U.S. Editor, Commentary
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Dec 12, 2012

Too big to fail looks on its way to being licked

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

By Rob Cox

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Has the too big to
fail problem been licked? The Bank of England and Federal
Deposit Insurance Corp sound pretty confident, declaring this
week they’re nearly in a position to resolve a systemic failure
without inflicting losses on taxpayers. It’s hard to know
without a test case. But the signal from capital markets
suggests watchdogs may be on to something.

Dec 7, 2012

Uncertain SEC leadership heralds 2013 dysfunction

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

By Rob Cox and Daniel Indiviglio

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Gridlock isn’t
just a problem in the U.S. Congress. It may also freeze up the
Securities and Exchange Commission. By elevating one of five
commissioners to replace departing Chairman Mary Schapiro,
without naming a replacement, President Barack Obama has put the
Wall Street watchdog in a bind. Political expediency may present
substantial risks for investor protection.

Dec 6, 2012
via Breakingviews

HP breakup is on tech world’s 2013 agenda

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By Rob Cox and Robert Cyran

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

David Packard and William Hewlett may be Silicon Valley’s answer to Romulus and Remus in Rome’s founding story, but the era of their brainchild, Hewlett-Packard, as an everything-to-everyone conglomerate is coming to an end. Chief Executive Meg Whitman and HP’s board, not to mention investors, won’t stick around for an arduous and risky five-year turnaround project. Breaking the company into good bits and selling bad ones must be on the agenda for 2013.

Nov 26, 2012
via Breakingviews

Obituary: Ewing was archetype of Reagan-era excess

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By Rob Cox and Christopher Swann
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

(Parts of the following obituary were first erroneously published on March 21, 1980).

Nov 20, 2012
via Breakingviews

HP’s Autonomess should devour Marc Andreessen, too

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

The blame game is in full swing at Hewlett-Packard over the wayward technology conglomerate’s $8.8 billion write-down of Autonomy. The company pins the fiasco on the British software company for inflating its books. Chief Executive Meg Whitman also faults herself, her predecessor and a departed chief of strategy. Fingers are being pointed at Autonomy’s auditors while investment bankers on both sides of the 2011 deal are no doubt furiously huddling with legal counsel. Yet there’s at least one more name to add to the recrimination list: HP director Marc Andreessen.

Nov 12, 2012
via Breakingviews

Inequality hits home for Wall Street middle class

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

Income inequality isn’t just a rallying cry for the poor. It’s even hitting home in one of the traditional breeding grounds of the very rich: Wall Street. Tens of thousands of aspiring bankers and traders who flocked to securities firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley over the past decade are coming to realize that the big bonanzas they toiled toward may never come their way. Compensation is down – and will stay there – at the same time as their bosses aren’t going anywhere. Share a tear – if only just one – for the middle class of investment banking.

Nov 9, 2012

Not all internet investors are irrational fools

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

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Conventional
wisdom has long held that investors in online businesses behave
differently from the rest of the shareholding masses. They’re
more willing to look beyond traditional metrics, like
price-to-earnings ratios, for instance, or are more open to
betting on a founder’s “vision,” however grandiose. It’s
becoming increasingly evident, however, that investing in the
Internet no longer grants a free pass to behave stupidly. The
market reaction to Priceline’s (PCLN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) $1.8 bln deal to buy
rival travel website Kayak Software (KYAK.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is a case in point.

Oct 29, 2012
via Breakingviews

Frankenstorm is salient risk management reminder

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By Rob Cox

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

The Frankenstorm battering the east coast of the United States provides a salient lesson in the virtues of risk management. When it comes to natural disasters, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. The same is true in business, particularly banking: calamities often strike without warning – and there’s no such thing as too much capital.

Oct 26, 2012
via Breakingviews

Pandit putsch is setback for U.S. board governance

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

Separating the roles of chairmen and chief executives is good governance, as a rule. That’s why the practice is standard in the UK and has been gaining ground in the United States. But the logic is undermined by recent events at Citigroup. Chairman Mike O’Neill’s ouster of Vikram Pandit as chief executive last week is looking increasingly like a power-grab rather than a service to shareholders.

Oct 25, 2012
via Breakingviews

To fix U.S. finances requires compromiser-in-chief

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By Rob Cox and Daniel Indiviglio
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Who is best suited to be the next compromiser-in-chief? That may be the most important question American voters will have to answer when they head to the polls to elect a new president on Nov. 6. A sweeping, bipartisan agreement to reform the tax code, cut spending and ensure the safety of entitlement programs is an essential precondition for stabilizing the country’s finances and getting the economy back on track.

    • About Rob

      "Rob Cox helped establish Breakingviews in 2000 in London. From 2004 he spearheaded the firm's expansion in the United States and edited its American edition, including the daily Breakingviews columns in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Rob has worked as a financial journalist in London, Milan, New York, Washington, Chicago and Tokyo. Rob graduated from Columbia University’s Journalism School and the University of Vermont. Follow Rob on Twitter @rob1cox"
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