Barclays is the UK’s only remaining big player in investment banking, but what does the sudden departure of yet another CEO mean for the firm? Will it ever get it right? Successful banks showing dull, boring and predictable results often prove fine investments, but Barclays currently fails these tests.
As UK bank reporting season kicks off, the dull, boring, predictable UK banks should look good. But the reality is they are dinosaurs – their failure to digitise and evolve leaves them vulnerable to tech-savy FinTechs and Challenger filling their niche. If the future of modern finance is a Tech hypersonic missile… British Banks are still building steam trains.
Markets are digesting what’s been a fascinating week in terms of swings, tensions and threats. Everything from Supply Chains, Taper and Inflation is on the radar as speculative assets swing widely. Maybe it’s time to sit back, step away and take time to consider the macro issues of recovery, and the micro issues about how the pandemic has altered behaviours. The UK’s bounce bank loans could highlight how the world has changed as massive defaults are expected.
Meanwhile, the AA goes straight to the top of my list of firms that should be wiped from the face of the Earth…
Coinbase’s direct listing was a muted success. It looks likely to trade in line with volatile bitcoin and other cryptos. On the back of the claims of increased “adoption” of Crypto by the Street, the exchange has first mover status meeting the need for the facilitation of safe crypto investment while expanding services for holders – but what does it fundamentally mean about the long-term future of the “crypto-ecosystem”?
Markets were shaken but unstirred by the collapse of Greensill and the Archegos unwind trades. Credit Suisse is the ultimate loser of the two scandals – reputationally damaged and holed below the water line. The bank is paying the price of years of flawed management, poor risk awareness. and its self-belief it was still a Tier 1 global player. Its’ challenge is to avoid becoming the Deutsche Bank of Switzerland – which it will struggle to do without a radical and unlikely shakeout.
Markets look set to rally strongly into Q2, but are they over-exuberant? The rise in deaths and new strains in Brazil hints the Covid war isn’t won yet, there are rising political risks in Europe, and widening wealth inequality is apparent everywhere. Just how solid are our expectations of stability, renewed global travel and recovery if Covid is here for the long-term?