often portrayed as superheroes. Mario Draghi: the only man who can save the euro zone. Ben Bernanke: “please do more” for the U.S. economy. The Bank for International Settlements is unhappy with the image of omnipotence: its latest annual report laments that central bank money-printing and support for the financial sector are reaching their limits.

Jun 20, 2012
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State meddling won’t solve UK bubble-pricking bind

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

George Osborne is exerting his influence on the Bank of England. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer has decided that the central bank’s new Financial Policy Committee must support government policy. That raises questions about the FPC’s ability to bust financial bubbles. But it won’t change the committee’s current dilemma: how to combat excessive risk-aversion.

Jun 18, 2012
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BoE can’t blame Europe for its monetary U-turn

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Reality is catching up with Mervyn King once again. After months of resistance, the governor of the Bank of England has announced plans to channel subsidised loans to British borrowers and pump extra liquidity into banks. The overt justification for the U-turn is to pre-empt a storm from Europe. But King can’t lay all the blame on the euro zone: many of Britain’s woes are self-inflicted.

May 29, 2012
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Europe’s banks must stop making muppets of savers

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

European banks are treating their retail customers like muppets. Lenders in Spain and elsewhere have flogged increasing volumes of their own bonds to unsophisticated retail customers. Such investments look ill-advised, at the very least. It also complicates government efforts to impose pain on creditors, rather than taxpayers.

May 28, 2012
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Time for banks to gang up on rating agencies

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

It’s time for banks to knock ratings agencies off their pedestal. For all their well-documented flaws, credit ratings are still hard-wired into the financial system. An industry-wide downgrade by Moody’s may provide the catalyst to curb the agencies’ power.

May 3, 2012
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Mervyn King’s mini mea culpa is missed opportunity

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

“Don’t blame me, blame the banks.” That, in a nutshell, is Mervyn King’s assessment of Britain’s most severe recession for seventy years. The Bank of England governor admitted in his radio lecture to not shouting loudly enough about financial risks. Yet his retrospective largely ignored the many criticisms of central bank policy, after as well as before the crisis. That’s a missed opportunity.

May 2, 2012
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UBS offers glance at stabler, less exciting future

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Is UBS finally becoming boring? Following its 2008 near-death experience and last year’s rogue trading scandal, the Swiss bank has promised shareholders – and clients – a more predictable, less exciting future. Respectable first-quarter results allowed new chief executive Sergio Ermotti to offer a glimpse of what might be in prospect.

Apr 26, 2012
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Credit Suisse still shrinking its way to stability

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Credit Suisse is still shrinking. The Swiss bank returned to the black in the first quarter, even though revenue was well below the same period of 2011. Cost-cutting helped, and balance-sheet contraction boosted returns. But the bank has more to do to meet tough capital targets. Choppy markets won’t help.

    • 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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