May 2011

Top stories

Papa, Ghizzoni, and Mustier: UniCredit’s new guard fights to revive its empire

Papa, Ghizzoni, and Mustier: UniCredit’s new guard fights to revive its empire

After a few difficult years, culminating in the resignation of its long-serving chief executive, Italy’s biggest lender is hoping for a fresh start. But plenty of hurdles still need to be overcome if it is ever to reassume its position as one of Europe’s leading banks. Sudip Roy talks to UniCredit’s new management about its recovery plans.

Banking

Which banks are too big for their borders? Monsters remain unleashed

Which banks are too big for their borders? Monsters remain unleashed

Bank chiefs have finally accepted that their hopes of a level regulatory playing field will remain forlorn. US bankers are up in arms about Europe’s treatment of risk-weighted assets. Europe’s banks face a fault line, where they operate internationally but risk being penalized for the relative size of their balance sheets to national GDP. What does the future hold for banks that could be too big for their borders? Peter Lee reports.

Foreign Exchange

FX survey 2011: Banks take fight to the algo traders

Electronic trading has transformed foreign exchange into a $4 trillion a day flow monster, delivering record revenues to those with scale. But by focusing on building their own internal platforms, banks have left themselves open to attack from the high-frequency traders, who pick them off at will and force them to hold more risk. Now the banks are fighting back. Hamish Risk reports.

Euromoney FX survey 2011: Buy side excited by multiple choice

The dominance of the top-three FX banks is being challenged by the chasing pack of dealers. It isn’t just a case of luring clients onto their internal trading platforms. Clients want different things, and multi-dealer exchanges are beginning to prosper. Tom Osborn reports.

Euromoney FX survey 2011: HSBC raises its game

When Euromoney calls to book appointments with the heads of the top 10 FX banks before the results of this year’s poll appear, the typical response from their press officers is: “Can we get back to you, he is travelling in Asia right now.” This tells you all you need to know about growth in the foreign exchange markets, with Asia as its new frontier.

Africa

Investment banks eye the last frontier: Africa

African deals are increasing in number but what is the best way for investment banks to get involved? Dominic O’Neill finds out what the key players in Johannesburg, London and Dubai are thinking.

Bidding wars intensify for Africa’s key assets

Africa has much to tempt a growing economy, and China has the money to pay for access to the resources it needs and wants. But it is not the only country with an eye on the continent. Nick Kochan reports.

Credit

US CLOs revive as loan markets surge

The collateralized loan obligation market has been one of the surprise recovery stories of the past year. US managers are reappraising the opportunities it provides. Will the revival continue, and can it catch on in Europe? Joti Mangat reports.

Emerging Europe

Russian capital markets: Climate change

Russia’s underdeveloped capital markets are on track for much-needed modernization. However an arcane legal system and entrenched attitudes could yet put a brake on the pace of reform. Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker reports.

CEE: Work in progress

After decades of neglect, infrastructure in central and eastern Europe is in urgent need of upgrading. Now projects across the region are on hold in the wake of the global downturn. Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker talks to the public- and private-sector bankers trying to get the market back on its feet.

Asia Pacific

Middle East

Saudi banks face up to further consolidation

Five years after Saudi banks saw their investment banking and asset management arms split from their commercial banks, the sector is still finding its feet. Three of the firms that got a head start tell Chris Wright how the battle for market share is likely to play out.

Latin America

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Comment

Columns

Inside Investment: In deep voodoo

The decision by Standard & Poor’s to place the US on credit watch with a “negative outlook” is a watershed. With politicians unwilling to attack spiralling welfare costs, a bond crisis might be just around the corner.

FX and equity markets converge

Technology has changed the game forever. And it is costing the banks dearly. They are returning to an old idea to defend their corner from the predations of high-frequency traders. The answer to the erosion of business may lie in a trick from the equities market: dark pools. Is PureFX back on the table?

Front End

Fred Goodwin's super-injunction: Secrets and lies

Sir Fred Goodwin, ex-chief executive of RBS, who found himself the lightning rod for UK public anger over the financial crisis in 2008, seems to have again served himself up on a plate to the UK media for ridicule.