HSBC, having just been accused of “possible criminal complicity” in money laundering, must be glad to be fielding questions on a positive clean-up story today, writes Matthew Vincent in FT Opening Quote. This morning, it has promised $100bn of finance for low-carbon technology and sustainable development by 2025 as part of a package of measures to strengthen its commitment to tackling climate change and other “green” goals.
Most people aren’t terribly excited about teaching computers how to do their jobs, but multi-million-dollar settlements after regulatory investigations seem like a pretty good motivator. IBM announced today that it’s buying Promontory Financial, a consultancy that came to represent some of the problems raised by the revolving door between regulators and Wall Street banks (it was founded by Eugene Ludwig, comptroller of the currency for the Clinton Administration). The company says it’ll build a machine-learning compliance platform, with Promontory’s staff training its Watson technology. Promontory’s recent regulatory history is the main reason this looks like a pretty good deal for them. Last year, the company was almost suspended indefinitely from consulting for New York-licensed banks suspected of wrongdoing. (It ended up getting cut to six months, with a $15 million fine.)
Remember WMPs? The touchstones of China’s shadow market? The shadow market that China might actually be cracking down on … like for real this time … According to Credit Suisse, new regulatory guidelines or consultation papers about new regulations have been announced on almost a bi-weekly basis since May:
This is a prophecy brought to you by Citi: Over the past five years the incumbent UK domestic banks have managed to maintain and improve net interest margins. As asset yields have declined the banks have been able to respond via careful liability management, lowering savings rates and retiring expensive legacy wholesale funding issued during the financial crisis. We believe this positive trend is now set to stall and reverse. While banks will probably be able to mitigate the impact of lower rates over the next 6 months, we fear that beyond this net interest margins [NIMs] could fall sharply.
It’s almost five months since 11m private documents leaked out of a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca. This guest post from Howard Bilton, chairman of off-shore advisory specialist The Sovereign Group, looks at the broader state of play for those looking to minimise their tax bills.