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October 2009

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  • Published in conjunction with: Banco Santander Totta Caixa - Banco de Investimento
  • The global financial climate has forced treasurers to focus on making the best use of resources, wherever they may be. Technological developments are making that easier, but they are also having to cope with a tighter regulatory environment.
  • "It’s quite hard to make a case for subordinated debt at all"
  • "I’m afraid he’s on gardening leave and could be for a while. You should see the size of this guy’s garden. I think it’s called Buckinghamshire"
  • A romantic, old-fashioned style of banking business is enjoying a revival in the US. Smaller banks are gaining customers who are disillusioned with their bigger, national competitors. The White House is encouraging the trend. But should they be worried about banks that are too small to be saved?
  • Sheila Bair is running short of funds. But she is right to want to raise them in a way that doesn’t create a panic.
  • Hybrid capital may no longer be welcome in the US and Europe but it is playing a valuable role in the emerging markets.
  • Whether or not former governor of Alaska and sometime vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s speech at the CLSA investors’ forum on September 23 was a hit with the audience – and opinions are divided – there’s little doubt that both she and her hosts did well from the event. Palin’s speaker fee was undisclosed but is likely to have been substantial; CLSA, meanwhile, adopted a media-unfriendly strategy that ended up winning it plenty of attention and all-important coverage of the event. Media sources, hoping for one of Palin’s trademark gaffes, were frustrated by CLSA’s policy of holding the session behind closed doors. Of course in the modern era absolute secrecy was unlikely (and probably unwanted by the media-savvy CLSA). Almost as soon as Palin’s speech began, audience members began sending their thoughts to social networking site Twitter; within hours of the speech’s conclusion they and business newswires were posting substantial excerpts online.
  • Lloyds’ bumper RMBS is good news but it doesn’t fix the market.
  • HSBC moves its chief executive to Asia not a moment too soon, as it seeks to grow earnings while international banks pull back.
  • The New Yorker magazine has offered an intriguing morsel of insight into the days after the Lehman Brothers collapse. According to the article, Tim Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, received a call from a "titan of the financial system" (as Tim put it), who said he was worried but doing fine. Immediately after ending the call, Geithner called the titan back and said: "If anyone hears your voice, you’ll scare the sh*t out of them."
  • On September 11 BGC Partners held its Annual Global Charity Day, involving the slightly bizarre sight of well-known (and indeed not-so-well-known) celebrities wandering around the inter-dealer broker’s trading floors taking calls from clients.
  • The leaders of the world’s banking industry will be relieved to know that someone is there to help them overcome their inhibitions and rebuild their damaged egos.
  • A worrying trend has surfaced in emerging markets as volatility hit China’s hedging contracts.
  • Ankara ought to reveal the source of a $15 billion windfall in its budget.
  • Calderón needs tougher measures to solve the fiscal deficit problem.
  • Antonio Acosta, the co-president of Banco del Pichincha, the largest bank in Ecuador, is confident 2009 will be a good year for the bank. He tells Euromoney why he is so positive about prospects.
  • Daiwa, Nikko split from commercial partners; Kirin/Suntory shows corporate Japan’s pragmatism
  • Morgan Stanley’s incoming CEO explains strategy; Mack and Chammah take new responsibilities
  • France’s parliament amended article 2011 of the civil code on September 17 to help the structuring of Islamic financial products in the country using the French equivalent of trusts.
  • Credit-quality and profit-growth troubles; Subsidiary in Syria to undertake IPO
  • Guarantees from its parent remove the big risks; It sets out modest targets for a return to profitability
  • The yet-to-be-named trade aggregation service launched by CLS and Icap subsidiary Traiana in April received a fillip in September when Goldman Sachs became the latest bank to say it would support it. It joins the seven founder banks: Bank of America; Credit Suisse; Citi; Deutsche Bank; JPMorgan; Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Bradesco, one of Brazil’s leading banks, and Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo have joined forces to create a new private equity company that will operate in Brazil.
  • Tough medicine has been doled out at Citi since the arrival of Derek Bandeen as head of global equities trading last summer. After a blunt diagnosis of the problem – too many people doing the wrong things – the global equities division went through a dramatic shake-up in which it shed just over a quarter of its staff.
  • Citi has hired Rodney Tsang, previously Merrill Lynch’s head of China private-sector coverage, as co-head of China investment banking. Tsang will report to Farhan Faruqui, head of Asia Pacific global banking, who says of the hire: "The non-SOE [state-owned enterprise] sector in China has been growing for the past few years, and it’s an area we’re continuing to invest resources in. Rodney’s hire is an important incremental step in that direction, not only because he has good relationships and a lot of credibility with clients but because his track record in sectors including general industry, consumer and real estate complements the expertise of our existing team very well."
  • Hopes to raise equity up to $500 million; Turns away from real estate development
  • Governments and the broader public sector are increasingly seeking the sort of service improvements that can draw on cash management specialists’ expertise. Laurence Neville reports.
  • SW Asset Management, a new fixed-income fund, is demonstrating its enthusiasm for emerging market firms by investing in their debt and exploring the credit default swap market. Dominic O’Neill reports.
  • Regional and multi-regional cash management banks have a chance to expand their markets and force global providers to rethink what they offer. Will they seize their opportunity? Laurence Neville reports.