Ana Botín’s whirlwind start
Between a rock star and a hard place
Before revelations about HSBC’s private bank, its chairman and CEO were seen as a winning combination. As the fallout becomes increasingly political, could their relationship be coming under threat?
Ana Botín has revamped the board of Santander, appointed a new management team and overseen a large and market-testing equity raise that reverses the capital-light policy of her father. Four months into the job, the new executive chairman now has the biggest challenge of all in her sights: achieving strong growth in a banking sector notable for its almost total absence
Malaysia’s quest to create a regional champion with a large Islamic bank came to an end when a plan for a three-way merger was scrapped. The country’s second-largest lender by assets is now retrenching to boost returns and eyeing strategic acquisitions.
Charles Dallara, the former Greek-debt negotiator on behalf of the private sector in 2012, calls for wide-ranging reforms in Athens’ bailout package and issues a stark warning to northern Europe, after a calamitous week of negotiations.
Everyone was a little nervous at the contents of the first inquiry into the nation’s financial services industry in over 25 years. It isn’t as traumatic as most feared, but it leaves some important issues unanswered.
Malaysia’s banking community prepares for the next chapter after an attempt to merge three banks ends in failure to complete the deal.
The World Bank reports that banks need profound reform; analysts catalogue a long list of problems; and the country’s new cabinet has been roundly rejected by most political parties. Can the new president juggle competing political factions and unblock the economic pipeline to bring badly needed growth quick enough?
BAML builds up; all eyes on UBS; changing dynamics prove alluring.
Haitong adds to trend with BESI deal; further opportunistic moves on way.
Pioneering WeBank launches; China set to lead industry.
Politicians urge ‘Hungarian’ solution; Polish, Croatian banks in firing line.
Basel III law opens up funding; investors bring $1 billion book.
It’s not enough simply to invest in technology infrastructure to bring down costs. Banks need to use digital products and services to reconnect with their customers.
Regulation now utterly dominates the banking industry and will have an even bigger impact in 2015, not just on bank capital and returns but on the entire legal structure of the industry.
Goldman invests in big data analytics platform;
Deutsche makes key hires in analytics and data.
Innovation is held back by the gap between the old financial system, investing and lending primarily against hard assets, and the new knowledge economy that depends on intangible assets. A new type of bank could benefit SMEs seeking to develop innovative products. It could also give investors the chance to redeploy speculative capital more productively. But who is the driving force behind Snowflake?
Hungary’s government commits to reduce bank taxes, while a proposed stake in Erste Bank shows ‘we’re all in the same boat’, says the minister behind the plan.
Julius Baer fares worse than UBS and CS; small private banks’ M&A escape hampered.
Is Deutsche Bank contemplating a secret Götterdämmerung trade that would hive off sections of its investment bank and offer senior executives an escape route?
Nothing appears more contrarian than going long the Russian rouble and short the Swiss franc. But investing in Greek banks may be up there too.
Standard Chartered’s PR machine does not seem to be helping turn the bank’s story around at a critical time for CEO Peter Sands.
Buys trading portfolios from Credit Suisse, Deutsche; integration of commodities and banking paying off.
How did the relationship of the Swiss franc and the euro turn out to be purely platonic? Conscious uncoupling was perhaps inevitable.
Central bank targets dollarized liabilities; banks will need higher reserves for dollars.
Exchange rate regime set to run into mid-2016; CNB ready to act to prevent market shock.
Banks need new sources of revenue or will remain chained to the wheel of endless cost cutting as they face continuing uncertainty about how to best allocate their capital.
The uncertainty for investors over bank litigation extends beyond hits to bank profits and so, potentially, their ability to pay dividends and service coupons on capital instruments and debt.
If systemic risk in the banking system really has been reduced as much as chief executives say, why are regulators set to have an even greater impact in 2015?
The shock decision by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to discontinue its euro peg and impose a 0.75% rate on sight deposit accounts will inevitably wreak havoc on Swiss banks’ earnings, say analysts, citing the rising CHF-denominated cost base of global investment banks, which derive the bulk of their income in USD and EUR.
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