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August 2003

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  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The performances that underlie this year's listing of the 250 biggest emerging market banks reflect regional differences as much as broad general features. ? Philip Guarco, Sam Theodore and Elisabeth Jackson Moore report.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Issuer: ELoC 16
  • 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
  • If you thought lawyers were shy and unassuming, happiest drafting opinions in some backroom, think again.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Trends in travel are pushing quality service and cost-efficient processes to the forefront.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • US investor demand for instruments that qualify for the new, lowered taxation rate on dividend income could provide major opportunities for foreign issuers of tier 1 capital instruments and possibly a wider universe of non-US capital raisers.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Shipping is returning to the capital markets, six years after many borrowers defaulted. But are the top investment banks, which have the most direct access to high-yield investors, necessarily best equipped to lead new issues?
  • 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.
  • With equity returns staying stubbornly low, pension funds have been forced to reconsider investing in property. What had become an unfashionable asset class in many major markets has turned out to be the best performer of the past decade.
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser when he was US president, spoke to Euromoney's Global Borrowers and Investors forum in June. In this edited version of his address, he analyzes the complexities of the Bush administration's fragmented foreign policy and the constraints on its freedom of action.
  • Focusing more than ever on profitablility, banks are making big changes in their businesses, not least in bringing debt and equity teams together. Antony Currie and Peter Koh report