Corporate leaders can be forgiven for not thinking too far ahead. The length of time that investors hold stock has fallen. Share-holders want fast rewards—and quick fixes when performance flags. Moreover, given the upheavals and macroeconomic uncertainties of the past decade, many CEOs and CFOs have been preoccupied with firefighting.
Taiwan’s new president and its banks face a tough market and a changing economic picture. They’re ready.
Taiwan is facing a challenging year, according to participants in a Global Finance roundtable in Taipei. But sound regulation has made banks resilient, and the mood is still upbeat.
Profiling the winners of the Best Investment Banks 2016
Nordea Markets Investment Banking is an integrated part of wholesale banking in the Nordea Group. A move from different legacy systems to one single platform is part of Nordea’s simplification program. Svante Andreen, Nordea co-head of markets investment banking, expects the move to foster agility, enabling Nordea to become a truly digital bank.
The best banks see falling stock prices as an opportunity to finance takeovers with debt and sell bank equity to please regulators.
Jim Rossman is managing director of the corporate preparedness group at Lazard, the M&A advisory and asset management giant. A former M&A lawyer at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Rossman talked with Global Finance about how to fend off hostile takeovers—mainly in the US, but also in Europe and emerging markets.
Middle East Supplement 2016
Despite tightening liquidity in the Gulf banking sector, Bahrain’s largest lender reported robust profits in 2015. After leading a slew of product launches, AUB’s group CEO and managing director believes the bank’s prudent risk management will underpin its expansion. He spoke to Global Finance at the bank’s headquarters in Bahrain.
Islamic banking assets in the Middle East are growing, and opportunities abound for Islamic banks to participate in the digital banking revolution, but efforts so far are falling short of customer expectations.
By any measure QNB has major ambitions. It is the largest bank in Qatar and one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa. It does not stop there. QNB has set its sights on becoming a global bank by 2030. QNB’s group chief executive discusses with Global Finance the regional downturn, success in Africa and its plans for a global presence.
Global Finance’s list of Who’s Who in Middle Eastern finance
The Middle East is no stranger to political and economic uncertainty, but simmering religious and political tensions and stubbornly low oil prices have dealt the region a difficult hand. The question now is: How will countries play in order to win?
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank was the first Islamic bank established in Abu Dhabi, in 1997, and has evolved to become one of the largest retail banks in the United Arab Emirates, with one of the strongest digital footprints of any bank in the UAE. ADIB increased full-year net profits by 10.5% in 2015 to reach 1.9 billion dirhams ($520 million). Global Finance sat down with ADIB’s CEO at the bank’s head office in Abu Dhabi.
Now that some sanctions have been lifted against Iran, Oman’s governmental policy of neutrality could come to the fore in the banking sector. Bank Muscat is gearing up to enter the Iranian market, placing it ahead of many of its banking counterparts in the Gulf. Bank Muscat’s CEO answers questions from Global Finance about the move, and the bank’s challenges in an epoch of austerity.
Milestones | Iran
A strong showing by moderates in February’s elections to Iran’s parliament and assembly of experts (the constitutional body that appoints and dismisses the supreme leader) has boosted prospects for the Islamic republic’s reintegration into the global economy and reassured foreign investors that reforms will continue.
Corporate Finance & Capital
Capital Markets | Regulation
“Nothing will make us deviate or change our course. We are not exiting our operations in any of our African markets,” declared Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Africa.
Capital Markets | Mergers & Acquisitions
A need by banks to address weak earnings could result in increased merger activity in 2016, according to Fitch Ratings.
Capital Markets | Banking Reform
More than one hundred million people, 2.5 billion transactions every month—and just 1% of payments made electronically.
Trends | Peru
There is no stopping Peru’s economy.
Capital Markets | Fixed Income
The European Central Bank pushed its deposit rate deeper into negative territory in March, even as commercial bankers cautioned that such an unorthodox move could undermine their profitability and disrupt their role as financial intermediaries while doing little to boost lending or the economy.
Management | Technology and Change
In the not-so-distant future, they believe, the corporate world will look very different than it does now.
Trends | Patents
As sovereign governments expand their investments into uncharted territories, a new kind of fund has emerged: the sovereign patent fund (SPF), a state-owned patent investment fund that buys and licenses patents, covers the cost of litigation and protects against patent infringement.
Trends | Movies
China’s richest man goes to Hollywood and buys it.
Asian Development Bank Section
Asian Development Bank Section: ADB Annual Meeting
Last year’s historic Asian Development Bank (ADB) annual meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan saw the bank and member countries commit to a wide range of goals and reforms.