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Hidden agendas: Danger of anonymous stockmarket “research”

Some respected online financial sites have recently taken down more than 100 “research” articles anonymously written. The noise of this conflicted commentary, often in the guise of research, threatens to distort share prices and swamp markets. While much of this problem has been focused on the US, UK and European companies are also covered on […]

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The ethics of soft closure. Are emerging markets funds really closed?

The rout of emerging markets has exposed some serious ethical issues. As the crisis progresses, investors are still getting little more than soothing words from most managers. Much of this pays little heed to the change in outlook for the BRICs or the turmoil in emerging Europe. Few managers highlighted the risks in Ukraine, for […]

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Dealing commissions; do clients get value for their money?

In one key area of asset management, the UK regulator is aiming for global leadership. The Financial Conduct Authority has ambitions to drive the EU debate on dealing commissions, and establish London as an investor-focused low cost centre. The first step is its current consultation on dealing commissions, which should raise standards and give retail […]

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Investors should prepare themselves and their assets; not predict

Making an annual review of portfolios is good practice for investors. Unfortunately, January may not be the best time for this. The rosy glow of last year’s performance has too much emotional appeal, and the background noise of pundits is distracting. It is tempting to project market gains for the year, or to pencil-in likely […]

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Who loses from IPO conflicts?

The process for initial public offerings is one of the most opaque areas of the market, and is ripe for reform. The current IPO boom mirrors the excesses of the tech bubble a decade ago. That resulted in fines and new rules – but it’s still not fixed. There is a clear public interest in […]

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Is the Forex market beyond control?

How big is too big to rig? Can the scale of a market put it beyond anyone’s ability to manipulate? Forex trading may soon answer these questions, as investigations into possible breaches begin on both sides of the Atlantic. Even a market that trades $5.3 trillion per day may not be beyond the ability of […]

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Splitting major universal banks makes sense; safer & more valuable

Banks are proving a tough match for regulators, pushing back strongly against more controls and higher capital ratios. They have argued that imposing rules which increase capital could hit recovery, and politicians are particularly sensitive to this.But banks’ very success in fighting against strong capital ratios – suggesting that restoring capital should take years – […]

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Emerging Economies problems reflect scarcity of US$

The crisis in emerging economies has moved off the front pages but not gone. The Summer rout was largely shrugged off by investors in the West; institutional investors rebalanced out of emerging markets, but currency markets took most of the pressure. A rebound in China and Brazil has convinced many the growth fears were misplaced. […]

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Need for Regulation on the Conflicts in Banks’ Growing Role in Commodities

There is a clear danger in allowing major financial institutions to dominate both commodity derivatives markets and the related cash commodities. Now, the growing involvement of banks in commodities markets is finally being placed under the microscope. Next month the US Federal Reserve is expected to report on whether it will allow US banks to […]

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Emerging Markets will see outflows as risks rise

Emerging markets have been the surprise disappointment of 2013. What happened in the first half of 2013 was a remarkable divergence between emerging markets and the US Dow Jones Index. Most emerging markets lagged the Dow by more than 20%; rarely has asset allocation between mature and emerging markets mattered quite so much. Few people […]

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