Opening Bell: 01.09.13

UBS Says Cleaning Up Its Act After Libor ‘Shocker’ (Reuters)
UBS has yet to fully purge itself of a global interest rate scandal that has cost the Swiss bank its reputation and put it at risk of a wave of costly civil suits, its investment banking chief said on Wednesday. The once-venerable institution was fined a record $1.5 billion last month for manipulating Libor interest rates, the latest in a string of scandals including a $2.3 billion rogue trading loss and a damaging tax avoidance row with the United States. “We are very focused on recovering the honor and standing the organisation had in the past,” Andrea Orcel told Britain’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, set up in the aftermath of the Libor scandal. “I am convinced that we have made a lot of progress. I am also convinced that we still need to do more.” [...] Committee member Justin Welby, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, asked Orcel if he was the right man to turn UBS around. “I feel I have a high level of integrity,” the banker said. Orcel said that UBS was working at simplifying the investment banking business to make it less risky and prone to scandal. The committee, a cross-party panel of lawmakers headed by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, is switching its focus to standards and culture after spending most of the past three months assessing structural reform. Tyrie on Wednesday described the Libor rigging as “a shocker of enormous proportions”.

Button-Down Central Bank Bets It All (WSJ)
Switzerland, for decades a paragon of safety in finance, is engaged in a high-risk strategy to protect its export-driven economy, literally betting the bank in a fight to contain the prices of Swiss products sold abroad. The nation’s central bank is printing and selling as many Swiss francs as needed to keep its currency from climbing against the euro, wagering an amount approaching Switzerland’s total national output, and, in the process, turning from button-down conservative to the globe’s biggest risk-taker.

JPMorgan Overhaul Widens (WSJ)
The shift of Mr. Maclin and the departure of Mr. Staley, who once was seen as a top candidate to succeed James Dimon as chief executive, are the latest steps in a drastic reshaping of J.P. Morgan’s executive suite. Many of the new leaders—a group that includes corporate and investment-bank co-heads Mike Cavanagh and Daniel Pinto, co-chief operating officer Matthew Zames and Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake—are in their 40s. Mr. Cavanagh and Mr. Zames, who were asked last May to unwind a series of botched bets placed by a trader in the bank’s Chief Investment Office known as the “London whale,” are viewed as front runners for the top job, said people close to the bank.

Ackman Braces for Legal Battle Over Herbalife (FBN)
If filed, the lawsuit could involve alleged “tortuous interference,” implying Ackman intentionally damaged Herbalife’s business relationships, people close to Ackman said. On Tuesday, a large Herbalife distributor said he was leaving the company and called on other distributors to join him amid the controversy. In a sign of the importance of its distribution channels, Herbalife says in regulatory filings its relationship with and ability to influence distributors are items that can “materially” affect its financial condition. As of late Tuesday, people with knowledge of the matter said no decision on timing or even if a lawsuit will actually be filed had been made. The company has told FOX Business it is weighing legal action against Ackman. Ackman declined to comment on the matter. Herbalife has hired famed attorney David Boies to launch possible litigation against Ackman as well as the investment bank Moelis & Co., as its financial adviser.

Goldman Will Report Fund Values Each Day (WSJ)
In a reversal of industry practice, Goldman Sachs Group will begin disclosing the values of its money-market mutual funds daily rather than monthly, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Some of the changes will take effect as early as Wednesday…According to people familiar with Goldman’s thinking, the company is beefing up its disclosures to satisfy investors’ calls for greater transparency on fluctuations in the price of their investments.

Brazil prostitutes to learn English ahead of World Cup (AP)
Prostitutes in one of Brazil’s biggest cities are beginning to sign up for free English classes ahead of this year’s Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. The president of the Association of Prostitutes of the city of Belo Horizonte says by telephone that 20 have already signed up for the courses and she expects at least 300 of the group’s 4,000 members to follow suit. The association is organizing the classes and seeking volunteer teachers. Prostitution is legal in Brazil. Belo Horizonte will host six World Cup matches and Vieira said Tuesday “it will be important for the girls will be able to use English to let their clients know what they are charging and learn about what turns them on.”

AIG Cites Duty to Weigh Suing U.S. as Lawmaker Criticism Mounts (Bloomberg, related)
American International Group said it has a duty to weigh joining a suit by former Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg that claims the insurer’s 2008 U.S. bailout was unconstitutional. “The board of directors has fiduciary and legal obligations to the company and its shareholders to consider the demand served on us,” CEO Robert Benmosche said yesterday in a statement. The board is scheduled to meet today to hear arguments from representatives of Greenberg and the U.S. Lawmakers including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Robert Menendez and Representative Peter Welch said New York-based AIG shouldn’t join the suit. “Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down,” Welch said in a letter to AIG Chairman Steve Miller. “Don’t rub salt in the wounds with yet another reckless decision.”

Vow of New Light For ‘Dark’ Trades (WSJ)
Richard Ketchum, chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, said in an interview Tuesday that the regulator is expanding its oversight of the dark-trading venues, with an eye on whether orders placed in public exchanges are “trying to move prices or encourage sellers that may advance their trading in the dark market.” The regulator also is boosting its surveillance of high-speed trading and is increasingly looking at rapid-fire trading across exchanges, he said. “You’re going to see more [focus] in those areas in 2013,” Mr. Ketchum said.

Goldman, Morgan Stanley to Settle on Foreclosures (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are among a group of banks expected to agree as soon as this week to a $1.5 billion settlement with federal regulators over botched foreclosure claims, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The accord would come on the heels of a separate $8.5 billion settlement announced on Monday with 10 bigger mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo…Goldman and Morgan Stanley’s respective roles in the settlement stems from mortgage-servicing businesses that the two investment banks purchased in the run-up to the subprime mortgage crisis, and have since sold. Goldman had owned Litton Loan Servicing and Morgan Stanley owned Saxon Capital.

Taco Bell responds to teen’s request for a custom Speedo (LI)
The week before Christmas, 15-year-old Ryan Klarner posted on Taco Bell’s Facebook page, introducing himself with a rundown of his swimming and diving achievements before making an offbeat request. “[I]s there any way you guys could make me a customized Speedo that says think outside the buns on the back of it? If you did, that would mean the world to me,” the Illinois teen asked…Klarner said he first came up with the idea a couple of years earlier and decided last month to go ahead and ask, even though he never had asked a company on Facebook for anything before. “I did not expect it to blow up as much as it has. I didn’t really expect to get the Speedo out of it, either,” he said. But last Wednesday, the social media team at Taco Bell wrote back. “What size do you wear? And what’s your address?” “He really wanted something and he went after it,” Tressie Lieberman, director of digital and social engagement, said. When we think people are really extraordinary…then we want to reward them.”

60 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (60)

  1. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Laxbro looks happy with his new position.

  2. Posted by guest | January 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    "Button-Down Central Bank Bets It All "

    I’ll see your button and raise you two.

    -DSK

  3. Posted by Barney Frankfurter | January 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I have a "think inside the buns" speedo.

  4. Posted by Brazilian Prostitute | January 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    For $20 I let you give me the shocker.

  5. Posted by pmco | January 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I've always pictured Laxbro as a Speedo model.

  6. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 9, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    So JPM's next CEO may share a name with a defective 1970's Ford known for crashing and burning.

    How appropriate.

  7. Posted by Beth | January 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Macys coupons are a scam. They lure you to the store only to find out a vast majority of the items are excluded in fine print or it is a value item and you cannot use the coupon. Everybody is looking to save a buck these days, but Macys doesnt care. I'm shopping at BonTon from now on.

  8. Posted by Uncle Gary | January 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Been hearing this SAME story going all the way back to Vietnam.

  9. Posted by guest | January 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    "Doos dees turn you ohn, papi?"

  10. Posted by Laxbro | January 9, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    $20 in Brazil???
    $20 is what I pay girls in Manhattan for the taxi ride home plus the copayment on the penicillin…

  11. Posted by Edmond_Dantes | January 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Looting Nazi Refugee Bank Accounts > Firing NYC Employees during Sandy > Kweku Abodoli > Laundering 3rd World Dictator Loot > Rigging Libor

    Andrea 'Honor our Past' Orcel

  12. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    He wasn't kidding when he said he had a FO gig.

  13. Posted by Commentariat | January 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    and that's why we always thought you were gay

  14. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    WHAT'S UP GUYS?! JIM CRAMER HERE AND I JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU A NICE BIG GOOD MORNING BOOOOOOO YAAAAAAAAA SKEEEEEEEEEE DADDDDDDDDYYYYYYY!!!! AND THE BALANCE SHEET OF THE SWISS CENTRAL BANK AMOUNTS TO 75% OF GDP!?!?! WTF?!!?! LOL!!!! THAT'S SOOOOOOOO COCKANAMY!!!!! BERNANKE SHOULD DO THAT HERE SO STOCKS CAN GO UP!!! ANYWAY I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU GUYS…. BUY BUY BUY FB!!!

    –<3 JIMBOOOOOOOOOO

  15. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    OHHHHH YESSSS HOW COCK-A-NAMY ;) IF YA CATCH MY DRIFT "SKEET" DADDEH

    –<3 JIM "MAD DOG" CRAMER

  16. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    I hope someone replaces the soap in your shower with a block of Potassium.

  17. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I hope you get AIDS

  18. Posted by Fire Jon Shazar | January 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I'm stoked that I don't need to learn how to say "how much for a half and half" in Portuguese.

  19. Posted by Bag-o-Douche | January 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Short pier. Long walk. You know the drill.

  20. Posted by Slade | January 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    A sleeping possum would also do

  21. Posted by InfiniteGuest | January 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I'm picturing a gigantic foam hand with a Swiss cross on the palm.

  22. Posted by guest | January 9, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    same here. I'll check to see if rosetta stone has a return policy.

  23. Posted by Typist | January 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Left side of keyboard, between "shift" and "tab." HTH, HAND.

  24. Posted by Could be interesting | January 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Activist Investor Dan Loeb Takes 8% Stake in Herbalife

    Matt, get on this!

  25. Posted by Genuinely Curious | January 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    To which blog did you mean to post this comment?

  26. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Take a report, Klarner.
    Dear Burger King:
    Custom Speedo.
    "Home of the Whopper"
    END

  27. Posted by Tseug | January 9, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Nice effort, but I really think "Big Mac" was the lower-hanging fruit there.

  28. Posted by Texashedge | January 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    How long has Cramer been on the air, five years or so? [Looks it up] Wow, almost eight years now. Makes me feel pretty old. Time–it's like it keeps accelerating, you know? Think I was like a second year analyst or something back then. No CFA, no MBA. Think I was dating Jenny at the time? Maybe Lauren.

    Anyway, if you had made this comment eight years ago, it wouldn't have been funny then either.

  29. Posted by Utterly Useless | January 9, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Does Mika Tan still do guy on girl? Havent seen anything knew from that wild ass in a long time.

  30. Posted by Laxbro | January 9, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    100% truth, I came in here to make the same exact (self-deprecating) joke.

  31. Posted by Hobbes | January 9, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    “it will be important for the girls will be able to use English to let their clients know what they are charging and learn about what turns them on.”

    I prefer the mystery of foreign language hookers.

    – DSK

  32. Posted by Will Be | January 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Glad to know they have a competent teacher.

  33. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    That doesn't kill quick enough. He needs to contract ebola.

  34. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Macys is for plebs

  35. Posted by Dude | January 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Or a nice marmot

  36. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Chipotle: "unwrap something filling"

  37. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Umm, and how much for the "shocker of enormous proportions?"

  38. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    This is the only thing more stupid and annoying than the actual Cramer…

  39. Posted by Bret Easton Ellis | January 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Nice writing

  40. Posted by Magic Johnson | January 9, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Hey !

  41. Posted by LaBranche | January 9, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I got 30,000 up in POT, what do you looking to do.

  42. Posted by Rio Renalda | January 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    How do I say that in Portugese

  43. Posted by W. Bryan Jennings | January 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Did someone say Burger King?

  44. Posted by guest | January 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    if that's a union job he prob makes more than a UBS MD, fewer hours, better benefit package and full retirement after 20 years

  45. Posted by Horse | January 9, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Hay!

  46. Posted by James S. Cramer | January 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    SCREW POT SKEE DADDY IT'S A LOAD OF RUBBISH GO SHORT HLF AND HEDGE THAT POSITION WITH A LONG IN FB OR AAPL AND YOU'LL BE GOOD TO GO!!!

    –<3 JIMBOOOO

  47. Posted by PermaGuestII | January 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Investidores ativista Dan Loeb Toma participação de 8% na Herbalife

    -Banco Portuguese do Atlantico

  48. Posted by FKApmco | January 9, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I do too. Except he isn't wearing a speedo in my version.

  49. Posted by guest | January 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    "Laxbro looks happy with his new position."

    Please elaborate.

    – Guy who's ashamed he doesn't get that comment/reference

  50. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    UPS: "What can brown do for you?"

  51. Posted by Captain Obvious | January 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Please see the picture of the guy (Laxbro) cleaning the UBS sign.

  52. Posted by S. J. P. | January 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Lunch!

  53. Posted by Still short GM | January 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    I believe the Pinto was famous for exploding when rear-ended.

    **Please no Lynn Tilton jokes following this post**

  54. Posted by Guest | January 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    If even in Brazil they are training their employees the skills they need to become competitive in the global marketplace, what chance do we have?

  55. Posted by J Gundlach | January 9, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Go on…

  56. Posted by Ping Capital | January 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Go on…

  57. Posted by 2 cubes over | January 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I see what you did there…

  58. Posted by Guest | January 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Cramer has been long HLF since always. Just.. awful.

  59. Posted by sohbet | May 12, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    telling these little stories, here's a good idea: Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.

  60. Posted by sohbet | July 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    officers to investigate Blackstone's fishy financial transactions, but they wound up giving them