Banks

Such as:

1. Is it standard practice at Credit Suisse to tell traders at other banks, “Hey, we might buy this stock”? Because Zoe Henderson has worked in a lot of offices and people do that all the time.

Credit Suisse has accused the trader, Zoe Henderson, of improperly sharing client communications with her husband, a London-based trader at a rival bank, via electronic chat rooms, the people said…At Credit Suisse, the examination of chat-room records revealed that Ms. Henderson, who has been at the bank since 2004, on multiple occasions during the past several years shared Credit Suisse communications with her husband, Toby Henderson, a London-based equities trader at Royal Bank of Canada, according to the people familiar with the probe. Some of the communications described Credit Suisse clients’ interest in buying or selling stocks, price ranges of upcoming public offerings, or updates on corporate mergers or other deals, the people said…Ms. Henderson has told Credit Suisse lawyers that it was normal practice for traders other than her to send messages indicating interest in certain stocks to traders at rival banks, and that the practice didn’t hurt clients, according to a person familiar with the probe.

2. Why were Credit Suisse traders (allegedly!) making viewings of adult videos a group activity?

2a. …in the office? Read more »

  • 02 Sep 2014 at 1:06 PM

Allowance Watch ’14: Citigroup

The Financial Times reports that Citi senior staff in Europe have received letters that essentially read:

To whom it may concern:

Please enjoy this extra money we’ll be depositing into your account each month, which is in no way, shape, or form to be construed as a bonus. Nod if you understand what we’re saying.

Best,
Citi Read more »

In June 2008, at the last Countrywide shareholder meeting after the company had been bought by Bank of America, founder Angelo Mozilo made a bold statement, telling those assembled, “[Bank of America] will reap the benefits of what we have sowed.” While one might quibble over the definition of the word “benefit,” the bank was unquestionably on the reaping end of what Mozilo and Co had sowed, namely a lot of predatory lending and mortgage messiness that ultimately grew and blossomed into approximately $71 billion worth of fines and BofA CEO Brian Moynihan’s near-nervous breakdown. Though mum when Bank of America was writing checks to resolve issues it inherited from CFC, Mozilo did deign to pick up the phone and chat with Bloomberg last week, following the news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles intends to sue him over the not-so-great job he did. And thank god he did, because there is a lot we needed to be filled in on re: what Ang has been doing/thinking/feeling these last 6 years.

  • Like, his plans to build an old-timey Western town: “…a project in Templeton, a small Southern California town where he’s requested permits to build a two-story retail and office building on a vacant lot. Architectural sketches show a style suited for a quaint Western main street. ‘It’s a throwback to a century ago,’ Mozilo said. ‘I love America. I love everything about America.’”
  • His belief in, if not consumption of, Taco Bell: “One investment is a stake in a building that houses a Taco Bell outside Phoenix. Mozilo said he hasn’t eaten there because he stays away from chicken and beef.
  • His work giving the next generation a crash course in Finance 101: Mozilo Style: “Mozilo decided to teach undergraduates what he knows about finance last year. The former trustee of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, said he spent about two weeks in Italy at Gonzaga-in-Florence, housed in the Mozilo Center overlooking a 16th-century Medici garden. ‘I taught them the basics of finance based on my own experiences,’ he said. ‘I really enjoyed being among them. It was very refreshing for me.’”

The most interesting development, however, is probably his newfound penchant for speaking in the third person when denying any and all blame re: what went down at Countrywide. In short, Mozilo thinks those pointing fingers should go home and take a good look in the mirror. Read more »

Like all amazing movies, miniseries, other works of art, the clip of Richard Handler accepting and taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a slow burn to an amazing finish. Oh, to be sure, it starts out leaps and bounds ahead of any other videos of its kind: that is, in Handler’s penthouse bathroom, in front of his jacuzzi. It’s just that at every turn, it gets exponentially better, in ways you can’t imagine, ’til you’re at the end and saying to yourself, “This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.” Obviously, this must be watched in full, many times over the course of the day and possibly on loop and in place of whatever your firm is showing in TVs throughout the building. But, if we might, here are our favorite moments:

:01: We’re in Richard Handler’s bathroom. Why is that? Most of the head honchos taking part in this challenge (Marissa Mayer, senior execs at JP Morgan, etc) take the plunge on the street in front of their company or in someone’s backyard. No matter, here we are, in Richard Handler’s bathroom.

:05: Handler is narrating this video in his boxers and an old tee-shirt.

:12: He lays out the rules, we’re still in his bathroom.

:56: He nominates Carl Icahn to take the challenge, and Icahn’s wife to dump the ice (Icahn later takes to Twitter to say he’s too god damn busy.)

1:15: He starts ripping open plastic bags of ice and dumping them into the tub. It takes a while, because, again, he’s doing the challenge 1) in a jacuzzi and 2) in a jacuzzi that looks like it can seat 7. “It’s a lotta ice,” he tells the camera.

2:02: Even though he just dumped 8 or 9 bags of ice into the tub, he dumps a hotel-style wicker ice bucket into the bath, just for good measure. Read more »

Earlier this month, Bank of America and the U.S. announced a landmark settlement wherein the bank agreed to pay $16.65 billion to settle allegations re: some not great mortgage securities it sold back in the day. Many an article was written about how this was the last bit of legal messiness BofA had to get through before it could turn its attention back to whatever it is it does when it’s not negotiating multi-billion dollar fines, which it’s done a lot over the past several years. And sure, this was probably the last 10-figure check Brian Moynihan will have to write for a while, but surely there will be other, smaller, mere multi-million dollar lawsuits that pop up along the way, to say nothing of all the other banks’ outstanding suits and other stuff coming down the pipeline we don’t yet know about. Barclays, for example, is gonna want to put that dark pool stuff behind it, as will Credit Suisse, UBS, and Deutsche Bank, should anything come of their investigations. Point is, the era of banks coughing up money to settle wrondoing on the regular is far from over, and inspired by what appears to be a new column at the Journal called “Crystal Ball,” today we’d like to introduce, “You Write The Story,” which, when the appropriate time comes, will go something like this: Read more »

Goldman Tells Potential Partners Not To Get Their Hopes Up

Once again, there will be fewer partners and potentially more David Teppers at Goldman later this year: The Elect plan to add no more than 70 to their number in the bi-annual life-changing ritual, unless an extra few really, really impress Michael Sherwood over the next couple of months. For new partners not only crowd the inner circle—they also cost a great deal. And if the 409 already at the pinnacle are going to continue to rake it in exercising stock options, those costs need to be kept down. Read more »

  • 22 Aug 2014 at 2:25 PM

Bonus Watch ’14: Citi Mistmakers

The youngest members of the House of Corbat got a little extra something in their stocking (beach bag? man or lady satchel? giant canvas sack with a dollar sign on it?) this time around. Read more »

The nearly $17 billion that Brian Moynihan & co. will pay to make the albatross of Countrywide and Angelo Mozilo go away forever is actually closer to $12 billion, thanks to the tax-deductibility of ordinary business expenses like helping out underwater mortgageholders under duress ($7 billion) and compensatory matters ($4.63 billion). Read more »