Sep. 29, 2014, 6:43 AM
- UBS (NYSE:UBS) has entered settlement talks over allegations it was involved in manipulating foreign exchange rates.
- Although the bank did not identify a regulator, Reuters was informed by sources on Friday that Britain's Financial Conduct Authority was talking to UBS and five other banks - Barclays (NYSE:BCS), HSBC (NYSE:HSBC), Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS), JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) and Citi (NYSE:C).
- A settlement could result in each bank being fined hundreds of millions of pounds, depending on the severity of the misconduct.
- As well as the FCA, authorities in the U.S., Switzerland and Hong Kong are investigating the $5.3T a day foreign exchange market.
Sep. 19, 2014, 12:25 PM
- A check of European closing prices finds the euphoric early reaction to the "No" vote from Scotland mostly faded by day's end. The Stoxx 50 (NYSEARCA:FEZ) closed just 0.2% higher, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 (NYSEARCA:EWU) gaining 0.3%.
- Looking at U.K. bank ADRs: RBS (RBS +1.2%), Barclays (BCS -0.9%), Lloyds (LYG +0.5%), HSBC (HSBC -0.2%).
- Dealing with its own separatist movement, Spain (NYSEARCA:EWP) managed just a 0.1% gain.
- Previously: Euro shares lean green on "No" vote
- Previously: Might Catalonia secession fears ebb following Scotland vote?
Sep. 17, 2014, 3:52 PM
- Though most of the polls give the "No" (to breaking away from the U.K.) camp the lead, the pound (NYSEARCA:FXB) is behaving a bit nervously. It's now slightly lower on the session after being up nicely this morning following a larger-than-expected decline in unemployment.
- Independence would be "an economic trapdoor down which we go, from which me might never escape," says former U.K. PM Gordon Brown in the sort of fear-mongering comment becoming fairly typical from politicians who support the status quo.
- “Secession would be a catastrophe for Scotland,” says Spanish foreign minister Garcia-Margallo. “It would start a process of Balkanization that nobody in Europe wants.” Spain, of course, has its own secession issues in Catalonia.
- The U.K. banks are showing little nervousness, with Barclays (BCS +0.8%), RBS (RBS +0.8%), and Lloyds (LYG +1.5%) all in the green, and HSBC (HSBC) just marginally lower.
- ETFs: EWU, EWUS, FKU, DXPS, DBUK, QGBR
Sep. 12, 2014, 3:21 PM
- HSBC looks like it's become the 16th lender to settle mortgage claims with the FHFA as Bloomberg reports the bank will pay as much as $600M over soured MBS.
- The FHFA filed 18 lawsuits in 2011 over about $200B in MBS. If HSBC does settle, it would leave Nomura as the lone bank not yet coming to terms with the agency (Goldman last month became #15 to settle).
Sep. 11, 2014, 7:45 AM
- There's a lot being made of last weekend's poll showing a majority of Scottish voters for the first time favoring independence, but in the spot where folks need to put money behind their opinions, it's not even close.
- Wagers placed at Betfair Group show an 80% chance of a "No" vote for independence - roughly £4M has been placed on no and just £1M placed on yes. "The big money trades continue to go on no, fueled by significant bets from south of the border," says Betfair.
- The easiest way to play a "No" vote (referendum is Sept. 18) would probably be to buy pounds, but, alas, it's bounced by nearly 200 pips since diving Monday morning in wake of the weekend poll.
- ETFs: FXB, GBB
- Other possibilities would include buying the British banks - BCS, RBS, LYG, HSBC, OTCPK:SCBFF - which have also been under pressure on worry of a break-up.
- Previously: RBS, Lloyds to relocate if Scottish independence announced
Sep. 9, 2014, 7:30 AM
Sep. 8, 2014, 7:59 AM
- "A wall of money has gone out of the banks and into fines and redress," says KPMG's U.K. head of banking Richard McCarthy. "Hopefully the most egregious things have come out and hopefully the banks will be able to move forward."
- Over the last five years, according to KPMG, the U.K.'s largest banks - BCS, RBS, HSBC, LYG, OTCPK:SCBFF - have cut consumer and business lending by $595B, or 14%.
- "There is light at the end of the tunnel," says McCarthy, with the report noting redress costs and fines fell 44% to £2.4B in 2014's first six months from a year ago.
- Meanwhile, the banks are sharply lower premarket over Scottish independence jitters. BCS -3.5%, RBS -4.1%, LYG -4.9%, HSBC -2%.
- Previously: Cable tumbles over Scotland referendum
Sep. 5, 2014, 3:41 AM
- U.S. Federal Judge Denise Cote has ruled that investors may press claims against 12 major banks for violating antitrust law by limiting competition and fixing prices in the $21T CDS market, even though improved liquidity should have driven costs down.
- The defendants include BofA (NYSE:BAC), Barclays (NYSE:BCS), BNP Paribas (OTC:BNPZY), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), HSBC (NYSE:HSBC), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), RBS (NYSE:RBS) and UBS (NYSE:UBS).
Aug. 28, 2014, 2:54 PM
- The FHFA launched 18 lawsuits in 2011 against banks over about $200B in MBS. Many have settled - the latest being Goldman Sachs last week - but HSBC, Nomura (NYSE:NMR), and RBS (which is a defendant in the Nomura case) are among a group which hasn't.
- The ruling from federal Judge Denise Cote sets up a Sept. 29 trial start date for HSBC, and the bank has estimated $1.6B in possible exposure.
Aug. 27, 2014, 2:08 AM
- HSBC (NYSE:HSBC) declares that it will fight the $250M Keydata lawsuit that alleges it aided a major international fraud.
- Thousands of U.K. investors lost their money when Keydata collapsed in 2009. The company invested many of its funds in bonds that were issued by Luxembourg-domiciled SLS Capital, which was later liquidated.
- HSBC is accused of doing little to correct the misleading marketing material that displayed the bank as the bonds’ trustee, and that it did not properly investigate claims that Keydata was an alleged Ponzi scheme.
- HSBC -3.7% AH
Aug. 18, 2014, 3:47 AM
- Eurozone banks are expected to borrow about €250B in cheap four-year money from the European Central Bank in September and December under the ECB’s "targeted long-term financing operations".
- The new loans would come on top of the more than €1T in cheap finance the ECB pumped into the financial system between late 2011 and 2012 to avert a financial crisis.
- The new funds are expected to boost lending to the region’s credit-starved businesses.
- Europe’s economic outlook has not been pretty. Last week, figures outlined a slowdown in Germany and France and Italy in recession.
- Related stocks: SAN, DB, IRE, CS, ING, BBVA, BCS, RBS, HSBC, LYG
- ETFs: EUFN
Aug. 12, 2014, 11:59 AM
- Brazil's money laundering probe linked to state-run Petrobras (PBR -1.2%) is spreading to financial institutions as prosecutors investigate whether they met compliance requirements.
- Court documents cite units of banks including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN) and HSBC, as well as Brazil-based Itau Unibanco (NYSE:ITUB) and Banco Bradesco (NYSE:BBD) as holding accounts or executing operations linked to the alleged laundering of 10B reais.
- The refining division at Petrobras already is under investigation for runaway spending including alleged inflated contracts to suppliers, and is cited as one of the possible sources of cash being laundered in the case dubbed “Car Wash” by police.
Aug. 5, 2014, 7:18 AM
- Moody's view of the sector is downgraded to "negative" from "stable," suggesting ratings cuts could be in the offing. At issue are new rules designed to prevent the use of taxpayer funds to rescue struggling operators.
- Also of note, says Moody's analyst Carlos Suarez Duarte, is continued exposure to both conduct and litigation charges."
- Those with negative outlooks include: LYG, BCS, RBS, HSBC.
Aug. 4, 2014, 7:50 AM
- Pretax earnings of $12.3B fell 12% from a year ago and came in shy of analyst estimates of $12.9B. Revenue of $31.2B fell 9.3%.
- Underlying operating expenses of $18.2B gained 2%, bringing costs as a proportion of revenue of 58.6% from 53.5%, higher than the bank's mid-50s target.
- The global banking and markets unit saw revenue of $5.03B, off 12%, "respectable in a broader industry context," says Investec's Ian Gordon.
- Expecting improvement in revenue in 2015," CEO Stuart Gulliver says gains should be lagged six months after rates begin to turn up.
- HSBC +2.2% premarket
- Press release
Aug. 3, 2014, 10:28 AM
- Wall Street firms led by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) are closing in on a deal to purchase a stake in chat and instant messaging start-up Perzo as an alternative to Bloomberg's similar application, Reuters reports.
- Bloomberg has dominated Wall Street for years, but banks have been looking for a substitute as sluggish trading volumes and higher regulations weigh on revenues. Bloomberg's trading and news terminal costs about $20,000 a year, while Perzo's applications are open-source and free. Bloomberg customers must also buy an entire terminal, and cannot just buy the messaging system and adapt it.
- Several other banks and asset managers have received term sheets for the Perzo deal and have recently signed non-disclosure agreements including Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), HSBC (NYSE:HSBC), and BlackRock (NYSE:BLK).
- Goldman has been looking at alternatives to Bloomberg's messaging program for years, and launched a project internally called "Babel" in early 2013 to develop a competitor.
Jul. 25, 2014, 8:03 AM
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