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May 2006

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  • Competitors gloating over the firm’s current predicament are likely to be sorely disappointed.
  • Goldman Sachs has reshuffled its Latin American investment banking team by naming Eduardo Centola and Martin Werner as co-heads.
  • The central Asian republic may still be developing suitable funding channels, but a pick-up in deals is expected, given an economy that continues to grow and an appropriate legal framework. Patrick Gill reports.
  • Fitch Ratings has downgraded its rating for the Islamic Republic of Iran from BB– to B+, to take account of what it calls the “escalating confrontation between Iran and the international community over Iran’s nuclear programme.” Although it contends that material sanctions are still some way off, it argues that the risk is increasing and events “are becoming increasingly unpredictable”. The agency acknowledges, though, that with high oil prices Iran’s external financial position remains strong.
  • BMA chief confident about region’s fundamentals.
  • It’s Vietnam, but not as we’ve known it. The country’s financial markets have promised much in the past and delivered little but disappointment. Reforms are now for real and initially most apparent in the banks. Significant opportunities are there for the taking. Chris Leahy reports.
  • News of the first RMBS transaction out of Saudi Arabia has focused attention on the potential for real estate-backed issuance from the region.
  • A rather angry group of American football players and the federal government are reportedly looking for Kirk Wright, whose International Management Association hedge fund allegedly robbed 500 investors of $185 million. The fund was eligible for investment as part of the football players’ financial advisers programme. Wright failed to appear in court, and has reportedly gone underground, claiming that he has received death threats.
  • The Kazakh authorities would like to establish Almaty as a regional financial centre but further reform and market development is necessary first. Patrick Gill reports.
  • In recent weeks significant moves have taken place in the higher echelons of European structured finance.
  • The managers of a new equity fund say the big re-rating of Russia is over. It is time for a new type of fund that can prosper in a downturn, they argue. Julian Evans reports.
  • In this edition, don't miss: Abigail's opinion of Lehman's Board of Directors and of Jeremy Isaacs' realm; her advice to Bank of America on investment banking; the details of HSBC's Studzinski's glam 50th birthday party; and hats off to Rainer Stephan, chairman of Barclays in Germany.
  • Hybrid structured products – cross-asset-class investments – are finally starting to make a significant impact with investors. Banks report increasing demand from those looking to trade several market views via a single instrument to instantly reap the benefits of portfolio diversification. But with increasing sales come new challenges, such as the pricing of correlation. How are hybrid structured product makers faring?
  • “I tried really hard not to use the words ‘dead cat bounce’ when we met.”
  • The most representative annual FX poll Euromoney has conducted to date examines a market in which technology shapes the present and the future, and the buy side is unwilling to break the bank when buying services. In a growing market that demands huge expenditure and promises little return, banks have to position themselves well to stay in the game. Florian Neuhof reports.
  • In his last interview as director of public credit for Colombia, Felipe Sardi talks to Lawrence White about the strategies his successor will inherit, his efforts to increase the liquidity of Colombian securities and his plans for the federation of coffee growers.
  • With EU accession for Croatia still a few years away, the country’s financial authorities are focusing their attention on developing the local bond market. Oonagh Leighton reports.
  • London is seen as the property hotspot in 2006.
  • Regarding Euromoney's March 2006 cover story: “Inside Argentina’s financial crisis” written by Guillermo Nielsen, Argentina’s former finance secretary.
  • Fund managers with medium-size AUMs can be successful.
  • The rush of foreign investment into central and eastern Europe has undoubtedly improved standards of corporate governance. But the results of this year’s Euromoney survey of the best companies in the region reveal that some state-owned companies that might prove difficult to acquire also rate highly for their management standards. Lawrence White reports.
  • Proponents of European high yield think covenants for issuers should be relaxed if the market is to survive.
  • (May 2006) It is early days but US issuers are seriously considering covered bond issuance. There are economic and regulatory reasons why this makes sense.
  • Will US issuers start to look at Europe’s institutional markets?
  • Looks to have got bargain with its $775 million purchase of spot broker.
  • China-focused forestry company falls behind in land acquisition.
  • Equity derivatives dealers have set up an industry group to improve trading efficiency and iron out operational issues in their market.
  • Lehman Brothers has incorporated its European structured finance syndicate and the short-term credit business into its wider syndicate platform. Lorenzo Frontini, European head of syndicate, now has Brett Olson, Edward Rose and Yekaterina Antropova, who are responsible for structured finance, reporting to him. Jon Ford, who runs short-term credit reports to Frontini geographically and Paul Feidelson, global head of short term credit.
  • ResCap was able to pay back its domestic debt owed to GMAC ahead of market expectations following a $3.5 billion multi-tranche transaction ($1 billion of three-year sub, and $2.5 billion of senior – split into $1.75 billion of seven-year and $750 million of three-year).
  • More than a few doubts have been raised about the rumoured plans of state lender China Construction Bank to buy a major stake in US investment bank Bear Stearns. However, sources in the firm’s Asian head office believe the plans are serious. “I haven’t seen a lot of guys with white socks walking around the office yet,” says a senior employee, “but there’s definitely truth to the rumour. It’s typical Bear strategy: late to the party, perhaps, but a smart call.”