NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - It's nearly a year since Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon laid out ambitious targets for his Wall Street firm, but it might as well be a lifetime. The bank’s 2020 performance was buffeted wildly by a combination of good times for traders, terrible times for almost everyone else, and a legacy of bad behavior in Goldman’s own ranks. Remove the noise and Goldman still hit a sweet spot.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Big U.S. banks are awash with capital, trading like it’s the end of days, and raising abundant capital for their clients. Employees’ pay has held up, and shareholders will soon be the happy recipients of sizeable stock buybacks. But there’s something missing: the lenders aren’t lending.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - America is a safe haven for financial investors around the world. Wednesday's violence in Washington, D.C., fueled by a president who has defied the will of the people, puts the United States and its sanctuary status to a serious test.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - BlackRock has a hotline to the bosses of the world’s biggest companies, thanks to its role managing $8 trillion of other people’s money. Having helped bring stock ownership to millions of small investors, BlackRock could go one better and give those same people the power to wield their shares in company votes.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The world’s biggest banks entered the Covid-19 crisis in good shape and are emerging with an embarrassment of riches. Wall Street lenders made huge profit from trading in turbulent markets and are ending 2020 awash with capital. Their mission for 2021 is finding an acceptable way to spend it.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Name-calling doesn’t hurt. When the name is “currency manipulator” it may actually help. The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday slapped that epithet on Switzerland and Vietnam, accusing the two countries of trying to manage their exchange rates to get an unfair advantage against the dollar. President-elect Joe Biden could overturn this mostly symbolic move after he takes office in just over a month. Or he can see it for what it is: a gift from the outgoing Donald Trump administration.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Blackstone isn’t known for leaving money on the table. But in merging Paysafe, a payments company it co-owns with fellow buyout group CVC, with a listed cash shell, Steve Schwarzman’s firm has shown there’s a price for convenience. In this case, it’s around $1.2 billion.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Wall Street has a complicated relationship with companies like Stripe. The upstart digital payments firm is a threat to the once-cozy world of consumer banking. But it’s also a potential source of new business, which explains the crowded line-up of banks who announced new partnerships with Stripe on Thursday. There’s an extra appeal: One day one of those institutions might just get to bring Stripe to market – or maybe even buy it.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Such is the political dysfunction in Washington that every gesture by the outgoing Donald Trump administration becomes like a Rorschach test, with differing interpretations based on the observer’s perspective. The odd spat between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell takes this unhelpful situation to a new level.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Guns and social networks have several things in common. Many people enjoy them responsibly, but in the wrong hands they’re dangerous. Yet both enjoy an unfair subsidy in the form of legal protections that shield them from the actions of their users. That can’t last forever.