DealZone

from Summit Notebook:

Tax evaders on the run

  By Neil Chatterjee
    The U.S. has promised it will hunt down tax evaders.
    And it seems tax evaders are on the run.
    DBS bank, based in the growing offshore financial centre of
Singapore, told Reuters it had been approached by U.S. citizens
asking for its private banking services. But when told they would
have to sign U.S. tax declaration forms, the potential clients
disappeared.  
    Swiss banks also approached DBS on the hope they could
offload troublesome U.S. clients to a location that so far has
not been reached by the strong arms of Washington or Brussels.
    DBS said no thanks. In fact many private banks and boutique
advisors now seem to be avoiding U.S. clients.
    Will this spread to other nationalities, as governments
invest in tax spies and tax havens invest in white paint?
    Is this the end of offshore private private banking?

Capital markets make up for M&A

Its half-year review time in investment banking, when London’s top firms gather up their heavyweights and engage with the press.

Each year a different business line takes the spotlight. In the pre-crisis boom times of 2007, M&A bankers held centre stage. Everybody wanted to talk to them. They were the most popular kids in school.

This year it was the turn of capital markets bankers to shine.

As my colleagues Douwe Miedema and Jessica Hall wrote earlier, mammoth bond sales and massive rights issues kept investment banking revenue rolling in in the second quarter.

Investors long for UBS happy end

Die-hard UBS investors who have stayed with the bank through thick and thin are hoping new boss Oswald Gruebel (sitting) will return the Swiss icon to its former splendour thanks to a bitter medicine of thousands of new layoffs and heavy cost cuts announced on Wednesday.

But their patience is running out.

ubs“The only reason why we are still with UBS is because hope dies last. But if this carries on, we will not tolerate it anymore,” said Blandina Heyne, a UBS investor for seven years, as she and her husband came to attend the bank’s annual general meeting in Zurich.

Both clients and shareholders have turned their back to Switzerland’s largest bank after the crisis forced UBS to post the biggest loss in Swiss corporate history and shares plummeted to historic lows.

Dow Chemical: Official Rainmakers’ Punching Bag

Poor Dow Chemical.

Not only did the company end up having to buy Rohm and Haas at basically the same steep price it agreed to last year, but it has also become the favorite target of lawyers, bankers and maybe even judges at the Tulane Corporate Law Institute, an annual gathering of top dealmakers.

Timothy Ingrassia, head of Goldman Sachs mergers and acquisitions business in the Americas struck the first blow on Thursday morning.

 ”You’ve already had Dow Chemical’s unique interpretation of the merger agreement. There was never a transaction that made Apollo look better,” Ingrassia said, referring to private equity firm Apollo’s previous efforts to get out of an agreement to buy Huntsman Corp. 

Canary Wharf’s bankers don denim, brace for protests

A man sits and another stands by a sign in the Canary Wharf financial district of London

Some in Canary Wharf swapped their emblematic pin-striped suits for more casual gear on Thursday as London’s banking bastion braced for anti-capitalist protesters.

“We have advised staff to dress casually and security around Canary Wharf has been tightened significantly,” said Robert Whitton, chairman of Whitton Investments, an investment management firm based in the district.

The majority of G20 protests are expected to migrate from the City of London towards the summit epicentre at the nearby ExCel complex in the London Docklands on Thursday. Businesses on the nearby Canary Wharf estate, which houses banks such as HSBC, Citi, Barclays, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley in a cluster of London’s tallest buildings, are on high alert for trouble.

(Be)league(red) tables

Preliminary first-quarter data from Thomson Reuters on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital markets are out. And unsurprisingly, spring has not sprung in investment banking, with the big exception of a record deluge of corporate bonds.

Fees across investment banking (M&A, loans, and debt and equity capital markets) halved, while fees for completed M&A topped that with a 68 percent fall. Overall announced M&A fell by a third, compared to the same period last year, to $444 billion.

And even that figure is flattered by two huge pharma deals, which bankers doubt will be followed by more of the same, and a flurry of bank bailouts.

Sympathy for the devil’s banker

After a couple weeks of just trying to keep up with developments in the financial crisis, reporters and bloggers are taking halting steps toward describing the mythos of the investment banker.

It’s been a while since Tom Wolfe and Bret Easton Ellis popularized the bespoke-suited arrogance commonly associated with the financial world’s anointed — the easy millions, the casual disdain for the rubes and the marks in the lower classes and the single-minded pursuit of money. Depicting the carnivore in his or her habitat is beginning to come back into vogue as taxpayers who may soon be on the hook to bail out their social betters in the investment banking world wonder why they’re getting stuck with a bill they didn’t incur.

New York magazine ran a story called, “The Rage of the Previously Rich: A Lehman trader copes with the sudden onset of income shrinkage,” featuring this choice nugget: