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  • 12 Aug 2014 at 10:54 AM

CFA Institute Shatters Fewer Dreams Than Usual In 2014

To be sure, it shattered a lot of dreams. Dreams whose seeds were planted, for some, as far back as the early nineties, when the Institute was formed. On visits to the hallowed halls of CFA headquarters. In conference rooms, where colleagues discussed the merits of MBA versus CFA. Upon receiving an email from a friend who’d just updated his signature to include those three little letters and a note to “please see my updated credentials,” when the urge to vomit was strong, but was no match for the realization, “I want that.”

On June 7, 2014, those dreams were still just that: a dream. Today, for a record number of dreamers, they are a reality. Read more »

Opening Bell: 08.12.14

Ex-SAC Capital Manager Martoma Forfeiture Sought by U.S. (Bloomberg)
Former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, convicted of orchestrating the most lucrative insider trading scheme in U.S. history, should be ordered to forfeit $9.4 million and required to pay a fine, U.S. prosecutors said. The amount sought is equal to Martoma’s 2008 bonus, and exceeds his reported net worth of $7.4 million, prosecutors said in a filing today in Manhattan federal court. Guidelines for the fine range from $20,000 to more than $570 million, representing twice the gains to SAC Capital of the illegal trades, prosecutors said. The court’s probation department recommended a fine of $20,000, they said, without making their own recommendation.

Falcone files for ‘divorce’ from LightSquared (NYP)
On Monday, Falcone filed “divorce papers” from LightSquared, his bankrupt wireless venture, in the form of a proposed plan of reorganization to lead the restructuring for LightSquared Inc., the smaller arm of the failed Reston, Va., startup. LightSquared Inc. owns a small swath of 5 megahertz spectrum, as well as the rights to the tax losses in LightSquared, which could be valued at more than $2 billion. LightSquared LP, by contrast, owns the larger, more coveted swath of L-Band spectrum. But its ability to come to life has been hampered by years of infighting between creditors, including Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen. Falcone was offered a chance to stay in the larger LightSquared LP restructuring if he dropped his litigation against Uncle Sam and Ergen, who he’s accused of screwing with the company so he could buy the assets on the cheap, sources told The Post. Falcone refused, and was erased from the current LP plan, which is being led by private-equity firm Fortress. Falcone’s new, smaller plan centers on a $560 million bid to restructure “Inc” along with JPMorgan. This will keep him in the spectrum game, as he plans to use the 5 megahertz of spectrum he gets from the restructuring and to buy more, a source familiar with his thinking told The Post.

Alibaba IPO Has Unusual Challenges for Bankers (WSJ)
For a start, the deal is likely to total more than $20 billion, according to people with knowledge of it. Bankers figure they will need to drum up orders for as much as four times the size of the deal from big institutional investors to create enough fervor to keep the shares rising in the days after it goes public, the people said. That will require seeking some buyers willing to pony up $1 billion or more for a slice of the deal to ensure demand.

Gross Reduces U.S. Government-Related Debt in July (Bloomberg)
The proportion of U.S. government-related debt in the $223 billion Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX) was 45 percent, versus 47 percent in June, data posted yesterday on the company’s website showed. That compared with 50 percent in May, the highest level since 54 percent in July 2010.

Barclays Quant Trading Unit Said to Take 60 Employees in Spinout (Bloomberg)
A Barclays trading team that’s leaving this year to start a quantitative investment firm will take 60 bank employees with it, adding to Wall Street’s migration to the $2.8 trillion hedge-fund industry. Olivier Durantel, Gregoire Schneider, Antoine Fillet and Maxime Fortin of the British bank’s nQuants unit will form the venture, according to a person with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The firm, which hasn’t yet been named, will use algorithms to trade mainly equities and other liquid securities globally.

Robin Williams, a Comic Force, Dies at 63 (WSJ)
Since his days on “Mork & Mindy,” a fish-out-of-water tale that ran for four seasons in which he played an alien from the planet Ork, Mr. Williams demonstrated a fully formed comedic style filled with tics and habits that would become his trademarks. Those idiosyncrasies, like monologues full of non sequiturs or unexpected accents, would help him quickly become one of the world’s biggest comedy stars and a favorite guest of late-night television talk shows. Even when not pictured on screen, Mr. Williams had a tendency to become the center of attention, including a celebrated turn as the voice of the madcap genie in the 1992 animated film “Aladdin.” “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien—but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit,” President Obama said in a statement.

Miss Bumbum 2014 Contestants Hope To Have Brazil’s Best Butt (HP)
In Brazil, the “Miss Bumbum” contest is a nationwide annual undertaking to find the best derriere. This year’s 27 contestants, who represent the country’s different states, were announced last week. “Miss Bumbum 2014” will start in São Paulo on August 11. Brazilians have until November to vote online and determine the 15 finalists for the finale. This year the pageant will have a historic first after twins Rafaella and Graziella Fornazieri, representing Alagoas and Ácre respectively, entered the contest. Dai Macedo, a 25-year-old model with a 42-inch bottom, was crowned “Miss Bumbum 2013.” “It’s a lot of work, a lot of devotion,” Macedo told Agence France-Presse by way of an interpreter after winning the title. “I denied myself a lot of things. No nightclubs. No sweets. I went to the gym Saturdays and Sundays.” Read more »

Write-Offs: 08.11.14

$$$ U.S. watchdog calls bitcoin ‘Wild West’ of finance [Reuters]

$$$ London Banks Award New Hires 20% More Pay in July [Bloomberg]

$$$ Crucible Capital CEO criminally charged with obstructing SEC [Reuters]

$$$ U.S. Bank Profits Near Record Levels [WSJ]

$$$ Alleged Burglar Caught After Beating Cops In Doughnut-Eating Contest [HP] Read more »

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But the factor the book did not predict…was the decline in pay, after the financial crisis. “I think we misdiagnosed the problem,” says a banker who has worked on how to retain young staff. “It’s not that the junior guys are working too much. It’s that the value proposition changed.” Not long ago, it used to be clearer cut – the work-life balance was skewed towards work but made more easy to swallow by large amounts of cash and stock. “It’s a terrible time to be a banker,” says the bank employee working on staff retention. “You are on the road three days a week. You are getting paid substantially less than you were getting paid five years ago.” Another senior banker admits he enjoyed his first $1m year before he was 30 – which was a realisable ambition for young analysts entering the trade a few years ago. Today, it is a long-shot. [FT via Lauren LaCapra]

  • 11 Aug 2014 at 6:24 PM
  • Banks

Legal Reserve Watch ’14: JPMorgan Chase

Jamie Dimon may have to squirrel away a few extra dollars, as the SEC and OCC team up to see whether JPMC was a little bit too proud of some of its world-class investment funds. Read more »

Anyone finding the accommodations at the Steinberg Conference Center unbecoming? Read more »

And whether or not they deserve the speedy attention of a court in Santa Ana, Calif. How’s a week from Wednesday sound? Read more »

  • 11 Aug 2014 at 5:19 PM

America Declines Argentine Invitation To The Hague

Thanks to its insistence on calling Ronald Reagan’s little Nicaraguan adventure a violation of international law, the International Court of Justice now has to ask the United States’ permission before accepting any lawsuits against it. Like, you know, from certain uniquely recalcitrant debtors who’d like to see a certain judge go away, or at least have his rulings declared a violation of international law.

Well, Barack Obama would just as soon have Argentina figure this thing out without the Hague getting involved. Maybe by talking to the hedge funds it owes money to, but more likely by having Mike Corbat and Jamie Dimon bail it out. Either way, the folks at the ICJ shouldn’t be holding their breath waiting for a green light from Washington. Read more »