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August 2009

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  • "You’re blue now, not green. Just remember that"
  • "We are the Betty Ford clinic for financial institutions"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Could the recent opening of Enron the play, to decent reviews, persuade some bright playwright to dramatize the financial crisis?
  • 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:
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Barclays has already this summer demonstrated the emotional detachment required to make the toughest business decisions by selling its beloved asset management arm.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Morgan Stanley has reported negative results for the past three quarters, but is still waving its chequebook around as it seeks to build up its trading businesses. First up is Jack DiMaio, who is joining the firm as its global head of interest rate, credit and currency trading. Further down the pecking order, the bank is believed to have lured Stuart Sopp from Citi Singapore to take up a senior spot-trading role in its Hong Kong office.
  • 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."
  • 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%.
  • Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income traders have not excelled and in 2009 the firm has failed to capitalize on opportunities in the flow businesses
  • A number of senior financiers made an enormous effort to join the party
  • The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street widens.
  • Some are wondering who might be in line to succeed present chief executive Mike Geoghegan should he move on in a few years
  • The past two turbulent years have also redefined the adjectives that are acceptable to describe a chief executive in the financial services industry
  • Corporate losses on foreign-currency hedging deals are resolvable but the road to agreement is difficult.
  • Increased government borrowing is an unsound way to stave off recession. It puts sustained economic growth in peril rather than promoting it.
  • First economic downturn in decade; Prime minister’s shock resignation
  • Savings banks expanded too fast and must merge to survive mounting bad debts; Keep an eye on Sabadell as a potential consolidator