European Banks to Trail American Rivals in Rebound, Report Says

North American banks and insurers are better positioned to benefit from an economic recovery than their European counterparts and the divergence is widening, according to consultant Oliver Wyman.

Firms in North America are generally well-capitalized with low risk while those in Europe are “standing on the threshold of once-in-a-generation restructuring” after the financial crisis, Oliver Wyman said in its report on the 2014 financial-services industry at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Financial-services companies in both regions are still hampered by regulatory restrictions, including fines, the report said.

Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG have been cutting costs by eliminating staff to meet tougher capital rules amid slower revenue growth due to the sovereign-debt crisis. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, said on Jan. 20 that this year will be challenging after a surge in legal costs and lower debt-trading revenue spurred a surprise fourth-quarter loss.

“We remain optimistic about the outlook for those firms in financial services that can adapt rapidly to the new world,” Nick Studer, managing partner of Oliver Wyman’s financial-services practice, said in a statement.

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