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Dec 13, 2013
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HK inside-trade payout more deterrent than portent

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A group of nearly 300 Hong Kong investors are about to share an early $3 million Christmas present. That’s the amount former Morgan Stanley banker Du Jun has been told to pay the unwitting victims of his insider trading in 2007. White collar criminals should beware, but investors shouldn’t expect a rush of future payments.

Dec 6, 2013
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Benefits of being “G-SIFI” seem to outweigh costs

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The benefits of being labeled “too big to fail” may just outweigh the costs. Since regulators first published their list of global systemically important financial institutions, or G-SIFIs, the banks concerned have boosted capital and tamped down balance sheets. But smaller lenders, particularly in Europe, have done the same without joining the club. And shareholders seem not to notice much of a difference.

Dec 5, 2013
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China anti-bitcoin ruling will shake believers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for China’s willingness to tolerate financial innovation. Regulators have barred the country’s banks from trading bitcoin, while denying the pseudo-money legal status and cracking down on anonymous users. Though China has stopped short of an outright ban, the move dashes hopes the country might allow start-up currencies to exist alongside the official renminbi.

Nov 18, 2013
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The ‘Abe put’ will keep Japanese equities buoyed

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Say sayonara to the “Bernanke put” and hello to Shinzo Abe’s alternative. While the Federal Reserve chairman developed a reputation for supporting the price of bonds, the Japanese prime minister’s reforms are designed to push up stock prices.

Nov 14, 2013
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QE’s surprising beneficiaries: taxpayers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Central bank money-printing has produced winners and losers. The biggest beneficiaries may be taxpayers. That’s the conclusion of the McKinsey Global Institute’s new study of who’s up and who’s down after five years of ultra-low interest rates. Though the exercise has its limitations, it’s a welcome antidote to the common idea that quantitative easing has only benefitted the rich.

Nov 11, 2013
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White male banker jabs at finance’s glass ceiling

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A white male banker is trying to tackle the finance industry’s glass ceiling. HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver has spent the past few years trying to cut costs and raise ethical standards. Now he wants the bank to change its culture in order to attract and retain more senior women. Though the insight is hardly new, it’s significant that a male CEO is publicly acknowledging the problem.

Nov 6, 2013
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U.S. investors’ love of tech defeats fear of China

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

For U.S. investors, love of technology has conquered a fear of China. Shareholders are snapping up shares of Chinese internet companies going public stateside. It’s a striking contrast with the recent past, when accounting scams and poor governance prompted many to shun mainland stocks.

Nov 1, 2013
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Sony stumble gives Loeb headache and opportunity

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sony may have given Dan Loeb a headache – and an opportunity. The Japanese group’s quarterly loss knocked almost 12 percent off its market value by midday on Nov. 1 and raised questions about the company’s revival. Poor results from Sony’s entertainment and electronics arms suggest there’s limited upside from the spinoff that activist investor Loeb proposed earlier this year. However, it may give him a chance to push for more radical restructuring.

Oct 25, 2013
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Carney shows touching faith in financial regulation

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Edward Hadas

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

Mark Carney has made a clean break with his predecessor. Thursday’s unabashedly pro-finance speech from the new governor of the UK central bank was quite different from anything that Mervyn King would have said. King thought larger banks inevitably brought moral hazard. Carney said “it is not for the Bank of England to decide how big the financial sector should be.”

Oct 25, 2013
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HK anti-foreigner property tax hits wrong target

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Hong Kong’s assault on foreign property speculators has hit the wrong target. It’s a year since the territory took aim at non-resident apartment buyers by forcing them to pay an extra 15 percent stamp duty. The drastic move has cooled demand for luxury flats and prompted investors from mainland China to look elsewhere. But the smaller flats that Hong Kong citizens care about most are still getting more expensive.

    • 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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