Category Archives: US

Citigroup names Jane Fraser as first woman CEO

rfi.fr – AFP, 10/09/2020

Citigroup named Jane Fraser as its next CEO, replacing Michael Corbat who
will retire in February Julian R. Photography/AFP

New York (AFP) - Citigroup named Jane Fraser as its next chief executive on Thursday, tapping a woman to lead a giant Wall Street bank for the first time.

She will take over the top job in February, replacing Michael Corbat who will retire.

Fraser, who has served as president and CEO of global consumer banking since 2019, will join the board of directors immediately, the bank said. She has held prior roles for Citi in Latin America and in investment banking.

"I am honored by the Board's decision and grateful to Mike for his leadership and support," Fraser said in a press release.

"Our balance sheet is strong and our commitment to serving our clients and communities is even stronger. I will do everything I can to make all our stakeholders proud of our firm as we continue to build a better bank and improve our returns."

The move comes as Citi pivots to a more challenging operating environment as large banks set aside billions of dollars to prepare for bad loans due to the coronavirus.

Other women have become CEOs of big financial companies or in related industries, such as Abigail Johnson at Fidelity Investments and Julie Sweet at Accenture. But in taking the helm of the fourth-biggest US bank by assets, Fraser joins a group of Wall Street CEOs that until now has been exclusively led by white men.

Her appointment to the top job had been telegraphed from her prior promotion in October 2019 to president and head of global consumer banking. Senior women at JPMorgan Chase are also in line to potentially take the top job to succeed Jamie Dimon, who is expected to retire in the coming years.

Corporate America is also under scrutiny over the paltry number of Black leaders in the wake of massive racial justice protests this year.

Industry faces headwinds

After stumbling badly during the subprime mortgage crisis, Citigroup recovered in the ensuing decade after the 2008 financial crisis.

From 2012 to 2019, the banking giant saw net income rise from $7 billion to $20 billion, Corbat said in the press release.

"We went from returning hardly any capital to returning nearly $80 billion in capital to our shareholders over the last six years," he said.

The improvement coincided with a post-2008 US economic expansion that ended abruptly with the coronavirus outbreak.

In the most recent quarter, Citigroup added $5.6 billion in reserves for bad loans, a factor in a 73 percent drop in profits to $1.3 billion. Large banks are also staring at a lengthy period of low interest rates, putting a damper on another source of profits.

"The pandemic has a grip on the economy and it doesn't seem likely to loosen until vaccines are widely available," Corbat said on a conference call with analysts.

The Scottish-born Fraser joined Citi in 2004 after earlier roles at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Company. She has spoken openly about being a working mother in finance, recounting in 2016 how she worked part-time at McKinsey.

Having children "humanized me," Fraser said in the 2016 appearance at the Americas Society. "There is nothing like having children to help you understand where your priorities are."

Fraser also recounted her sometimes unorthodox career moves, such as exiting as head of the private bank in London in 2013 to oversee a turnaround of the mortgage business from St. Louis, Missouri in the midwest of the United States.

"Everyone thought I was completely nuts," she said. "I knew I would grow. I knew I would a learn a completely different skill set."

Shares of Citigroup were flat at $51.41 in late-morning trading.

The Netherlands overtakes Switzerland in world competitiveness stakes

DutchNews, May 24, 2018


The Netherlands has overtaken Switzerland and moved into fourth place in the latest global competitiveness rankings published by IMD

The top five most competitive economies in the world remain the same as in the previous year, but their order changed in the 2018 rankings. The United States, third last year, returns to the top spot, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 

The Netherlands’ advance reflects a ‘balanced’ path to competitiveness, ranking in the top 10 in economic performance, government and business efficiency, IMD said. Switzerland declined mainly due to a slowdown in exports and, to a lesser extent, an increase in perceptions about threats of relocation of R&D facilities. 

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland, has published the rankings every year since 1989. It compiles them using 258 indicators.

‘Hard’ data such as national employment and trade statistics are weighted twice as much as the ‘soft’ data from an executive opinion survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life. This year 63 countries were ranked. 

The Netherlands is also currently ranked 4th on the World Economic Forum‘s list of the 138 most competitive countries, behind Switzerland, the United States and Singapore.

S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor’s is critical of
the banks’ plans
The Standard & Poor’s rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.
French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.
German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan – and so did the German finance ministry.
But the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned on Monday that this option “would likely amount to a default under our criteria.” The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.
S&P warning calls into question second bailout package
Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.
Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.
The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.
Criticism grows louder of rating agencies’ power
With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor’s, criticism of the big rating agencies’ power is growing louder.
ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies’ critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece’s financial stabilization.
The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was “inappropriate.” And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one “uneasy.”
The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.
“The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market,” Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.
The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.
“We can’t have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties,” Straubhaar said.
EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players
Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).

The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.
Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.
But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. “We don’t need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy,” said Thomas Straubhaar. “A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it.”
And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor’s told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.
So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors’ trust.
Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles: