FT'S LEX COLUMN
THE LEX COLUMN: With ABN, it’s that sinking feeling
There’s always a bull market somewhere, wizened old traders will say. Then there is ABN Amro. What once appealed to value hunters — a strong capital base and decent profitability leading to higher dividends — has not panned out. As a result, the Dutch bank’s stock price has slid over the past year.
While hedge funds can always go long on a bank when share indices arc ever higher, shorting cheap banks just feels risky. ABN Amro is one for the sell list. Not that the Dutch bank will implode soon. Its balance sheet looks strong. In its full-year earnings, it reported a common equity tier-one (CET1) ratio of 18%. Part of that capital prepares ABN for the next round of banks’ voluntary regulatory framework, informally known as Basel IV. Even adjusted for that, CET1 remains high at 14%, which is 100 basis points above regulatory targets.