Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain’s credit boom is a cause for concern. Not for the obvious reasons: rates are low and the banking sector is sturdy. The issue lies with another big UK industry - cars.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Theresa May has left herself some Brexit wiggle room. Unveiling the Conservative Party manifesto for Britain’s June 8 election, the prime minister made some aggressive-sounding noises on immigration and her willingness to leave the European Union without a deal. She also left herself space to negotiate a less damaging departure. Adherents of both a “hard” and a “soft” exit from the European Union will hear what they want – but only one will get it.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - To the typical UK voter, the Conservative Party is associated with sound management of the public finances. The Labour Party, meanwhile, is the go-to for progressives who don’t mind seat-of-the-pants tax and spend policies. Labour’s manifesto released on May 16 fits the pattern, but Britain’s impending exit from the European Union has muddied the waters over which party is the real risk-taker.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Theresa May is preparing to aim a loaded shotgun at her own foot. When the UK prime minister unveils the Conservative party election manifesto this week, she is likely to reiterate an objective dating back to 2010 to reduce annual net migration below 100,000. That means taking a needless risk with Britain’s economy.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - When it comes to being a bank chief executive, the received wisdom is that UBS boss Sergio Ermotti has a stronger hand than Jes Staley at Barclays. Even ignoring the UK bank chief executive’s recent disregard for whistleblowing rules, investors prefer his Swiss counterpart’s strategy of running a focused investment bank alongside a big wealth management business. That is reflected in valuations: UBS trades at 1.3 times tangible book value, almost twice Barclays’ 0.7 times. First-quarter results from both institutions bear out the difference - but only up to a point.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tidjane Thiam’s plan to raise new capital isn’t the Credit Suisse boss’s first U-turn. Compared with other big reversals – like his decision in 2016 to dump securitised products and leave investors nursing big losses – this is, at least, the good kind.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Theresa May is shaping up to be like Margaret Thatcher, but in reverse. In the 1980s, Britain’s first female prime minister launched a swathe of market-friendly reforms which increased the country’s appeal for inward investment but made her unpopular with sections of the population. News that May’s Conservative Party will pledge to cap fuel prices in its forthcoming election manifesto suggests a fundamentally different set of priorities.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The code names bankers and companies attach to their mergers and acquisitions can reveal much about their own hubris. Last year, according to a study by data company IntraLinks, the most popular secret deal names included Project Diamond and Project Falcon – even though most mergers fall short of their potential. Breakingviews has taken some actual code names from the past year, and applied them to deals that seem particularly fitting.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Libor-fiddling has momentarily recaptured its 2012 glory days. A leaked recording has re-opened the question of how much the UK regulator knew about action by Barclays and other banks to submit lowball interbank rates in 2008 – and what the penalty should be if the answer is “a lot”. In a way, though, it’s a redundant question. Libor has hit bank bosses – just not the right ones.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s hard to fault Iceland’s sense of humour. The North Atlantic state’s finance minister chose April Fools’ Day to mull the idea of pegging the domestic currency, the crown, to the euro – reviving a short-lived policy from 2008. The theory is this could help reduce volatility. It didn’t work very well then, and wouldn’t help much now either.