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April 2012

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  • "We’re still trying to come up with a new slogan to replace ‘the world’s local bank’. My favourite so far is ‘we’re all over the place’"
  • Asian equity issuance markets reviving; Passive global coordinator revealed
  • UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti has taken a giant step back in the latest attempt to revive the ailing firm by hiring his former Merrill Lynch colleague Andrea Orcel as co-head of investment banking.
  • Persuading any issuer to break the impasse is proving remarkably difficult for Asia’s ECM houses
  • Regulators shorten capital ratio timeline; Investors bemoan lack of transparency
  • Streamlines derivatives processing; MarkitServ launches competing product
  • As Greg Smith snags a $1.5 million advance for the rights to his memoirs, Euromoney columnist Jon Macaskill imagines what the former equity derivative specialist might reveal about his career at Goldman Sachs.
  • Market doubles so far this year; Investors more resilient to risk-off sentiment
  • Reforms to the region’s stock exchanges offer a chance for markets to bounce back. But they have a history of disappointing investors.
  • Regular readers of Front End will know that here at Euromoney we appreciate the occasional sweet treat (see Euromoney, July 2011). So many thanks to the corp comms team at UBS for the delivery of some tasty, if gaudy, cupcakes to coincide with the launch of a new twitter feed from its Emea business.
  • EuromoneyFXNews’ inaugural e-trading survey reveals that buy-side clients expect the move from voice trading to electronic trading to build momentum, with single-dealer platforms gaining favour as application programming interfaces stall.
  • "There’s an intuitive grocer-shop mentality towards bookrunners – ‘three or four for the price of one’ – but when it comes to actually managing the deal you can only have two or three. Otherwise there’s chaos and no responsibility"
  • As alternative managers struggle to make absolute returns in difficult markets, they’re trying to get their investors to judge them on relative performance measures. It’s a fundamental change for the industry, but can it halt an expected flood of redemptions?
  • According to Future Analyzer , the Dharmik market website, there are astrological features between planets that have a strong influence over people, over the economy and over financial markets. And the specialist term for this is ‘important aspects’.
  • The sun shone on the Hong Kong Sevens this year. Brilliant blue skies, plus a gentle breeze, created the perfect backdrop to a fantastic tournament of Sevens rugby. It was capped by a thrilling final, in which Fiji beat New Zealand by 35 points to 28 – described by one legend of the game to Euromoney as "the best 20 minutes of rugby in any format that I have ever seen". Of course, the Sevens was not all about the rugby. Banks were out in force in their myriad boxes. Many of their occupants were on fine form. One Asian bank chief memorably described a member of the victorious England women’s rugby team as "having a head like a Rottweiler’s arse".
  • QNB became the Middle East’s biggest bank last year and is now stepping up acquisitions abroad. Can it follow Qatar’s corporate champions and transform into an emerging market-focused bank worthy of the state’s newfound financial power?
  • Jonathan Moulds’ departure from BAML at the end of the second quarter has been rather overshadowed by the decision of his colleague, Andrea Orcel, to jump ship to UBS at the same time.
  • Qatar Petroleum’s finance unit, which plays a key role in overseeing debt raised by the Qatari state, says it is not concerned about overleveraging. But as Qatar embarks on investment in infrastructure and industry, its work is more important than ever.
  • The agency has hit the headlines with its aggressive ratings actions against western sovereign credits. But those decisions, like the man behind the agency, do not hold up against the simplest scrutiny.
  • GDP growth in the Philippines almost halved last year, with natural disasters hitting exports and domestic agricultural output. But the government and central bank remain optimistic. The service sector is robust and the promise of new lucrative private-public partnerships means investors are primed to spend.
  • As relations with China improve, Taiwanese banks are eyeing opportunities on the mainland as they struggle with a saturated home market. Will cross-strait accords be the trigger for growth that Taiwan’s banks desperately need?
  • EU leaders have been very good at identifying key infrastructure projects across the region, but less good at coming up with cost-effective ways to fund them. Faced with an unrecognizable bank lending market and the collapse of the monoline guarantors, a structure whereby the debt capital markets can be persuaded to fund these projects is needed more urgently than ever.
  • Outstanding bank lending to local government financing vehicles have reached an estimated $1.7 trillion – with up to 40% of the loans at high risk of default. So what’s a panicking Beijing to do? Force the market to pay for the state’s mistakes, of course…
  • Conditions haven’t looked this good for M&A since before the 2008 crash. Yet volumes remain stubbornly low. Perhaps corporate executives are still shell-shocked and need prolonged stability – rather than a one-quarter stock market rally – to spur them into action. Deal makers hope the good times are just around the corner.
  • Structural reforms needed to reach potential; Colombia example of growth by fiscal reform
  • In a recent speech, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a paean to 21st-century central banking. But investors confronted by extreme and unorthodox policy with uncertain outcomes are returning to their own version of the gold standard.
  • Cleantech offers limited scope for investors; Resource-efficient conventional companies top performers
  • Goldman Sachs has a problem but so does Bank of America. In late March, the chairman of banking and markets, Andrea Orcel, departed abruptly to take up a post as co-head of UBS’s investment bank. Commentators were surprised. Orcel had been at Merrill Lynch for two decades. Hailed as one of the top rainmakers of his generation, he had recently concluded the important UniCredit rights issue, on which Merrill acted as the global coordinator.