Or the 32 percent who think their number is pretty fair? Or the 56 percent who think they should get more? Or the 9 percent who don’t want to talk about it? You’re in a safe space— open up. (Related: apparently a higher percentage of the men than women polled thought their number was unfair, if you can believe that.) [Esquire]
Archive for December 2010
“They steal all the boys, they must have superhuman powers.” Read more »
During a rainstorm in Washington in early 2009, amid the furor over Wall Street’s post-bailout bonuses, an American International Group employee pulled out an umbrella that had the insurer’s name on it. “Somebody came by, grabbed the umbrella and broke it,” said AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche, who added that the attacker told the employee to engage in a sexual act impossible to perform on oneself. [Reuters]
SEC Probe Examines Hurd Exit From HP (WSJ)
As part of the probe, the Securities and Exchange Commission is checking whether Mr. Hurd passed information about H-P’s $13.9 billion acquisition of technology-consulting company Electronic Data Systems Corp. to a former H-P event hostess in 2008, before the deal was announced, the people said. Mr. Hurd has denied having an inappropriate relationship with the H-P contractor, Jodie Fisher, whose accusation of sexual harassment led to his ouster from atop the technology giant in August. The SEC is also looking at Mr. Hurd’s use of corporate expenses in his dealings with Ms. Fisher, these people said.
Blackstone Raises $15 Billion Fund For Buyouts (WSJ)
Though most of Blackstone’s longtime investors in the U.S. and Europe are participating, they’ve committed smaller sums compared with previous funds, these people say. To entice interest, Blackstone gave those willing to write checks of about $500 million better terms than others, according to the people. In the past, a $1 billion commitment was enough to elicit improved terms, they say. Some of the fund-raising challenges stemmed from investor concerns with private equity that have grown since the financial crisis, including the long-term and illiquid nature of the investments. It’s also been harder for private-equity firms to return cash to their investors, since the IPO market remains difficult. “It was like a rock fight,” said one Blackstone executive who was part of the fund-raising effort. “A long hard fight.”
Europe Bankers To Get Salary Hikes Due To Bonus Rules (FT)
Many US and Swiss banks are considering paying higher salaries and lower bonuses to top bankers based in the European Union, mostly in London, to ensure they comply with new instructions from the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS), the pan-EU regulator, limiting cash pay-outs. Some European politicians had expected that non-EU banks would apply their rules globally on a voluntary basis. But one senior European banker said: “Politicians are naïve if they think we will impose EU rules on a global basis. The ironic effect will be another hike in salaries, which is a fixed cost, which rather makes a nonsense of the idea of pay for performance.”
TD Bank To Buy Chrysler Financial For $6.3 Billion (Reuters)
Toronto-Dominion Bank has agreed to buy Chrysler Financial from private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $6.3 billion, making Canada’s No. 2 bank one of North America’s top five bank-owned auto lenders. TD said Tuesday the purchase consists of net assets of $5.9 billion and about $400 million in goodwill.
African Gold Rush Kills Children As Miners Find Lead Dust (Bloomberg)
Gold fever brought death to Umoru Musa’s nine-family compound in Sunke, a mud-brick village in northern Nigeria. Five of the 25 children, including Musa’s 1-year-old daughter Nafisa, lost their lives in May after villagers ground ore from nearby hills they didn’t know were also loaded with lead. Rising prices for gold promised a windfall. Instead, they helped unleash the deadliest lead-poisoning crisis in modern medical history. As the adults pulverized rocks with their grain grinder, they spewed lead dust across the ground where their children played and poultry grazed. They spread more of the material, lethal to children in high doses, around the communal well where they washed the ore to sift out the gold. “This gold cost us a lot,” Musa, 40, said in the open-air courtyard of his home last month as a clean-up team in white respirator masks cleared away lead-laden dirt. “There is nothing God can give that is better than a human being.”
Investments Boost For Paulson And Co (FT)
Paulson’s flagship $9bn Advantage Plus Fund, which in September was down 11 per cent for the year, has staged the most dramatic recovery. According to an investor, the fund was up 10.2 per cent for the month as of December 10. It is now up 14.3 per cent for the year. The fund is understood to have continued its strong performance this week. The Advantage Plus Fund trades around corporate events, such as mergers and acquisitions or bankruptcies. The firm’s Credit Opportunities Fund is up 4 per cent so far this month, bringing its performance to 16.5 per cent for the year so far. Mr Paulson’s Recovery Fund, which is focused on the US economy and its prospects, also returned 10.2 per cent over the first 10 days of December. The Recovery Fund is now up 19.4 per cent so far this year.
Moody’s Warns It May Cut Portugal’s Ratings (WSJ)
“In Moody’s opinion, Portugal’s solvency is not in question,” said Anthony Thomas, Moody’s vice president and lead analyst for Portugal. “But the likely deterioration in debt affordability over the medium term and ongoing concerns about the economy’s ability to withstand fiscal consolidation and private sector deleveraging mean its outlook may no longer be consistent with an A1 rating.” Read more »
If you’re of the belief that Julian Assange’s hint about the next WikiLeak hitting ‘a major US bank,’ points to Bank of America and also of the belief that Julian Assange had evidence about said bank that could possibly embarrass the institution more than it’s already embarrassed itself, then yes! Read more »
As you may have seen, this morning the Times a serious issue this morning involving financial services employees who will be receiving nada come bonus time this year. How serious? Codename serious. “They’ve come to be called the Zeros,” the gray lady quoted someone as saying (possibly the same person who snorted to himself and then said “stop, no, you’re so bad– so bad you’re good” after coming up with the nickname). “And they…are facing a once-unthinkable prospect: an annual bonus of … nothing,” he/she continues. One executive- possibly James Gorman- can’t even think about it.
Even though employees will receive roughly the same amount of money, the psychological blow of not getting a bonus is substantial, especially in a Wall Street culture that has long equated success and prestige with bonus size. So there are sure to be plenty of long faces on employees across the financial sector who have come to expect a bonus on top of their base pay…One executive, whose firm prohibited discussing the topic with the news media, said the bump in base salaries had confused people, even though their overall compensation was the same. “People expect a big bonus,” this person said. “It is as if they don’t even see their base doubled last year.”
Under Certain Circumstances, The Securities And Exchange Commission Is Fine With Financial Fraud And Insider TradingBy Bess Levin
Here’s just a little tip for any individuals or firms employing individuals engaging in a little passing or trading of material, non-public information: if you’re worried about the consequences, don’t be. As long as you come clean in a timely fashion, the SEC is willing to let it go. Read more »
No solid numbers yet but apparently some MD are promoting a new can’t-lose strategy: the power of positive thinking. Read more »
Netflix CEO Applauds Hedge Fund Manager’s Call, Balls To Short Company, Would Still Appreciate If He’d Refrain From Doing SoBy Bess Levin
Late last week, hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson sent out a detailed analysis of why his fund is short Netflix, which caught the eye of the company’s CEO, Reed Hastings. What’d Hastings think of the call? First off, he agrees you could make money shorting this thing.
“It is possible that one could make money shorting Netflix today,” CEO Reed Hastings, whose movie-rental company has moved to online delivery from DVDs, wrote in a posting on the Seeking Alpha website.
Having said that, and he doesn’t say this as the CEO of Netflix but as a friend and someone who loves kids, Reed would like to caution Tilson to back off before he or anyone else gets hurt. Read more »
Meredith Whitney On State Budgets’ Days Of Reckoning (CBS)
“The most alarming thing about the state issue is the level of complacency,” Meredith Whitney told correspondent Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. Whitney is warning about a financial meltdown in state and local governments. “It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States, and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy,” she told Kroft. Asked why people aren’t paying attention, Whitney said, “‘Cause they don’t pay attention until they have to.”…”The lack of transparency with the state disclosure is the worst I have ever seen,” Whitney said. “Ultimately we have to use what’s publicly available data and a lot of it is as old as June 2008. So that’s before the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.” Whitney believes the states will find a way to honor their debts, but she’s afraid some local governments which depend on their state for a third of their revenues will get squeezed as the states are forced to tighten their belts. She’s convinced that some cities and counties will be unable to meet their obligations to municipal bond holders who financed their debt.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults,” Whitney predicted. Asked how many is a “spate,” Whitney said, “You could see 50 sizeable defaults. Fifty to 100 sizeable defaults. More. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of defaults.”
Citi Gal In Suicide Plummet (NYP)
Very sad: Jessica Fashano, 27, plunged from the crest of swanky Trump Place, which rises 40 stories above Riverside Boulevard, and landed face down in a third-floor courtyard just after 8 a.m. on Sunday. Fashano, who cops said had sneaked into the building, landed a job as a Citigroup analyst after graduating from Georgetown University in 2005.
Europe Bankers’ Bonuses Slashed On Weaker Revenues (FT)
More than one in ten bankers and traders in the UK and Europe could receive no bonus this year, as banks slash their year-end pay-outs following weaker revenues. Underperformers will miss out on the billions of pounds of bonuses doled out early next year, with bonus pools expected to be down as much as 20 to 30 percent at most big investment banks, according to Armstrong International, the European executive search firm. “Compensation is being skewed more aggressively than ever,” said Matthew Osborne, a partner at Armstrong. “Banks are saying: ‘Let’s pay only the top revenue generators and the lower-ranked staff, but not the mediocre people in the middle’.”
Insider Trading Probe Could Grow (WSJ)
A key cooperating witness working for the U.S. in a major insider-trading investigation made more than 60 calls with corporate managers, seeking to gather evidence for the government, a person familiar with the probe says. The activity by the witness—who was identified by prosecutors in a complaint unveiled Thursday only as “CW-2″—suggests that the insider-trading investigation could grow significantly from the initial charges. A person familiar with the matter said that witness is Karl Motey, a 46-year-old technology analyst who has agreed to help the U.S. in its insider-trading probe. The government said CW-2 pleaded guilty to securities-fraud charges but doesn’t say when the charges against him were filed or what led to them.
Soros Gold Bubble At $1,384 (Bloomberg)
Globally, the 10 biggest such funds now hold a combined 2,113 metric tons of gold, more than the official reserves accumulated by every country in the world save four: the U.S., Germany, Italy and France. Their popularity has helped drive unprecedented gains for the precious metal, and some people, including analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., say gold can go higher.
Porn appears on Bangladesh airport screen (SMH)
Hundreds of travellers and waiting friends and relatives at the main terminal of the Shahjalal International Airport were shocked as the film was aired for five minutes, magistrate Siddiqa Akhter said. The display screen usually shows recorded documentaries about the culture and geography of Bangladesh, a conservative Muslim country. “The operator has been jailed instantly for two months. We have also summoned the owners of the cable firm to investigate the incident. We have to find out whether any criminal intent was involved,” Akhter said. Read more »