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July 2007

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  • Its pivotal role in the most important transactions of a hectic year in M&A makes Goldman Sachs the outstanding player in the most competitive market of all.
  • In the July 2007 edition of Euromoney, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis gave a rare in-depth interview. Lewis said: "We are not believers in the build it and they will come mantra. We need to look our shareholders in the eye". "In time, we want to be one of the top five investment banks in the world". More than 18 months ago Euromoney said: "Bank of America is at a tipping point. Ken Lewis is about to face his biggest challenge yet." Little did we know how great the challenge would be. Re-read the story here
  • John Mack has the job he always wanted. One of Wall Street’s leading firms has the leader it desperately needed. Morgan Stanley is now the investment bank with momentum. Mack and his senior management tell Clive Horwood how they revived the firm’s fortunes.
  • Find out which institutions have excelled this year in providing high-quality products and services across all areas of commercial and investment banking.
  • The UK’s Financial Services Authority has granted CME the status of a recognized overseas clearing house. This will allow it to clear products that are not traded on the centralized markets run by the CME in the US, including currency forwards.
  • Who is there to save the day when hedge funds have a blow-up? Why, it’s other hedge funds, which can make a profit clearing up the mess.
  • Jack Jeffery, chief executive of electronic broking at Icap, quit the broker almost a year to the day after its purchase of EBS. Jeffery, who was parachuted into EBS from Citi in February 2002, had overseen EBS’s integration into Icap, which moved swiftly to replace him, announcing that market veteran John Nixon had assumed the role.
  • As covered bond markets continue to thrive worldwide, it appears that the demands of ratings agencies might be becoming a stumbling block.
  • The third draft of Italy’s covered bond legislation has been published.
  • Rob Lichten has left his role as global head of FX sales and trading at JPMorgan to take what the bank described as a long sabbatical. His decision came after the bank decided to merge its G10 FX and rates businesses and combine all its emerging markets into its wider EM platform. The bank later announced that Chris Willcox and Matt Zames would co-head global rates and currency trading, excluding Asia ex-Japan.
  • ANZ combined a number of features on its latest tier-1 deal that allowed it to cut the premium an issuer normally pays to access institutional investors without a coupon step-up at the call date. The £450 million ($898 million) tier-1 perpetual paper was ANZ’s first sterling capital security.
  • As some banks – and a tiny few aspirant young bankers – have realized, there’s good business to be built in the out-of-fashion traditional investment-grade debt capital markets.
  • In June, investors began to reject low returns on subordinated structures such as PIK toggle notes from riskier issuers. It will be tougher for sponsors to pile more debt on their already leveraged acquisitions. But public company managers aren’t free from the private equity threat.
  • S&P this June launched the new S&P Pan Asia Shariah Index, a new addition to its Global Shariah Index Series.
  • Decisions by two leading banks to allow clients to post bids and offers on their platforms call into question the need for multi-bank portals.
  • Neil Wilson, editorial director at HedgeFund Intelligence, argues that there is little substance to the conspiracy theories that dog private equity.
  • According to a study by Greenwich Associates, funds of hedge funds are beating high-net-worth individuals and family offices as a source of assets for hedge funds with more than $1 billion in assets under management. HNWIs and family offices contribute 21% of assets, while FoHFs contribute 25%. Pension funds, endowments and foundations directly investing comprise 25%. US institutional allocations to hedge funds are now at more than double the 2001 level, says Greenwich. Some 36% of US institutions invest in hedge funds.
  • One of the most puzzling aspects of Asia’s headlong economic growth has been the conspicuous absence of inflation. Despite net foreign exchange inflows of more than $2 trillion since 2000, money supply and credit growth have actually fallen sharply in Asia.
  • Sub-prime-induced volatility was cited as the reason for the withdrawal of a five-year and 10-year euro-denominated transaction by Arcelor. The lead managers – Calyon, Citi, Commerzbank and RBS – sent out a terse statement saying that the borrower would return when stability returned.
  • The launch of further FX indices by Citi and Axa underlines the acceptance of FX as an asset class, which has attractions across the entire investment spectrum.
  • The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong announced in June that it would be "streamlining and simplifying" the licensing process for hedge fund managers with immediate effect. Alexa Lam, the SFC’s executive director of intermediaries and investment products, said: "These initiatives will make the licensing process easier for fund managers and more particularly for overseas hedge fund managers. They are not intended to lower our regulatory requirements because we recognize that these contribute to Hong Kong’s reputation among investors as being a jurisdiction in which appropriate standards are insisted upon among its market participants."
  • The launch of faster, higher-capacity systems by exchanges will make life harder for ATSs.
  • "My only expectation is that I am going to continue to work my ass off"
  • "OK, so I screwed up. Even my COO called me up and said: "Great pitch mate, really compelling – shame about the logo on the top of the page"
  • As part of Deutsche Bank’s recent expansion initiatives for its overall prime brokerage business, the firm has launched a hedge fund consultancy.
  • Broker/dealer Louis Capital Markets is recommending auction houses as investment of the month. Sotheby’s, it says, is benefiting from the "soaring fortunes of the ultra-rich". The firm is auctioning works by Monet, Matisse, Warhol and Bacon in July that should – after rises in commission rates earlier this year – significantly increase auctioneer’s earnings.
  • The storm clouds that were once on the horizon are now overhead.
  • Head appointed of a new strategic solutions group.
  • The world economy is set to keep growing fast for the next few months. But this will take an inevitable toll on the cost of capital, which is already rising.
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