- - -









- - -
Investment opportunities

Tips from an insider: Five innovative tech startups

Tips from an insider: Stockholm tech start-ups

5 hot life science firms in Stockholm

Stockholm's top five infrastructure projects

Four Stockholm-based ICT firms to watch

Stockholm pioneers life science research

ICT startups offer investment opportunity

Swedish companies ready for exit

Five med-tech investment opportunities

Six cleantech investment opportunities

- - -
Rankings and surveys

Sweden tops English-language skills ranking

Sweden ranked world's best country to grow old

Swedish passport world's best for travellers

Sweden second best country for mothers

Stockholm climbs in competitiveness rankings

Sweden among best countries to be born

Fortune: 'Stockholm top place for startups'

Sweden tops first global Web Index

Sweden world's second most innovative country

Stockholm world's 6th 'best city'

'Cool Stockholm' most competitive Nordic capital

Sweden has (second) best reputation in the world

Sweden among top in Internet download speed

Sweden scores highest in 'Rule of law index'

Stockholm world's No1 in intellectual capital

Sweden the world's most ICT-competitive country

Sweden great place for moms – but Norway better

Swedes place 4th in English skills ranking

Sweden among top ICT countries

Sweden’s 10 greenest brands

‘Sweden needs to sell itself more’

Sweden overtakes the US in competitiveness

Sweden 10th ‘most admired country globally’

Sweden climbs in 'doing business' ranking

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

Sweden's mortality rates world's second lowest

Sweden a good place to die – but Britain is best

Children in Sweden have best lives

Sweden the most competitive EU nation

Safe to do business with Swedes

How Sweden became an innovation frontrunner

Nordic countries world's most food-secure

Sweden the world’s best country – politically

Swedish firms among world's top brands

Swedish brands climb in global ranking

Sweden tops government ranking - while US lags 

'Swedish model' outranks 'American dream'  

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

The Swedish Wire is a media production company that provides high-quality text, image and video content for international clients.

Sweden's FinMin slams Obama's bank plan

US President Barack Obama's plan to curb banks is being heavily criticized by Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg.

 Related news:
Sweden’s Finance Minister top ranked in Europe
'Historical’ mistake to let Lehman Brothers fall

President Barack Obama unveiled plans Thursday to limit the size and scope of US banks and financial firms in a new offensive against Wall Street excesses laid bare by the financial crisis.

"Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail," vowed Obama, flanked by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker who advised the president on the rules.

The plans aim to limit "excessive" risk taking and to "protect" taxpayers by preventing banks or financial institutions from owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge fund or private equity funds.

However, the move is being slammed by Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg -- whose country has earned a reputation as trendsetters when it comes to rescuing banks – as an unreasonable way forward.

He believes it's better to construct an order where the state is ready to pitch in capital or seize control over troubled bank.

“If you will handle a bank crisis with the minimum amount of costs for the national economy and the public treasury this is the key question”, he told the TT news wire Friday, adding that the United States are stuck up in ideologies and politics that prevent them from nationalizing banks.

To seize control over banks prevents the bankers from excessive risk taking.

“If the owners of a bank know that they risk loosing the bank, it makes them more carefull with risk taking”, Anders Borg said.

This is far from the first time that the Swedish finance minister, ranked as one of the best in Europe, criticized the US way of handling bad banks. Allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse was “a mistake by historical dimensions”, he said in September, one year after the crash.

“In the textbook on how to deal with a financial crisis it says on the first row that ‘This is something you can not do’. It got enormous consequences. It set of a chain reaction that took months to stop.”, the minister said at the time.

In an interview with The Swedish Wire in June Anders Borg said that he was disappointed with the way the US and the UK governments have tackled the financial crisis and their unwillingness to nationalize banks.

“I don't believe in just buying toxic assets. You should stand ready to take over banks”, he said.

Obama's plan aim to effectively force financial firms to choose between proprietary activities -- trading in stocks and sometimes risky financial instruments for their own benefit -- and traditional activities, like making loans and collecting deposits.

The initiative, which must be approved by Congress, includes a new proposal to limit the consolidation of the finance sector, placing broader limits on "excessive growth of the market share of liabilities" at the largest financial firms.

Obama blamed banks for sparking the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with "huge reckless risks in pursuit of quick profits and massive bonuses" in a "binge of irresponsibility."

"My resolve to reform the system is only strengthened when I see a return to old practices at some of the very firms fighting reform; and when I see record profits at some of the very firms claiming that they cannot lend more to small business, cannot keep credit card rates low, and cannot refund taxpayers for the bailout," the president said.

He vowed to enact the reforms in Congress, even if Wall Street deployed an army of lobbyists to kill them.

"If these folks want a fight, it's a fight I'm ready to have," he vowed defiantly.

The announcement was the latest attempt by the White House to harness public rage at Wall Street bonuses and the financial crisis.

Wall Street gave an immediate thumbs down to Obama's plans as US stocks plunged, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 200 points or two percent.

The news also sent shockwaves though Asian stock markets on Friday, with the region's financial centers suffering heavy losses.

Tokyo's Nikkei dived 2.56 percent, Hong Kong was 2.54 percent down by the break and Singapore was 1.60 percent lower.

David Easthope, analyst with Celent, a research and consulting firm, said the effort could hit the banks in one of their most profitable areas.

Proprietary trading "has been the sweet spot for leading investment banks over the last few years, and executives will be concerned that Washington will be taking away the frosting," he said.

The Financial Services Roundtable, which represents 100 of the largest integrated financial firms, said the proposal would do little to improve risk management or protect consumers from irresponsible loans and trades.

"The proposal will restrict lending, increase risk, decrease stability in the system, and limit our ability to help create jobs," said Steve Bartlett, president and chief executive for the Roundtable.

The group represents 100 top financial services firms providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services.

Obama's first year in office was dominated by efforts to rescue a handful of banks that threatened to topple the US economy after being exposed to massive losses on the subprime mortgage market.

According to Treasury officials, about 205 billion dollars was pumped into 707 banks under the government rescue plans.

Obama has sounded a tougher tone towards banks in recent weeks as he faced widespread voter anger at the massive government bailout, which came as Americans faced surging unemployment, home foreclosures and national debt.

Top Obama economic aide Austan Goolsbee sought to counter criticism that the plan is returning to the Depression-era law creating a wall between investment and commercial banks.

"It's not returning to Glass-Steagall," Goolsbee said.

While the act repealed in 1999 forbid underwriting securities or investing in securities by any commercial bank, Goolsbee said, "This is not that. This says a bank cannot own a hedge fund, cannot own a private equity fund or do trading for its own account that is not related to its client business."

He added that the goal is "to get back to the fundamental nature of the bank, which is serving its clients, rather than investing for its own profit."

Last Updated (Friday, 22 January 2010 15:02)


Latest Jobs for English speakers in Sweden


Jobs for English speakers in Sweden

Most Read Searched