Higher profits blur picture of crisis-hit City

LONDON | The British banking sector is well capitalised by European standards, but banks now expect the ability to raise finance to become a significant limitation on business during this year.

satanic london

The self-indulgent City of London

By Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, analyst at XTB, in Madrid | Midsummers have often been marked by markets’ most abrupt movements and scares that have hit unaware investors. This year, it wouldn’t be the first time I saw traders and asset managers cut short their holidays because their positions, once so safe that were left open, have stopped being as secured as they believed. Just skimming through the salmon papers, in…


The City wants Germany to give peripheral economies more time

LONDON | The financial City of London would pose as an unlikely critic of Germany’s tactics throughout the long euro rope pulling between the peripheral rotten economies and the apparently unstoppable Teutonic motor. Report after report has come out from City analysts supporting how urgent austerity packages were and pointing at every bad decision made by Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish politicians, who should have known better. Truth be told,…


The City is having a good time as some of the worst risks over the euro area ease

LONDON | The volume of business in the financial services sector grew for the eighth quarter running and at well above the average pace in the three months to March. A CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey reported this week green shoots in the City, with the first rise in optimism among financial services firms (+32%) in a year and an unexpected increase in employment in the sector (a balance of +19%). Ian McCafferty, CBI…


Did UK banks forget how to do retail?

LONDON | The largest European retail bank, the Spanish Banco Santander, announced Friday the appointment of 18 new business managers for its UK branches. Santander UK has pledged to have 500 local business managers based in business communities across Britain by the end of next year. This might be the way to go if British high street entities are to befriend again their customers. Santander’s own research, according to the group, showed…


British financial mutuals’ last laugh

LONDON | The UK’s trade body of financial mutuals AFM is not happy. The organisation this week launched a frontal attack against taxpayer-aided listed banks and their directors’ bonuses. Who could blame them? After all, in the City race, mutual insurers, friendly societies and others have lost most ground: for instance, the sector’s insurance services today represent around 6% of the British market, while their share stood at over 50% just 15…


EU’s Robin Hood taxman better shows his true feathers

LONDON | For all the sovereign chin-ups the British prime minister David Cameron draws in every occasion he finds himself summoned to Brussels and Sarkozy’s financial transaction tax is mentioned, the savings gained in the name of the City of London would amount to just €8 billion. Mr Cameron and his euro sceptic troops, barricaded behind a loud sector of the British society too prone to vent their frustration over…