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May 1996

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  • Scratching around for good deals
  • IDB answers back
  • Swings and round-a-bahts
  • Big ambitions for smaller companies
  • Edited by Brian Caplen
  • A change in US accounting standards has simplified the behind-the-scenes negotiations in global exempt offerings. By Christopher Stoakes
  • Grand Hotel Baur au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland
  • A few have already. For inter-dealer brokers, the expansion of electronic dealing and a hiccup in derivatives activity have, at best, necessitated refocusing and downsizing. Only those with special expertise and those that dominate a niche will emerge stronger from the changes. Stephanie Cooke reports
  • Euromoney took a good look at the past three years' country risk rankings to see how the world has changed. Lebanon is the most improved country and transition Europe is rising fast. Charles Piggott and Felix Salmon report.
  • Asia's capital markets are springing into life. With the era of cheap finance over, growth depends on the efficient channelling of savings into investment. When this is achieved, the Asian manufacturing tigers will underpin a vast, regionally integrated financial market. But with governments trying to protect many different interest groups, expect bears to join the bulls of the new financial era. Brian Caplen reports
  • Jean-Claude Komarovsky hears a mating call in the high Alps and meets an old friend from California.
  • Singalong Citibank; adventurous Chase; a boating banker. Edited by Steven Irvine.
  • My optimism depends on the EU's single market surviving the demise of Emu.
  • Belgium's economic plans rest on successful entry into European monetary union. It's well on its way - but it doesn't meet Maastricht's debt criteria. Laura Covill reports.
  • The shake-out in world bond prices that started at the end of January this year has masked the widely differing performances from the main government bond markets. While the brunt of the selling has been borne by the US and some other dollar block countries – notably Australia and New Zealand ­– a number of European bond markets have recovered all or most of their initial falls.
  • Bahrain's reputation as the pre-eminent financial centre on the Arabian Gulf is being challenged by the threat of civil unrest, a domestic sector which is overbanked and foreign banks questioning their need for a presence in the region. But local and regional opportunities arising from privatization programmes and economic restructuring offer banks a way forward. By Nigel Dudley
  • Newly-appointed global foreign exchange chief, Guy Whittaker, fell silent when Euromoney informed him that the new Chase had topped our annual foreign exchange poll. He simply asked how we put the results together, and took a sip of water.
  • Luxembourg was in at the start of European unity and is as committed to it as ever. But the things that have made the Grand Duchy great - tax advantages, strict banking secrecy, the Luxfranc bond market and the absence of minimum bank reserve requirements - look likely to be swept away by the tide of EU harmonization. Philip Eade reports on Luxembourgeois bankers' bullishness in the face of adversity
  • The Maxwell and Baring scandals turned the spotlight on the relative freedoms enjoyed in the UK by global custodians. Now tighter regulation is in prospect, heralding a further contraction in the industry as compliance costs bite. Nick Kochan reports
  • As bond markets develop in emerging economies, local rating agencies have sprung up, often at the bidding of the regulators. But investors remain sceptical about their objectivity, and the big two - S&P and Moody's - look set to defeat the newcomers. Ronan Lyons reports on differing approaches to similar goals
  • George Cornelissen; Michael Phair; Anders Bergendahl
  • After months of delays, the New York Federal Reserve Bank is close to approving Swiss Bank Corp's merger with SG Warburg in the US. But there will be a lot less left to merge than originally expected. Uncertainty about the future of the US piece of Warburg, combined with a post-integration reorganization at SBC Warburg, has led to an exodus of investment bankers and analysts in New York.
  • Did Nikolaus Senn, chairman of the embattled Union Bank of Switzerland, seize a merger proposal from CS chairman Rainer Gut and use it as a crude weapon against his bitterest enemy and major shareholder Martin Ebner? Here's the story whose climax a third of all Zurich inhabitants watched on television. But will it have a happy ending? And who pairs off with whom? David Shirreff reports
  • Since taking charge of CS First Boston in 1993, Allen Wheat has done much to improve the firm's profitability. The payoff for employees was supposed to be a fairer allocation of bonuses. Many bond traders felt it didn't work that way this year and some left in disgust, making odious comparisons between their own thinner pay checks and those of supposedly key employees. Peter Lee reports
  • The combination of Chase and Chemical always held the prospect of creating a foreign-exchange giant able to challenge Citibank's number-one position. But for the former Chemical managers - who dominate the new operation - the tough challenge will be to integrate the two banks' very different styles: can the old Chase's customer-oriented salesmen pedal at the same speed as Chemical's traders? By Steven Irvine