July 2012

  • Jed Rakoff is (1) the judge in the case and (2) delightfully smiley.

    News

    Federal Jury Doesn’t Want SEC To Take This The Wrong Way, But It Thinks This Citi CDO Case Is Bullshit

    So remember when Citi did that thing that was all the rage in 2007 where they constructed a synthetic CDO referencing mortgage-backed securities in order to facilitate their own prop bet against those MBS, but then maybe inadequately disclosed to investors that they were in fact naked short those MBS? And then they got sued […]

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM
  • News

    Bonus/Layoffs Watch ’12: Barclays

    The juniorest of mistmakers have received their numbers (and a little perspective).

    “Barclays first year analyst bonuses: massive range, 20k-55k. Analysts got 20k, 25k, 35k, 40k, 45k, and 55k at top. Most groups are expecting cuts within the next few months so while some people are dissatisfied, most are just happy to have jobs.”

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 3:03 PM
  • News

    CFTC’s Exhaustive Internal Review To Determine Whether Or Not Jon Corzine And Chairman Gary Gensler Had A “Too Close” Relationship Reveals Corzine Was The Kind Of Guy To Make A Big Show Of Signing Up For Athletic Events And Coming Up With An Excuse Not To Do Them At The Last Minute, While Gensler Was The Kind To Smirk And Passive Aggressively Ask If You Were “Actually” Going To Do It This Time

    The memo even explored why Gensler ran the New York Marathon with Corzine’s number more than 20 years ago. According to the report, Gensler learned that Corzine had registered to run the 1991 race. Gensler asked Corzine’s secretary if Corzine was actually going to run. Several weeks later, the secretary informed Gensler that Corzine had […]

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 2:05 PM
  • Sergio Ermotti has been practicing this pained smile.

    Banks

    Otherwise Robust UBS Earnings Dragged Down By Inability To Buy And Sell Stocks

    UBS announced earnings today and I tell you, it is hard work to get people to focus on the strong fundamentals of your business when you keep distracting them with enormous screw-ups. Today’s: Due to the gross mishandling of Facebook’s market debut by NASDAQ, we recorded a loss of CHF 349 million [$356mm] in our […]

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 1:13 PM
  • News

    Convicted Insider Trader Matthew Kluger “Shocked” To Find Out He Couldn’t Trust The Guys With Whom He Was Committing Federal Crimes

    Remember Matthew Kluger? To recap, he’s the mergers and acquisitions lawyer who spent two decades feeding inside information to convicted insider trader Garrett Bauer, that he picked up from partners at the six different law firms he worked at over the years. The operation, which included Kenneth Robinson, an old friend of Kluger who acted as the tips mule between MK and GB, went very smoothly for a very long time (17 years), and would have continued going smoothly had Robinson stuck with the plan instead of deciding to start making the same trades as Bauer, raising suspicion with SEC, which was watching the men and used “relationship analysis” to determine they were “part of the same trading scheme and had a common source: Kluger.” In March 2011, federal agents showed up to Robinson’s house and after thinking it over for a couple days, he decided to cooperate by giving prosecutors a step-by-step guide to how the scam operated, telling them Kluger’s name, and recording conversations with Kluger and Bauer in which the two said things like “I went right up to my apartment and I broke the phone in half and went to McDonald’s and put it in two different garbage cans” and “I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep. I’m waiting for the FBI to ride into my apartment” and “We have to get all the fingerprints off that money. Like you wearing gloves or something and wiping every bill down or something” and “There is no way [these cell phone conversations] could ever be recorded.”

    Robinson was ultimately sentenced to 27 months in prison, Bauer got nine years (despite his 147 speeches about how insider trading is a bad idea on the college lecture), and Kluger was handed 12 years, beating Raj Rajaratnam for “the longest insider trading U.S. history.”

    Recently, Kluger sat down with Bloomberg to offer a few more specifics re: how the scheme went down (“Sometimes it was a deal I was working on, sometimes it was a deal I heard being discussed in the office”; “I would call Ken and say ‘X/Y/Z company is considering a takeover of Q company”) but what he really wants to talk about? What was the biggest surprise and hardest punch to the gut in all of this? Is what it was like finding out that his buddies were stiffing him on cuts of their ill-gotten gains.

    “On the day I was arrested, when they showed me the criminal complaint against me, finally that day, I saw the amounts that had been traded and I was absolutely shocked. Our agreement from the beginning was always that that profits were being shared equally three ways. I felt very used and manipulated, that he was basically pumping me for information, that he was then lying to me about how he was using and then allowing his obviously better friend to make millions and millions of dollars while telling me that that was not happening.

    “Maybe you want to laugh and say of course there’s no honor among thieves,” Kluger added. “But even when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to do, I trusted that they were honoring the commitments that they had made.”

    You can imagine Kluge’s utter dismay to find out that such was not the case. It’s one thing to get nailed for insider trading, it’s another to find out you could’ve been making 10 times the profits while doing so.

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 1:11 PM
  • advice

    Meredith Whitney Suggests Out Of Work Financial Services Employees Stop Thinking ‘How Many People Will Be Working Under Me?’ And Start Thinking ‘Do You Want That Collated And Bound, Sir?’

    “The problem to date has been that those that have been laid off have been sitting on their couches because they do not want to take a downgrade in pay. They are not going back to work and the longer you are out of work, the more difficult it is to get a new job. […]

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 11:32 AM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Deutsche Bank

    The Germans thought about it and decided yes, layoffs sound like a great idea.

    Deutsche Bank said it will eliminate 1,900 jobs, including 1,500 at the investment bank, as part of an effort to save 3 billion euros ($3.68 billion). Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, forecast “substantial costs” to achieve the savings without giving a figure in a statement to the stock exchange today.

    The job reductions are part of a strategy review Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen, Deutsche Bank’s new co-chief executive officers, are conducting as the lender grapples with declining revenue from the investment bank, which reported a 63 percent decline in second-quarter earnings today…“The time for vague promises of cultural change in our industry is long gone,” Jain said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. Deutsche Bank’s leaders are “totally determined to act quickly and decisively.”

    Deutsche Bank To Cut 1,900 Jobs In Bid To Save EU3 Billion [Bloomberg]

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 07.31.12

    RBS Braces Itself For Libor Deal (WSJ)
    RBS stands apart from the other banks caught up in a trans-Atlantic probe of the rate misdeeds because of the U.K. government’s 83% stake in the lender. That has put U.K. authorities in an awkward position: They are under intense pressure to get tough on wayward banks but also are eager to protect the value of a taxpayer asset.

    Defendant in Insider Case: I Was Just Doing My Job (WSJ)
    Doug Whitman, a former hedge-fund manager, doesn’t deny that he probed public companies for nonpublic information. But his criminal-defense team plans to argue that its client was doing exactly what he was supposed to do when he persuaded employees of public companies to give him information that those companies’ top brass didn’t want getting out. Mr. Whitman “was doing what every diligent, competent fund manager and analyst should do—checking up on companies’ management to make sure they are being forthright with their investors,” said David Anderson, Mr. Whitman’s lead defense attorney, in an email.

    Tiger Management Helps Next Generation Funds (NYT)
    In a relatively young industry where stars can quickly fade, Tiger Management — and its myriad affiliates like Falcon Edge — is the closest thing to a hedge fund dynasty. After a brief career in finance, Mr. Robertson started Tiger in 1980 with seed money from friends and family. He regularly racked up double-digit returns by taking big positions in companies with good long-term growth prospects and aggressively betting against those stocks poised to fall. Mr. Robertson trained his young protégés — the so-called Tiger cubs — in the same tradition, creating the next generation of hedge funds stars. After leaving Tiger in 1993, Lee Ainslie started Maverick Capital, which currently manages roughly $10 billion. Stephen F. Mandel Jr. began Lone Pine Capital in 1997. Two years later, Andreas Halvorsen opened Viking Global. “We really gravitated to young people, and that was a great deal of our success,” said Mr. Robertson, 80, who often hired people in their 20s. “I was just an old goat with all these young geniuses around.” As the first wave of Tiger cubs age, they are breeding new funds, too. Blue Ridge Capital, where Mr. Gerson honed his skills, has been a particularly good incubator for talent. While Blue Ridge has subscribed to the long-term strategy of Tiger, the founder, Mr. Griffin, has infused the firm with his own philosophy. As a proponent of behavioral finance, he trained analysts like Mr. Gerson to identify how ego and emotion can affect the market and stock performance.

    Biggest Chapter Yet For A Poison Pen (WSJ)
    Daniel Loeb isn’t one given to half-measures. The hedge-fund manager competes in triathlons, never, ever drinks from a plastic water bottle and is unsparing at times in his criticism of corporate executives. That is exactly how his investors like him. “I didn’t give him the money to have a mellow Dan Loeb,” said Hugh F. Culverhouse, a Miami investor whose family once owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team. “If I want a mellow Dan Loeb, let me redeem.”…The Yahoo campaign signals a new phase in Mr. Loeb’s career. Until now, he was perhaps best-known for his poison-pen letters, in which he has scolded executives for everything from keeping relatives on the payroll to socializing at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Armed with a much bigger war chest—Third Point managed just $1.7 billion as of April 2009—Mr. Loeb can now aim for bigger targets. Mr. Loeb and his investors have a lot riding on a Yahoo revival. “If he makes money on his position, it will be good,” said David Tepper, a fellow hedge-fund manager who has known Mr. Loeb for years. “If he doesn’t make money, what is the point?”

    British man rescued off French Atlantic coast after being overcome with Olympic mania and trying to swim to America (DM)
    The unnamed 34 year old holidaymaker told his friends on the beach at Biarritz that he was off to New York to carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic. They thought he was joking but knowing that he was a strong swimmer decided to let him go telling him that a boat would come to rescue him if he got into difficulty. The man swam well beyond buoys 300 yards out to sea marking legal limits for bathing. Then, watched by lifeguards on the shore, he continued swimming until he was out of sight on his 3,594-mile journey. The lifeguards called out a helicopter and a diver dropped into the sea and explained to the man that it was not a good idea to swim across the Atlantic and advised him to head back towards France. He replied that he was a strong swimmer and felt up to it. At the same time lifeguards arrived in a rescue dinghy and threw the eccentric a line before towing him back to the beach. Laurent Saintespes, senior officer at Biarritz airbase told Agence France Presse, ‘He was a bit naive. But at a time when the Olympics are taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things’.

    Billionaire Jeff Greene On Democracy (NYM)
    Lately—like at a recent lunch with Steve Schwarzman, who has likened Obama to Hitler—Greene’s been trying another tactic. “Now I appeal to them selfishly,” he says. “ ‘Don’t you realize that if you don’t take care of this kid when they are 10 years old, you’ll take care of them when they are 20 and 100 instead? We just have to pay a little more taxes. It’s not going to kill us. You buy car insurance. Why not buy some democracy insurance?’ People think that Obama is this leftist, socialist guy,” he says. “But I don’t think they understand what people can go for when they are at the end of their line.”

    South Korean Youth Eschew Samsung Jobs For Facebook Dreams (Bloomberg)
    Not so long ago, South Korean students dreamed of lifetime jobs at Samsung Electronics Co. Now, many are shunning the juggernaut, intent on trying to emulate the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Sim Cheol Hwan, 27, is typical of the trend. He wants to take a break from college in Seoul to set up a company rather than line up for job interviews at Asia’s biggest electronics company paying an average of 77.6 million won ($68,300) a year. So he’s set himself up in his own business making apps for Samsung and Apple phones. “I don’t want to get a job at a top 10 Korean company,” said the Hanyang University engineering student, who spent two years in the military. “Zuckerberg’s success proves that there is a lot of money to be made” in startups.

    Regulators Target Day-Trading Firm (WSJ)
    In the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca, inside a garret up a narrow wooden staircase, four young men in T-shirts spend the day moving rapidly in and out of stocks, trying to ride their shifting momentum for profits. “It’s very stressful,” says one, dressed in a green T-shirt, blue shorts and Adidas sneakers. “The market is very hard to figure out.” The four traders are part of a world-wide network initially set up by a Toronto-owned firm called Swift Trade Inc. Swift’s founder, Peter Beck, turned it into one of the largest day-trading operations in the world over the past decade by aggressively expanding into far-flung locations, from China to Nicaragua to Romania, where he could recruit traders on the cheap. Mr. Beck also took an aggressive stance toward the law, say regulators in several countries where his firm has traded. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is expected on Tuesday to announce a settlement with Mr. Beck and an in-house brokerage unit for not establishing a supervisory system to prevent “a pattern of manipulative trading activity,” according to a copy of the settlement reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    The Best CFOs: A Wall Street Journal Ranking (WSJ)
    #16: Ann Marie Petach, BlackRock.

    Chewbacca costume head from ‘Star Wars’ sold for $172K (NYDN)
    A Chewbacca headpiece used in the original “Star Wars” trilogy sold for a whopping $172,200 at a movie memorabilia auction this weekend. The loyal and lovable walking carpet swept the competition, which included an “Edward Scissorhands” costume worn by Johnny Depp that sold for $86,100 and an Everlasting Gobstopper used in the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” that sold for $49,200. The Chewie mask was described by auctioneer Profiles in History as the “finest full costume headpiece of Chewbacca from the original trilogy in private hands,” and “the finest screen-correct Chewbacca costume head from the Star Wars trilogy known to exist.” The eyes are actual casts of Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew’s closed eyes, the auctioneer said. The expected price for the well-liked Wookie was between $60,000 and $80,000, plus fees and taxes, according to the auction catalog…Four years ago, someone spent a reported $240,000 to get the lightsaber prop used by actor Mark Hamill in the first two movies.

    / Jul 31, 2012 at 7:30 AM
  • News, Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 07.30.12

    $$$ ECB thinks the unthinkable, action likely weeks away [Reuters]

    $$$ Private equity assets hit record $3tn [FT]

    $$$ Economy Tests Harvard [WSJ]

    $$$ Guy seeks attention by pretending he manipulated Libor [Boston Review, related]

    $$$ Chivalry On Sinking Ships Only A Myth, Researchers Find [Bloomberg]

    $$$ Macquarie Research is looking for a REIT research associate in New York [DBCC]

    $$$ A Berlusconi Comeback Is Last Thing Italy Needs [Bloomberg]

    $$$ Here you will find a Fox Business segment on The Decathlon featuring an NBA vs. Wall Street vertical jump contest [FBN]

    $$$ Here you will find an argument for replacing the uncomfortable business metaphor “opening the kimono” with “putting a ruler to the dick” [Mathbabe]

    $$$ “Many scientists don’t like to talk about shark sex,” but some do [LRB]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM
  • WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE IPO!

    News

    Are You Having A Better Year Than Wayne Rooney?

    Like so many unathletic American males in or near the financial industry, I follow European soccer*, so for me the Manchester United IPO is the most exciting IPO since that other IPO. And that’s not the only connection: United seems to have learned a lot from Facebook about how to conduct a successful IPO, er, […]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM
  • News

    Bonus Watch ’12: JPMorgan

    Li’l Dimons started receiving numbers today.

    First year analysts (base 70k):
    Bottom tier: 40k
    Middle tier: 50k
    Top tier: 55k

    Second years (base 80k):
    Middle tier: 65k
    Top tier: 70k

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 4:55 PM
  • News

    Mohamed El-Erian Didn’t Have To Tell Bill Gross To Stop Hitting Golf Balls At 3:30 Every Day. His Raised Eyebrows And Knowing Glances Said It All.

    On most mornings, Bill Gross wakes early at his beachfront home in Laguna Beach, south of here, and is on Pimco’s trading desk by 6 a.m. He says he is working harder than ever and has no plans to retire anytime soon. Mr. El-Erian, he says, has energized Pimco — and him. Mr. Gross once […]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM
  • News

    Some Lehman Brothers Alums Doing Demonstrably Better Than Others

    Joe Gregory has been forced to put his Long Island-chic manse on the market. Dick Fuld’s been pounding the pavement for months with nothing to show for it.  Bella is still dead. Not a lot to celebrate and yet some people have managed to do pretty okay for themselves despite having spent time at 745 7th Avenue. Erin Callan, as may have heard, is happily married to firefighter Anthony Montella and living in a $3.9 million house in the Hamptons and Evelyn Stevens, who actually worked at another firm before leaving Wall Street but should know that if you so much as set foot in the lobby of the building, you’ll be branded a Lehman Brother or Sister for life, just competed in her first Olympics and no longer counts herself among financial services employees who spend their days fantasizing about a life that doesn’t so closely resemble hell.

    The 5-foot-5 (1.7-meter) Stevens said she’s using savings from banking bonuses to “cushion” the blow of lower earnings. She began her career as an investment-banking analyst at Lehman Brothers Inc., leaving in 2007 before the bank collapsed. “I was able to save a lot of my bonuses,” Stevens said. “I don’t have to survive on a $10,000 or $8,000 purse from cycling. If I hadn’t been in investment banking, I wouldn’t have been able to be at the Olympics.” She was 24th in yesterday’s Olympic women’s road race, finishing among a group including teammate Shelley Olds that was 27 seconds behind gold-medal winner Marianne Voss of the Netherlands. There were 66 riders at the start.

    While there’s a “big discrepancy” from what she once earned, Stevens said her quality of life has improved. After leaving behind a 90-hour working week in banking, she lives in Girona, Spain during the European racing season and Boulder, Colorado. “In New York there’s pressure, and it’s kind of negative, everyone was stressed,” Stevens, dressed in U.S. team tracksuit and lycra three-quarter length pants at the London Olympic Park, said July 27. “I don’t get so much money now but my quality of living has gone up.”

    Ex-Lehman Banker Parlays Bonuses Into Cycling Berth At Olympics [Bloomberg]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 3:58 PM
  • News

    Bank Of America Briefly Considered Unburdening Itself Of The Drunken Mistake That Was Countrywide

    And then decided that sticking with the “worst deal in the history of American finance,” which has cost it $40 billion in cleanup so far, made them at least look like responsible adults, facing the consequences of their actions, rather than deadbeats trying to take the easy way out.

    Long before Sanford Weill suggested last week that big banks should split up, Bank of America executives and directors considered the idea and then decided against it, said people close to the nation’s second-biggest bank by assets…Chief Executive Brian Moynihan and his team looked at a possible bankruptcy of Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled mortgage operation it purchased in 2008. Management also studied whether it made sense to break off Merrill Lynch, the securities firm it purchased in 2009. Mr. Moynihan ultimately recommended to his board that neither action made sense. The company decided Merrill had become too big of a profit center and splitting it off could expose the brokerage firm to the sort of funding problems that killed off other Wall Street firms in 2008. Meanwhile, it felt bankruptcy of Countrywide might invite more legal and reputational troubles for Bank of America while exposing other subsidiaries to problems.

    Bank Breakups, Not So Fast [WSJ]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 2:35 PM
  • Hugely embarrassing: this post used to contain the logo for the wrong Berkshire Bank. Sorry!

    News

    Jealous Non-Libor-Panel Banks Want Libor Lawsuits Too

    Apparently a lot of law school graduates are unemployed and starving so as a public service I figured I’d clue them in to an easy and lucrative line of business open to any self-starter with a law degree: (1) Find a description of how banks manipulated Libor and it was bad – this complaint will […]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 2:28 PM
  • News

    Bonus Watch ’12: RBC

    Junior mistmakers at the Royal Bank of Canada received their numbers last week.

    1st Year (Top Tier): ~$52,000
    2nd Year (Top Tier): $65,000
    3rd Year (Top Tier): $85,000

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM
  • News

    4 Percent Of Americans Think Jamie Dimon Is Prepping His Bike To Jump The 526 Feet Between The Top Of JPMorgan Headquarters And The Roof Of The Old Bear Stearns Building

    In spite of JPMorgan Chase’s well-publicized loss of more than $5 billion, just 14 percent of Americans polled correctly identified C.E.O. Jamie Dimon as a New York banker. Sixty-six percent say they don’t know who he is, while 9 percent believe he’s a Texas congressman, 7 percent think he’s an X Games skateboarder, and just […]

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 07.30.12

    New York Lender Files Libor Suit (WSJ)
    Berkshire Bank, with 11 branches in New York and New Jersey and about $881 million in assets, claims in a proposed class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York that “tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars” of loans made or sold in the state were affected by rigging the London interbank offered rate. Many adjustable-rate commercial and home loans are pegged to Libor, meaning that “misrepresentation…on the date on which a loan resets will generally reduce the amount of interest that a lender receives by an equivalent amount,” the bank alleges…”Libor could well be the asbestos claims of this century,” said James Cox, a law professor at Duke University in Durham, N.C. “Misreporting an index used around the world” has “ginormous” ramifications, he added.

    HSBC Hit By Provisions (WSJ)
    HSBC said Monday that net profit fell in the first half, as the bank was forced to put aside $2 billion to cover the fallout of a U.S. money-laundering probe and the improper selling of financial products. The series of provisions at the bank pushed up underlying costs by $1.9 billion and ate into the lender’s bottom line, cutting net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders in the first six months by 9% to $8.15 billion.

    HSBC Apologizes For Compliance Failures (Bloomberg)
    “Regulatory and compliance events in the first six months of the year overshadowed financial performance,” Chairman Douglas Flint said in a statement today. “HSBC has made mistakes in the past, and for them I am very sorry.”

    Big Banks Are Getting Tough With Hedge-Fund Clients (Reuters)
    Major banks face growing pressure to extract more money from, or even sever ties with, unprofitable hedge-fund clients as they cut costs in the face of tough trading conditions and try to refocus on the biggest managers. Industry insiders say prime brokers are sifting through their client lists, in some cases demanding higher fees on trading or a greater share of a fund’s business, and sometimes telling funds to look elsewhere.

    Investors eye wine, art funds for hedging (NYP)
    Rising fears that traditional investing has become a lose-lose proposition have a growing number of wealthy folks seeing dollar signs in niche funds that invest in art, wine, musical instruments and even classic cars. They’re known as “collectible” funds or “treasure” funds, and while they come with plenty of skeptics and potential pitfalls, they’re also promising returns reminiscent of the days before the Great Recession. Sergio Esposito, founder of Union Square’s wine shop Italian Wine Merchants, said the wine fund he helped start in 2010, The Bottled Asset Fund, has been doing so well he hopes to launch another next year. After selling its first batches of wine this year, the $8.2 million fund is now seeing profits upward of 30 percent, he said.

    Gymnast’s parents perform their own routine at London 2012 (The Score)
    Lynn and Rick Raisman have been watching their daughter Aly work towards the Olympics since they first brought her to a gym when she was two two years old. It’s no wonder then that watching her compete for an Olympic medal is a nail biting experience. Here they are with their eyes trained on Aly’s uneven bars routine in London. Her dad just about makes it through unscathed:

    Fed Weighs Cutting Interest On Banks’ Reserves After ECB Move (Bloomberg)
    “They’re reconsidering it,” said Ward McCarthy, a former Richmond Fed economist. A July 5 decision by the European Central Bank to cut its deposit rate to zero is prompting renewed interest in the strategy, said McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. McCarthy said it’s unlikely the Fed will reduce the rate at a two-day meeting that starts tomorrow.

    Used Lamborghinis Linger On H.K. Lots Amid China Lull (Bloomberg)
    Dealers of such second-hand cars say job cuts and the worsening global economic outlook are creating uncertainty among the finance-industry and expatriate professionals who make up the bulk of their buyers. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank are among firms with Asian headquarters in Hong Kong that are cutting jobs worldwide. “The more expensive the car, the more dry the business,” said Tommy Siu at the Causeway Bay showroom of Vin’s Motors Co., the used-car dealership he founded two decades ago. Sales of ultra-luxury cars have halved in the past two or three months, he said. “A lot of bankers don’t want to spend too much money for a car now. At this moment, they don’t know if they’ll have a big bonus.”
    “In the car market, it’s not buying like watches,” said Booz & Co.’s Russo. “Here you are getting a true look at a category of product bought by Hong Kong buyers. It’s a pulse check on how Hong Kong residents view the stability of the financial system.”

    Sarbanes-Oxley’s Jail-Time Threat Hasn’t Been Applied in Crisis-Related Cases (WSJ)
    After the financial crisis, the certification rules seemed like a strong weapon against executives suspected of misleading investors. But prosecutors haven’t brought any criminal cases for false certification related to the crisis. Regulators have brought only a handful of crisis-related civil allegations in that area…For example: Richard Fuld, former CEO of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. A bankruptcy examiner’s report on Lehman’s 2008 collapse said there was enough evidence to support claims that Mr. Fuld failed to ensure the firm’s quarterly reports were accurate, because he knew or should have known Lehman had cut its balance sheet through questionable transactions. But the government hasn’t charged Mr. Fuld with false certification or other wrongdoing. His attorney couldn’t be reached for comment. There also haven’t been any charges against James Cayne, Bear Stearns Cos.’ ex-CEO, which spiraled into a liquidity crisis that led to a 2008 forced sale to J.P. Morgan. Mr. Cayne and other Bear executives recently agreed to a $275 million settlement of shareholder litigation accusing them of misleading investors about the firm’s finances—including allegations that Mr. Cayne falsely certified Bear’s financial reports.

    Fla. Man Who Lost Hand Charged With Feeding Gator (AP)
    A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 9-foot alligator faces charges of feeding of the animal. Collier County Jail records show 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt was charged Friday with unlawful feeding of an alligator and later posted $1,000 bond. His next court date is Aug. 22. Weatherholt was attacked on June 12th as he was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades. The family said Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water’s surface when the alligator attacked. Wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the gator. Weatherholt’s hand was found but could not be reattached. A criminal investigation followed. Feeding alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.

    / Jul 30, 2012 at 9:30 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 07.27.12

    $$$ US economic growth slows to 1.5% [FT] $$$ When Bob Diamond ran London rates trading at Morgan Stanley in 1991, all of his traders knew Libor was rigged [FT] $$$ Facebook Shares Hit New Lows as Mobile, Growth Concerns Linger [WSJ] $$$ You know what was a worse retail IPO than Facebook? Bankia [Reuters] […]

    / Jul 27, 2012 at 5:47 PM
  • Two things: (1) this really does seem to be Hon. Mr. Justice Briggs, (2) if you want your picture on Dealbreaker, dress up in a red robe, ermine collar & wig and send me a picture and, yeah, it'll probably happen.

    News

    “Everybody’s Doing It” Legal Theory Does Not Protect English Bank Restructurings

    When people talk about financial innovation one of the main things they mean is legal innovation. CDOs, ETFs, MERS, the poison pill – most of the ways to smooth or roughen the path of investment take the form of jamming entities and contracts together in ways they’ve never gone together before. Sort of by definition […]

    / Jul 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: Oppenheimer

    The firm is said to have released some of its young into the wild.

    Oppenheimer & Co. joined UBS today in laying off first year analysts two days before bonuses…

    / Jul 27, 2012 at 3:33 PM
  • News

    JPMorgan: Not Breaking Up Any Time Soon

    One silly thing to think about JPMorgan’s executive reshuffling announced today is “fuck you Sandy Weill!” Before today JPMorgan looked a bit like a loose confederation of financial services businesses, including in particular three different institutional units: the Global Corporate Bank, a bank that lends money to companies, the Investment Bank, an investment bank that […]

    / Jul 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM
  • News

    Barclays Film Division Releases Debut Title: 12 Minute Libor

    Barclays wants all its employees to learn that they never, ever should try to rig Libor again. To that end, the top executive at Barclays’ investment bank is appearing in a film about the lessons the bank has supposedly learned from the Libor scandal. And all Barclays employees are expected to watch the video. The […]

    / Jul 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM

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