With new sets of regulation for the banking sector both in Europe and in the U.K., investors can be forgiven for not knowing which firms are best placed for the new laws. But one analyst has given CNBC his top tips for those banks ready for change.
A flurry of recent banking reports including the Vickers Commission in the U.K., the European Banking Authorityand the Liikanen Commission report have muddied the waters for investors. Many of these reports provide guidance on capital buffers and aim to split investment and retail arms, to varying degrees.
“It’s regulation overlapping regulation, this is a concern I have,” Chris Wheeler, bank analyst at Mediobanca told CNBC.
He believes that the lack of coordination between the different governments is “a very negative issue,” but added that HSBC and Barclays are two stand-out opportunities.
“HSBC’s great benefit is that it’s come out of this as very strongly capitalized and very well diversified,” Wheeler said. According to him, HSBC was well diversified in markets that aren't necessarily developed.
“They’re actually just about to unload a big chunk of the old household business in the United States,” he said. This, he believes, would relieve HSBC of “one of the biggest monkeys off its shoulder.”
Although HSBC and Barclays didn’t receive any direct support from the U.K. government during the financial crash in 2007, the sector as a whole received over 500 billion pounds ($806 billion) via liquidity and recapitalization schemes.
“In the case of Barclays it has three great businesses within there, the U.K. bank, the Barclaycard, and the investment bank,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler believes Barclays will trade at 0.5 times its book value — the value based on to its balance sheet, and will deliver around 10.5 percent in terms of return on equity.
“That’s very cheap, it reflects the risks that exist there,” he said.
—By CNBC.com’s Matt Clinch
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Chris Wheeler does not have any personal or company holdings in HSBC or Barclays.