6. March 2012
The UK government’s opposition to the idea of a financial transactions tax could not be more unequivocal. Indeed, so staunch was official British defence of the financial services sector that both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Mayor of London extended a cheeky invitation to French banks who wanted to set up shop in Britain after their government decided to press on alone with the tax. On hearing this, the expressions around the boardroom table at the London headquarters of HSBC must have glazed over. The bank’s chief executive insisted, over the weekend, that his institution was ‘permanently’ undervalued to the tune of £18bn because of Britain’s regulatory rules and the bank levy.
23. May 2011
Each time financial markets have ‘misbehaved’ in recent years, there always seemed to be some attention-hungry politician at hand claiming to have the means to neuter wayward speculators. In most cases, the intention was better than the execution. As a result, the regulation was largely ineffective. For most market participants, for example, sidestepping a short-selling ban in place since 2008 was child’s play. This regulatory fury has cooled somewhat in the meantime, probably for this reason.
30. September 2010
We heard this week that the Greek government plans to extract money from the unregulated and illegal gambling sector. By introducing regulation and imposing a tax on business in a sector whose turnover is estimated at some €4 billion euros, the government hopes to fill its coffers. And, before anyone cries foul, it wants to simultaneously increase taxes on legal, state-run gambling activity.
27. September 2010
There was a joke circulating Europe’s watering-holes last week: How is a washing machine like the Vatican’s bank? They’re both used for laundering.
22. July 2010
Financial markets are already in a state of heightened anticipation because of the soon to be published results of the EU bank stress tests. Now, Reuter’s newswire is quoting some European regulatory officials as saying that France wants to bring forward the publication time.