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June 2003

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  • Leading custody banks are squaring up to provide the entire back-office and middle-office functions of fund managers, leaving them to focus more closely on investment. But outsourcing is not growing as fast as many had hoped. Now State Street is bad-mouthing its main rivals, Bank of New York and JPMorgan, saying they have held the whole market back by mismanaging their first deals.
  • An inflation rate of only 2%, a stable currency and reserves at $3.5 billion demonstrate the stress Jordan has put on having a tight and rigorously enforced monetary policy.
  • Primary debt capital markets picked up so significantly in May that some bankers felt able to forecast a bumper crop of issuance for the year. But with macro events so unpredictable they weren't betting their all on that outcome.
  • Juan Ramón Quintás, Chairman of the Spanish Savings Banks Confederation (CECA), talks to Euromoney's Jules Stewart about the effects of the new finance law on the cajas
  • Brazil's decision to use 85% collective action clauses in its recent highly successful bond issue has raised questions about slightly off-colour investor pressure. What's more, the republic may have made it harder for itself to handle a restructuring should one be needed.
  • At its latest committee meeting, the Federal Reserve stressed the perils of deflation. Fed chairman Alan Greenspan made it clear that if there's a whiff of it the Fed will act. In sharp contrast, European Central Bank president Wim Duisenberg slumbers on, occasionally mumbling about the dangers of inflation.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • European and US borrowers have raised more than $20 billion in the domestic Japanese bond market so far in 2003. Issuance is expected to rise further this year as demand increases.
  • As an environment of global deflation persists, money looking for yield continues to flow into emerging-market bond funds. Funds that have never invested in central and eastern European debt are now queuing up to do so. One banker in Poland says even Australian investors now hold Polish debt.
  • The Russian government's long-term energy strategy to 2020 was sent to the Cabinet for discussion last month and should be approved before the summer holidays. The development of the energy sector remains a priority for the Kremlin, accounting for half the economy and just over three-quarters of stock market capitalization.
  • US banks are starting to make big investments in Russia again, and it could be a sign of a looming economic crash for the former superpower. That's the verdict that consultant Ray Soifer is drawing from the most recent set of figures from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
  • Sir,
  • Searching through emerging-market currencies for investment opportunities is a tricky job - a delicate combination of subjective judgement and fundamental analysis. Luckily, plenty of currency pundits were on hand at Euromoney's forex forum last month to help investors and corporate hedgers choose a strategy.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin fired the first salvo of his re-election campaign in his state of the nation speech on May 16 and used it to report on his first three years in office.
  • Convertibles grabbed centre stage last month as European and US issuers took advantage of strong investor demand and the attractive combination of rallying share prices and tightening credit spreads.
  • Investors are reluctant to buy European high-yield bonds. Rob Mannix reports on how lawyers might just change that
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service
  • Bank Atlas - Top 200
  • Some bestsellers are expected. Number one on's list of the top-selling books in Latin America is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Some are more of a surprise. At number five you'll find an anthology of dry economic prose entitled After the Washington Consensus: Restarting Growth and Reform in Latin America.
  • When Kevin Gould was head of European fixed income at TD Securities, he would look around for daily market-wide data on credit prices. None existed. So he and a few colleagues left the bank to set up a company to produce it.
  • In its 10 years' existence, EBS had never made a more significant announcement. At the end of last month, the bank-backed forex trading network, whose interdealer platform transformed price transparency in its market, said it would begin offering dealer-to-client forex trading on Bloomberg.
  • Aberdeen Asset Management, the hard-hit UK fund manager, has sold its Guernsey-based exotic debt and emerging-market debt funds to the fund managers for an undisclosed sum. The fund is the only one in the UK to specialize in so-called pariah debt issued by countries such as Iraq and North Korea.
  • Kazakhstan's attraction as a return-generating safe haven among emerging markets has been boosted by upgraded long-term currency ratings. These reflect bright prospects for the Kazakh economy and recognise the well-managed banking sector.
  • Japan's small band of government guaranteed borrowers are planning to increase international debt issuance if the price is right.
  • Adam Lerrick has promised the retail investors who sign up for his scheme that he will get them their money back: that although their coupons might drop and their maturities might be pushed back, the face value of their bonds will be preserved.
  • Jordan has survived the traumas of the US-led military action in the region more effectively than seemed likely, mainly because state finances have been tightened up, the stock exchange modernized and privatization advanced. However western foreign investors still remain nervous.
  • Hybrid capital in all forms is attractive to yield-hungry investors right now, offering sellers good terms even while the straight equity market is closed. But the leading issuers - financial institutions - are concerned about lack of regulatory and accounting clarity.
  • Euromoney's Jules Stewart talks to Jorge Jardim Gonçalves, chairman and chief executive of Banco Comercial Português, Portugal's largest bank, about how he intends to move it forward following recapitalization.
  • The thousands of retail investors in Europe holding Argentine debt would be virtually powerless as individuals in negotiations on restructuring. Pooled, though, their holdings could command a veto. Enter Angel Gurria and Adam Lerrick who, for a fee, hope to arrange this.
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