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Croatian fans will be looking to tie one on if they upset Spanish supporters who will be banking on a strong performance


Kirsten Hastings




Score prediction: CROATIA 3 – SPAIN 1


Croatia is home to an “invention” (or design) that is somewhat ubiquitous with financial services. Whether used as a splash of colour or the finishing touch that brings an entire outfit together – Croatia gave the world the tie (or cravat).

The history of how a humble length of fabric became a symbol of style, unsurprisingly, can be traced to France. As with a lot of stories – there are conflicting and contradictory versions of the story.

Some say King Louis XIII had hired mercenaries from Croatia to fight in his army in 1630. He was inspecting the troops and was intrigued by the red cloth tied around their necks. Soon after it became on of the hottest trends in Paris.

Other credit Louis XIV with making it fashionable, while some go back earlier to the 30 Years War (1618-1648) and make no mention of French kings.

But we’re not here to prove the history of the tie – just to acknowledge its origin and impact on financial services.

I saw an aerial photo taken in 1930s New York of a street filled with men going to work. Every single one of them was wearing a hat. Every one. It was the standard, the uniform of the professional man. As has been the tie. When attending industry events, it’s almost unthinkable not to wear a tie. But is that still the case?

Could the tie go the way of the hat?




Score prediction: CROATIA 1 – SPAIN 1 (Spain on penalties)


Banks could probably be one of the most vilified sectors in the world since 2008, when the global financial crisis put them in the eye of the hurricane.

To be fair, a lot of unethical activities were normalised in some areas of the world’s most powerful banks, but what the didn’t know at that time was that they own behavior would trigger their punishment.

The current problem that the business model of the traditional banks is facing comes from the low rates environment in which we were been living for more than 10 years now, in which the bank’s operational business generate little earnings while loss provisions and solvency ratios are required to be higher and higher.

Thus, only the largest, most efficient and well capitalised entities will survived, while the rest of them will end up being absorbed by one of above.

In Spain we currently have four banks identified as global systemically important institutions (G-SIIs): Banco Santander, BBVA, Caixabank and Sabadell. The importance of being classified as G-SIIs is that the supervisory authorities place even more emphasis on the capital adequacy, solvency ratios and procedures that in their peers.

Having four (five just before march, when Bankia and Caixabank merged) global systematically important institutions illustrate the strength and reliability of the Spanish financial system.