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May 2011

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  • Power, mining and energy companies dominate Euromoney’s annual survey of the best companies in CEE, but diversity is increasing as markets mature
  • "What does he mean by this? I suppose it is about police coming and taking us like we see with the press. What kind of police-type measures could be imposed against a bank? This is like a joke. Isn’t this a state of law?"
  • Sir Fred Goodwin, ex-chief executive of RBS, who found himself the lightning rod for UK public anger over the financial crisis in 2008, seems to have again served himself up on a plate to the UK media for ridicule.
  • One of the latest books to be added to the library of publications aimed at dissecting the causes of the financial crisis is "The unravelling of structured investment vehicles: how liquidity leaked through SIVs" by Dr Henry Tabe of Sequoia Investment Management.
  • The royal wedding was British but New York knows a money-spinner when it sees one.
  • The Listing in Hong Kong Forum at the Kempinski Khan Palace hotel in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaan Baatar, on April 14 involved a range of high-profile speakers and delegates, including representatives from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, regional product heads from various global banks and dozens of local chief executives. None, however, commanded quite the attention afforded to Kyokushuzan Batbayar, a Mongolian sumo wrestler returned from Japan to become a member of parliament. Translator in tow, the cheerful Batbayar toured the room handing out his card to local businessmen and some clearly impressed foreign bankers. "What. A. Unit...what an absolute unit!" was the awestruck response of one senior such figure at the event. Apparently known as the gino depato or "department store of techniques" while in Japan for his wide range of holds and throws, many adapted from Mongolian wrestling, Batbayar was a popular figure among his countrymen during his time abroad and now looks set on a successful political career. With many Mongolians worried about foreign investors getting the upper hand when wrangling with Mongolia’s government, his will surely be a reassuring presence on any negotiating team.
  • Euromoney: "What is it about your client’s economic fundamentals that make it such a compelling story?"
  • After decades of neglect, infrastructure in central and eastern Europe is in urgent need of upgrading. Now projects across the region are on hold in the wake of the global downturn. Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker talks to the public- and private-sector bankers trying to get the market back on its feet.
  • Qatar’s accession to the MSCI Emerging Markets index would open it up to new investment inflows and might prompt a liberalization of other equity markets in the region
  • The global credit crunch and associated economic downturn hit Kazakhstan hard. But there is growing evidence that the country is back on the path to recovery. Guy Norton reports from Almaty.
  • Strong growth and the government’s debt swap to holdouts have opened the bond markets to the country’s private sector. But October’s presidential election is already stirring uncertainty. Rob Dwyer reports.
  • Nedbank’s owners are still looking for a buyer, after the failure of a deal for HSBC to buy the South African bank last year.
  • The nation’s gold, coal and iron-ore reserves are making it the world’s fastest-growing investment destination. But a lack of infrastructure funding and planning threatens to derail the country’s rapid transformation. Lawrence White reports from Ulaan Baatar.
  • Five years after Saudi banks saw their investment banking and asset management arms split from their commercial banks, the sector is still finding its feet. Three of the firms that got a head start tell Chris Wright how the battle for market share is likely to play out.
  • For a company that likes to keep its head below the parapet, commodities trader Glencore could not have appointed a more incongruous chairman.
  • South African leadership in African markets is over; but it holds a lesson for the continent.
  • Senate committee report might deter clients; Stock price under pressure
  • Extensive retail finance acquisition; Sector still strong despite government curbs
  • European banks target Latin America
  • When Euromoney calls to book appointments with the heads of the top 10 FX banks before the results of this year’s poll appear, the typical response from their press officers is: “Can we get back to you, he is travelling in Asia right now.” This tells you all you need to know about growth in the foreign exchange markets, with Asia as its new frontier.
  • The decision by Standard & Poor’s to place the US on credit watch with a “negative outlook” is a watershed. With politicians unwilling to attack spiralling welfare costs, a bond crisis might be just around the corner.
  • First Rand in Nigeria acquisition talks; Absa, Barclays Africa in new integration push
  • Russia’s underdeveloped capital markets are on track for much-needed modernization. However an arcane legal system and entrenched attitudes could yet put a brake on the pace of reform. Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker reports.
  • European banks benefit from euro introduction; spurs consolidation of market share.
  • Strong first-quarter results at UBS might have come just in time to prevent the implosion of its bid to regain a spot at the top table of investment banking.
  • Technology has changed the game forever. And it is costing the banks dearly. They are returning to an old idea to defend their corner from the predations of high-frequency traders. The answer to the erosion of business may lie in a trick from the equities market: dark pools. Is PureFX back on the table?
  • Suddenly, the clouds converged and the warm spring sunlight dimmed. This was how I felt when I read that 47-year-old Pietro Ferrero, chief executive of the Ferrero group, and heir to one of Italy’s biggest fortunes, had died of a suspected heart attack. Ferrero died while bicycling on a coastal road near Cape Town during a break from a business meeting in South Africa. US treasuries
  • Continuing political instability in North Africa and the Middle East, together with oil-supply constraints, will increase energy risks and therefore prices.
  • Goldman Sachs cut out trading completely in the first quarter – at least that’s what the language of its earnings filing indicates. The bank managed to avoid using the t-word at any point in its earnings announcement, although it mentioned clients 29 times and made 46 references to investment.
  • Bank chiefs have finally accepted that their hopes of a level regulatory playing field will remain forlorn. US bankers are up in arms about Europe’s treatment of risk-weighted assets. Europe’s banks face a fault line, where they operate internationally but risk being penalized for the relative size of their balance sheets to national GDP. What does the future hold for banks that could be too big for their borders? Peter Lee reports.