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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.
  • Continued fuel subsidies will make it difficult to cope with rising oil prices.
  • 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.
  • Investment by foreign banks and investors in domestic Chinese banks is not over, but it seems that the recent frenzy of activity has abated, with most of the big deals now signed or at least agreed.
  • Who's buying whom?
  • After political shenanigans over alleged election fraud and fiscal worries about the suspension of the expanded VAT, the Philippines finally completed its debt funding requirement for the year with a 10-year $1 billion issue led by Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and UBS.
  • The credit derivatives market has expanded fast in recent months. But the growing backlog of unconfirmed trades has caused concern.
  • Competition in clearing and settlement doesn't work. The US shows that only a centralized clearing system can promote vigorous exchange competition.
  • The long arm of the US law has reached the tiny enclave of Macau, the special administrative region of China famous for its casinos and racy nightlife.
  • The clubby world of private banking is under threat. The UBS/Julius Baer deal shows how tough it will be for foreign banks to break into the market.
  • Hibernia deal suffers hit from Katrina
  • 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.
  • Optimism about Japanese economy and stock market is gaining strength.
  • Will European fund managers be exempted from value-added tax on their outsourced management services?
  • Hugo Chávez watch
  • 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.
  • "Listen, I'm one of the biggest risk managers in Europe. I run a credit risk book of over €60 billion. By comparison most funds are little pussies."
  • 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
  • BoB: the builders' friend
  • Distressed companies and their creditors look to advisory boutique to "bring calm to apparent cataclysms".
  • Banks are muscling in on US auto finance as vehicle makers divert capital to manufacturing and marketing.
  • The asset class is likely to outperform emerging-market debt as more funds enter the market.
  • US buyout heavyweight opens in Asia
  • 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:
  • Syndicate Asset Management's acquisition of Ashcourt Holdings for £13.1 million ($23.7 million) might signal a new approach in the UK fund management industry, marked by a shift towards the consolidation of small funds.
  • A long-only fund run by traditional asset manager bears little resemblance to the long-only fund run by a hedge fund.
  • 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.
  • The Special Administrative Region's regulator has botched its attempt to clean up the thorny issue of pre-deal research.
  • Monolines hire London ABS bankers
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