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A flurry of cross-border deals is unlikely to follow SCH, Abbey

October 4, 2004

Although more domestic and cross-border consolidation in Europe’s banking sector would help to improve efficiency, significant political and structural obstacles remain in place.

Why bringing a 60-year-old up to date is in everybody’s interests

October 4, 2004

The IMF and World Bank urgently need to be more representative of their members to remain useful. But old habits die hard.

The world awaits the next US president: George W Kerry

October 4, 2004

A survey has shown that most outside the US would elect John Kerry. But whoever the new president is will make little difference.

Adhering to the Basel II framework

September 2, 2004

The Basel Committee recently published the Basel II framework. Jaime Caruana, chairman of the committee, responds to The Banker’squeries on it. Q Might the US try to rewrite the framework after its extended QIS4 studies and, if so, will the framework have to be changed? A Firstly, let me say that the framework we published on June 26 is an excellent product, agreed by all Basel Committee members and the result of long and careful discussions, wide consultations and comprehensive impact studies.

Banks lined up to open in DIFC

September 2, 2004

The controversial Dubai International Financial Centre is set to open for business in mid-September. Following the abrupt departure in June of the two most senior regulators of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the DIFC’s regulatory body, the project secured the personal involvement of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and is now proceeding at speed.

Europe’s first Islamic bank opens its doors

September 2, 2004

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), Europe’s first Islamic bank, plans to raise £38.5m to develop a branch network prior to its listing on the UK’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the autumn. IBB, which was licensed by the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) in early August, is the first Islamic bank in the UK and plans to provide a full range of retail banking services on a wholly Sharia-compliant basis, primarily to the UK’s 1.8 million Muslims.

Germany launches Europe’s first Sukuk

September 2, 2004

Saxony-Anhalt has become the first state government in Germany and Europe to issue a sub-sovereign bond under Islamic prin-ciples. The €100m bond – called Sukuk in Arabic – does not offer interest payments to its investors.

Standard Chartered’s Asian vision

September 2, 2004

With a 52% increase in first half profits, Standard Chartered could hardly have done better. But on the acquisition front, it seems to have gone sideways, selling a 9.76% stake in South Korea’s KorAm and watching HSBC beat it for a stake in China’s Bank of Communications (BoCom). Group CEO Mervyn Davies explains the bank’s strategy to Brian Caplen.

HSBC leads latest forays into China with 19.9% BoCom stake

September 2, 2004

HSBC bought 19.9% of Bank of Communications (BoCom), China’s fifth largest bank, for $1.75bn last month, demonstrating the country’s continued allure for major foreign banks eager to invest. Goldman Sachs is also due to follow with an investment of $170m in a planned joint-venture securities firm with Chinese partners.

SMFG adds new twist to Japan’s big banks saga

September 2, 2004

The battle in Japan to produce the world’s biggest bank took a new twist in late August when Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) launched a hostile bid for the smallest of the “Big Four” banks – UFJ Holdings.

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