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Credit Suisse Targeted for Breakup by Little Hedge Fund With Big Plans

A small but top-performing activist hedge fund has set its sights on an ambitious target: breaking up Swiss banking behemoth Credit Suisse Group AG.

RBR Capital Advisors AG, which is based close to Lake Zurich and headed by outspoken trader Rudolf Bohli, said Tuesday it wanted the bank to split into an investment bank, a wealth manager and an asset manager.


IMF Identifies Nine Big Banks Likely to Struggle With Profitability

It is unusual for a body like the IMF to identify banks by name. The report named nine financial institutions in all, Besides Citigroup, Deutsche and Barclays, it also named Société Générale , SCGLY 0.13% Italy’s UniCredit UNCFF -0.54% S.p.A., the U.K.’s Standard Chartered STAN -0.30% PLC and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group , Mizuho Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group as likely to deliver subpar profits.

“Institutions that are not profitable might not be able to generate enough capital in the future should adverse shocks hit,” Tobias Adrian, director of the IMF’s monetary and capital markets department, told reporters. “It might become a financial stability risk not to be profitable.”

The IMF said the consensus among private-sector bank-industry analysts was for a return on equity of less than 8% for each of those nine banks in 2019. In previous research, the IMF has said that banks’ cost of equity—that is the return stock investors expect on their holdings—is at least 8%. Banks need to earn above this threshold to remain consistently profitable and otherwise may face difficulty building capital for a rainy day, the IMF said.


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Japan Is Counting on Shareholder Activism to Improve Its Economy

Shareholder activism is a quintessentially American form of investing. In the U.S., CEOs live in fear of activist hedge funds, and politicians worry about their effects on workers. But the case for shareholder activism is perhaps best seen in Japan, where the corporate sector tends to be structurally skewed in favor of employees, at the expense of shareholders and the economy. In Japan several factors combine to help insulate managers from outside influence, including cross-holdings where the company owns shares in a partner firm, docile boards mostly composed of company executives, and a court system historically biased against investment funds. In Japan the worry lately has not been about too much shareholder activism but about too little. Remarkably, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has embraced shareholder activism, in a bid to encourage the adoption of his corporate governance reforms, a central part of his economic policy platform.