On December 15, US bank Goldman Sachs announced what many believe to be the strongest restrictions on fossil-fuel activity by any major bank in the United States. Most notably, the bank has become the first big American lender to restrict financing on any part of the oil-and-gas sector, with a particular focus on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Despite being mooted more than a decade ago, widespread regulation mandating banks to adopt real-time cash-balance liquidity reporting has not materialised. With the exception of a handful of the world’s largest banks, few have taken it upon themselves to adopt these processes.
Taking on the mantle of governorship of a central bank is challenging, but for Andrew Bailey, the new governor of the Bank of England, the role couldn’t be more formidable. With the United Kingdom’s long-awaited divorce from the European Union around the corner, the country’s financial system will need all the help it can get to survive the inevitable turbulence. Bailey’s new job won’t be a walk in the park!
It is hard to believe that we just wrapped up another year. The beginning of a new year is one of the best times to both reflect on the previous years successes, while looking ahead at what the biggest challenges, priorities and opportunities will be for companies as they enter the new year.
Interest rates have been depressed for so long in Europe, it’s hard to remember when they actually soared into the teens. In fact, today, the natural interest rate is flirting with negative values. Due to a number of factors, such as an ageing population and sluggish trend growth, the natural interest rate is not likely to rise anytime soon. The remedy may not lie with central banks but with governments.
In the old days, banks could work independently of others providing financial services, but not anymore. As the world becomes more interconnected, banks are being drawn into emerging ecosystems comprised of old and new players. Cooperation and integration are the names of the game for both incumbents and newcomers such as fintechs and virtual banks, but putting the blocks in place to build the infrastructure is easier said than done.
Mr. Simon Hughes of International Banker travels to Belgium to interview Mr. Johan Thijs, Chief Executive Officer, KBC Group, on the bank’s ongoing digital transformation, the innovation that drives that transformation and KBC’s wider role in society.
For more than 50 years, Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation has assured Canadian depositors that their bank deposits are safe. Perhaps surprisingly, considering the relative tranquility of Canada’s banks, CDIC has come to the rescue after a number of failures. CDIC’s mandate goes beyond protecting depositors from loss to safeguarding the stability of the financial system as a whole from turbulence. How are changing times affecting that mandate?
Transitioning from the London Interbank Offered Rate to the risk-free rate alternatives such as SONIA and SOFR was at one time a recommendation but is becoming a requirement, as the FCA’s LIBOR support will cease at the end of 2021. Transitions spell challenge, and this is true of the bond market as it faces LIBOR’s demise. What are some potential solutions that bond issuers should consider, especially for legacy bonds?
There were many victims of 2008’s Great Recession, but perhaps none were as hard-pressed as those in emerging markets, who were effectively cut off by the suddenly risk-averse big banks of developed countries. Access to finance through traditional avenues is still hit and miss for those in developing countries, but things are looking up with the advent of technological solutions that are bridging the gap to a more promising future.