Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

Earlier this week, we learned that Bank of America has a number of very unhappy ex-Merrill Lynch brokers on it hands. Their beef? New business cards that feature a slightly smaller bull than in times past, an obvious affront, as they see it, to the Merrill brand. While no formal demands have been made, it’s clear that in order to be made happy, the former Mother Merrill employees will need to see the bull reinstated to its former size and glory. And, sure, an apology from Bank of America brass for the lack of respect would be nice. At this time, CEO Brian Moynihan is yet to make a formal statement regarding the redesigned cards, but rank-and-file BofA-ers, at least those with access to MS Paint, have sent a message that they are less than sympathetic. Read more »

Bill Gross was at the Morningstar annual conference in Chicago today, saying things. Here are some of the things he said: Read more »

  • 19 Jun 2014 at 2:49 PM

Layoffs Watch ’14: Goldman Sachs?

The House of Blankfein might make cuts or it might not, according to Charlie Gasparino. Whatever happens, though, it doesn’t change the way Lloyd feels about you; he’d keep each and everyone one of you if he could. Read more »

  • 19 Jun 2014 at 2:01 PM

You Can Take The Mortgage Trader Out Of Bear…

Salem said he and other traders in his group didn’t mind getting paid a lower percentage of their produced revenue than other parts of the firm. Salem said he did find it “a little bit insulting” that Jeff Verschleiser, a trading executive who was hired from Bear Stearns Cos. in 2008, kept a box of toaster ovens at his desk that he would award to employees who made notable trades. [Bloomberg]

Former Goldman Sachs trader Deeb Salem was awarded $8.25 million in 2010. He wanted $13 million and continues to fight for the extra 5 mill four years later because 1) While at Goldman, he was the Michael Jordan of investment professionals in the mortgage industry and had to fend off highly appealing offers from other firms on a near daily basis and 2) He had told his mother to expect 13. Read more »

  • 19 Jun 2014 at 1:17 PM

Phil Falcone Doesn’t Have To Take This Abuse

Philip Falcone resigned from the board of LightSquared Inc., the bankrupt wireless-spectrum owner he has tried to build into a rival to U.S. mobile providers, amid negotiations with creditors to reorganize the company. Falcone and four other people appointed to the board by his Harbinger Capital Partners voluntarily resigned on June 12, according to a letter filed with the Federal Communications Commission and posted on the agency’s website. Falcone, 51, had been fighting to keep control of the company throughout its two years in bankruptcy. At one point, Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charles Ergen made a $2.22 billion offer for its assets, only to withdraw the bid at the last minute. Falcone accused Ergen of acquiring LightSquared debt improperly to game the bankruptcy process. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman rejected a Falcone-backed reorganization plan in May, saying it was largely unfair to Ergen, while she also faulted Ergen’s behavior during the case. Since then, LightSquared and its creditors have entered court-supervised mediation to work out a new plan. [Bloomberg]

  • 18 Jun 2014 at 5:25 PM

More To Yo Than That Meets The Eye: CEO

The app, called Yo, lets people say “Yo” to their friends. Tap a name on the app’s list of contacts, and a text notification saying “Yo” pops up on the recipient’s smartphone, along with a recorded voice shouting the syllable. The idea is simple. It may turn out to be a dud. But $1 million has already been staked on its success. Or Arbel, the chief executive of Yo, said on Wednesday that he had raised that seven-figure sum from a group of angel investors led by Moshe Hogeg, the chief executive of an image-sharing app called Mobli. Yo has so much potential, Mr. Arbel said, that last week he left his job as the chief technology officer of Stox, a stock trading platform he helped start last year, and moved to San Francisco from Tel Aviv to work on Yo full-time. “People think it’s just an app that says ‘Yo.’ But it’s really not,” Mr. Arbel said. “We like to call it context-based messaging. You understand by the context what is being said.” [Dealbook]

“A couple of weeks ago, I visited Mexico City—one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s a remarkable place, not least because of the food, the museums, and the culture, but also because of the incredible economic changes taking place in Mexico right now—both in the capital and all around the country. Every time I visit, I think the same thing: if I were starting my career, especially if I lived in a nation where I couldn’t explore my full potential, I’d try my luck in Mexico. Why? Because Mexico is finally beginning to unlock its true potential as an economic powerhouse.” [BI]