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June 2002

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  • It's often the smaller deeds that prove most important in the long run, and that is what Goldman Sachs is hoping will be the case with a new data service it is launching.
  • At the end of last month, William Harrison, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, announced sweeping changes to the senior management of the group's investment banking division.
  • Borrowers have rarely been under such pressure. With credit markets volatile and investors jittery, issuing windows are short lived and the penalties for getting timing wrong can be severe. Entering the capital markets has become a lottery. One week they seem stable; the next they seem to be falling apart. And just when it seems that things can't get worse ... they get worse. So who have been the winners and the losers in this daunting new-issue environment?
  • Whoever decided that flying pigs belong in an advert for Zurich's new UK bank clearly has a warped sense of irony. A check over the history of the UK banking market shows that new entrants have faced difficult take-offs and often suffered crash landings.
  • The World Bank, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were the saviours of capital markets in the wake of September 11. As the corporates hit trouble, supranationals and agencies remained much in demand.
  • Morale in the equity division won't have been high at JPMorgan's London offices following the news of Geoffrey Boisi's departure. Its recovery won't have been helped by the departure in quick succession of three of the bank's top-ranked research analysts.
  • Portugal’s new Social Democrat government is committed to reducing to zero the public deficit, now perilously close to the EU’s 3% ceiling, and increasing GDP growth by at least 50%. But do the figures add up, and can investors be persuaded to bankroll economic growth?
  • The five-year battle between Nasdaq and ECNs is heating up. Nasdaq launches SuperMontage in July, a worthy rival to the ECNs’ trading systems that could win back dealflow. Meanwhile ECNs are depriving Nasdaq of crucial revenue. Is this the start of the trading endgame?
  • Over the past few years, investors have learnt to take privatization promises by the Croatian government with a pinch of salt. Despite the rapid sales this year of Rijecka banka and other successes, many assets pledged to the market have been yanked from the selling block or otherwise left in state hands.
  • The Croatian banking market is small and the experience of foreign investors in it has so far not been entirely happy. Nevertheless some foreign banks – notably from Austria, Germany and Italy – see it as crucial to their growth and a core part of their regional strategy.
  • People often talk metaphorically about a glass ceiling being an obstacle to career progression but at the Citigroup tower in Canary Wharf the threat from above is all too real.
  • The closed world of hedge funds is taking another step towards the mainstream with the arrival of a new index and greater availability of independent research.
  • The drive to make the murky world of credit derivatives more transparent to end-users is taking a leap forward with the launch of two developments linked to RiskMetrics Group.
  • Two months after declaring the Philippines a country unable to support institutional investment, Californian pension fund Calpers, one of the world's biggest investors, announced that it had made a mistake and that it did in fact consider the country a "recommended permissible market".
  • As the threat of war clouded the horizon on the Indian subcontinent, India's government clinched two important privatization sales. Maruti, India's biggest car-maker, was sold to Suzuki - the first foreign company to win a major privatization deal - and Indian Petrochemical Corporation (IPCL) went to Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
  • Sovereign issuers are back in fashion. But bond investors worry about deteriorating government finances and rising interest rates as well as corporate credit quality. So sovereigns must work harder than ever on new-issue and liability management programmes.
  • CEO, Recovery Partners
  • Issuer: Petronas Capital Limited Amount: $2.675 billion Launched: May 14 2002 Bookrunners: Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Barclays Capital, HSBC
  • It's been a long time since the chief executives of financial institutions faced anything like this degree of uncertainty - over the global economy, the direction of financial markets and the very future of the banking and investment banking business.
  • Progress at the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency is crucial to dragging the country out of a mire of debt. Its new chairman, the seventh to hold the post, is well regarded. But he has suffered an early setback. Is this the toughest job in Asia?
  • Deutsche and HypoVereinsbank are the biggest risers in the latest bank rankings by shareholders' equity. Fewer mergers make the size rankings stable. Unfortunately banks' earnings have been anything but.
  • While football's World Cup tries its best to take over everyone's lives for a month, banks can't resist getting in on the action.
  • Russia put the last of the Cold War animosities behind it when in one week it joined a new Nato-Russia cooperation council and a day later was recognized by the European Union as an important trade partner and as a market economy.
  • As the ratings agencies threaten further sovereign downgrades, Japan’s government guaranteed issuers face new challenges. Their government funding is being cut and they must borrow more in their own right. That may bring surprising advantages.
  • Football teams and their supporters can expect a warm welcome this month from their World Cup hosts in Japan. Most foreign borrowers will find it hard to milk this enthusiasm – the Japanese have been too badly burnt in recent months to want to invest in run-of-the-mill foreign companies seeking yen funding.
  • Big mergers at the end of the 1990s, followed by banking scandals, have led to widespread changes at the top of Spanish banks. Exposure to Argentina has caused further headaches. The big two, SCH and BBVA, which are adjusting to their new identities, will be hoping that the worst is over.
  • The after-effects of September 11 made for a tough time for airlines and hotels. Businesses banned non-essential air travel, leading to record losses among the biggest airlines which were in any case being squeezed by low-cost rivals.
  • Laksamana Sukardi, Indonesia's state enterprises minister, spoke to Euromoney's Chris Cockerill about progress and problems in the country's bank restructuring.
  • This might be the year of the thwarted private-equity IPO. Since January, venture capitalists have been parading their most eligible assets before investors, who so far don't seem over-impressed by what they've seen.
  • A popular statistic in the UK is that you are more likely to get a divorce than to change your bank account. It's probably fictitious, but Merrill Lynch executives must be hoping that there's some truth to it.