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August 2009

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  • It’s not quite back to the good old days for interest rate derivatives, but banks have started to make money again. Total Derivatives and Euromoney polled the market to find out who is best. Mark Ramsden spoke to the professionals.
  • Could the recent opening of Enron the play, to decent reviews, persuade some bright playwright to dramatize the financial crisis?
  • Bernie Madoff has 150 years’ imprisonment lined up. However, despite having his freedom taken away, Madoff is keen to influence one last decision. It is up to the Bureau of Prisons to pick out an appropriate facility for the fraudster but Madoff has hired a prison consultant, Herb Hoelter, to help him find a suitable place.
  • "You’re blue now, not green. Just remember that"
  • In May the agency announced that its new super-cautious approach would result in the shock downgrade of nearly 90% of all outstanding triple-A CMBS in the US. But the problem with talking the talk is that you need to walk the walk
  • Euromoney’s annual survey invites investors to rate the quality of bank research on Middle Eastern equity and debt bearing in mind overall performance and accuracy. View the results now:
  • Recipients of the Cabinet email magazine, a weekly bulletin from the office of the Japanese prime minister, have long been used to the publication’s conversational, pared-down and occasionally even cryptic style, which has been suspiciously consistent despite the revolving-door policy operated in the office over the past two years. Yet the message dated July 23 that began with news of heavy rain in Yamaguchi prefecture found the magazine in unusually gloomy, introspective voice.
  • With the edge taken off over-exuberant growth in Middle East markets, good quality research is increasingly important. Individuals in both local and international firms are respected for providing this, the vital factor being that they are on the spot.
  • Barclays has already this summer demonstrated the emotional detachment required to make the toughest business decisions by selling its beloved asset management arm.
  • "We are the Betty Ford clinic for financial institutions"
  • Attempting to restructure a complex securitization can be a Sisyphean task. Many experts are reaching the conclusion that it might be simpler to push these deals into insolvency instead. Louise Bowman investigates.
  • Perhaps it’s not sufficiently dramatic for South Koreans to have the world’s craziest regime as their northern neighbour, with its twitchy nuclear finger. It seems they might need to be spooked some more – and what better bogeyman than the foreign-derived global financial crisis? Eric Ellis reports.
  • After the parting with Citi in 2003, Saudi Arabia’s Samba has thrived under the leadership of Eisa Al-Eisa, the recipient of Euromoney’s award for outstanding contribution to financial services in the Middle East. Sudip Roy reports.
  • The landscape of Latin American private banking has changed over the financial crisis but the region’s wealthy population remains optimistic. Opportunities abound for those that remain in the business. Helen Avery reports.
  • The head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, winner of Euromoney’s lifetime achievement award in Asia, talks to Lawrence White about his career and how regulators should respond to the crisis.
  • Priced to go, equity capital markets deals succeeded in the second quarter, recapitalizing banks and corporations alike to the tune of $274 billion. As risk appetite revives, the next step is IPOs. Financial sponsors won’t give them away. Peter Lee reports.
  • As banks boost their commodities businesses, better physical trading capacity is increasingly important. But developing physical trading capacity, and doing so in a wider range of commodities, is easier said than done. Dominic O’Neill reports.
  • For some it’s the reinvention of structured finance, for others it marks the return of the bad old days. Is the recent increase in the use of securitization as a risk-management tool shifting the log jam of credit portfolios on banks’ balance sheets? Alex Chambers finds out.
  • Privatization in Iran involves big transfers of stakes from one arm of the state to another, propping up the establishment and helping unbalance the economy.
  • The revival of developing world capital markets is encouraging but investors should exercise a little caution.
  • Government disputes with foreign companies stymie exploitation of rich natural resources.
  • The Venezuelan authorities plan to issue about $17.8 billion-worth of bonds in the second half of 2009, according to a report issued by Barclays Capital. The bonds will be split, with $8 billion issued in the external market and $9.8 billion sold domestically.
  • The Mexican peso has completed a year as a CLS-eligible currency. During June 2009, the peak month to date, the average daily volume of instructions settled in Mexican pesos was 2,468 with a US dollar equivalent value of $15 billion, compared with 1,389 worth $17 billion in June 2008 – volume growth of more than 77%.
  • Corporate losses on foreign-currency hedging deals are resolvable but the road to agreement is difficult.
  • Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income traders have not excelled and in 2009 the firm has failed to capitalize on opportunities in the flow businesses
  • Barclays Capital is planning a big push across all areas of investment banking in Latin America in the coming months, buoyed up by its acquisition of Lehman Brothers. "In the past we have been focused on the fixed-income business in the region but it has been challenging getting a substantial presence in Brazil. But now that should change dramatically," says Carlos Mauleon, head of Latin American debt capital markets and investment banking at Barclays Capital. "With the Lehman acquisition we have gained a whole new strategic angle with M&A and equity capabilities. This will help us leverage the corporate sector business significantly. That is our mission for the next year."
  • Although the bank is not commenting, it appears that Bank of America Merrill Lynch is making more changes to its FX business. The latest gossip is that it has hired Tom Gillie from Credit Suisse in Singapore, where he was head of FX options trading and structuring, Asia, for a senior role in options. The bank is also thought to have hired Chris Bae from Goldman Sachs in Asia, where he traded equity derivatives, for a role in FX.
  • A reversal of a change of strategy is likely to have a worse effect than if no change had been announced.
  • Jack Jeffery has left options specialist SuperDerivatives, where he was chief operating officer. Press reports have linked him with various jobs elsewhere – including bond platform MTS – although sources close to Jeffery say he has not decided anything yet. His departure is believed to have been extremely amicable and the same sources say that SuperDerivatives has asked him to retain a seat on its board.
  • Kai ‘Lucky’ Herbert, who left Bank of America in January 2008 to join Merrill Lynch, has decided to seek his fortune elsewhere. He is off to Zurich to trade emerging market currencies for UBS.