December 2017

December 2017

Can von Koskull make Nordea more than the sum of its parts?

Nordea is the biggest and most-diversified Nordic bank and has attributes for which Nordic lenders are admired. CEO Casper von Koskull has focused on returns over growth, cheered on by chair Björn Wahlroos. Yet it remains among the region’s least-profitable banks.

The outlier in Brazil isn’t politics

While growth forecasts for Brazil for 2018 are turning optimistic, a few – a surprisingly small number in fact – are warning about a growing downside risk for next year: a negative hit from a persistent drought.

Top Stories

ESG: the stewardship revolution

ESG: the stewardship revolution

The 2017 US proxy voting season was historic: the world’s two largest asset managers backed shareholder resolutions on climate-risk disclosure. BlackRock and Vanguard, with $10 trillion in AuM between them, are becoming more transparent about their voting. They will play a crucial role in the future of ESG.

Foreign partners consider next steps for Chinese securities JVs

When it finally came, it took the market – and bankers who had been hoping for the news for many years – by surprise, but China’s decision to allow foreign partners in domestic securities joint ventures to take majority stakes raises as many questions as answers.

Comment

The battle for book-building 2.0

Investor Access, the electronic book-building initiative run by US-based fintech Ipreo, celebrated its first year of operation in early November with some healthy usage statistics.

CSR

Credit Suisse gives impact investing its Drew

Credit Suisse gives impact investing its Drew

Marisa Drew has gone from being one of Credit Suisse’s most senior investment bankers to overseeing the Swiss group’s new global impact finance and advisory division, reporting directly to group chief executive Tidjane Thiam. Clients are curious. Should competitors take note?

Private banking

Regulation

Asia Pacific

How Paytm went big on Indian demonetization

How Paytm went big on Indian demonetization

India’s biggest fintech has doubled its user base in a year and is on track to have 500 million customers by 2020. It is backed by Ant Financial and Softbank and spurred by state policy on financial inclusion. How far can Paytm go?

China: Runners and riders for the PBoC top slot

It’s all change in the world’s most powerful central banks: the Federal Reserve has a new chair coming; the Bank of Japan will need a new one from April; and, no less significant, China could announce the next head of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) any day.

Fintech

Fintech: Conventional investors tiptoe up to cryptocurrency

Fintech: Conventional investors tiptoe up to cryptocurrency

As retail and high net-worth investors embrace cryptocurrency, delta one synthetics allow institutionals to allocate to this new asset class, but sceptics say that cryptocurrency is an immature market. They warn that catastrophic losses in crypto could destabilize the regular equity, commodity, debt and currency markets.

Banking jumps to post blockchain

Tearing out the old plumbing of the global payments system and switching to distributed ledger is an enormous and potentially risky transition that could take a decade or more, but there may be an easier way to capture efficiency.

Columns

Housing dip could knock the Nordics

As European banks are recovering, Nordic banks are facing perhaps their biggest challenge since the 2008 crisis. Their time as the darlings of the sector may be over

Debate

Emerging Europe

Russian regulator backs new bailout regime

Russian regulator backs new bailout regime

A pair of multibillion-dollar bank bailouts in under a month has roiled Russia’s banking sector and raised questions about the regulator’s competence – Dmitry Tulin, the central bank’s new head of banking supervision, insists such criticism is misguided.

Latin America

Transaction services

GDPR threatening to catch third parties off guard

GDPR threatening to catch third parties off guard

It has been two years since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was announced, but there are still companies unaware of how wide-ranging the changes they need to make are and how little time they have left to make them.

Front End

IPO: Hong Kong literary book has many pages

The capital markets highlight of November in Asia was the Hong Kong IPO of Tencent spinoff China Literature, which raised HK$8.3 billion ($1.1 billion), was 600 times oversubscribed and shot up 70% on its first day of trading.

Asset allocation: Conviction confliction

As we drift towards the end of the year, conferences seem to be full of panels on asset allocation for the 12 months ahead: sometimes a bold investor will go so far as to say what they invest in themselves; sometimes that’s a surprise.