Daily Dispatches: Big Four cement their power

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The top Australian banks have moved from world minnows to majors in the space of just two years as the global recession has claimed the majority of the world's largest and once safest financial institutions. There are now only eight AA-rated banks in the world, and the Australian domestic brand names of CBA, NAB, ANZ and Westpac account for half. (The Australian)

It's not like the investment banking community starved last financial year; there were $US139.9bn of deals involving Australian parties hatched in the past 12 months. BHP Billiton's $US180bn tilt for rival Rio Tinto had investment bankers salivating at the lucrative fees that would flow in the uncertain market conditions. (The Australian)

Citi's regional head of global transaction services, Anthony Nappi, says the division will remain one of the group's fastest-growing areas as Australian banks move into the Asian market. (The Australian)

Rising bad debt levels will feature on most banks' balance sheets over the next couple of halves if unemployment worsens, says NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne. (Herald Sun)

Companies are under pressure to explain their remuneration packages.

(Business Day)

Management consulting firms Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby and Watson Wyatt Worldwide have said they will merge to form Towers Watson & Co in an all-stock deal the companies value at $US3.5bn. (Sydney Morning Herald)