Opening Bell

Opening Bell: 12.13.12

Banker Bonuses Seen Capped at Twice Salary in EU Compromise (Bloomberg)
Negotiators from the European Parliament and Cyprus, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, brokered the draft agreement during a meeting today, said Sharon Bowles, chairwoman of the assembly’s economic and monetary affairs committee. The deal is contingent on compromises being reached on some other parts of an EU law on bank capital. The accord would cap a banker’s bonus at the same level as fixed salary, while giving room for larger awards with shareholder approval, Bowles said in an e-mail after the meeting in Strasbourg, France. A maximum limit would be set forbidding awards of more than twice fixed pay.

Rigged Libor With Police Nearby Shows Flaw of Light Touch (Bloomberg)
Every morning, from his desk by the bathroom at the far end of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s trading floor overlooking London’s Liverpool Street station, Paul White punched a series of numbers into his computer. White, who joined RBS in 1984, was one of the employees responsible for the firm’s submissions to the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the global benchmark for more than $300 trillion of contracts, from mortgages and student loans to interest-rate swaps. Behind him sat Neil Danziger, a derivatives trader at the bank since 2002. On the morning of March 27, 2008, Tan Chi Min, Danziger’s boss in Tokyo, told him to make sure the next day’s submission in yen would increase. “We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan, known by colleagues as “Jimmy,” wrote in an instant message to Danziger, according to a transcript made public by a Singapore court and reviewed by Bloomberg before being sealed by a judge at RBS’s request. The trader typically would have swiveled in his chair, tapped White on the shoulder and relayed the request, people who worked on the trading floor said. Instead, as White was away that day, Danziger input the rate himself…Events like those that took place on RBS’s trading floor, across the road from Bishopsgate police station and Dirty Dicks, a 267-year-old public house, are at the heart of the biggest and longest-running scandal in banking history.

Ex-Bear Stearns Employees to Get $10 Million in Settlement (Bloomberg)
The settlement will resolve class-action suits filed beginning in 2008 against Bear Stearns and other defendants by former employees of the bank. The employees, participants and beneficiaries of Bear Stearns’s employee stock ownership plan who held shares of the bank’s common stock, claimed risky investments in subprime mortgages caused them to lose money.

Fed Extends Bond Buying To 2013 (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve, clarifying its intentions for an economy hobbled by uncertainties, for the first time spelled out the unemployment level it would like to see before it raises short-term interest rates. The Fed said Wednesday, at the conclusion of its last policy meeting of the year, that it would enter 2013 with a plan to purchase $85 billion a month of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities, part of a continuing attempt to drive down long-term interest rates to encourage borrowing, spending and investing.

Barbara Walters asks Chris Christie if he is too ‘heavy’ to be President (NYDN)
“There are people who say that you couldn’t be president because you’re so heavy,” Walters asked, delicately. “What do you say to them?” “That’s ridiculous. I mean, that’s ridiculous,” Christie retorted. “I mean, I don’t know what the basis for that is.” “I think they’re worried about your health,” she said. “Well, I’ve done this job pretty well,” he said, “and I think people watched me for the last number of weeks in Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job, so I don’t really think that would be a problem.” […] Christie has at times turned his famously sharp tongue on those who make issue of his weight – a problem he notes is shared by a large segment of the U.S. population. During a Washington Post forum in August, he said it was “idiotic” for columnists like Michael Kinsley to suggest that being overweight means he is undisciplined. “It is just one of those last remaining vestiges of prejudice and stupidity in our society that you would draw that direct line between those things,” he said.

Jobless Claims Drop (WSJ)
Jobless claims decreased by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 in the week ended Dec. 8, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected 367,000 claims.

EU, IMF Agree to Lend Greece 49 Billion Euros (Reuters)
“Money will be flowing to Greece as early as next week,” Eurogroup Chairman Juncker told a news conference after a meeting of ministers from the single currency bloc. “We are convinced the program is back on a sound track.”

Fraudster to Hedgies: “Sorry” (NYP)
Sam Israel, the hedge-fund manager convicted of running a $450 million Ponzi scheme who faked his own suicide to avoid the slammer, apologized for dragging the industry through the mud. “I am deeply ashamed to have disgraced you all by proxy,” Israel told roughly 150 members of the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable in a letter last week. “I am sorry to have tarnished the business I loved and lived for my entire life.” Israel’s message, dripping with self-pity and regret, was delivered at the end of a presentation last Monday at the posh Princeton Club in Midtown, where hedge fund pros had convened to hear from Guy Lawson, the author of a new book on the financial felon.

Cola Brand and Lays Team Up for Snack Flavor in China (AdAge)
PepsiCo is taking its global Power of One program to jointly promote beverages and snacks a step further in China, with the marriage of two Pepsi brands in a single product: Pepsi-Cola chicken-flavor Lay’s potato chips. Cola chicken is a common recipe in China, with chicken wings tossed into a wok and caramelized in soy sauce, spices and cola. In potato-chip form, the flavor is vaguely similar to barbecue with a sugary aftertaste. If there’s any hint of Pepsi, it’s fleeting and lacks fizz. Richard Lee, PepsiCo’s chief marketing officer in China, said the idea came from a brainstorming session involving teams from marketing and R&D, as well as Pepsi ad agency BBDO, Shanghai. Lay’s launches a new flavor every year, and this time the goal was fusion. “We thought it would be really cool to have a cola combined with chicken. … It’s a very popular dish in China,” said Mr. Lee, who in 2010 became the first person to be put in charge of marketing and portfolio management for both food and beverage brands in China. “Also it would be very cool to involve one of our most-iconic soft drinks,” he added…”We want to celebrate a philosophy [that says] you can find happiness all around you,'” Mr. Lee said.

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74 Responses to “Opening Bell: 12.13.12”

  1. Chris Rock says:

    There Is No Sex In The Champagne Room! NONE!
    Oh, theres champagne in the champagne room
    But, you don't want champagne, you want sex.

  2. Guest says:

    You're gonna love the way you look….I guarantee it.

  3. Guest says:

    "Sam Israel, the hedge-fund manager convicted of running a $450 million Ponzi scheme who faked his own suicide to avoid the slammer, apologized for dragging the industry through the mud."

    What about us?

    -The Tribe

    • Theo says:

      You are a mediocre baseball team in the midwest.

    • MOT says:

      The guy happens to have the last name Israel which I'll admit isn't helping, but let's be real here – this crook isn't making a material impact on the Jew Hate Index. Let's discuss this at the annual World Zionist Order meeting held the night of 12 Tevet alright? No need to do this publicly.

  4. PermaGuestII says:

    Pepsi Cola chicken-flavored potato chips != pleasant thought when hungover.

  5. Guest says:

    “It is just one of those last remaining vestiges of prejudice and stupidity in our society that you would draw that direct line between those things,”

    he said just before he threw his large fountain soda at Walters and wiped his face with the empty McDonalds bag.

  6. Gues says:

    Christie's real problem is that he's too guido.

  7. Guest says:

    “Money will be flowing to Greece as early as next week,” Eurogroup Chairman Juncker told a news conference after a meeting of ministers from the single currency bloc. “We are convinced the program is back on a sound track.”

    And the name of that track is…?

  8. commentator says:

    It's called POP not COLA!

  9. Guest says:

    Sam Israel, adopting a play from Gilly's book, tells the hedge fund industry…ssschorry.

    – guy who only reads the headlines

  10. Is anybody really complaining about a bonus 2X your salary, when salaries rose 70-100% since the financial crisis? Good times!

  11. Other Michael Smith says:

    Great time at Woodrow's last night – well done Bess & Matt

    • J. Arnold says:

      All y'all were in Houston?

    • Guest says:

      The weirdest part (for me) was discovering that Matt is actually two Bloomberg terminals wearing a trench coat.

    • guest says:

      Woodrow's??! I got an email saying it was at Splash

      – evil Letterman

    • Alt_EST says:

      …and well done Guy Who Read Everything, he played it all really well

      • PermaGuestII says:

        The fact that he looked exactly like Steve Carell made it even better.

        • Im_a_Dude says:

          how about a brief synopsis for those of us who couldn't attend? like Bander did with the GS book.
          who knows, maybe FKApmco will kick in for gift card.

          • Couldn't Make It says:

            I'm really hoping for a synopsis too. Who was the guest reader?

          • Bess says:

            Well it wasn't Im a Dude.

            That's for certain.

          • PermaGuestII says:

            The venue: the basement of a bar downtown, a dim space with an oddly low ceiling but otherwise comfortable. Craft beer on tap. Appetizers. Baskets of tortilla chips on the bar and the standup tables.

            The audience: imagine if you took a selection of reasonably well-dressed business-like looking people from some random place (one car of a commuter train, say), put drinks in their hands and told them they were at a party. Then imagine these people all know each other well, but only via false identities assumed in written correspondence. Awkward at first, but then the booze rubs the edges off.

          • PermaGuestII says:

            The readings (I know I'm missing one here):
            1. Intern Party at ReUnion Bar! [redacted intern]@JPMorgan
            2. The Commercial Paper Crisis of 2007, John Carney
            3. Principals, by Ray Dalio
            4. The Memoirs of Wilbur Falcone, Bess Levin
            5. Vicious Animal Liars, by Clifford Asness
            6. A Contrarian Investor who is buying Citigroup ("John Carney met a lot of people in bars who confirmed things he was thinking")
            7. Greg Smith on how horrible it was to lose at ping-pong
            8. Goodbye to All That, by John Carney
            9. I Troll for Ass at the Penn Station Taco Bell, by Captain Shortbus

          • Guest says:

            Also –
            My 34th Interview with Goldman Sachs (Guest, Jan 29 2010)
            Paid Jets Take The Hassle Out of Flying (Lenny Dykstra, Dec 2 2008)

            – Guy who took home a pamphlet

          • guest says:

            Plus the encore of Map to Charlie Gasparino's Heart, by Bess Levin.

            – guy who hopes DB does these things monthly.

        • Guest says:

          PG you look like you could actually become your avatar in about 40 years.

    • Chciago says:

      Pics or it didn't happen

  12. guest says:

    Oval man in Oval office.

  13. Guest says:

    Oh that's why my chicken didn't taste quite right.


  14. Guest says:

    I thought Barbra Walters died years ago.

  15. Hobbes says:

    Lay's chips? We onry got Ray's chips around here.

    -Chinese Shopkeeper

  16. Unemployed Trader says:

    I guess the markets are active this morning judging by the current comment stream's limited cleverness.

  17. 27th says:

    F*ck you, Barbara.

    – William Howard Taft.

  18. Danker_Banker says:

    I'm not in favor of a soda tax or the like but I'm becoming more convinced that a "fat tax" directly on overweight people is a good policy. Chris Christie too heavy to be president? Nah, but he should pay more taxes.

  19. Santa Clause says:

    I like Chris Christie enough to not care about him looking like a grounded blimp, but if he's going to turn into one of those indignant "its ok that I'm fat, you're a prejudiced asshole" type of fat people, then its just not going to work.

  20. Guest says:

    Christie may be too fat to be president, but Barbara definitely talks like too much of a retard to do interviews and that doesn't seem to be holding her back.

  21. Guest says:

    John Deere would be delighted to provide C Christie with a Presidential Scooter.

  22. pmco says:

    Christie is not fat, he is 'curvy'.

  23. M. Moore says:

    This "Christie is too fat" thing is causing me great internal conflict.

  24. Im_a_Dude says:

    thanks for coming through, Perma