Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

As Dealbreaker historians will recall, 2011 marked our first DB NCAA Tournament Challenge, inspired by a financial services hack who made the public announcement that he planned to (anonymously) report any colleagues he caught filling out brackets and keeping tabs on their picks during business hours. At the time, we encouraged you all to enter as many pools as were available, making it impossible for him to keep up with the amount of people and their offenses he needed to rat out, and created one to do our part. Is this guy still on the loose? He very well might be but regardless: never forget. To that end, sign up for the Fourth Annual Dealbreaker NCAA Tournament Challenge today. If you need reason beyond being able to say you won the DBNCAATC, first place will receive a highly coveted Dealbreaker Banker bag FILLED with Dealbreaker koozies; best username as determined by us will also receive a bag, no koozies. Second place wins six Pimco pens, in their original velvet carrying cases. Read more »

  • 18 Mar 2014 at 2:00 PM

Bonus Watch ’14: Société Générale

The French aren’t too worried about your so-called bonus caps. Read more »

“I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.” [Politco via Daily Intel]

You’ll get yours in due time, provided your record turns up clean/you didn’t do any favors for any big boys. Read more »

In mid-February, a group of current and former Pimco employees were invited to a private farewell party for Mohamed El-Erian on March 10, to mark his impending departure as chief executive of the world’s largest bond fund. El-Erian soon realized it was not a good idea, according to three sources who had received the invitations and are in contact with him…El-Erian postponed the party soon after the March 6 Reuters report, suggesting to colleagues and friends that he did not want things to become awkward for his guests, and out of respect for the tense situation at Pimco, the sources said. [Reuters, earlier]

Back in the day, as in up until the last week in February, PIMCO founder Bill Gross’s management style could be summed up as: “Don’t look at me, don’t speak to me, don’t breathe near me.” When he did deign to communicate with his employees, it was to berate them for polluting his airspace by talking (even about investments), dock their pay for omitting a “p.33″ on a presentation, or inform them they owed him 10 thousand dollars for sitting down.

After the Wall Street Journal detailed Gross’s approach to dealing with people in an article that suggested it may have played a part in co-CEO Mohamed El-Erian’s decision to leave the firm, Gross did what any senior executive of a global investment management company would do, and called up another news outlet with the conspiracy theory that El-Erian had actually ghost-written the Journal piece as part of a “campaign to undermine [him]” and whine that everyone was on his former colleague’s “side.”

Unfortunately for Gross, that ended up backfiring and he was forced to turn to plan B: do his best impression of a human: Read more »

  • 17 Mar 2014 at 9:30 AM

Pay Raise Watch ’14: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has urged shareholders to vote against a proposal that it consider spending some of its $48.2 billion of cash on a “meaningful” dividend. According to a Berkshire proxy filing on Friday, David Witt, a Cincinnati resident who owns nearly $8,600 of Berkshire stock, will propose the payout at the company’s May 3 annual meeting. Berkshire has not paid a cash dividend since 1967…Berkshire also disclosed that Buffett’s compensation rose 15 percent last year to $485,606. That includes his usual $100,000 salary, plus $385,606 for personal and home security. The company also said it paid most directors an extra $300 last year. That meant Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corp co-founder and world’s richest person, was awarded $2,100 last year for his work as a Berkshire director. [Reuters]

  • 14 Mar 2014 at 4:11 PM

UBS Tried, And Failed, To Rig Hong Kong Interest Rate

…which elicited an utterly delightful response from the bank that sounds a lot like something the parents of a juvenile delinquent would say if it came out that their kid tried to burn down a building but was too high to light the match. Read more »