Feb. 16, 2014, 2:18 AM
- Bank of America (BAC) and HSBC (HSBC) have agreed to settle lawsuits that borrowers filed over force-placed property insurance that the banks required them to buy.
- However, there were no details about how much the firms will have to pay.
- The borrowers argued that BofA and HSBC agreed to deals with insurance companies and over-charged for the coverage.
- The deals come after JPMorgan agreed to pay $300M and Citigroup $110M over the same issue.
Feb. 12, 2014, 3:13 PM
- There have been a number of suits against the global banks over claims of forex manipulation, but this latest by the City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement is the first to include research highlighting unusual movements in major currencies.
- Using data compiled by Fideres, the plaintiffs analyzed daily trading right around the 4 PM fix of currency prices ... curiously, anomalous price movements became rarer and less pronounced after the initial reports of rigging surfaced last summer.
- Morgan Stanley has spent some time looking at euro/dollar spikes at 4 PM and also concluded they were unrelated to economic events. Instead of collusion though, Morgan pins the blame on computerized trading programs.
- The seven banks sued by Philadelphia which is seeking damages as high as $10B: Barclays (BCS), Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), HSBC, JPMorgan (JPM), RBS, and UBS.
Feb. 12, 2014, 7:45 AM| Comment!
Feb. 3, 2014, 11:25 AM
- Wells Fargo (WFC -1.1%) added $4.2B in brand value in 2013 to reach a total of $30.2B, according to Brand Finance. Boosting Wells vs. competitors is its lack of association with the string of legal settlements and investigations over the past years (though Wells isn't free of these). Coming in second is the U.K.'s HSBC at $26.9B.
- In third place, but showing a big gain in brand value over the past year is Bank of America (BAC -1.3%), which added $4.3B to $26.7B. Dropping to fifth place from second after losing a couple of hundred million in brand value is the Bank of Dimon (JPM -1.4%), no doubt stung by a seeming ceaseless string of legal actions against it.
- Full list
Jan. 30, 2014, 7:59 AM
Jan. 24, 2014, 7:27 AM
- What was the CEO of a company you're an owner of up to this week? An index of companies whose execs regularly attend Davos has vastly underperformed the market since 2009.
- Attendance at the gathering tends to be dominated by the financials, with GS, C, HSBC, JPM, LAZ, MS, SCBFF, BAC, ITUB, and UBS leading the way to prove their bona fides as thought leaders. Also spotted were the heads of DOW, and PEP.
- Notably absent: Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B) , Tim Cook (AAPL) (Jobs never attended either), Jeff Immelt (GE), and Virginia Rometty (IBM). Google's (GOOG) founders and Mark Zuckerberg (FB) stopped going a couple of years ago.
Jan. 17, 2014, 2:57 PM
- As U.S. investigators arrive in London to work alongside U.K. counterparts, Citigroup (C -0.3%) and HSBC today both suspended foreign exchange traders, reports Reuters.
- One Citi trader is based in NYC, the other in London, and both are G10 spot currency traders. A bank spokesman says they've been sent on "leave." Reuters' source at Citi says they were suspended after an investigation into chat room communications.
- The two HSBC traders are based in London, and one of them - at least in the past - was head of the bank's G10 spot FX desk.
- The four are the latest in a line of suspensions and now firings as Citi one week ago let go its head of European spot FX trading.
Jan. 13, 2014, 5:09 AM
- The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision has eased the way banks will have to report leverage ratios, or the amount of capital they hold against their loans and other assets.
- The regulations will not force banks to count 100% of their off-balance-sheet assets, such as much of their exposure to derivatives, and guarantees and letters of credit.
- That alterations will lower the need for banks to sell assets or raise capital to meet the Basel leverage-ratio requirements, which might be set at 3% or higher from 2018.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index is +1.5%.
- Major banks: RBS, HSBC, BCS, DB, CS, UBS, GS, JPM, C, MS, WFC, USB, BK, SAN, BBVA, LYG, NMR
- ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, EUFN, IPF, SEF, IAT, IYG, PFI, FXO, IXG, KBWB, KME, RKH, QABA, KRU, FINU, RWW, KBWR, RYF, FNCL, PSCF, AXFN, KRS, FINZ, EMFN, KBWX
Jan. 7, 2014, 11:38 AM| Comment!
Dec. 10, 2013, 12:48 PM
- HSBC looks to move more non-core assets of the books, agreeing to sell its 8% stake in Bank of Shanghai to Banco Santander (SAN -0.2%). The price hasn't been disclosed, but the stake was last seen on HSBC's balance sheet as an available-for-sale asset with fair value around $468M.
- "Our priorities going forward will emphasize the growth of our own operations in mainland China and our own partnership with Bank of Communications," says HSBC Asia Pacific boss Peter Wong.
- The deal, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in H1.
Dec. 9, 2013, 8:39 AM
- While HSBC did consider a float of its U.K. operations in wake of the financial crisis, people familiar with the matter deny the bank is currently in the process of prepping an IPO, reports the WSJ.
- Among the issues: HSBC already has plenty of liquidity looking to find a good investment home, so what would be the plan to profitably invest the proceeds of a sale?
- Earlier coverage
Dec. 9, 2013, 3:32 AM
- HSBC (HSBC) has reportedly asked investors if they would support the bank selling up to 30% of its U.K. unit in an IPO that could value the subsidiary at an estimated £20B.
- A listing of the business would help HSBC comply with the terms of the incoming Vickers rules, which require U.K. banks to ring-fence their domestic retail banking operations. Increasing capital requirements may also make the flotation logical, while it could unlock shareholder value as well, given investor optimism towards the U.K. and its banking sector.
- The news comes as other banks prepare to list subsidiaries in the U.K., including Lloyds, RBS and Santander.
- HSBC's shares are +0.4% in London.
Dec. 4, 2013, 5:51 AM
- As flagged, the EU Commission has fined international banks €1.71B for the manipulation of inter-bank interest rates, including.
- The banks fined are Citigroup (C) [€70M], Deutsche Bank (DB) [€726M], Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) [€391M], JPMorgan (JPM) [€79.9M] and Societe Generale (SCGLF) [€446M].
- UBS (UBS), Barclays (BCS) and Citigroup helped expose the cartels and so received immunity for their violations. UBS avoided a fine of €2.5B and Barclays €690M, while Citigroup's was €55M lower as a result.
- The EU has opened proceedings against HSBC (HSBC) and Credit Agricole (CRARF), as well as against JPMorgan (JPM), for Euribor infractions. JPM's fine is for Tibor violations. (PR)
Dec. 4, 2013, 4:57 AM
- The EU Commission will reportedly fine a group of leading multinational banks €1.7B for rigging inter-bank interest rates in what would be the largest antitrust penalty that the commission has ever levied.
- The banks to be fined include all the old favorites - Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), JPMorgan (JPM) and Barclays (BCS), as well as Societe Generale (SCGLF).
- The banks have admitted liability in return for a 10% reduction in their punishment.
- However, HSBC (HSBC) and Credit Agricole (CRARF) are contesting the proposed sanctions from the EU and are set to be formally charged today.
- UBS (UBS), which paid $1.5B to U.S. and U.K. authorities for similar sins, is escaping a penalty, as it alerted the EU to the Libor and Tibor cases.
- EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is due to announce the penalties at a press conference at 5:30 ET.
Dec. 3, 2013, 1:44 PM
- HSBC (HSBC -1%) is the downside outlier in a green U.K. banking sector after Nomura downgrades to Hold.
- In other U.K. banking news, RBS is forced to issue an apology for another technical glitch which left customers unable to access their accounts through ATMs, or pay for purchases with debit cards.
- CEO Hester: "Last night’s systems failure was unacceptable ... For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. It will take time, but we are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on.”
Nov. 26, 2013, 4:12 AM
- The benchmark rate for the $20T gold market has become the latest focus of regulator scrutiny, with the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority looking at how the "London fix" is set, Bloomberg reports.
- In a process that goes back to 1919, the rate is published twice a day following a telephone call between Barclays (BCS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), HSBC (HSBC) and Societe Generale (SCGLY).
- The process can last up to over an hour, with participants being able to use the information from the call to trade gold and its derivatives while the discussion is taking place.
- "It's controlled by a handful of firms with a direct financial interest in where it's set, and there is virtually no oversight - and it's based on information exchanged among them during undisclosed calls," says Rosa Abrantes-Metz of New York University.
- ETFs: GLD, IAU, PHYS, SGOL, UGL, DGP, GLL, DZZ, UGLD, DGL, GLTR, DGZ, AGOL, DBP, GLDI, DGLD, WITE, FSG, TBAR, JJP, UBG, RGRP, BLNG
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