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November 2010

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  • Introducing Gold ATMs, Chanel bullion replica clutches, and reopening JPM gold vaults.
  • Pension funds are slashing their allocations to equities and reorienting their portfolios to more accurately match liabilities. Strategically that makes sense. Tactically it smacks of buying at the top and it is already creating distortions in markets.
  • "It’s getting to the point where clients are looking not at which banks would be good to run the deal but which will lie to them best"
  • The proposition that if you build an investment banking franchise clients will come was severely tested in the third quarter. Sales and trading revenues were weak for most dealers, though with wide variance between big firms. Results were particularly poor for banks such as Morgan Stanley and UBS that had been rebuilding their investment banking franchises on the assumption that an aggressive push into flow business lines would result in increased client volumes.
  • The Irish government must push through an austerity budget and stabilize its finances before returning to the capital markets next June. It hopes to resolve its banking system and property sector problems through early recognition of losses. If this bold experiment fails, the country might yet be a test case for euro sovereign debt rescheduling.
  • "We don’t think there are cases where people have been evicted out of homes where they shouldn’t have been"
  • Being a fixed-income investor in Europe just got a whole lot trickier.
  • Could the villain of the piece yet have a hero’s role to play? Last month, Angelo Mozilo, former chief executive of Countrywide Financial, paid a $22.5 million penalty and disgorged $45 million of what the SEC calls "ill-gotten gains" to settle disclosure violation and insider trading charges. It is the largest sum ever paid by a public company executive in an SEC settlement. Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC enforcement division, says: "Mozilo’s record penalty is the fitting outcome for a corporate executive who deliberately disregarded his duties to investors by concealing what he saw from inside the executive suite – a looming disaster." The money will be returned to investors harmed in Countrywide’s collapse.
  • These are sober times in Ireland, as the nation, so well known for its bonhomie, seems somewhat underwhelmed after the slide of its economic wellbeing. This was perfectly illustrated when Euromoney calls into visit a source at the Bank of Ireland in Dublin recently. It’s the final round of the Ryder Cup, and the source whisks Euromoney off to a pub down the road from its Baggot Street headquarters. The result hangs in the balance right down to the last pairing, which contains the Irishman, Graham McDowell. Expecting pints of Guinness and much boisterousness, it feels more like an Irish wake, but with glasses of water and herbal tea. It’s a long way from the last Ryder Cup held in Europe, at Ireland’s lavish K Club, when it was all champagne, and Ireland’s then hero Darren Clarke necked a pint of Guinness for the TV cameras. When McDowell secures victory for Europe, there’s some polite clapping and then bankers drift out onto the street, as the autumn leaves begin to fall.
  • The confirmation of disappointing third-quarter sales and trading revenues for most banks set the stage for a crucial fourth-quarter push by investment bankers – the push to maximize their own bonus payments.
  • Senior RMBS bondholders will pay the price from US mortgage chaos.
  • The EU’s plans to tighten measures to prevent eurozone instability and discipline transgressors are admirable in theory. But implementation will be a tough task and is not in any case achievable until 2013.
  • Chinese appetite for Russian risk remains relatively weak; Rare IT flotation on the way in London
  • There has always been something rather tacky about the financial market’s habit of naming bond markets for borrowers issuing in a foreign country by picking the most stereotypical associations. Thus bonds marketed by foreign issuers in Japanese yen are samurais, Australian dollar bonds are kangaroos and so on. Euromoney reckons that the names evoke a less than progressive attitude towards the internationalization of markets.
  • In September and October a torrent of tightly priced Asian bond deals pushed established investors along the yield curve and swept in new names. The more exotic the deal, the more investors flocked to it. But there are concerns that too much money is flowing into Asia. Lawrence White reports.
  • The easy environment is pushing asset prices in Latin America to boiling point.
  • Deal flow to continue into Q1; Strong foreign capital inflows in Brazil
  • Return to positive growth in 2011; Credit risk spreads down, equity investor interest up
  • A merger between the companies that own the Australian and Singapore exchanges is only a first step towards an integrated market.
  • Year-end markets boom continues; JPMorgan reaches the top
  • Dropping of Nedbank deal still unexplained; Door now open for Standard Chartered
  • Spate of interventions boosts volumes; Emerging countries seek to stem capital inflows
  • In the past few years the country has reduced its dependence on offshore banking and links to Argentina and has grown its exports of agricultural produce and position as an important entrepôt. But its capital markets remain severely undeveloped, a situation that might be improved by a programme of privatization. Jason Mitchell reports from Montevideo.
  • The cancellation of the Nedbank acquisition reflects badly on HSBC.
  • Bond resurgence eschews riskier banks; Project bonds might seal demise of loan dominance in Gulf
  • There was no chance that the UK’s Financial Services Authority would emerge from the recent financial crisis without a fundamental overhaul of its culture, objectives and procedures. But did it need to be scrapped altogether? And if it did, will the new model work any better? Dawn Cowie reports.
  • Spanish lender looks for growth abroad; Other Turkish lenders expand their horizons
  • Second rise in as many weeks; Analysts sceptical of its effectiveness
  • A stand against foreclosures might be a vote winner but it has deleterious economic consequences.
  • That banks and mortgage servicers may have foreclosed on US homes without adequate documentation further blackens their already tarnished reputations. But the foreclosure scandal has increased the prospect of a far greater attack on mortgage securitization – one that even if it does not destroy the market altogether could cost the banks as much as $180 billion. Helen Avery, Louise Bowman and Peter Lee report.
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