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Mar 14, 2012
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Goldman’s omerta loses force – along with brand

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

Greg Smith’s biggest impact on Goldman Sachs may have been the manner in which he departed. On Wednesday, the equity derivatives banker kissed goodbye to his employer of a dozen years with a resignation letter, published in the New York Times op-ed pages, in which he accused Goldman of putting its interests ahead of those of clients, who he said are regularly described as “muppets.”

Though Smith’s complaints may be familiar, they tend to be aired in private. The worry for Goldman is that some employees are no longer scared of criticising the firm, nor take much pride in its pedigree.

Mar 9, 2012
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Review: Bank of England exposed, but not decoded

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

At some point in the next few months, the UK government is expected to publish an advertisement inviting applications for the position of Governor of the Bank of England. Though the job will not become vacant until the incumbent, Mervyn King, steps down in June 2013, his successor is expected to be named before the end of this year.

Mar 8, 2012
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Investment bankers complete Deutsche Bank takeover

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Investment bankers have finally completed their takeover of Deutsche Bank. The German group’s latest reshuffle has vaulted executives from its corporate and investment banking division into senior positions. That’s partly new co-CEO Anshu Jain picking his own team. But it’s also confirmation that, despite post-crisis reforms, trading and risk management nous are still essential.

Mar 5, 2012
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ECB handout carries risks of renewed bank backlash

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Banks should be wary of Mario Draghi’s gifts. The president of the European Central Bank has averted economic disaster in the euro zone and sparked a broad market rally by spraying financial institutions with 1 trillion euros of cheap money. But if the real economy does not share in the benefits, banks may face a renewed backlash.

Feb 29, 2012
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No winners from Barclays tax crackdown

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Barclays’ UK rehabilitation is proving a struggle. Just a few months after chief executive Bob Diamond set out the lender’s credentials for good corporate citizenship, it has been whacked for avoiding UK tax. The episode is another reminder that banks face higher levels of scrutiny. But the UK government’s willingness to jeopardise Britain’s predictable tax system is more worrying.

Feb 9, 2012
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Credit Suisse’s pain is clearer than its gain

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Credit Suisse is hurting. Cost cuts and balance-sheet shrinkage have combined with weak markets to drag the Swiss bank to its first quarterly loss since 2008. Chief Executive Brady Dougan thinks he can get ahead of the pack by restructuring now. But payback still depends on business picking up.

Jan 31, 2012
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Fred Goodwin’s title clawback sets bad precedent

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

It’s not just bankers’ bonuses that are subject to clawback. By stripping Fred Goodwin of his knighthood, the British government has elevated banker-bashing to a new level. But further humiliation for the already-disgraced former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive may stoke, not sate, anger against financiers. Besides, the move devalues one of the few non-financial rewards that might motivate future bank chiefs.

Jan 27, 2012
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De-globalisation of finance looks here to stay

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The global financial system is becoming more national. Three years after Western taxpayers were forced into a mass bailout of banks, Western lenders are in full retreat, encouraged by regulators and governments.

Jan 10, 2012
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Hildebrand shows stark exposure of central bankers

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

Philipp Hildebrand’s downfall is a warning to the world’s central bankers. The Swiss National Bank chief has been forced out after his wife engaged in ill-advised currency trades. In less turbulent times, he might have escaped with a slap on the wrist. But central bankers’ controversial policies have made them political targets.

Jan 6, 2012
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Currency deals put Swiss central bank on the spot

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

Philipp Hildebrand has a Julius Caesar-style problem. The Roman emperor wanted his spouse to be above suspicion. Following revelations about his wife’s currency trading, the chairman of the Swiss National Bank must wish he could say the same.

    • 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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