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August 2003

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  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • HBOS has become the first UK issuer to sell covered bonds in Europe, in a deal that looks set to create a new market. Will that promise be undone by regulators unsure of the law on risk weightings for such deals? Michael Evans reports
  • It has been a rough roller-coaster ride for the US treasuries market over the past three months, and there are sure to be financial institutions hurting as a result.
  • The UK's $3 billion, five-year US dollar Eurobond issue showed what European sovereigns can learn from the UK and vice-versa when it comes to foreign-currency borrowing.
  • In the awards for excellence in last month's Euromoney, we stated that Privredna Banka was the Croatian subsidiary of KBC. In fact Privredna is owned by Gruppo Intesa. Intesa owns in addition to Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ), Central-European International Bank (CIB) in Hungary and Vseobecna Uverova Banka (VUB) in Slovakia. Intesa has also opened a subsidiary in Moscow as part of its regional expansion.
  • Motoring broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson, who presented Euromoney's awards for excellence last month, kept things hustling along like a Mercedes-Benz S-600 on an autobahn.
  • It will go down as one of the most short-lived trading venues ever. It had been in development for months, and its owners claim to have spent $600,000 setting it up. Yet within 24 hours of becoming public knowledge it was killed off. Goodbye, and good riddance, to the Policy Analysis Market (PAM). The brainchild of the Defense Research Projects agency (Darpa), an arm of the US Department of Defense, it aimed to trade futures contracts to enable bets on certain events taking place in the Middle East. Examples included the assassination of Yasir Arafat and the overthrow of Jordan's monarchy. The website even floated the idea of a nuclear attack by that evil Middle Eastern power North Korea.
  • The UK's Inland Revenue has made what some view as an embarrassing climbdown on a tax change that could have forced leading private-equity players overseas.
  • In the high-profile world of satellite broadcast television, foreign ownership and control are usually contentious issues. In India, earlier this year, foreign satellite news broadcasters were given three months to meet a new rule that caps foreign equity investment at 26% for TV news channels that broadcast to the country from home turf.
  • Rupee currency options have started trading for the first time under new guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India. The move comes as part of a series of efforts to develop Indian derivatives markets.
  • Was it a disgruntled employee? A computer glitch? Or does have the inside track on the strategic thinking of Ken Lewis, chairman and CEO of Bank of America?
  • Trends in travel are pushing quality service and cost-efficient processes to the forefront.
  • You don't become chairman of Santander Central Hispano, Spain's largest bank, and the undisputed don of Spanish finance, if you're easily flustered. But Emilio Botín is something else. He was quizzed recently by Spanish journalists about how he felt about the 150-year jail sentence he's facing for alleged tax fraud. Serene, he told them.
  • It was billed as a love story. After a protracted period of will-they-won't-they, London Clearing House and Clearnet agreed to wed. But as with any powerful European marriage, the merger deal says a great deal about the proud parents - especially Euronext, which controls Clearnet. Has Euronext CEO Jean-François Théodore made himself the most influential man in European securities trading?
  • The US Supreme Court made a lot of headlines in its latest session, from affirming a right to gay sex to allowing affirmative action. But of much more importance for the world of international finance was an almost-unnoticed ruling handed down at the end of April that could change the way that bond contracts have to be written.
  • Issuer: ELoC 16
  • Emerging from bankruptcy protection, some of the biggest corporate failures ever have struggled through the net and are set to take centre stage again. With telecoms consolidation looming, bankers hope to earn big fees from them. But smaller, more prudent telecoms that avoided disaster may get lost in the wake.
  • Does the recent widening of government bond yields, especially in Japan, signal the bursting of the bond bubble? I think not. Both the equity and bond markets are bubbles and both will burst eventually. But equities are more likely to pop first.
  • The Siloviki Who are they? Putin's old friends from the intelligence services, now in the FSB, defence ministry and presidential security service. They oppose neo-liberal policies, and want a strong, protectionist, authoritarian state. The liberals label them anti-capitalist, anti-democratic ex-KGB stooges. The Siloviki see themselves as patriots.
  • Remember how the technology boom wasn't a bubble at all, because this time things were different? Bankers love telling people how certain events are unique and unprecedented. Most of the time, though, they're wrong.
  • Global head of foreign exchange research, JPMorgan Chase
  • Afer three years of speculation about his departure, Citigroup's CEO Sandy Weil has finally named a successor. But the story doesn't end there.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Issuer: Yell Group
  • Head of business development, MDM Financial
  • The Kremlin's sudden attack on oil company Yukos is a flashpoint in a war between two rival clans. One wants Russia to continue its integration into the global economy, the other doesn't. It is not certain which will win.
  • If you thought lawyers were shy and unassuming, happiest drafting opinions in some backroom, think again.
  • Attractive margins on new-issue business in the sterling corporate bonds sector are encouraging European and US banks to enter the market. But gaining and maintaining a foothold in this cliquish arena could prove costly