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October 2003

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  • After 11 years at Mackay Shields, Steven Tananbaum concluded that there was room for a new player in the limited field of top-quality high-yield asset management. The result was Golden Tree Asset Management.
  • Bloomberg is beefing up its fixed-income trading capability for the first time in years. This could pose a threat to existing bond-trading platforms. But rivals hope Bloomberg's efforts are just too late to wipe them out.
  • Anatoly Chubais, CEO of energy company RAO UES, is planning a return to politics in the forthcoming Duma elections in Russia. As Boris Yeltsin's deputy prime minister in the 1990s, Chubais was responsible for many of the government's most controversial policies.
  • Hedge fund proliferation is set to continue for some time, or so the services offered by the latest support business setting up in London seem to suggest.
  • A quiet suburban street a few blocks from a university campus is not where you'd expect a groundbreaking research shop to be set up. But that is where State Street has sited the headquarters of State Street Associates, a 55-person subsidiary set up in 1999 to organize expansion into research provision for institutional investors. The buildings are two regular-looking houses in Cambridge, the Boston suburb most famous for Harvard University.
  • Travelling eastwards from Dubai after the IMF/World Bank meetings it is striking to encounter near universal scorn - among bankers, economists, corporate treasurers, investors and central bankers - for US policymakers' attempts to bully China into revaluing its currency.
  • Serbian debt is undergoing something of a rally. The restructuring of the country's $2.4 billion in London Club debt seems finally to be gathering momentum, and analysts are calling it the next big CEE convergence trade. But are they getting over-excited? The Serbian minister of finance thinks so.
  • Foreign insurers, asset managers and banks are preparing to tap India's retirement savings. On August 23 the Indian government cleared a plan that is a first step towards pension deregulation.
  • When banks develop fancy new structured products, they usually describe them as value-added, yield-enhancing solutions that do everything a client could possibly want except, perhaps, washing the dishes. No discerning investor or corporate should be without them.
  • Investing in China is tricky enough without having to offer coherent data on performance. Fund managers, under increasing pressure to outperform benchmarks, are struggling with the fact that index providers offer a mystifying range of products covering Chinese stocks.
  • Last month's G7 finance ministers' meeting in Dubai prompted a sharp fall in the dollar. I reckon this is a turning point in the fortunes of the currency since its peak in February 2002.
  • Talk about getting them when they're young. Merrill Lynch has joined forces with Elmo and the Cookie Monster to develop a "financial fitness" curriculum aimed at children between the ages of two and six.
  • September is a popular time for international get-togethers. Near the end of the month there was a small one in New York, organized by the Brazilian/American Chamber of Commerce. It took place while the IMF/World Bank meetings were still under way in Dubai, shortly before the opening of the UN General Assembly, and a week after the collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in Cancún.
  • Spain's banking market is Europe's most attractive, and theoretically at least there's still room for more consolidation. Spanish bankers, though, reckon potential targets are not in a rush to give up their independence. But then they might overcome their hesitancy if the price is right.
  • Private-equity houses are trawling Europe for cheap listed companies. Critics say shareholders shouldn't sell out so cheaply but should rather seek enhanced value for themselves. Some are already rebelling against the loss of future value.
  • Source: is Europe's leading financial commentary service.
  • HSBC's retail and corporate bank marketing has stressed its prowess as the world's local bank. However, the quest for a much enhanced global investment banking business demands a break from group tradition, one that redeployed and enhanced top management seems intent on implementing.
  • Germany is about to enact a law that will create a new asset class for investors in the federal republic that should also attract foreign investors. The star attraction of the next set of financial reform bills set to go before the Bundestag this autumn is an easing of the rules covering hedge funds.
  • IPO fever is yet to sweep the equity capital markets, but there has been a marked upturn in other types of issuance, putting pressure on banks' depeleted ECM division. Some are rehiring, but can the revival be sustained?
  • The Argentines had fun at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Dubai. First off they secured a $12.55 billion three-year standby credit from the IMF - enough to keep the country current on debt service to, well, the IMF. This was controversial enough, mainly for the near total absence of conditions to which the agreement holds Argentina's government, beyond that of running a 3% of GDP primary surplus in 2004. "It's not a dollars and cents programme," said a rather defensive Anoop Singh, director of the IMF's western hemisphere department.
  • The arrival of a new clearing house in Spain challenges the balance of power in Europe. Can it succeed against competitors such as LCH.Clearnet that are pushing for a horizontal solution?
  • Diego Wauters, chairman and CEO of Coriolis Capital, was in hospital having a foot operation that was going to leave him wheelchair bound for three months when the company began setting up in its new offices.
  • The Russian private-equity market has had a great few months and many of the big houses are establishing funds. But are they prepared for russian condition, and are there enough deals out there to be done?
  • Issuer: RHG Nord Size: e65 million Arranger: Rabobank International Issue date: September 17 2003
  • When John Studzinski, Studs to his friends, left Morgan Stanley after 23 years with the firm, a lot of people thought he would retire to devote time to his many other interests in and around London, such as his sponsorship of the arts, notably opera, and his support of the homeless. There are other interests too - he breeds pedigree dogs and spent the weekend before meeting Euromoney assisting with the delivery of eight male puppies.
  • Deal: Take-private of IG Group
  • Some of JPMorgan's foreign exchange staff in London were bound to be unnerved when they heard that the big cheese from New York was moving across the Atlantic.
  • The race to take market share in the fast-growing area of credit default swap indices is gathering pace.
  • How to pay for research is one of the toughest riddles on Wall Street. The challenge, says Smith Barney's director of global research, Bill Kennedy "on a global scale as well as in the US, is to take the talent we have and find a way to package it that is both investor-friendly and commercial".
  • As the rugby World Cup gears up for its big kick-off, one former star is settling into his new job in the far more aggressive world of inter-dealer brokerage.