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September 2008

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LATEST ARTICLES

  • Lawyers around the world are readying lawsuits to file against banks that sold toxic products to investors. Which types of deals are likely to be the subject of the biggest payouts? And how will banks pay for them?
  • It could be the perfect storm – financial, macroeconomic and geopolitical risk are all on the rise. Risk is both where you anticipate it, and where you least expect it.
  • The bank has shone through Kazakhstan’s financial sector gloom thanks to the chief executive’s cautious policies that he put in place while rivals were borrowing abroad to fund over-risky lending. Elliot Wilson reports.
  • Jean-Claude Trichet, European Central Bank.
  • The growing trade links between Russia and Serbia are likely to lead to a greater Russian presence in the Balkan country’s banking sector. That is the view of Alexei Sytnikov, vice-president of Bank of Moscow, Russia’s fifth-largest banking group by assets, which has established a wholly owned subsidiary in the Serbian capital Belgrade with an initial investment of €15 million. "We believe that the probability of other Russian players entering the Serbian market is very high," says Sytnikov, who is responsible for Bank of Moscow’s international banks. He adds that all the prerequisites for Russian banks, most likely from among the top 30 players, are in place for them to look to set up subsidiaries in Serbia – strong economic growth, a relatively low level of competition in the financial services sector and a growing Russian business presence.
  • Poland continues to be a leading source of private equity business in emerging Europe, with recent transactions demonstrating the country’s attraction from both a retailing and manufacturing perspective.
  • Palestine is a surprisingly attractive prospect – good enough to hold the attention of private and public investors at a conference this year. But Gaza, which must develop pari passu with the West Bank if the Territories are to prosper, is an unstable imponderable. Chris Wright reports.
  • Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Company and Brazil’s Bradesco Asset Management have agreed to set up a mutual fund that will invest in Brazilian bonds.
  • The BarclayHedge CTA Index ended July up 7.08% year to date, outperforming the aggregate hedge fund index by more than 10%. The Barclay hedge fund index, however, returned –4.45% up to the end of July. Returns such as these are encouraging investors to allocate to CTAs away from other strategies, say managers.
  • Alessandro Profumo has built his banking group through acquisitions, cementing his reputation as a brilliant dealmaker. The challenge facing UniCredit’s CEO is to get the most out of his empire. At the heart of the group’s strategy is aggressive organic growth in emerging Europe. Sudip Roy reports.
  • VTB, Russia’s second-largest banking group, continues to add to the array of western talent in its investment banking business. Its latest hire is Herbert Moos, who has been named as chief executive of VTB Bank Europe in London. Moos joins from Lehman Brothers, where he spent 14 years, most recently as chief financial officer for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan. Moos will be responsible for developing the investment business of VTB in London, Asia and the Middle East. He will report to Yuri Soloviev, head of investment banking.
  • Complex securitization without a single new bond.
  • Bank chiefs in the region have much to cheer but can’t help feeling a little uneasy. They have no direct exposure to the sub-prime fallout, but have had to rethink their funding strategies. And while they see clear opportunities to grow, an economic slowdown could be looming.
  • Euromoney asked eight leading chief executives what impact the credit crunch has had on their banks and what they think are the problems and advantages of being a local bank in a time of global crisis.
  • Continuing problems are forcing firms to reconsider market timing, the balance between public and private funding and the importance of neglected sources such as retail and corporate deposits. Six specialists debate the issues.
  • Chief executives need to lead from the front to achieve cross-company support for supply chain management projects and they need to identify the right partners to help them adopt successful strategies.
  • Government intervention in financial markets goes against the grain of any US administration. However, it appears preventing closure of the mortgage finance markets is more important than ideology.
  • Peru’s dramatic rise from market pariah to investors’ darling was capped this year with investment-grade status awarded by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, opening Peruvian capital markets to huge interest among institutional investors. Ironically, Alan García, the president who made Peruvian debt a no-go area in the 1980s with soaring inflation and bond defaults, oversaw the upgrades in his second term, two decades later as a free-market convert.
  • Standard Chartered has promoted Todd McDonald to the new role of global head of FX electronic pricing and trading. McDonald, who was previously the bank’s FX trading head, Americas, will now be based in Singapore. As a result of his move, Keith Underwood, currently head of FX trading, UK and Europe, will relocate to New York.
  • "More business is done here in the sauna after a good round of golf than is ever done in meeting rooms," says a senior manager at a top investment bank in Seoul, perhaps a touch wistfully, when Euromoney’s correspondent asks for advice on networking on a recent visit to Korea.
  • Iran’s banks have had their access to international liquidity curtailed by sanctions imposed by the US. This photo, of a Bank Melli cashpoint, suggests its management may have gone a little too far in protecting their deposit base. Either that, or perhaps the marketing department got the wrong end of the stick in a drive to attract high net-worth individuals?
  • Of benefit to both the environment and HSBC’s bottom line is the opening of a new internal network of conference rooms by the UK bank, which CIO Ken Harvey says will give "the experience and benefit of actually being in the room with colleagues on the other side of the world, without having to pack a suitcase".
  • David Puth, the former head of FX and commodities at JPMorgan, has resurfaced after nearly two years out of the market. He has been appointed to the new position of head of investment research, securities finance and trading activities for State Street. He will report to Jay Hooley, president and chief operating officer of the Boston-based bank and will sit on the company’s operating group. Puth spent many years at what was originally Chemical Bank, going through several mergers and takeovers to end up at JPMorgan. After he left the bank in November 2006, he founded risk management and advisory group Eriska; he also joined Icap’s board as a non-executive director in November 2007.
  • "Our long-term view remains – we will eventually see 1.60 for cable and parity for EUR/GBP" -Paul Day, Mig Investments
  • Some 190 IPOs seeking to raise $33.1 billion in capital have been postponed or withdrawn across the world so far this year, according to Dealogic.
  • India moved a step closer to liberalizing its foreign exchange market with the launch of rupee currency futures trading on the National Stock Exchange on August 29. Initial activity was brisk, with about 70,000 contracts changing hands in the first session. The NSE contracts are extremely small by international standards – they have a notional value of just $1,000 – and would appear to be very much aimed at attracting retail participation. Perhaps not surprisingly, early trading was dominated by banks and large corporations.
  • Today’s long-term rise in agricultural commodity prices is different from previous episodic spikes. Higher prices are having knock-on effects on companies in the sector, as well as on farmers and the poor, and causing a re-evaluation of business models. Peter Koh reports.
  • With the sale, among other assets, of the state telecommunications firm, privatization in Iran seems to be accelerating. There is an apparent eagerness to attract foreign investors. But, some say, if capitalism in Iran is being let out of the pen, it is still being kept on a tight leash. Dominic O’Neill reports.
  • The greenback revival, driven by ECB recognition that the eurozone is faltering, will be sustained by the narrowing of the US current account deficit, the fall in the oil price and the US pursuit of a soft monetary policy.
  • Gulf firms raised a record $15.76 billion in rights issues from July 2007 to June 2008, a 242% increase on the previous 12 months. In the first six months of 2008, rights issues in the Gulf Cooperation Council states raised $11.9 billion from shareholders, according to research from UK law firm Trowers & Hamlins.