Lunchtime Links: Doom for RBS and Lloyds, but Goldman Sachs is opening a new office in Amsterdam

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A canal somewhere in Amsterdam

European banks like RBS, SocGen and UBS are letting go of all fantasies about global domination and being an international presence. Goldman Sachs isn’t: it’s opening a Dutch office.

Until now, Goldman Sachs has not had an office in Holland. In Europe, it’s only had offices in the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Monacoand Poland. Now, however, it’s got approval from the Dutch regulator to open in Amsterdam.  Admittedly, it’s not Goldman Sachs per se that’s opening in Amsterdam, it’s Goldman Sachs Asset Management, but still. The location has yet to be chosen. It won’t be a big office: there will only be 4-6 people working there, with assistance from London.

While US banks are adventuring in Continental Europe, the picture for nationalized UK banks is getting gloomier and gloomier. Specifically, the Telegraph has a very gloomy article today suggesting Lloyds and RBS face £33bn of new mortgage losses (£20bn at Lloyds and £13bn at RBS). These, it says would wipe out half of Lloyds’ core equity and a third of RBS’s. Given what's happening to Unicredit, the British government would surely need to make up the shortfall. In this context, RBS's pull back from investment banking makes more sense: it may merely be the necessary public opinion-salving prelude to another big capital injection from the state.

Selling Hoare Govett will not save RBS. (Twitter) 

Hector Sants is hectoring banks about bonuses. (Sky)

Bank of America is the lead underwriter for the Unicredit rights issue and could therefore be left earning 10% of the Italian bank. (Wall Street Journal) 

Shares in Bank of America rose above $6 yesterday. (Dealbook) 

Unicredit lost 30% of its market cap in 2 days. (Zerohedge)

Tulllet Prebon cut 80 traders last year. Around 40 of them went in the US, 26 went in Asia, only 14 went in Europe. (Telegraph) 

London is by many measures the world’s biggest financial centre, and weakening it is in nobody’s interest—least of all Britain’s. (Economist) 

Some 40% of currency trading and 46% in OTC derivatives (those not traded on exchanges) takes place in Britain. Yet Barclays is the only British bank among the world’s five biggest investment banks (by revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities). (Economist) 

“With apologies for the tone of my comment here but from starting in 1955 in the City, and having to watch for the past 50 years or so the decimating of wide swathes of UK civil society outside of the London and South East, just to save the role of sterling initially and now the so called "City" makes me deeply ashamed to be English.” (Economist) 

Anti-capitalist protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral are collecting £1,500 a week in donations and have £14,500 in the bank, their accounts show. (The Times) 

Mental dexterity and brain power deteriorates from 45, not 60. (Guardian) 

The findings may not apply to the general population, since Whitehall II participants are mostly men and mostly white-collar workers with fairly stable jobs, the researchers [into cognitive decline] said. (Bloomberg)

There are tutors in New York earning $595 for 50 minutes’ work. (Evening Standard)