Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the Obama administration’s plans to bring terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States — countering critics who questioned whether it would create security risks.
“There’s no question in my mind that those detainees who would be moved to the United States would be held in such a fashion that they would not be any threat to public safety, and I say that as a former prosecutor,” Napolitano said in an interview during the Reuters Washington Summit. She served as a U.S. attorney in Arizona during the Clinton administration.
President Barack Obama has pledged to close the controversial prison by Jan. 22, 2010, including bringing some of the terrorism suspects to U.S. soil for trial in military commissions or U.S. criminal courts. There have been questions and doubts about whether his goal can be achieved because of political, legal and logistical complications.
Napolitano held out hope that the administration could meet the fast-approaching deadline: “I would hope so.” She declined to comment on the likely location of where the detainees could be held in the United States.
A war of words over U.S. policy on Afghanistan is heating up between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill as they await President Barack Obama’s new strategy.
It’s hard to imagine that a banker who represents multimillionaires would be anything but professional – but a top executive at a leading global bank thinks that’s precisely the wealth management industry’s problem.
“There is so much mediocrity in the industry we have to raise the bar here,” said Gerard Aquilina, vice chairman of Barclays Wealth, at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Geneva.
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
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?
Top private bankers are no different from the rest of us when it comes to looking after their money.
Some, such as Citigroup’s head of investments in Asia and ex-Lehman banker Debashish Dutta Gupta sold everything when his former employer went bust. Others held on and took the paper losses, before increasing their fixed income exposure and slowly edging back into equities this year.
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It’s simpler, more elegant . . . or just smaller.
“It’s an awkward position you’re in when you’re dealing with high net worth individuals and families because even if you have a pretty nice lifestyle at home you go on a trip and visit three or four clients and you come home at the end of the day and say, ‘Wow, how do I suffer through this five bedroom house and four bathrooms, and woe is me,’” BNY Mellon Wealth Management Managing Director of Family Wealth Services Thomas Rogerson told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston.
It is a little known fact that private bank Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank is also active in the bars and restaurants business.
In its ‘Nonolet’ bars – a play on the Latin saying pecunia non olet (money doesn’t stink) – in St. Gallen and in Geneva, hedge fund managers and other financial professionals rub shoulders with other locals in the early evening over sparkling wine or champagne and snacks.