April 2011

Top stories

Banking isn’t working

Banking isn’t working

Many of the world’s leading banks are struggling to cross a key threshold in their business – where their return on equity exceeds their cost of equity. That’s only likely to get worse as their capital requirements rise. The hopes of the industry are based on an improvement in market conditions. Right now, it’s struggling to make a convincing case for itself. Peter Lee reports.

Exchanges

CME’s Donohue unmoved by exchange consolidation

CME’s Donohue unmoved by exchange consolidation

The tables have turned for Craig Donohue. Until recently the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was seen as the chief aggressor in the global battle for bourse market share. Now, as rivals announce ever-more grandiose consolidation plans, the CME’s chief executive is standing firm on his strategy for organic growth. Helen Avery reports.

Asia Pacific

China’s banks forced to follow the government’s course

The real level of problem loans at China’s biggest banks is shrouded in mystery. The good news for investors is that whatever happens, the government will support them – it got them into trouble in the first place. But such state control has led to a reappraisal of what China’s banks have to offer. Elliot Wilson reports

Equity: Hutch puts its trust in Singapore

Hutchison Ports Holdings chose Singapore for a record-breaking IPO because SGX’s business trust structure assures the Hutch listing, HPH Trust, of continuing control by its existing owners. Investors bought the deal because of its yield prospects, but are they guaranteed? Chris Wright reports

Derivatives: Korea still reeling from knock-out blows

Corporate Korea is caught in the aftermath of a derivatives disaster. One CEO tells how he nearly signed a deadly contract. Many others weren’t so lucky. As KiKo fiasco litigation continues, work is under way to avoid a repeat catastrophe. Lawrence White reports

Investors play on as Vietnam founders

After the default of one of its biggest state-owned companies in December, the country’s latest round of problems began: ratings downgrades, rising inflation and an 8.5% devaluation. Yet some investors are optimistic. They think its markets are cheap, and are waiting on a new wave of IPOs. Lawrence White reports

Japan’s shaken markets survive the test

The earthquake that devastated Japan put its markets under severe strain, with high volumes of orders stressing systems, and staff unsure whether to stay or flee. Those who worked through the crisis tell Euromoney about their experiences. Lawrence White reports.

Middle East

Egypt’s reluctant finance minister gets to work

Samir Radwan was a surprise choice as Egypt’s new finance minister – even to himself. Appointed at the height of the chaos, the retired economist is working hard to sustain Egypt’s finances and economy through a period of extraordinary upheaval. Eric Ellis joins him in Cairo

UAE federal finance chief speaks to Euromoney

Younis Al Khouri, director-general of the UAE federal finance ministry, speaks about his department’s cash injections into the banking sector, and his plans for the first UAE-wide sovereign bond.

Corporate finance

M&A pressure builds under corporate cash mountain

Cash hoarding by companies combined with private equity funds’ need to put money to work are producing stellar M&A volumes, mainly in the US. But economic uncertainty and corporate caution might make the going much slower in other markets. Louise Bowman reports.

Recruitment

Recruitment: Headhunters face collateral damage

New rules and regulations on bankers’ compensation are changing the tempo of financial services headhunters’ business. Many are finding that the dance of recruitment is adagio. Nick Lord reports

Banking news

Markets news

Asia news

Latin America news

EEMEA news

Comment

China: A clueless chase to nowhere in particular

When, a few decades into the future, we cast our minds back to the early years of the 21st century, how will China shape up in historical perspective? Moreover, how are we likely to view the country’s leaders in these fulcrum years: Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, president and premier from 2003 to 2013?

Columns

Inside investment: Consulting confusion

Investment consultants are taking a leaf from Madonna’s playbook and reinventing themselves. Implemented consultancy is causing a commotion but it is far from clear who the winners will be.

Front End

Diamonds are an investor’s best friend

Stuck for a yield-enhancing idea in these low interest rate times? Want an asset that provides consistent returns and offers a hedge against market and political crises? One fund manager reckons it has a gem of an idea.