Euromoney’s round-up of recent coverage of industry trends, including regulation and capital-raising – the US M&A trail, leverage-ratio fight, tier 1 issuance and the banking union drive – and an investigation into illiquidity in the corporate bond market. We also explore trends in bank M&A in the Middle East, the competitive landscape for lenders in Saudi Arabia, recovering banks in the CEE – and China’s grey financial sector, among other things.
The recently discovered regulatory zeal for a focus on gross leverage ratios at banks, rather than capital assessed on risk-weighted assets, is creating a new set of problems for some of the biggest dealers. Barclays and Deutsche Bank in particular have been put on the back foot by the regulatory bait and switch, which comes at an awkward time – just as key engines of their profitability, such as rates trading, are sputtering.
The untimely death of an intern at Bank of America prompted a spate of headlines about the long hours worked in the City of London and Wall Street. Forcing junior staff to put in exceptionally long hours is clearly counterproductive in any sector of banking, as it is in other industries. But the practice reaches a peak of pointlessness in corporate finance, where the Bank of America intern worked. Pure corporate finance, such as mergers and acquisitions or advisory work, is the area in the City where the greatest nominal effort is applied to the least practical effect.
"I had a discussion with a very senior regulator recently who told me: ‘Look, I know we’ve gone too far too fast on some of this and that we’ve made some errors, but I’m afraid I don’t know how to stop this process’. Now that’s quite scary."
Dealers at the world’s biggest trading firms say the bond market correction in June, where big orders even in government bonds moved markets dramatically, demonstrated how dramatically liquidity has drained from the bond markets.
Liquidity in the world’s bond markets has reached crisis point. Investors can no longer rely on banks to provide a crucial intermediary function in secondary markets. It’s now time that investors took responsibility and did something about the liquidity challenge themselves. Failure will be disastrous for global financial markets. Euromoney investigates.
The Chinese economy is growing ever more slowly – probably slipping even faster than officially admitted, and from a base whose size is possibly exaggerated too. In the midst of this, the orthodox banking sector is doing unorthodox things on a grand scale, while being undermined and bypassed by an even more unorthodox grey financial sector.