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September 2011

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LATEST ARTICLES

  • Middle Eastern companies and their banks are still very much open for business, despite the instability arising from the Arab Spring. But with risks rising, companies want ever more visibility and control over the way they manage their cash.
  • China’s rapid expansion as a leading trading nation presents opportunities for banks to develop solutions to internal and international cash management needs. In this debate bankers and corporate clients discuss what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be done.
  • Three leading companies and Garanti Bank discuss the country’s corporate performance and access to finance. Growth is steady and firms are expanding, but there are wider macro issues that won’t go away.
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  • Bankers and corporate treasurers discuss how best liquidity can be safeguarded in a world of wider regulation and broadening markets.
  • Fred Goodwin’s column inches continue to match the losses he racked up at Royal Bank of Scotland. After the summer saga of his superinjunction, in which, under the privilege of the House of Commons, a UK MP revealed his affair with a senior bank colleague, now two new books reveal more details of what else Fred the Shred was up to as RBS collapsed.
  • A growing group of fund managers are fully aware of the risky nature of African capital markets – often having themselves taken hits – but regard the opportunities as a strong counterweight to the hazards. Nick Kochan reports.
  • "If you run a portfolio of German Bunds that is going to return you the square root of absolutely nothing! If people want to generate excess returns they will have to move from passive to active fund management"
  • An analyst at a hedge fund says a number of his peers and research firms have begun to use techniques, computer programs and employees from secret service agencies. The aim is to detect when an executive is lying on an analyst call. He says he knows of several hedge funds and research firms that monitor calls using such techniques.
  • Barclays spends a lot of money promoting its brand through the international golf circuit. Unfortunately, this year its two prestige events have both fallen victim to events outside its control. No, not turbulent markets – but terrible weather. Both its Scottish Open and its simply named The Barclays in the US found themselves reduced more quickly than any bank’s balance sheet, from 72 to 54 holes.
  • On a recent trip across London, one Euromoney journalist discovered an advert for a game in a booth on the banks of the Thames. The name of the game? Whack-a-Banker. Although the booth was closed, preventing a trial run at the game in the name of research, it is to be hoped that the (presumably three-armed, if the picture is to be believed) assailant depicted on its shutters is not in fact loose in the Square Mile.
  • Over the past year Romania has staged a surprise recovery, thanks to careful political stewardship and workers’ willingness to accept swingeing austerity measures. However, there is still much work to be done if the country is to fulfil its potential. Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker reports.
  • With a nimble approach to business and a track record of riding out storms in the Russian financial system, it is one of the country’s few bank success stories. But will Nomos suffer from growing too far, too fast? Rachel Morarjee reports from Moscow.
  • Warren Buffett’s record as an investor is unparalleled and his contribution to public life important, from pushing his fellow billionaires to pledge money to charity, to calling for a more equitable US tax code.
  • "What did they do after agreeing the Greek bailout? They went on holiday and left the details until they came back in September. No wonder the whole thing looks likely to unravel"
  • "Stay close to the shore." It’s a sophisticated phrase that I’ve always considered full of pregnant implications but never properly understood. Recently a friend explained: "It’s short for stick to things you know or where you have an edge."
  • Warren Buffett’s stick-up of Bank of America in late August was a classic piece of opportunistic investment. The $5 billion deal marked an evolution in Buffett’s signature approach of renting his reputation to troubled financial companies in return for a near-extortionate fee. Rather than waiting for a firm such as Salomon or Goldman to come to him begging for protection, Buffett this time foisted a deal on Bank of America.
  • In his new book, Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons From The Front Lines of Global Finance, William Rhodes, former senior vice-chairman and senior international officer of Citigroup, distils experiences from four decades of emerging market sovereign debt negotiations into handy advice to those struggling today to stabilize the finances of over-indebted developed-world governments.
  • A Silicon Valley-style venture capital industry centred on Moscow might be unlikely, at least for now. But sustained state encouragement including funding could drive a boom in Russia’s high-tech industry. Dominic O’Neill reports.
  • Macro headwinds, regulatory aggression, competition and new funding structures herald a shake-up in Turkey’s banking sector. Yet with many of the banks’ European shareholders under intense pressure in their home markets, Turkish banking assets have never been so valued. Nick Lord reports.
  • Ecobank has become the most widespread bank in Africa. Its chief executive, Arnold Ekpe, says the focus is now on revenues and efficiency. But with major acquisitions recently announced, Ecobank’s ambitions for growth have not let up. Dominic O’Neill speaks to the bank’s leadership.
  • A wave of agricultural land purchases by Middle Eastern investment groups in emerging markets is causing disquiet among governments, NGOs and development institutions. Are these investments for commercial gain, or a grab for food security? Nick Lord reports.
  • Blessed with some of the continent’s most fertile land, Ukraine is of enormous interest to agribusiness. A handful of local and international firms think they have spotted an opportunity. The private sector will be vital to the country fulfilling its potential. Valentina Zarya reports.
  • Feeding the world is the most pressing issue facing society. Billions of dollars of new investment is needed to forestall future crises in both supply and price. Markets and financial institutions can play a crucial role in meeting the challenge. But how can they do so without being seen to exploit the most crucial resource of all? Sudip Roy reports.
  • While FICC, flow and corporate finance volumes languish, structured products and the equity derivatives that underpin them are enjoying robust growth. Global investment banks are eager to supply the products, while the need for returns and governance solutions is driving demand. Nick Lord reports.
  • Argentina’s capital markets have become much more active this year, as the country’s economy booms and foreign investors turn to it in the belief that it offers investment opportunities. Jason Mitchell reports from Buenos Aires.
  • Vale is one of the world’s leading mining companies, with activities in 38 countries generating record results. The company is in a strategic sweet spot, exposed to growth in commodity prices and emerging market demand. CFO, Guilherme Cavalcanti, says it is time the company is seen as a global leader, not merely a Latin American champion. Rob Dwyer reports from Rio de Janeiro.
  • Citigroup is pinning its global strategy on the emerging markets and holds high hopes for its Latin America business. But, right now, it is nowhere near what it could and should be. Rob Dwyer reports from New York and São Paulo.
  • US agriculture generates profits of nearly $100 billion a year. Food and finance are inextricably linked. But international demand for US agriculture products is providing new challenges for the country’s farmers, especially in price volatility. Helen Avery reports.
  • Brazil’s government has not shirked from competitive devaluation policies. The most recent, in July, was a strike against currency speculators through a new FX derivative tax. Rob Dwyer looks at how it will affect corporate hedging strategies.
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