By Jonathan Thatcher
SEOUL, May 28 (Reuters) – South Korea looks increasingly close to imposing some form of foreign exchange controls, albeit relatively moderate ones, to try to stop gyrations in the won and end the constant risk of sudden capital flight.
The issue has been on the boil for months, but the won’s dive this week on a mix of the euro zone tremors and North Korea’s war-like rhetoric, appears to be persuading policy makers they must do something, though the turbulence makes the timing tricky.
By Steve Slater and Alex Chambers
LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) – This week’s market jitters that banks were heading back to the darkest days of 2008 look overdone because lenders have vastly improved their assets and central banks stand ready with abundant funding.
Bank of Spain’s bailout of a small regional bank has brought back the spectre of another systemic crash after the demise of Lehman Brothers in 2008, this time on concerns about the financial sector in the euro-zone’s periphery.
By Don Durfee
HONG KONG, May 26 (Reuters) – Wavering political intent and possible changes at the helm of the securities regulator may dent Hong Kong’s recently won reputation as a tough enforcement regime and undermine its place as a prominent financial centre.
Once famous for its anything-goes approach to capitalism, Hong Kong’s sometimes unruly stock market has turned downright sober in the past two years under a crackdown on insider trading and other market misdeeds.
By Chris Vellacott and Lisa Jucca
ZURICH, May 26 (Reuters) – Rich bank customers are showing a growing interest in Anglo-Saxon trusts as a way to structure their wealth, but Swiss private banks are reluctant to up their offer as international pressure on tax disclosure builds.
Trusts, a legal concept born in 13th-century England to safeguard the assets of knights leaving for the Crusades, make up an estimated $5-trillion global market and are viewed by lawyers and accountants as a growth area for the heavily pressed Swiss offshore banking industry.
(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
By Jim Saft
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., May 25 (Reuters) – With tax credits for house buyers gone and tough new banking regulations on the way, expect lending in the United States to come under significant pressure.
Demand for mortgages, kept artificially high through the end of April by juicy credits for first-time and other buyers, has now crashed and, at least to judge by the fundamentals in the housing market, should stay low. Loans to consumers too will be getting, appropriately, more expensive, at least in part due to costs imposed by new financial regulations, which while if anything not tough enough from a prudential point of view will without doubt make banking less profitable.
LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate approved a reform of Wall Street on Thursday and President Barack Obama may be signing into law the most sweeping changes to financial rules since the 1930s as soon as next month.
It implements pledges the United States, the European Union and other leading countries in the Group of Twenty made in 2009.
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – Companies and investors can only guess whether dividend taxes for high-income Americans will skyrocket next year, a distinct possibility.
If the U.S. Congress fails to take action, taxes on dividends will more than double to about 40 percent next year for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples with annual incomes of more than $250,000.
By Karen Brettell
NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) – Legislation designed to create more independent credit ratings for risky assets may not result in more reliable indicators of an asset’s future performance and details on how the process would work are still unclear.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted in favor of a proposal by Democratic Senator Al Franken to create a clearinghouse that will be comprised in majority by investors including pension and other fund managers, who will be responsible for assigning a rating agency to rate complex products at their inception.
The U.S. Senate may call its financial regulatory overhaul a “Wall Street reform bill,” but corporate leaders from across U.S. industry are lining up to oppose one of its provisions, the Washington Post writes. The newspaper says chief executives are lobbying to kill a “proxy access” provision of the legislation that would make it easier for shareholders to nominate board directors at publicly traded companies, and thus exercise a tighter rein on management.
By Huw Jones
LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) – The new British government will make the Bank of England responsible for spotting asset bubbles as part of global efforts to learn from the financial crisis but the new set-up will still be overshadowed by EU centralisation.