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Nov 12, 2012
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Oct 16, 2012

Citi’s CEO Pandit exits abruptly after board clash

By Carrick Mollenkamp and Jed Horowitz and Rob Cox

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc’s Vikram Pandit quit as chief executive on Tuesday after months of simmering tensions with the board – an abrupt change that surprised investors and employees of the third-largest U.S. bank.

The bank’s board of directors named Michael Corbat as Citigroup’s new CEO. Pandit told Reuters the decision to leave was his own and that he had been contemplating the move for some time.

Oct 16, 2012
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Pandit succumbs to “three strikes you’re out” rule

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

Vikram Pandit succumbed to the most basic rule of thumb: three strikes and you’re out. A trio of Citigroup misfortunes, not all of the chief executive’s making – the bank’s dividend policy, his own compensation and the sale of Smith Barney – eroded the confidence of shareholders, regulators and the board. And they couldn’t have been much fun for Pandit to endure, especially after successfully navigating Citi to stability.

Oct 2, 2012
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Forming ECON Team 4 is next president’s top task

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

Mitt Romney says the first day of his presidency would be exceptionally busy. The former Massachusetts governor has promised to overturn two of his predecessor’s landmark legislative achievements, the Affordable Healthcare Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill; he would approve the Keystone energy pipeline from Canada, introduce sweeping tax cuts and brand China a currency manipulator.

Oct 1, 2012
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Vietnam is a bad example to newly emerging markets

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By Rob Cox

This column appears in the Oct. 1 edition of Newsweek magazine. The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Almost exactly two years ago this week, Christine Gregoire, the governor of the U.S. state of Washington, was in Vietnam handing out French fries made from potatoes grown in her state at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. Gregoire, accompanied by representatives of more than 50 companies from home, was in Vietnam trying to drum up business with America’s former military adversary. But the most important stop on Gregoire’s itinerary may have been a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new deepwater shipping terminal at Cai Mep.

Sep 30, 2012

Guitarist Jack White stalks off N.Y. concert stage after 45 minutes

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jack White didn’t quite repeat the rock star meltdown by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, but he did enrage fans by stalking off the stage just 45 minutes into his Saturday night concert at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall.

The critically acclaimed guitarist behind the White Stripes and The Raconteurs – and now touring behind his solo record “Blunderbuss” – pulled the plug after 12 songs lasting just 45 minutes.

    • 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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