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July 2006

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  • Can Bouton’s unique vision drive SG forward?
  • Can Bouton’s unique vision drive SG forward?
  • Daniel Bouton, chairman and CEO of Société Générale, discusses in detail his bank’s culture and strategy with Euromoney’s editor, Clive Horwood.
  • Daniel Bouton, chairman of Société Générale, plays the game by his own rules. He doesn’t believe that to be a successful investment bank you have to be a global player with a franchise in almost every market. He won’t be rushed into acquisitions. And he thinks that French banks have an exciting story to tell. Having put potential high-growth markets such as equity derivatives and emerging Europe at the heart of his bank’s engine room, is he about to turn the accepted wisdoms on their head? Clive Horwood reports, with research by Lawrence White.
  • What lessons did Stan O’Neal learn from the restructuring of Merrill Lynch at the turn of the decade? What are Merrill’s plans in mortgages, private equity and asset management? And what continues to drive Merrill’s CEO forward? O’Neal reveals all to Clive Horwood in his first in-depth interview since becoming the firm’s chairman and CEO.
  • Stan O’Neal’s story is unique in investment banking. Born in Roanake, Alabama (because his home town’s hospital refused to serve African Americans), raised in Wedowee (population 750), he was educated in a schoolhouse built by his grandfather, who was born a slave. O’Neal’s father moved his family from the cotton fields to Atlanta, where he worked on a General Motors assembly line. Stan O’Neal worked there as a teenager but GM spotted his strong intellect and sent him on a scholarship to the GM Institute, where he gained a degree in industrial administration. He then took an MBA in finance at Harvard, graduating in 1978.
  • When Stan O’Neal took over as president and CEO of Merrill Lynch in 2001, the thundering herd of the 1990s was clapped out. O’Neal imposed a ruthless cost-cutting strategy that saved the firm’s independence. Now his rebuilding plans are starting to bear fruit. Can Merrill heed the lessons of the past, but at the same time make it back to the pinnacle of investment banking? Clive Horwood reports.
  • A government committed to reforming Portugal’s public sector has also shown that it cares about capital markets. A recent 30-year bond issue signalled a new focus on developing the yield curve and a new covered bond law promises benefits for both issuers and investors.
  • The cost of raising tier 1 capital has increased on both sides of the Atlantic, but there might be light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify. Thoreau’s mantra is good advice for rating agencies when it comes to allocating equity credit.
  • Less liquidity in equity markets suggests that investment strategies harnessing volatility are appropriate.
  • Jürgen Stark has taken Otmar Issing’s seat but Issing’s old role has been split, reinforcing collegiality on the board.
  • Euromoney Awards for excellence 2006
  • Morgan Stanley has hired Gary Cottle as head of corporates in its European global capital markets business. He will be responsible for corporate debt and derivatives, enterprise risk management, liability management and transaction management. Cottle resigned in mid-March from Barclays Capital, where he was head of corporate risk advisory for the EMEA region. During his time at BarCap, Cottle built a well-regarded corporate and sovereign derivative franchise.
  • This year the annual UBS financial institutions’ summer conference was held in Valencia just as the football World Cup was starting.
  • UBS for being voted the best equity research house in Europe in the Thomson Extel Survey for the sixth year in a row. The Swiss bank also got the most votes from institutional investors and sell-side rivals for European equity trading and execution.
  • The primary equity market is the latest victim of the sustained falls in stock markets around the world, now into its second month.
  • In the June edition of Euromoney, our story ‘Spac probe hits wall of silence ’ contained a quote wrongly attributed to Floyd Wittlin of Bingham McCutchen. Our apologies to all concerned.
  • Hot on the heels of its highly successful $11 billion IPO in Hong Kong, mainland Chinese state-owned Bank of China is listing in Shanghai, raising an additional $2.5 billion.
  • Bradford & Bingley’s treasurer, Peter Green, and head of capital markets and securitization, Mark Winter, want to regain ownership from investment banks of their institution’s dialogue with investors. They are following a simple strategy of diversifying the investor base. Allied to a remarkable level of transparency during the printing of new issues, this is already reaping its rewards. Alex Chambers reports.
  • Is it time to reconsider the make-up of equity portfolios?
  • In an interesting reversal, Robert Palache is to join Morgan Stanley, the firm from which he poached a high-profile three-man CMBS team in 2003. At the time Palache was head of real estate, corporate securitization and infrastructure finance at Barclays Capital, and hired Lynn Gilbert, Christian Janssen and Natalie Howard from Morgan Stanley’s CMBS team to build up its CMBS Conduit, Eclipse. Now Palache, who walked out of BarCap in March this year, joins Morgan and reports to John Hyman and Ellen Brunsberg, the woman from whom he poached Gilbert and team in 2003. In his new role, Palache will focus on further developing the bank’s securitization origination business in Europe in areas such as infrastructure, whole business and new asset securitizations.
  • An e-mail has been circulating, purportedly detailing certain phrases unlikely ever to be heard in any sell-side FX trading room. In no particular order, they are:
  • The equity market’s violent reaction to seemingly innocuous data has puzzled many commentators. At first bond investors reacted much more calmly to inflation fears but subsequently they seem to have been infected by the equity investors’ pessimism.
  • Barclays Capital has expanded its electronic trading platform to offer secondary market liquidity in all the bank’s equity structured note offerings.
  • After an adverse court judgement, any attempt to revive the SEC’s 2005 ruling on hedge fund regulation looks unlikely to succeed unless a so far indifferent Congress is spurred into action.
  • “With more traditional managers setting up hedge funds in order to compete, and the general convergence of hedge funds and traditional asset management I think we’ll see ‘hedge funds’ becoming a strategy rather than an industry.” So says Niall Cameron, head of traded markets at ABN Amro in London.
  • 29 the percentage of asset allocators describing themselves in Merrill Lynch’s Fund Manager Survey as overweight. The figure is one of the highest ever recorded by the survey.
  • The global strategists at Société Générale, who must be doing something right. The team rose from 24th to second place in the Extel Survey this year, knocking Smith Barney Citigroup into third place. Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein took the top spot again.
  • When Euromoney's journalists were able to do a bit of work between World Cup matches in June, football was never far from our minds. And so it was, as we decided this year's winners of the awards for excellence, that we hit upon a related idea: if investment banks were countries in the World Cup, which would they be?
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