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.

Comments (74)

  1. Posted by Chris Rock | December 13, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    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. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM

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

  3. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    "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

  4. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 13, 2012 at 9:58 AM

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

  5. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    “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. Posted by Gues | December 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM

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

  7. Posted by Theo | December 13, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    You are a mediocre baseball team in the midwest.

  8. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    “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…?

  9. Posted by commentator | December 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    It's called POP not COLA!

  10. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM

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

    - guy who only reads the headlines

  11. Posted by Financial Samurai | December 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM

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

  12. Posted by guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Kill yourself.

  13. Posted by Tenaska Doofus | December 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    It's a SODA!

  14. Posted by Other Michael Smith | December 13, 2012 at 10:31 AM

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

  15. Posted by guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Large Farva.

  16. Posted by Go Play in Traffic | December 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    No, they're mostly complaining about you not donating your body to science so we can make sure no one like you will ever again walk this earth or comment on this internet.

  17. Posted by J. Arnold | December 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    All y'all were in Houston?

  18. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Can you please post a link to a picture of yourself? The blind hatred I have for you just isn’t enough anymore. I need to put a face to my hate.

  19. Posted by MOT | December 13, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    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.

  20. Posted by hmm | December 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    All you'z**

  21. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:53 AM

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

  22. Posted by Rittenhoff Slowly | December 13, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    No he literally meant soundtrack. They're going to play Wagner while they wire the money. Scares the shit out of the natives.

  23. Posted by guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Oval man in Oval office.

  24. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM

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

    @BretEastonEllis

  25. Posted by corrected | December 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Peasant thought.

  26. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Go back home, son.

  27. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Why do you still post comments here? Seriously, why? Take a hint, buddy.

  28. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    I thought Barbra Walters died years ago.

  29. Posted by Hobbes | December 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM

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

    -Chinese Shopkeeper

  30. Posted by VonSloneker | December 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    "on a sound track" = tied to a railroad track

    - Snidely Whiplash

  31. Posted by LetsBreel | December 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Need way more exclamation points to be believable.

  32. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Pretty sure I heard him order a vodka and charts on the rocks.

  33. Posted by PippyLongSausage | December 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    I was really hoping you would show up to the Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading last night so I could fart on you.

  34. Posted by Unemployed Trader | December 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

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

  35. Posted by Fan of your work | December 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    You should change your name to Successful Troll

  36. Posted by 27th | December 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    F*ck you, Barbara.

    - William Howard Taft.

  37. Posted by qwestion | December 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

  38. Posted by guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM

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

    - evil Letterman

  39. Posted by buy 1 | December 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Its like this all the time now

  40. Posted by Danker_Banker | December 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    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.

  41. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Pretty sure she does her interviews in New York, so you're looking at a medium fountain soda at best.

  42. Posted by M. Bloomberg | December 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Doesn't matter what it's called, as long as you don't have too much of it

  43. Posted by Little Fritz | December 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Nah, just looks that way

  44. Posted by Alt_EST | December 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM

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

  45. Posted by Santa Clause | December 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    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.

  46. Posted by recorrected | December 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Pheasant thought.

  47. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I fear there is a regional exchange trader amoing is.

  48. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    And instead you took it out on me.

    - guy who did not appreciate getting crop dusted during the Taco Bell reading.

  49. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    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.

  50. Posted by VINNIE FARINA | December 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    YOU SHOULD SUCK MY STATEN ISLAND GUINEA COCK

  51. Posted by Handsome Guest | December 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Let's see your clippers

  52. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

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

  53. Posted by pmco | December 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Christie is not fat, he is 'curvy'.

  54. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM

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

  55. Posted by corrected | December 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    bird brain

  56. Posted by Sothebys | December 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Exactly…

  57. Posted by Craigslist Ho | December 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Hey !

  58. Posted by Historian | December 13, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Actually the German Army was full of praise for how the greeks fought in the second world war. They'd never intended to invade.

  59. Posted by Sequester Agrmnt. | December 13, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Hey !

  60. Posted by Chciago | December 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Pics or it didn't happen

  61. Posted by Im_a_Dude | December 13, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Perma,
    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.

  62. Posted by M. Moore | December 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

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

  63. Posted by Couldn't Make It | December 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM

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

  64. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Is Gentle Ben rocking the 3 button or the 4?

  65. Posted by Bess | December 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Well it wasn't Im a Dude.

    That's for certain.

  66. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

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

  67. Posted by The Agent | December 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM
  68. Posted by 2 cubes over | December 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Not a margarita?!?

  69. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    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.

  70. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    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

  71. Posted by Im_a_Dude | December 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    thanks for coming through, Perma

  72. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    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

  73. Posted by guest | December 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

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

    - guy who hopes DB does these things monthly.

  74. Posted by Guest | December 13, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    That Sam Dogen is at it again.