May 2012

  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: JPMorgan

    Some people are keeping their London-based gigs (for now) and some people are not.

    JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, will eliminate 20 investment-banking jobs in London as market conditions weaken, according to a person with knowledge of the cuts. The staff cuts aren’t related to the $2 billion loss at the New York-based company’s chief investment office in London, said the person, who asked for anonymity because the investment bank reductions haven’t been made public.

    [Bloomberg]

    / May 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM
  • News

    European Banks Want To Make Rating Agencies Stupider

    It’s sort of easy these days to worry about banks. Banks do worrying things, etc. […]

    / May 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM
  • Ira Sohn

    David Einhorn Puts Martin Marietta Materials On Notice, Gives GJF.NO His Blessing

    Einhorn says he has a lot of stocks to talk about, starts with Martin Marietta […]

    / May 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM
  • News

    JPMorgan Isn’t Ready To Let Bruno Iksil Go

    You can take your said to be leavings and stick them where the sun don’t shine for all Jamie Dimon cares!

    Bruno Iksil, the London-based JPMorgan Chase & Co trader known as the “whale” believed to have been involved in the company’s $2 billion loss in derivatives, is still employed by JPMorgan, a spokeswoman for the bank said on Wednesday. Kristin Lemkau responded to a report on the New York Times website saying that Iksil is leaving the company. “He is still employed,” Lemkau said.

    JPMorgan still employs “whale” trader [Reuters]
    ‘London Whale’ Said to Be Leaving JPMorgan [Dealbook]

    / May 16, 2012 at 3:01 PM
  • News

    Caption Contest Wednesday

    [via NJD]

    / May 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM
  • News

    Trading Against Your Clients Works Best When You Lose Money

    This is sort of a strange footnote to the London Whale: one of the hedge […]

    / May 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM
  • News

    Ashley Dupré’s New Career Involves Encouraging Customers To Put Clothes On


    If it feels like it’s been forever since we last heard from Eliot Spitzer’s former gal-pal Ashley Dupré it’s because it has. What’s she been up to since July 2010, when she told reporters she was focusing on getting her real estate license and writing a dating column which sadly did not continue past its debut? Becoming a small business owner and shedding her old skin, which she’d appreciate if you didn’t bring up in conversation. That (hooking) was then, this (being a New Jersey-based entrepreneur) is now. And while the new venture “represents a continuation of her evolution,” rest assured “special underthings” and swimsuits will always have a place in her life.

    Four years after her high-priced hotel romps with Eliot Spitzer dynamited his tenure as governor of New York and made her infamous, Ashley Dupré says she turned a page Monday with the opening of Femme by Ashley, a lingerie and swimwear boutique on the choicest block in downtown Red Bank. The shop, Dupré told redbankgreen in an exclusive interview, “is almost like the beginning of the rest of my life…Petite and wearing eyeglasses that made her appear somewhat more studious than she did in Girls Gone Wild videos made a decade ago, 27-year-old Dupré said she agreed to redbankgreen‘s request for a sit-down only at the urging of her boyfriend, TJ Earle, who thought it was important in establishing community roots. She said it would likely be her only interview on the topic. “I’m just done with it,” Dupré said of her scandal-based persona. “I’m very private. People don’t believe that, but I’m a very private person. I don’t want that life. I’m not looking to be in the press. I’m just looking to get on with my life.”

    “I’m a girl, and I think every girl likes to shop and explore their tastes,” she said. “Getting into this business, I kind of explored all of these designers and fell in love with them.” The shop offers swimsuits in the $180 to $200 range as well as some “special” underthings, Dupré said.

    Pop in for a look-see today.

    ASHLEY DUPRÉ SETS UP SHOP AND MOVES ON [RedBankGreen via Daily Intel]

    / May 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 05.16.12

    Greece Teeters As Talks Fail (WSJ)
    In a potent sign of Greeks’ rising anxiety, depositors withdrew €700 million ($898 million) from local banks on Monday alone, according to the country’s national bank—a significant escalation in capital flight from the country. Greek President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders that the situation facing Greece’s lenders was very difficult and that “the strength of banks is very weak right now,” according to a transcript released Tuesday.

    Merkel: I Want Greece To Stay In The Euro (CNBC)
    In an interview with CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange,” Merkel said: “I want, just like Jean-Claude Juncker, that Greece stays in the euro. I think that would be good for Greece and for all of us. If Greece believes that we can find more stimulus in Europe in addition to the Memorandum (the deal stuck with the Troika), then we have to talk about that,” she said, but she underlined that Greece and its euro zone partners had to be able to trust each other.

    What Happens When Greece’s Money Runs Out (Reuters)
    “I’m really not sure Greece could survive for very long if external money was cut off,” said Darren Williams, economist at fund manager AllianceBernstein. “But what an experience of IOUs may do rather quickly is bring home to the average Greek citizen just how much more difficult a place it is outside the bailout program and outside the euro.”

    Moore Leads Hedge Funds Betting on JPMorgan Before Losses (Bloomberg)
    Hedge funds Moore Capital Management LLC and Blue Ridge Capital LLC boosted their stakes in JPMorgan Chase, while Kingdon Capital Management LLC divested, before the shares plunged because of a $2 billion trading loss. Moore, the $15 billion New York-based firm run by Louis Moore Bacon, bought 6 million shares of JPMorgan and its $297.3 million stake was its largest U.S. stock holding as of March 31, according to a filing yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. John Griffin’s New York-based Blue Ridge purchased 1.85 million shares, raising its stake in the bank to 6.14 million.

    The man who beached ‘Moby Iksil’ (NYP)
    Boaz Weinstein, a renowned CDS index arbitrageur who launched Saba in 2009, in early February recommended the index, which tracks a basket of US corporate bonds. “They are very attractive” and can be bought at a “very good discount,” said Weinstein, a former Deutsche Bank proprietary trader, speaking at the Harbor Investment Conference on Feb. 2. It appears the index was so cheap because Iksil was buying it to make a big short bet. Weinstein, whose Saba overseas $5.5 billion in assets, decided to go long and said he bought the index a few days before the conference at around 120 basis points. For a while, Weinstein’s genius trade wasn’t working out. The IG9 Index continued to sink under the weight of the Whale’s buys — hitting a low of 105 on March 21. But two weeks later, on April 3, reports surfaced about the Whale’s outsize positions and the tide started to turn. The price spiked to 130 as traders piled on. What JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon first termed a “tempest in a teapot” started to get serious. By last week, Dimon announced a $2.3 billion loss on the Whale’s trade, and word spread that Iksil’s head may roll. Meanwhile, Weinstein, who earned roughly $100 million last year, saw his position and the index continue to soar. The CDS index traded around 146 yesterday.

    Facebook Said to Raise Size of IPO to 421 Million Shares (Bloomberg)
    Facebook is boosting the number of shares for sale in its initial public offering to 421.2 million, allowing the world’s most popular social network to raise as much as $16 billion. Existing holders will offer 241.2 million shares, compared with the 157.4 million they originally planned to sell, according to a regulatory filing today. Menlo Park, California- based Facebook and its existing holders had earlier planned to offer 337.4 million shares.

    Soros’s Firm Buys JPMorgan, Suntrust in First Quarter (Bloomberg)
    The $25 billion Soros Fund Management LLC, based in New York, increased the value of its stake in financials by 7 percent, including 606,000 shares of JPMorgan worth $28 million as of March 31, and 3.2 million shares of Atlanta-based Suntrust valued at $77 million, according to a filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Paulson Holds to Gold ETFs in First Quarter, Profits as Prices Rise (Reuters)
    So that’s nice.

    Housing Starts Probably Rebounded From a Five-Month Low (Bloomberg)
    “Homebuilding is inching up pretty much everywhere in the U.S.,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “The days when housing was a drag on the economy are behind us.” Even so, “housing activity is at depressed levels,” with foreclosures “still a problem for builders,” he said.

    Bloomberg Reporter Makes Wardrobe Adjustment On Camera (DM, NYO)
    A microphone mishap led one television reporter from revealing a bit more than she expected.
    When it became clear that one reporter’s mic was not working, the cameraman swapped over quickly to Sara Eisen. Clearly thinking she was off-camera, the Bloomberg News reporter was adjusting her skirt and smoothing out her undergarments. Because the camera swapped over to her sooner than expected, the financial-savvy viewers caught a glimpse of Ms Eisen’s underwear…In spite of the hiccup, Ms Eisen was able to brush her skirt down and get back to business. She flashed a quick, knowing smile and then moved right into the news about Spain’s banking system debate.

    / May 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 05.15.12

    $$$ Greece fails to form unity government [FT] $$$ Greek Depositors Withdrew $898 Million From […]

    / May 15, 2012 at 7:50 PM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Credit Suisse

    The Swiss bank is not done with its firings.

    Credit Suisse, the second- biggest Swiss bank, told New York state regulators it will eliminate 126 jobs in Manhattan over the coming months. The dismissals affect offices at 1 Madison Ave. and 11 Madison Ave. and will extend through Aug. 6, the bank wrote in a Department of Labor filing. The firm decided last year to scale down its investment bank and said it would cut 3,500 jobs.

    [Bloomberg]

    / May 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM
  • IPO, News

    Facebook Attracting Children, Retirees, Not Advertisers

    A wonderful thing about the Facebook IPO is that there is a proliferation of imaginary […]

    / May 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM
  • News

    Jamie Dimon: JPMorgan’s Balance Sheet Still Fortress-Esque

    “We maintain a fortress balance sheet to manage surprises and setbacks like this,” Dimon said […]

    / May 15, 2012 at 4:23 PM
  • News

    Lloyd Blankfein Finally Gets To Be The Prettiest Girl At The Ball

    Time was, Jamie Dimon was the most popular CEO on Wall Street and America’s “Least Hated Banker,” for reasons that included the fact that the man has soulful blue eyes, charisma out the ass, and was in charge of one of the banks that a) didn’t go out of business during the financial crisis, like Lehman and Bear and b) supposedly didn’t actually need the bailout money the government made it take (as JD has said previously), like Bank of America and Citigroup. The man, in the hearts of many and especially the adoring press, could do no wrong. Which is why it probably stung a lot that Lloyd Blankfein, a Wall Street CEO who also possesses more charm than a person would know what do do with, who was also in charge of a bank that neither went out of business during the financial crisis nor required the bailout money it was forced to take (according to GS), and who is also the owner of a pair of baby blues, though in his case ones that sparkle, could only do wrong. And while LB is not one to gloat at another’s misfortune, especially that of a friend, he’s obviously feeling pretty good about being living proof of the old saying, “only one Wall Street CEO’s balls can be in a vise at a time,” and right now it’s JD’s turn.

    Dimon did not attend the annual Robin Hood Foundation party [last night], but Blankfein was there, enjoying a rare night out of the spotlight. He shook hands, introduced his wife and, grinning broadly, posed for pictures. For months, Goldman Sachs has been portrayed as the callous Wall Street behemoth whose executives collected giant bonuses while America’s housing crisis worsened and unemployment rose. But Monday night was different. “No one cares about Lloyd tonight. It is Jamie against the world, and that’s got to feel good for Lloyd,” another hedge fund manager said.

    And this is just the beginning. First, they stop calling you Satan and claiming you poisoned their food, next glowing profiles and cover stories devoting major column inches to your rippling biceps and the throngs of women you beat off with a stick.

    Dimon Pushes Blankfein Off Hot Seat At Charity Gala [Reuters]
    Robin Hood Scene: Blankfein, Soros, Rihanna [Bloomberg/Photo]

    / May 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM
  • News

    Jamie Dimon Might Clawback Whale Team’s Bonuses Or He Might Not

    Dimon was approached by reporters after the [shareholder] meeting and was asked about whether executive […]

    / May 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 05.15.12

    In Facebook IPO, Frenzy, Skepticism (WSJ)
    Michael Belanger, a lawyer from Oklahoma City, invests his personal money in the stock market. But he will be skipping Facebook’s IPO because he thinks its valuation is totally “out of whack.” Scott Schermerhorn, chief investment officer of investment-management firm Granite Investment Advisors, says the hype around Facebook’s IPO is going to keep his firm away. “It’s a cult stock,” he says. Little of that skepticism is weighing on three investors, tracked by The Wall Street Journal since Facebook announced in February that it would go public. Jim Supple was driving with his daughter Jade last autumn, when she turned to him and said, “Daddy, can I buy some of the Facebook company?” Mr. Supple, 47, had been teaching Jade about investing in the stock market for years. He started putting money for her in stocks like eBay and Disney when she was a baby. But the request still took him aback. “How do you know about buying Facebook?” he asked. “I saw in the news that they were going to be selling parts of the company,” she responded. “Can we buy some?” Since then, Mr. Supple has been trying to find a way to take $25,000 he has saved for her college fund and purchase Facebook stock. “She doesn’t need this money for another eight years,” says Mr. Supple. “If it goes the Google route, I’ll be in good shape.”

    JPMorgan Said To Weigh Bonus Clawbacks After Loss (Bloomberg)
    The lender can cancel stock awards or demand they be repaid if an employee “engages in conduct that causes material financial or reputational harm,” JPMorgan said in its annual proxy statement. The company will claw back pay if it’s appropriate, said one of the executives, who asked not to be identified because no decisions have been made. The incident, which led to Drew’s retirement yesterday, may test JPMorgan’s claw-back policy amid mounting investor criticism over Wall Street pay practices and as regulators investigate the trades.

    JPMorgan Moves To Protect Dimon (WSJ)
    The board backs Mr. Dimon and the way he quickly admitted and sought to fix the bank’s mistakes, according to this person. “We made errors, and we are going to take care of it,” Mr. Dimon told fellow directors during a conference call last week, the person said. “This was bad thinking. This was stupid.”

    Euro Chiefs May Offer Leniency to Greece (Bloomberg)
    Calling talk of a Greek pullout from the euro “nonsense” and “propaganda,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said only a “fully functioning” Greek government would be entitled to tinker with the conditions attached to 240 billion euros ($308 billion) of rescue aid.

    Man Spends $60,000 In Custody Battle Over Dog Knuckles (CBS)
    Dershowitz, 34, said he considers Knuckles to be his son, and that although he’s gone through his life savings, he said it’s worth it. In papers filed earlier this year in Manhattan state Supreme Court, Dershowitz said ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega “kidnapped” Knuckles after they broke up. Brega said Dershowitz gave her the puggle pup — half pug, half beagle. Dershowitz started the website Rescue Knux to raise money for the custody fight. For $250, contributors can play fetch with Knuckles. For $10,000, Legends of Graffiti will do a giant, personalized mural. Dershowitz made an emotional video plea and posted the following on his site: I know it might sound funny and I understand that. If it wasn’t so painful, I would be laughing too (I mean, c’mon – dognapp – really?) but this is very serious to me and I miss him a lot. Enough that I have gone into debt to retrieve him and enough that I am on here asking for your help. I need the money to keep fighting the court battle. She comes from a wealthy family that is backing her. I don’t. She keeps filing crazy, frivolous motions just knowing that I can’t afford to respond even after the judge has ruled in my favor. The courts gave me custody already but, sadly, the system is too complex and expensive to make anything that simple and easy. I need help bringing my boy home…where he belongs…for good.”

    Dick Bove: No Reason to Break Up Big Banks (CNBC)
    JPMorgan’s much ballyhooed $2 billion loss is no reason to ramp up regulations, noted bank analyst Dick Bove said Monday. “I don’t think there’s any reason to break up the big banks,” he told CNBC. “Particularly if a bank can earn $18 billion a year and $22 billion the next year, why in heaven’s name would you say it can’t be run?”

    Sanders Sees Conflict With Dimon on New York Fed Board (Bloomberg)
    Senator Bernard Sanders said he sees a conflict with JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon serving on the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, JPMorgan’s regulator. “It is an obvious conflict of interest,” Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, said today in an e-mail response to a question from Bloomberg News. “This is a clear example of the fox guarding the henhouse.”

    Chesapeake Loan Jars Bond Investors (WSJ)
    “This loan was priced very attractively” for lenders, said Sabur Moini, manager of a $2.5 billion high-yield-bond portfolio at Payden & Rygel, adding that turmoil in Chesapeake’s bonds was largely “self-inflicted.” Investor confidence was shaken by the loan, he said, but it has also been dented by other factors, including controversy over CEO Aubrey McClendon’s pledging his stakes in company wells as collateral to secure loans with companies that do business with Chesapeake.

    Rajat Gupta Opposes U.S. Request to Limit Defense at Trial (Bloomberg)
    Prosecutors had sought to bar Gupta from speculating before the jury about the government’s motives in bringing the case. They also said evidence of Gupta’s past charitable contributions and the purported damage the case has had on his reputation aren’t relevant. “The government attempts to hamstring the defense,” Gupta’s lawyers said in a court filing today. “Mr. Gupta’s charitable activities are a large component of his background and a critical element of who he is as a person.”

    Cops bust man smuggling cocaine at JFK (NYP)
    A drug smuggler packed his stash of cocaine inside sticks of deodorant, ink markers and hundreds of buttons — only to be busted by alert customs officers at JFK Airport who noticed a strong odor coming from his suitcase, authorities said today…The items with cocaine hidden inside included 16 markers, 17 sticks of Dove and Odorex deodorant, 24 bottles of nail polish, and about 684 buttons.

    / May 15, 2012 at 7:30 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 05.14.12

    $$$ European leaders and financial markets braced for Greece exit from euro [Guardian] $$$ Ron […]

    / May 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM
  • Hedge Funds, News

    Yahoo! Résumégate Day 12: Peace In Our Time

    It seems that some combination of Dan Loeb persistence, cancer, and possibly incorrectly filled out […]

    / May 14, 2012 at 5:45 PM
  • News

    LightSquared Is Just Taking A Breather Is All

    Bankruptcy “is intended to give LightSquared sufficient breathing room to continue working through the regulatory […]

    / May 14, 2012 at 5:24 PM
  • News

    Swamped

    Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. The NBA is through its first round of playoffs, there hasn’t been a college board of a hundred games in over two months, and football is so far away that HBO still has a casting call out for Hard Knocks. Baseball’s the main attraction, and baseball bettors are gentlemen and so old school the periodic table only has about 50 elements.

    How did we get here? It was one of those darkest-before-the-dawn moments, that moment that feels like it’s darkest-before-it’s-totally-black. I strolled in on the last day of the NBA regular season, a Thursday, fashionably late. He asked me where the hell I had been.

    I always show up late on summer Thursdays, and leave early. There’s little baseball, and little else. But Faithful Assistant pointed to a screen and said “I’m fucking buried on the Wizards game”.

    The Washington Wizards are a bad basketball team. They were matched up against the Miami Heat, a very good basketball team. The Heat have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and that guy who Shaq said looks like Ru Paul. Except the market said the Heat didn’t give a flying fuck about that game, and the Wizards were 8-point favorites.

    I asked him if maybe the Heat were the favorites. No, said Faithful Assistant, it was the Wizards. And our clients, all of whom fancy themselves smarter than the average bear, had bet $25K on the Wizards, -7.5, -8, -8.5, -9.5.

    So dump it, I said. We can lay off 50K with one phone call, usually more. “I can’t. He’s got jury duty.”

    What was this world coming to, bookmakers being summoned to sit on juries. So I told him to keep calling every half hour or so. In the meantime I’d handle any more Wizards bets myself.

    They kept calling for the Wizards. Over and over and over again. The market was -8, and I was dealing it -10 and getting buckets of abuse. “-10? Get outta here. ESPN says they’re -8.” I quickly broke my clientele into two groups.

    The clients I didn’t care about, I told them “OK, fine. Call up ESPN and give them your bet.” Some of them screamed. Several questioned my parentage. Most of them laid -10.

    My better clients got better treatment. I explained how the book was hopelessly one-sided and my layoff guy was “in court”. (I let them imagine he was the guy in the orange jumpsuit, not somebody who would be leaving by the front door.) I took their bet at -10, but told them that if and when my guy came through, I’d call them back and give them the -8. They thanked me like I was doing them a favor. Great. The first people who weren’t angry all day.

    The pros called too. One nibbled on the Heat +8 at even money, but the rest passed.

    Court let out at 4:30. My guy didn’t make the jury: something about his wife’s job getting in the way. He took our bet for all we could eat at -7.5 and I started calling the clients back changing their -10 to not -8 but -7.5. People were thanking me as if I’d given them a kidney.

    Faithful Assistant’s quick tally when the game tipped off saw him scream “We cannot lose!”

    I pointed out that while we would indeed win money, that wasn’t the same as being invulnerable. For the sake of peace, love, and client happiness, we needed these lowly Wizards to win by a pile. Happy customers keep coming back, and there’d be no talk of conspiracies, fixed games off funny betting lines, and so on.

    The Wizards rolled. Up by 25 at half, they cruised to a 34-point win. The Heat played their B team all night. (The Tepid?) No LeBron, no Wade, no Ru Paul, no problem. The clients were ecstatic. One of them even sent us flash-frozen steaks.

    It’s actually helped us change the summer baseball operation. Now when people call up looking for a team at such-and-such a price, if we don’t have it and they’re willing to leave the order open, we take the order and call them back when we fill it. A good client now calls us his “betting con-au-pairs”. I think he means “concierges”, but I don’t speak French. Whatever. It’s working out.

    / May 14, 2012 at 5:02 PM
  • News

    Dick Fuld Never Stops Pounding The Pavement

    Last month it was lunch with Alan Schwartz, today this:

    / May 14, 2012 at 3:38 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Temporary Setbacks Aside, You Haven’t Seen The Last Of LightSquared, Phil Falcone

    LightSquared Inc. filed for bankruptcy after its plan to deliver high-speed wireless to as many […]

    / May 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM
  • News

    New JPMorgan CIO Doesn’t Get Out Of Bed For Less Than A Great Depression-Level Financial Catastrophe

    Earlier today, it was announced that Matt Zames had been named JPMorgan’s new Chief Investment Officer, to replace Ina Drew, the woman who supervised the trader responsible for the firm’s whale of a loss and was dismissed over the weekend. Previously, Zames served as the firm’s head of fixed income and while he may be happy to be seen by senior management as a guy capable of putting out at a fire, based on his experience, is probably at least a little bit underwhelmed by the task.

    From Kate Kelly’s Street Fighters:

    Matt Zames had been down this road before. He had started his career at Long-Term Capital Management in the winter of 1994, shortly after college. There he witnessed firsthand what could happen when a bunch of shortsighted executives didn’t manage their risk properly…By the time he reached the sixth floor it was after midnight. His team was huddled with a group of Bear managers in one of the conference rooms. Zames had one question for the Bear team: How much cash and collateral did it have on hand?…Zames shook his head. “This isn’t going to be necessary,” he told them. “This whole thing is fucked.”

    Guy had a front-row seat for LTCM and Bear’s implosion and now he’s being asked to do what, exactly? Clean up a minor mess at a *solvent* bank? It’s almost a little insulting, actually. Call him when you’ve got SOMETHING REAL.

    JPMorgan Says Ina Drew to Retire, Replaced by Zames as CIO [Bloomberg]

    / May 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 05.14.12

    JPMorgan Loss Claims Official Who Oversaw Trading Unit (NYTimes)
    The $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase will claim its first casualty among top officials at the bank as early as Monday, with chief executive Jamie Dimon set to accept the resignation of the executive who oversaw the trade, Ina R. Drew. Ms. Drew, a 55-year-old banker who has worked at the company for three decades and serves as chief investment officer, had repeatedly offered to resign since the scale of the loss became apparent in late April, but Mr. Dimon had held off until now on accepting it, several JPMorgan Chase executives said. Two traders who worked for Ms. Drew also planned to resign, JPMorgan Chase officials said. Her exit would mark a stunning fall from grace for one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, as well as a trusted lieutenant of Mr. Dimon…Former senior-level executives at JPMorgan said it was a shame that Ms. Drew has ended up suffering much of the fallout from the soured trade. They said that Thursday’s announcement of the $2 billion loss was the first real misstep that Ms. Drew has had and said that the position was not meant to drum up bigger profits for the bank, but rather to ensure that JPMorgan could continue to hold lending positions in Europe. “This is killing her,” a former JP Morgan executive said, adding “in banking there are very large knives.”

    Jamie Dimon: Trading Losses Are Not Life-Threatening (CNBC)
    “This is a stupid thing that we should never have done but we’re still going to earn a lot of money this quarter so it isn’t like the company is jeopardized,” he said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet with Press.” “We hurt ourselves and our credibility, yes — and that you’ve got to fully expect and pay the price for that.”

    Yahoo’s Thompson Out Amid Inquiry; Levinsohn Is Interim CEO (Bloomberg, earlier)
    Thompson, 54, was brought on to orchestrate a turnaround after Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. lured users and advertising dollars. Thompson’s undoing stems from erroneous biographical references to him as holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stonehill College. A former EBay Inc. (EBAY) executive, he earned a degree in accounting from the Easton, Massachusetts- based school, and the information is correctly listed in EBay regulatory filings and some Yahoo press releases. The incorrect degree showed up in Yahoo’s April 27 10-K filing, as well as on the company’s website. As part of the board changes, Daniel Loeb, chief executive officer of Third Point, joins as a director along with Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf. A fourth nominee, Jeffrey Zucker, said in today’s statement that he withdrew his nomination to allow a quick transition.

    Euro Officials Begin to Weigh Greek Exit (Bloomberg)
    Greek withdrawal “is not necessarily fatal, but it is not attractive,” European Central Bank Governing Council member Patrick Honohan said in Tallinn on May 12. An exit was “technically” possible yet would damage the euro, he said. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reiterated in an interview in Sueddeutsche Zeitung that member states seeking to hold the line on austerity for Greece could not force the country to stay.

    LightSquared Moves Toward Bankruptcy Filing (WSJ)
    Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. venture was preparing Sunday to file for bankruptcy protection after negotiations with lenders to avoid a potential debt default faltered, said people familiar with the matter. LightSquared and its lenders still have until 5 p.m. Monday to reach a deal that would keep the wireless-networking company out of bankruptcy court, and there were some indications over the weekend that a final decision hadn’t yet been reached on its fate. Still, the two sides remained far apart, and people involved in the negotiations expected LightSquared to begin making bankruptcy preparations in earnest.

    Facebook cofounder living large in Singapore as he stiffs US for a possible $600M in taxes (NYP)
    Saverin is renouncing his US citizenship in favor of Singapore, the Southeast Asian city-state that has no capital-gains tax, where he has lived like royalty since 2009. The move already has saved him about $288 million in taxes, and will save him much more if he chooses to sell his $4 billion personal stake in Facebook, which goes public next week. “This pisses me off,” fellow tech-industry billionaire Mark Cuban spat on Twitter Friday upon hearing news of Saverin’s decision. Saverin’s spokesman has defended the move, claiming he has investments in the Far East, and Europe and the permanent move makes perfect sense. “Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” Saverin’s spokesman told Bloomberg.

    JPMorgan Unit’s London Staff May Go as Loss Prompts Exits (Bloomberg)
    The entire London staff of JPMorgan Chase’s chief investment office is at risk of dismissal as a $2 billion trading loss prompts the first executive departures as soon as this week, a person familiar with the situation said. The firm is examining whether anyone in the unit, which employs a few dozen people in London, sought to hide risks, said the person, who requested anonymity because the deliberations are private.

    In Wake Of JPMorgan Loss, Rivals Fret About New Rules, Downgrades (WSJ)
    Over the weekend, rival banks scurried to explain why they believe a similar trading loss couldn’t happen at their firm. Some companies pointed to moves already taken to reduce risk and sell off volatile and opaque assets such as derivatives on credit indexes. In a statement, Citigroup “has a small amount of straight-forward economic hedges managed at the corporate center to mitigate our credit exposure, principally relating to consumer loans.” About half of that total is in cash, with most of the rest in U.S. Treasury bonds and other conservative investments. At Morgan Stanley, the portfolio most similar to J.P. Morgan’s investment office is a $32 billion “available for sale” portfolio. The portfolio primarily consists of easily traded U.S. Treasury and government agency securities. It doesn’t hold any derivatives instruments, a person familiar with Morgan Stanley’s operations said. Goldman Sachs has no similar unit to the one at J.P. Morgan that suffered the loss.

    Apple Founder Wozniak to Buy Facebook Regardless of Price (Bloomberg)
    “I would invest in Facebook,” he said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television. “I don’t care what the opening price is.”

    Missing: Stats on Crisis Convictions (WSJ)
    It is a question that has been asked time and again since the financial crisis: How many executives have been convicted of criminal wrongdoing related to the tumultuous events of 2008-2009? The Justice Department doesn’t know the answer. That is because the department doesn’t keep count of the numbers of board-level prosecutions. In a response earlier this month to a March request from Sen. Charles Grassley (R.,Iowa), the Justice Department said it doesn’t hold information on defendants’ business titles. “Consequently, we are unable to generate the [requested] comprehensive list” of Wall Street convictions stemming from the 2008 meltdown, the letter from the Department of Justice to Mr. Grassley said.

    Man Charged in Death Offers Victim’s Foot for Deal (AP)
    A homeless man charged with killing and dismembering his friend says he can’t remember much about the crime. But in a jailhouse interview, Leslie Sandoval told the Anderson Independent-Mail he remembers where he put the victim’s missing left foot and is willing to tell a prosecutor if she will make him a deal. Sandoval says he went on a January drinking binge with Seth Foster. Foster’s torso was found under an Anderson home, and his head, hands and right foot were found different places. Sandoval says he is confused about exactly what happened. But he disagrees with a coroner’s finding he beat Foster and denies a claim from investigators that he confessed and gave them the knife used to dismember Foster.

    / May 14, 2012 at 7:30 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 05.11.12

    $$$ SEC Opens Review of J.P. Morgan [WSJ]

    $$$ $$$ Chesapeake Energy: How To Lose $1 Billion In 46 Minutes [MarketBeat]

    $$$ Facebook’s IPO already oversubscribed [Reuters]

    $$$ “The new lead investigator at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s watchdog office has been placed on administrative leave after he talked openly about wanting to carry a concealed firearm at work and some employees complained he was a physical threat, according to people familiar with the matter.” [CNBC, related]

    $$$ Are Dads the New Moms? [WSJ]

    $$$ An elite credit focused hedge fund is seeking a trade assistant for its CDS desk in New York [DBCC]

    $$$ Avon Board Said to Study Coty Diligence Request [Bloomberg]

    $$$ This is a pretty cool idea for shareholder lawsuit settlements [M&A Law Prof Blog]

    $$$ John Travolta’s lawyer calls third claim of sexual advances ‘ridiculous’ [NYP]

    $$$ Failed Buffett dinner auction still draws donation [CNBC]

    / May 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM
  • Banks

    Spare Some Worrying For Ratings-Triggered Collateral

    Remember how a week ago people went around bothering themselves about Bank of America’s derivatives? […]

    / May 11, 2012 at 6:22 PM
  • News

    And Now, A Picture From Jeffrey Gundlach’s Days In A Hair Band

    Gundlach, second from right, with the members of Radical Flats, which included his wife, second […]

    / May 11, 2012 at 5:53 PM
  • News

    Fitch Has Something To Say About Fudgie

    “Manageable” but “raises questions.”

    Fitch Ratings has downgraded JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-‘ and its Short-term IDR to ‘F1′ from ‘F1+’. Fitch has placed all parent and subsidiary long-term ratings on Rating Watch Negative. Fitch has also downgraded JPM’s viability rating (VR) to ‘a+’ from ‘aa-‘ and placed it on Rating Watch Negative. In addition, Fitch affirmed JPM’s ‘1’ support rating and ‘A’ support rating floor. The rating actions follow JPM’s disclosure yesterday of a $2 billion trading loss on its synthetic credit positions in its Chief Investment Office (CIO). The positions were intended to hedge JPM’s overall credit exposure, particularly during periods of credit stress.

    Fitch views the size of loss as manageable. That said, the magnitude of the loss and ongoing nature of these positions implies a lack of liquidity. It also raises questions regarding JPM’s risk appetite, risk management framework, practices and oversight; all key credit factors. Fitch believes the potential reputational risk and risk governance issues raised at JPM are no longer consistent with an ‘AA-‘ rating.

    Fitch Cuts JPMorgan Ratings [Reuters]

    / May 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM
  • News

    Yahoo! RésuméGate, Day 9: Scott Thompson Didn’t Even Offer Yahoo The Courtesy Of A Fake Résumé

    Last Thursday afternoon, hedge fund manager Daniel S. Loeb, who is waging a proxy battle against Yahoo, made a simple request: that the board of directors fire CEO Scott Thompson, who had lied about having a computer science degree from Stonehill College, when in fact the academic fraud only graduated with a degree in accounting. Loeb wanted the job done by Monday at 12 noon, EST and as the deadline passed, it was clear the request was would not be honored. As a result, Loeb was forced to demand every single document related to Thompson’s hiring at the company. Emails, heading hunting referrals, thoughts, feelings, the works. Most importantly, the résumé Thomspon submitted when applying for the gig. Did Loeb enjoy dragging this out? No. Did he take pleasure in watching the “carnage” unfold? Certainly not, and he’s shocked and offended anyone would ever think that. Nevertheless, a computer science degree had been fabricated out of thin air and Loeb felt he owed it to shareholders to get some answers. And while Yahoo! has presumably not yet faxed over the documents he asked for, they did offer this:

    Apparently the Yahoo chief says he’s being honest when he tells us no fake résumés were submitted to Yahoo because they never got any résumés, period.

    Yahoo‘s embattled chief executive, Scott Thompson, told the company’s senior management on Thursday that he never submitted a résumé or falsified his academic credentials, a person briefed on the matter said.

    [Dealbook]

    / May 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM