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October 2005

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  • Citigroup and HSBC are neck and neck at the pinnacle of the cash management business, according to Euromoney's latest poll. Other firms trail far behind.
  • Covered bond issuers are increasingly clear about the merits of solid execution, as Santander's and DexMa's latest deals show.
  • The UAE's financial regulator, the Securities and Commodities Authority, announced on September 6 that the case of two individuals and a brokerage suspected of manipulating the stock price of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) had been referred to the judiciary.
  • A punctured US property bubble is not far down the line as inflationary pressures mount. When it comes, as treasury yields inevitably move up, the US economy will slow sharply
  • "One thing we can say definitively is that we do not have a desire to be a bulge-bracket investment bank. Ours is a more measured approach. We will only grow domestically and internationally where our client base and potential client base leads us."
  • Hedge fund managers are tuning their guitars in anticipation of this year's Rocktoberfest. The annual event is a chance for hedge fund managers to swap their chinos for Spandex and perform to raise money for charity.
  • Rating agency Fitch has released its latest assessment of when the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 are likely to join the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM) II and adopt the euro. Its findings are not particularly encouraging.
  • Steps along the right path
  • Convertible arbitrage and short-selling have been the cornerstones of hedge fund strategies. Competition and difficult underlying markets, however, are forcing managers to reconsider their game plans.
  • Chairman Raymond Baer describes Julius Baer's deal as truly transformational. A rising stock price suggests investors agree. Analysts identify the private bank, after the purchase of SBC Wealth Management, as the outstanding restructuring story in European banking. But this deal wasn't what the market expected.
  • With a growing retail DVD business, MGM needed a revamped cash management system to make the most of the cashflows. In the end the system's highly successful implementation might well have also increased the company's attractiveness as an acquisition target.
  • Sustained competition, falling margins and regulatory pressures mean that the world of cash management and payments is heading towards an inflection point. The EU's Single Euro Payments Area project is adding yet more fuel to the fire that will force banks to re-evaluate their strategies, writes Peter Koh.
  • Companies from emerging markets are on the acquisition trail, and their targets now include firms in North America and Europe. Sudip Roy reports on a trend that could be the biggest driver of global M&A transactions within the next few years.
  • At the IMF/WB meetings the great and the good of the international bond markets gathered to sell their wares to sovereign and supranational issuers. These potential clients remain some of the trophy issuers in debt capital markets, but they are not the kings of issuers they once were.
  • Wreathed in a thick summer smog, it seems that Kuala Lumpur is not so much what tourist ads call "truly Asia" as "truly hazier". But the decision to publish air pollution data – previously a state secret – is at least a signal that Malaysia's politics are becoming clearer.
  • Hurricane Katrina has wreaked havoc in numerous ways but insurance companies appear well positioned to deal with the single largest event in the industry's history.
  • Who's buying whom?
  • And the latest hedge fund manager is... ...former SEC chairman and corporate governance honcho Richard Breeden. Breeden headed the SEC from 1989 to 1993 and acted as corporate monitor of WorldCom and, more recently, KPMG. Unsurprisingly, given his experience, Breeden is launching an event-driven activist fund, profiting from companies that improve their corporate governance. The fund is being launched next January and Breeden hopes to raise between $500 million and $1 billion.
  • People moves:
  • Hugo Chávez watch
  • US buyout heavyweight opens in Asia
  • Hibernia deal suffers hit from Katrina
  • Wachovia's Ken Thompson wants his firm to be the best financial institution in the US. His ambitions extend to investment banking. As Wachovia makes its move on Wall Street, Kathryn Tully spoke to Thompson and the rest of his management team. Should the traditional bulge bracket be concerned?
  • The City of London's usual summer slowdown was even more apparent than usual this summer as bankers' attention was grabbed by the most exciting Test Match series ever. England narrowly beat Australia for the Ashes, the sport of cricket's most prized trophy. The UK population, normally only interested in the histrionics of footballers and their wives, fell in love with cricket once again as England outplayed their arch-rivals for the first time in almost 20 years.
  • It's pretty unlikely that Hugo Chávez calls too many of his friends "homies" or knows the difference between Grandmaster Flash and Tupac Shakur. But that didn't stop him from being cheered during a visit to the Bronx last month.
  • New fixed-income products often attract pet names from market participants and commentators. Sadly, in the covered bond sector, the emergence of the UK product came and went without a catchy nickname being dreamt up.
  • But owner banks should be cautious about the effects of a spin-off.
  • The 2012 London Olympics are likely to go over budget because of FX risk
  • Optimism about Japanese economy and stock market is gaining strength.
  • Platform's embarrassing slowdowns are specific not systemic, company says.