November 2017

November 2017

Defusing PrivatBank: A very Ukrainian nationalization

It is almost a year since the forced nationalization of Ukraine’s biggest bank, whose collapse could have wreaked havoc with the country’s economy. It has cost the country $6 billion and sparked a wave of recriminations and lawsuits. As policymakers try to turn PrivatBank into a viable lender, here’s the inside story of a high-stakes national psychodrama.


IIF: Harmonization is the watchword in Washington

From integration to level playing fields: the discussions at this year’s IIF meetings in Washington were dominated by talk of combating divergence. Other familiar complaints were still present, but the overall tone was less fearful than in 2016.

CMU key to solving the ‘real problem of Europe’

Bankers see European capital markets union as more needed than ever to help drive growth in the region, but are fretting about slow progress and a scope some feel is too narrow – however, an EU official attending the Institute of International Finance meetings in Washington defended the bloc’s approach.

Banking: Ten years on, ICBC Standard deal starts to show its worth

In the 10 years since ICBC’s $5.5 billion acquisition of a 20% stake in South Africa’s Standard Bank Group, there has still been no bigger single China-Africa investment. Looking back now, the deal was remarkable for the speed and relative ease with which it came together. But has it worked?

Asia Pacific

Debt swap problems pile up in China

Debt-for-equity swaps are all the rage among China’s state-owned enterprises, but it may be that households, rather than banks or insurance companies, are going to be the ones footing the bill.

A first look inside HSBC’s China JV

After years of discussion and an agonizing wait for regulatory approval, HSBC’s securities joint venture in China – the first to have majority foreign control – is approaching launch. Senior figures explain the process and what the JV will look like.

Capital markets


Bond custodians seek value from customer data

Bond custodians seek value from customer data

BNY Mellon and HSBC hope that, in an illiquid fixed income market with no registry of beneficial owners, their asset management clients may benefit from alerts about other counterparties wishing to buy or sell bonds.

Western Europe

Latin America

Risk enters Brazilian wealth management

Risk enters Brazilian wealth management

A change in the interest rate environment will require a fundamental shift in mind-set from the clients of Brazil’s private banks – are they ready for it and where should they look for returns?


Transaction services


Foreign Exchange

Private banking

Impact investment: Foundations go deeper

Impact investment: Foundations go deeper

While foundations may be known for their giving, their investment portfolios lack creativity when it comes to solving environmental and social challenges. Some are taking their missions further.

Belt and Road Initiative



UK’s Provident shows risks of tech enthusiasm

UK’s Provident shows risks of tech enthusiasm

Europe’s banking industry should pay attention to the woes of Provident Financial – its problems go to the heart of how to modernize a lending model without destroying the franchise, losing workers and racking up credit losses.

Trump is honoured by rising stock prices

I don’t know why at first, but watching Donald Trump tell Fox News in October that because the value of the US stock market has risen by $5.2 trillion since he became president that “maybe in a sense, we are reducing the debt” makes me feel warm inside.

UBS and ECM: A public-private partnership

Banks’ third-quarter results show fixed income trading still depressed and CIB revenues mostly down, but UBS is looking remarkably perky, especially in equity capital markets. What’s up?

Front End

Lights, camera, $119 million! How DC makes crime pay

Bankers might have spent much of this year’s IMF meetings fretting over where they might find growth, but the only growth worrying Washington’s cab drivers was the awesome sum being raked in by the city’s traffic cameras.

Ukraine: PrivatBank was a boon to Mills

Back in June, holders of Eurobonds bailed in during the state takeover of Ukraine’s PrivatBank last year hired a clutch of upmarket American PRs to make the case to western journalists that the nationalization was illegitimate.