Outside of financial crises, mergers and acquisitions are the closest the stock market comes to high drama. Companies in play engage with investors and the public using a well-rehearsed script: Acquirers woo target shareholders while target companies publicise the value of independence. The biggest, most dramatic takeovers can involve antitrust regulators and politicians as well.
Junk bond funds are seeing record outflows. This has been described as a ‘six-sigma event’, in other words, six standard deviations away from the mean weekly flow, something that if normally distributed should only be expected once in millions of years.
By definition that’s unusual, but in the context of broader investment in … Continued
A bank whose bailout costs £45 billion deserves to have more than one book written about it. In September 2013 we had Iain Martin’s Making It Happen (see my review here), and now fellow Scottish journalist Ian Fraser has published Shredded.
Fraser’s 500-page book piles on the detail as we meet … Continued
On the fourth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act, the big US banks are still black boxes in terms of their trading activity. However regulators are now getting a bit more information. Over the last month, the big banks have started providing them with so-called reporting metrics under the Volcker Rule, so that the … Continued
Oxford University Press, 175pp
If one were to write a creation myth for modern finance, the wave of mathematicians and physicists who left academia for Wall Street from the mid-1980s onwards would be at the heart of it. As Stephen Blyth recounts in the preface to his book, these quant pioneers knew virtually … Continued
The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better by Hugo Dixon (Kindle Single, 130pp)
European Spring: Why our Economies and Politics are in a Mess and How to Put Them Right by Philippe Legrain (Amazon print-on-demand, 448pp)
As the May elections to its parliament showed, … Continued
Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
WW Norton, 2014
Rapid technological change has become such a constant in our lives that it’s easy to forget what the world was like before computers, the Internet and social media apps. Increasingly, these innovations are reinventing the economy and transforming corporations and the lives of individuals. Are these changes … Continued
Britain’s finance industry is believed to be so vital to our interests that the UK government has apparently ruled out denying the Russians access to it.
Disruptive internet-based business models have upended traditional industries like recorded music, newspapers and retailing. The latest flurry of innovation involves start-ups that take a service traditionally provided by a regulated firm – such as a hotel or taxi company – transforming it into commission-paying transactions between buyers and sellers. Accessed via smartphone apps and ‘regulated’ … Continued
As quantitative easing measures or asset purchases by central banks are scaled back or ‘tapered’, how might big international banks be affected? This was the question prompted by a bank risk manager who responded to one of my recent posts by writing:
“You should be looking at plain vanilla lending, across many types … Continued