The tough route to quality

Weak and unreliable may be their image ­ but the best emerging-market banks are among the most robust in the world.

The rise and rise of the risk manager

First he sat in the back seat, then he had his foot on the brake, now he's got one hand on the steering wheel! Is there no end to the risk manager's advancement into every aspect of risk-taking in a financial firm? Next he'll be right there in the driving seat, with traders, salesmen, corporate financiers and chief financial officers doing his bidding.

More than just champagne and peacocks

To many of the small family-owned firms of Switzerland's Lac Léman, private banking is still all about providing a discreet service to those old-money Europeans who still have time to contemplate their investments amid champagne corks and peacocks.

Why Japanese banks don't care about profits

Sinking under bad debts, stung by criticism of their poor profitability and shocked by the falling prestige of the ministry of finance, Japanese banks are talking about changing their way of doing things.

Giants with nowhere to hide

In a time of fierce competition partly prompted by technological change, commercial banks are struggling hard to make decent margins from traditional business.

Learning to love shareholders

France has long maintained a proprietorial attitude towards its national treasures, including both financial institutions and the French language.