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  • Green bonds are bad? Wealth is luck? Viruses are good?

    This week in Keeping Tabs: a proposal to replace green bonds with certificates, the dramatic consequences of low rates, and a different side to viruses.

    • 27 Nov 2020
  • UK infra investment needs more credibility, not more capital

    There is every reason to be sceptical of the UK’s plan for a national infrastructure bank. Infrastructure is hard to finance because governments are unreliable. Combining hard assets expected to pay back over 30 years with democratic governments that change course every few makes private investors reluctant to treat long-term infra projects as a pure matter of credit risk.

    • 27 Nov 2020
  • MUFG seeks model change in quest for growth

    MUFG is overhauling personnel and its business model to try to escape a cycle of low returns, writes David Rothnie.

    • 26 Nov 2020
  • Saving the world, one angry guest at a time

    It's funny what you start to miss after nearly a year without travel.

    • 26 Nov 2020
  • MREL is a paradox for small UK banks

    Little lenders are being pushed closer to collapse in the UK by rules that were supposed to make them more resilient. The Bank of England should take note.

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • Now is not the time to rush an ESG securitization framework

    An ESG framework for the European securitization market is a noble aim but the middle of this pandemic is not the time to implement it. The European Parliament needs to take its time and make sure such a regime is built to last, and not throw it in alongside emergency legislation.

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • Alibaba CEO learns lesson in humility

    Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang has praised a regulatory crackdown on China’s technology titans. That was an abrupt turn from co-founder Jack Ma’s loose-lips policy to discussing China. Investors will be relieved.

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • P&M Notebook: a liking for the law

    It’s a widespread belief in capital markets that kicking up a fuss is a good way to make sure you never work in the industry again. Whatever you take out of your employer by way of a whistleblowing case or an employment tribunal had best set you up for a life away from the markets because that is supposedly where your life will be.

    • 20 Nov 2020
  • Brexit lost in translation, pandemic support lost in transition

    This week in Keeping Tabs: US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin asks the Fed to give back emergency funding, bond markets prove their real worth, and why Brexit negotiators need to realise that English isn’t the only language.

    • 20 Nov 2020
  • EU’s biggest funding test yet to come

    By all measures, the first two transactions of the European Union’s arrival as a supersized issuer in the capital markets were tremendous successes. The order books were world beaters, the new issue premiums were tiny despite the huge deal sizes, and the secondary performance has been incredible. But while it has been plain sailing so far, there are bigger tests ahead.

    • 19 Nov 2020
  • Rolls-Royce lands cash call after flight risk

    UK aerospace company Rolls-Royce managed a smooth landing for its mid-pandemic equity raise despite turbulence within its inner circle of advisers. It was a triumph for strong management, writes David Rothnie.

    • 19 Nov 2020
  • A curse to be back in the office?

    Some of us have got quite comfortable working from home — a bit too comfortable.

    • 19 Nov 2020
  • Sustainability-linked convertibles should be welcomed

    Sustainability-linked pricing has arrived in the equity capital markets. This is no bad thing.

    • 19 Nov 2020
  • Croydon’s insolvency could be just the beginning

    Giving cheap loans with few restrictions to local authorities via the Public Works Loan Board is not a suitable replacement for central government funding. This must change, or London Borough of Croydon will only be the first council to fall into insolvency.

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • Russians need to move quick to get ahead of sanctions

    With the inauguration of US president-elect Joe Biden in January will come increased expectations of further sanctions against Russian figures and corporates. Russian issuers should take advantage of the rally initiated by Biden's election performance and follow their sovereign into bond markets to raise cash while the going is good.

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • Investors take big risks in ignoring Brexit struggle

    As the UK and the EU prevaricate over the terms of a future trading relationship, equity investors seem to be ignoring the lack of progress in negotiations and the dangerous possibility of a deal between the pair not being struck before the Brexit transition period ends in just a few weeks.

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • China’s bank capital market comes of age

    Baoshang Bank’s complete write-down of close to $1bn of tier two debt offers an invaluable lesson to investors in China’s domestic bond market.

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • Optimism and gloom

    Last week's update from Pfizer and BioNTech about their vaccine candidate appears to have galvanised bank investors. The Euro Stoxx Banks index was up 17% on Friday afternoon, compared with where it started the week.

    • 16 Nov 2020
  • The Biden vintage, the brains behind the vaccine, REIT-bank linkage, climate action for debt shrinkage

    This week in Keeping Tabs: what a Biden administration means, the people behind the BioNTech vaccine, the link between commercial property and bank equity, and a proposal for dealing with debts in poor countries.

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Green Gilts carry risks as well as benefits

    Will Sir Robert Stheeman become the Green Knight?

    • 12 Nov 2020
  • Bovine exuberance

    It felt like a great weight had been lifted from financial markets this week. Two weights in fact.

    • 12 Nov 2020
  • Jefferies' European IB engine starts to purr

    Jefferies has enjoyed a record year in European investment banking, powered by equity capital markets, writes David Rothnie.

    • 12 Nov 2020
  • The wrong sort of liquidity

    Spare a thought for a young loans banker who recently told Taipan about his newfound freedom. I was drinking in Solas when the chap walked in on his own and ordered a Brooklyn Lager. Since we were the only two occupying the bar’s outside seating, we naturally started talking.

    • 12 Nov 2020
  • Corporate disclosure shouldn’t be outsourced to stock markets

    UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that large UK companies, whether listed or private, would need to make climate-related disclosures, was a step towards an important principle — that corporate transparency is a public good, and should be driven by governments, not listing authorities.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • ECB could copy Japan's special rates for reforming banks

    The Bank of Japan has said that it will pay extra on reserves deposited by banks that become more cost efficient or that merge. A similar policy could well be introduced in Europe too, although perhaps with different aims.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • For the good of all society retail payment relief must be a two-way street

    With the UK in its second lockdown, there is growing frustration among commercial landlords that retailer tenants are taking advantage of payment waivers. It is vital for the health of the commercial real estate sector and the pension funds that finance it that this is not allowed to happen.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Retained covered bonds exacerbate liquidity risks

    The ease with which banks have been able to deploy retained covered bonds for repo funding with central banks has aggravated liquidity risks and undermined regulations that were designed to shore up liquidity management practices exposed as inadequate during the 2008 financial crisis.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Covid-19 will reshape US student debt more than Biden

    US president-elect Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan is a dialled down version of what Democratic candidates were proposing on the campaign trail in the run up to the 2020 election. But rather than focus on the incoming president’s priorities, observers should be thinking about the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the $1.6tr of outstanding student debt.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Pushing EU loans is no job for the ECB

    Yves Mersch, one of the ECB governing council’s staunchest hawks, has a new argument for why the central bank must abridge its purchase programmes: by keeping down the borrowing costs of the eurozone periphery, the ECB is helping countries to “circumvent EU loans”, which he thinks should not be allowed to happen.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Ant’s listing failure should worry HKEX

    Ant Group’s IPO suspension was a big blow to many: the fintech firm itself, the banks that worked on the huge transaction, and the investors that were salivating to get a piece of the stock. It was also a big setback for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's reputation as an independent and attractive listing destination.

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Money for old rope

    Weather prophets in Europe’s capital markets can feel a chill coming — banks’ loan books may wither on the vine. A few people — and firms — will be in their element.

    • 09 Nov 2020
  • Meet the (probable) next US president

    Many have heard of Frost/Nixon, a great play — and later a film — based on the real interviews David Frost did with US president Richard Nixon after his impeachment and resignation. But here's a 1987 BBC interview by David Frost with Joe Biden, before his first tilt at the presidency.

    • 06 Nov 2020
  • EU bank supervision: another Monte to climb

    The way the EU handles Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena will yet again set a precedent for other struggling banks.

    • 05 Nov 2020
  • No blue wave but US stimulus still likely

    Just because it seems unlikely that in the US election the Democrats will take both the White House and the Senate, it does not mean that capital markets should become despondent about a fiscal stimulus package that could have reached $2.3tr had the so-called "blue wave" made a clean sweep.

    • 05 Nov 2020
  • Mediobanca buries buyer’s remorse with M&A bonanza

    Mediobanca’s European expansion plan has withstood turbulence at the Paris-based boutique it bought less than 18 months ago, writes David Rothnie.

    • 05 Nov 2020
  • US result is a champagne moment, but who for?

    Few readers of this column will have been able to avoid the temptation this week to continually hit refresh, hoping for a morsel of news on the US election. Whether you’re red, blue or polka-dot, the zig and zag of the election results has been compelling theatre.

    • 05 Nov 2020
  • China’s move against Ant Group is a gift to its critics

    China’s decision to clamp down on Ant Group has derailed an IPO of at least $34bn, despite execution being finished last week. The move appears to be little more than political muscle-flexing by Beijing. The real winners will be the country’s critics.

    • 05 Nov 2020
  • Deforestation finance: only a total stop will do

    It’s a pity the irreversible damage to our world’s lungs through the wanton destruction of its rainforests does not come with the same stark health warning found on a packet of cigarettes. If it did, the world’s largest banks and asset managers might be shamed into giving up their dirty habit.

    • 03 Nov 2020
  • 'The Chinese bid': don’t count on it

    Ask any debt banker in Asia about 'the Chinese bid' and they will tell you how dramatically demand from the country has transformed the dollar bond market. But a handful of recent deals from the country’s local government financing vehicles should give borrowers pause. This source of demand cannot be taken for granted.

    • 03 Nov 2020
  • Stay relevant in a digital world

    Finding it hard to keep up with advances in technology these days? Citi's got just the person for you.

    • 02 Nov 2020