National Australia Bank, UBS, Deutsche, Lazard

David Bullen, the former National Australia Bank trader at the centre of the recent $275m currency options scandal, has been charged by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority. Bullen says that he will face up to 20 charges and that he will defend himself, instead of using a lawyer. Four traders were dismissed from the bank after the affair surfaced in March.

US regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission is said to have advised UBS Investment Bank that it may face enforcement action in connection with its dealings with HealthSouth Corp, a US company where a $3bn accounting fraud was uncovered last year. UBS Investment Bank made millions from advisory and other work for the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Deutsche Bank boss Josef Ackermann told a newspaper earlier this month that his bank would not be merging with either CSFB or UBS. Ackermann said that deals with 'both large Swiss banks are out of the question....The overlap would be, particularly in investment banking, too large, requiring layoffs'.

Research firm Dealogic has said that the value of global announced M&A deals increased 45% in 2004 to $2,084.6bn. Advisory revenues increased 21% to $12.3bn. December was apparently the best month for M&A deals since April 2000 and the busiest December on record, with $262.5bn of deals announced.

Finally, Lazard may well have made official its plans to float around 25% of the firm for as much as $850m, but the first nine months of trading this year have been tougher than the same period 12 months ago. Acording to figures filed with US regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission, operating income for the period fell to $89.7m, compared to $204m in the first nine months of 2003. The firm is, however, expected to bring in a record fourth quarter.

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