September 2019

September 2019

The World Bank: the impossible job?

The World Bank is where finance and politics meet. The scope of its mandate and its ability to effect change have attracted some of both disciplines’ brightest minds to its presidency. But do the conflicting demands of the role mean that all careers at its head are destined to end in failure?

Top Stories

The fragile edifice of sovereign debt

The fragile edifice of sovereign debt

Systemic, contagious sovereign crises seem to have been consigned to history. Governments can raise funds more cheaply than ever and investor demand seems insatiable. But the banking sector remains a source of instability and new threats are emerging, such as trade wars. Is complacency the biggest threat of all?

Financial crime: Can Europe’s banks wash themselves clean?

European banks are trying to put a devastating series of money-laundering scandals behind them, but the crisis is far from over. The extra costs it implies are hitting them at the worst possible time, while the damage to their reputations will be even harder to repair.

How Facebook can win the global currency battle

Regulators, politicians, competition authorities and central bankers have all been outlining objections to the Libra project from the first day Facebook announced plans to let its 2.4 billion users exchange payments in a new virtual currency. Don’t be taken in. Facebook wants the burden of compliance with all those KYC, AML and CFT rules. Being able to identify what its users are paying for is a treasure trove. The banking system and the world’s central banks, as the more enlightened already see, had better gear up for new competition.

KfW: The quiet giant of German finance

With a balance sheet of €486 billion, KfW is Germany’s third-largest bank and a key player in German finance. Does it provide a protective cloak to the country’s financial well-being or cast a shadow over its banking sector?

World Bank/IMF

Is the World Bank fit for purpose?

Is the World Bank fit for purpose?

From governance issues to mounting competition, the World Bank faces myriad challenges, but its proponents remain convinced of its importance to the modern world.

Euromoney and the IMF/World Bank: A special relationship

For those that work on them, every edition of Euromoney is special. We try our utmost to reflect the issues of the moment, to delve into the intricacies of the global financial system and never forget that our duty is both to inform and to entertain.

Interview

Where next for the EBRD?

Where next for the EBRD?

As the role of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development comes under scrutiny in Brussels, president Sir Suma Chakrabarti mounts a vigorous defence of the bank’s unique business model and sets out his vision for its future.

Money laundering

Why Europe can’t stop money laundering

Why Europe can’t stop money laundering

Money-laundering scandals have dealt another blow to the reputation of Europe’s financial architecture. Does the EU stand any chance of convincing the rest of the world that it is getting tough on financial crime and fixing the leaks in its system?

Financial crime: Regulators find few lessons in Danske

Huge fines, criminal investigations and public opprobrium are the consequences of big anti-money laundering failures at banks, but what about the regulators? The reluctance of fellow EU supervisors to criticize one of their own in Denmark has heightened doubts about Europe’s AML framework.

The places that finance forgot

The places that finance forgot

The places that finance forgot

Countries fall off the global financial grid for a host of reasons: political obtuseness, lack of sovereign recognition, the departure of correspondent banking relationships, even Ebola. But we make a mistake if we think of these places as distant and uninteresting curios

Liberia sees a second chance

For many international investors, Liberia isn’t relevant. It offers little in terms of natural resource, while global banks find doing business there too risky and its young and poor population offers little commercial opportunity. Can China help turn this around?

Kurdistan readies for post-ISIS future

It’s not long ago that Kurdistan was on the brink of accessing the international markets. Then came ISIS, strained relations with Iraq and the challenge of being shackled to a state from which the population wants independence. Is Kurdistan ready to approach world markets again?

Laos’s past is its present

In the landlocked nation, credit is in short supply and few have bank accounts. Foreign lenders, development banks, microfinance institutions and fintechs want to solve its woes – it’s just not clear that Laos wants them back.

Algeria’s battle for modern banking

A properly functioning financial system has long eluded the country. As it moves on from Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year leadership, can the financial system finally overcome its many problems?

Non-recognition gives Kosovo a headache

It is 11 years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, and even now, only about half of the UN recognizes it as a free-standing sovereign state. That lack of international validation – not least the absence of a credit rating – is holding back a strong economy.

Clothes don’t cover Haiti’s problems

The country’s poverty is in marked contrast to the relative affluence of its neighbours. It needs access to finance beyond disaster relief. But can banks make a business case for a nation in such poor repair?

Country risk

How democracy benefits Africa’s debt

How democracy benefits Africa’s debt

In Africa, the more democratic a country is, the higher its Euromoney Country Risk score, but as the continent’s ECR grade stalls, African countries are diverging – politically and economically.

How MAS propelled Singapore to the top of the class

Singapore’s emergence as a global financial hub is no accident, and has not happened overnight. The key, according to Ravi Menon – the managing director of financial regulator the Monetary Authority of Singapore – is to plan well, act decisively and, above all, listen.

Why India is as risky as it ever was

Some uncomfortable conclusions arise from a close look at Euromoney’s country risk data for Asia since 1982. India’s opening has been rewarded with a dismal decline in its score, while the overthrow of local dictators doesn’t appear to do much for economies either.

Columns

Responsible finance: The pledge that never was

The US Business Roundtable has changed its statement of purpose to indicate that shareholders’ ambitions for profits have to be balanced with society’s goals, but what is it that these chief executives plan to do?

Asia Pacific

Malaysia turns again to the indispensable Zeti

Malaysia turns again to the indispensable Zeti

After the challenges of Asian and global financial crises and the 1MDB scandal, Zeti Akhtar Aziz is back in the top echelons of Malaysian influence again. She tells Euromoney about her achievements as central bank governor – and what she knew and did about 1MDB.

Banking

Transaction services

Entering the era of intelligent payments

Entering the era of intelligent payments

Automation and artificial intelligence are transforming the payments industry into one of the most dynamic sectors of transaction banking. But there are still many teething problems in an industry that has been catapulted onto centre stage.

Comment

KfW: Germany’s source of cheap capital

Germany is famous for its engineering and infamous for its banks – but how does a $4 trillion economy get by with only one battered global systemically important bank? And is the answer also the problem or an example to follow?

Surveys and Awards

Debate

Global private banking debate: PB embraces the modern world

Global private banking debate: PB embraces the modern world

Private banks across the world are changing fast, placing greater emphasis than ever on a host of key factors. The best wealth managers are busy boosting inclusivity, emphasising technology and security, and ensuring they are on-point when it comes to meeting compliance needs.