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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.

Citigroup makes first move on fragmented domestic market

September 2, 2004

Citigroup has taken a step forward in its strategy to focus on the home market with the acquisition of First American Bank in Texas. The move is in line with that of other US banks such as JPMorgan Chase, which merged with Bank One in July.

EMU could spawn new power bloc

September 2, 2004

All EU member states have ratified treaties that commit them to endeavouring to join the monetary union (EMU) – with the exception of the opt-outs negotiated by the UK and Denmark at Maastricht in 1991. What if a significant number of accession states stayed outside EMU for a long period? Would it affect the development of the rest of the EU?

Nordea’s research move opens way to criticism of ratings industry

September 2, 2004

Outsourcing to rating agencies is not the answer to providing an independent research function; the conflict of interest problem and the accompanying censure will simply move to the rating agencies – and who will regulate them?

Venezuela retains appeal for investors

September 2, 2004

Chávez’s hold on power is not unwelcome in the business world, though some are insuring against nationalisation.

Abbey’s best offer lies with SCH

September 2, 2004

Abbey needs to be snatched up soon, before it deteriorates further, and Spain’s SCH has the right track record.

Bank awards reveal record profits despite global economic instability

September 2, 2004

The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards this year reflect a bumper year for profits, as many banks have posted record earnings in 2003 and continue to improve in the first half of 2004. While the global economic recovery remains unsteady and the political environment uncertain, aggregate profits in our Top 1000 listing in July reached record highs, up 65.4% on the previous year.

Delete New money laundering rules lead to chaos in Russian bank system

August 24, 2004

Russians have seen it all before; when the queues began to form outside banks that were refusing to pay out last month, panic began to set in.
A bank crisis that started in May with the closure of medium-sized Sodbiznesbank threatened to spin out of control after the large retail bank, Guta Bank, closed its doors and a run started on accounts at Alfa Bank, one of the two biggest commercial banks in Russia.

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