UBS, like JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley before it, has struck upon the idea that if it’s not in the Euromoney FX league tables, regulators won’t notice all of the (allegedly) illegal currency-related things it does. Read more »
Joey Ramone wasn’t just a punk when it came to his finances. Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo revealed Wednesday that the late rocker was also a savvy stock picker. “[Joey] used to e-mail me all the time saying, ‘Maria, what do you think about AOL? What do you think about Amazon?’ ” Bartiromo told Shepard Smith. But, “I didn’t realize it was the real Joey Ramone . . . I was answering him back . . . giving him my take on things, and he called me one day and said, ‘I want you to come down to CBGB’s, I wrote a song about you.’ I said, ‘What, Joey? I have to get up tomorrow morning at 4 a.m.! I can’t be at CBGB’s at midnight.” Ramone’s 2002 ode included the lyrics, “What’s happening on ‘Squawk Box?’ What’s happening with my stocks?” Bartiromo said, “I’m so mad I didn’t go that night because when he sent me the video . . . singing that song . . . most people don’t know what a savvy investor Joey was. He knew what he was doing.” [NYP]
Apparently yesterday’s statement before a Senate subcommittee–wherein Dougan said that neither he nor Credit Suisse executives knew tax evasion was going on, but would nevertheless take responsibility for the few bad apples that had to ruin things for the rest of the group– was not satisfactory, particularly the part where Dougan claimed to just to have no knowledge of the practice. In order to move forward, the group needs to hear Dougan 1. Apologize for the original apology and 2. Say he knew it was going on the whole time, that he weighed in on the best way to hide assets, and maybe offer up pictures of himself on the beach thumbing through a copy of the Credit Suisse Tax Evasion handbook and sipping a pina colada. Follow through on one and two, and all will be forgiven. Read more »
Or at the Justice Department or CFTC or FCA or SFO. Read more »
Bitcoin Foundation Aided Prosecutor’s Probe of Mt. Gox (Bloomberg)
The Bitcoin Foundation, an advocacy group for the nascent digital currency, provided information to federal prosecutors this week that aided a probe into Mt. Gox, a shuttered exchange in Tokyo. “The Bitcoin Foundation proactively reached out to the Southern District of New York to offer assistance,” the Seattle-based organization said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “We are continuing to help them and we are cooperating fully with their investigation.” Shortly after Mt. Gox’s chief executive officer, Mark Karpeles, resigned from the foundation’s board on Feb. 24, the organization briefed the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office with information about the possible theft of as much as $400 million from the Bitcoin exchange, according to two people familiar with the effort. They requested anonymity because the talks were private.
Some Companies Alter the Bonus Playbook (WSJ)
U.S. companies increasingly are using unconventional earnings measures in determining bonuses, making it easier for them to appear more profitable when they reward executives with big paydays. Last year, 542 companies said they determine compensation using financial measurements that differ from U.S. accounting standards, according to an analysis performed by consultant Audit Analytics for The Wall Street Journal. That is more than double the 249 companies that did so in 2009. The practice can be controversial because it strips out various costs—from employee stock payments to asset write-downs—that can depress profits. Such moves are on the rise at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission has said it is scrutinizing nonstandard earnings measures. The commission declined to comment on their use in executive-pay decisions. “Everything you can think of to manipulate this has been done,” said Gary Hewitt, head of research at GMI Ratings, a corporate-governance research firm.
Is Wall Street Pay Hampering U.S. Innovation? (BusinessWeek)
…venture capitalist Andrew Yang is here with yet another critique of the fact that a disproportionate number of college graduates are squandering their hard-earned educations on Wall Street careers. “A friend told me about a young Princeton graduate she knew named Cole. Cole studied mathematics and went to work for a hedge fund directly out of school. He’s now making well into six figures at the age of 24. That’s his whole story to date,” Yang writes in an excerpt from his book, Smart People Should Build Things. “That’s success and the American way. And yet how excited are you about Cole’s trajectory?” Yang argues that our idea of achievement has become far too narrow and materialistic. It is hurting the economy by taking math, science, and liberal arts graduates away from fields where they might invent and build and hire people at new companies they found and concentrating them in the financial sector, where they aren’t likely to contribute to future economic growth. He asserts that many of the most highly educated young people are also some of the most risk-averse, overly concerned about predictable career advancement and impressing their parents and friends.
Corporate Economists Are Hot Again (WSJ)
Many companies had corporate economists on staff in the volatile 1970s and ’80s, but dropped them when the U.S. economy was steady and strong. Information from government agencies, such as industrial output from the Federal Reserve, was plentiful, along with research from private consultants, including Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in St. Louis and IHS Global Insight of Englewood, Colo. “The reaction in the corporate world was: ‘I can get my average GDP forecasts from anybody. Why do I need an economist in my shop?’ ” said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, chief economist for Ford Motor Co. The key to the revival of in-house economists, companies and economists say, is the need to digest huge amounts of data—from production volumes in overseas markets to laptop usage in urban areas—to determine opportunities and risks for companies’ business units, not just in the U.S. but around the world…Richard DeKaser, a vice president and corporate economist at Wells Fargo, leads a team of eight people, including six economists, who standardize the models and data used to measure risk in different business units, such as mortgage lending and credit cards. Previously, one unit might base unemployment figures on payroll data, while another would use household surveys. Doing so undermined the accuracy of tests to measure risks for losses and contributed to mistakes in business planning. “The great recession laid bare a lot of fundamental mistakes that an economist can be useful in preventing,” said Mr. DeKaser, who was previously chief economist for National City Bank.
Suspect: I didn’t know cocaine is illegal (KIN)
A Key West man was jailed Sunday for alleging trying to ditch a bag of cocaine in a planter at the Pier House Resort at 1 Duval St. in Key West. Guy Lanchester, 46, reportedly told Officer Darnell Sealy he didn’t know why he was being arrested: “I don’t understand. I thought cocaine wasn’t illegal in Florida.” Sealy arrested Lanchester about 2 a.m. following a call from a Pier House security guard who saw Lanchester and two others walk onto the property, then heard a scream. In addition to cocaine possession, Lanchester is charged with felony tampering with evidence. Sealy describes the second charge: “I asked Lanchester what he had in his hand and Lanchester quickly shoved his hands into the flower pot and yanked them back out.” Read more »