Debt: What next for the public sector institutions?

Europe’s supranational and agency borrowers are becoming ever bigger issuers in the international capital markets even as their historical missions appear to have been met and the banking and financial market to have matured enough to finance at commercial rates most of the lending risks the agencies assume.

ECB Watch: Are the markets reading Trichet right?

For 11 months the European Central Bank has been engaged in a gradual tightening of monetary policy or, to use the more nuanced language of ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet, a “progressive withdrawal of monetary accommodation”.

Asia Pacific market round-up: UBS heads back to school

More evidence of the chronic staff shortages still faced by Asia’s private banks came in September with news that UBS, the largest private bank in the region, has resorted to constructing its own purpose-built training facility for new recruits and existing staff to cater for the demands of its burgeoning Asia wealth management business.

Credit research: Do your homework

As credit research is increasingly geared towards short-term trading ideas rather than fundamentals, there could be a dangerous dearth of information when defaults begin to rise.

Sept 28: Prohibition augments desire

Gambolling with impunity, investment banks go on-line gambling; Is the European Union Savings Tax Directive 2005 a bitter blow to the ultimate butler brigade?

Bond Outlook September 27th

If the current more-moderate oil prices persist, the fear of returning inflation is much attenuated, as is that of recession.

Compete or collaborate – or give up?

There has been no relief from the pressures that last year’s annual cash management poll detected – as the industry globalizes, margins decline and competition intensifies.

Why Brazil is all abuzz

Its capital markets are a hive of activity – with record levels of IPO activity, decreasing funding costs and a first hostile takeover attempt.

OTP: predator or prey?

Hungary’s OTP Bank dominates its domestic market, but can it compete with regional powerhouses such as Raiffeisen International and UniCredit, or is it in danger of being swallowed up itself? Kathryn Wells meets OTP’s long-serving chief executive, Sandor Csanyi, to find out.

Iran hangs on in financial markets

A few big foreign banks have recently suspended their activities, but they are far outweighed by institutions that intend to maintain a connection.

Mainstream Macedonia

With a successful Eurobond behind it, the republic is beginning to fulfil its promise as a strategic part of the Balkans.

The role of ‘Justice’ shares

Some 5% of shares of companies to be privatized are set aside for their workers and, to some extent, the lower echelons of the society, to help with equitable distribution of wealth.

Ignorant analysts

“The events of February and March can be blamed in part on the relative lack of knowledge about the Icelandic economy and its peculiarities, which was reflected in some reports,” says prime minister Geir Haarde.

Iceland: Crisis? What crisis?

When Fitch put Iceland on a negative rating outlook in February the country was facing a heavy current account deficit as well as an asset price and credit bubble.

MENA’s financial sector landscape: The shape of things to come

Despite Gulf coffers brimming with oil cash and aggressive expansion by some of the region’s banks, inherent barriers to regional consolidation are set to limit fundamental change in the Middle East and North Africa’s financial sector landscape over the next five years.

Indonesia: The call to consolidate

Despite a cyclical downturn – which has itself prompted the country’s banks to sharpen up their operations – the sector is in unprecedented good shape.

Sabanci redefines the family business

Güler Sabanci, who chairs Turkey’s Sabanci Group, talks to Peter Koh about foreign partnerships, international expansion, the group’s strategic direction and the difficulties of running a family business.

Microfinance: Beyond philanthropy

Big banks are beginning to look beyond the kudos that socially responsible investment brings and are introducing microfinance to the capital markets as a viable, profitable business.