The Latest

  • 14 Jan 2015 at 8:45 AM

Charlie Gasparino Has Questions

Opening Bell: 1.14.15

ubs-3Extent of UBS Restructuring Disputed in Court Case (WSJ)
A senior UBS investment-banking executive, for example, disputed some past comments by UBS’s finance chief, Tom Naratil, and its investment-banking boss, Andrea Orcel , about the magnitude of the restructuring plan, known as Project Accelerate. Other executives played down the revamp’s impact on the breadth of clients the bank pursues…Notwithstanding comments during the London trial, UBS’s investment bank is a shadow of its former self. Its risk-adjusted assets are down to 61.9 billion Swiss francs ($61 billion) from 162 billion Swiss francs in 2012. Yet UBS continues to harbor ambitions of being a major global investment bank. Mr. Orcel, for example, has said he wants to increase the revenue the bank generates from the fixed-income business that took the brunt of Project Accelerate’s cuts, while reducing UBS’s reliance on its equities business.

BofA Said to Oust 150 Hedge Fund Clients Under New Rules (Bloomberg)
The second-largest U.S. bank made the decisions based on which relationships were profitable enough to keep amid new capital and liquidity rules, according to two people familiar with the bank’s strategy, who asked not to be named because details are private. The cuts included the majority of its quantitative hedge fund customers, or those that use computer programs to trade, one of the people said.

Apple to return $200 billion to holders: Analyst (CNBC)
The three-year anniversary of Apple’s announcement of a record capital return program is approaching in April, and one analyst believes the cash juggernaut will mark that occasion with a new $200 billion program to buy back shares and raise its dividend. Kulbinder Garcha of Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to”outperform” from “neutral” Tuesday because of this expected announcement, seeing the shares 19 percent higher over the next 12 months from Monday’s closing price. The analyst points out that Apple has more cash on hand than it had when the program began.

Oil Collapse of 1986 Shows Rebound Could Be Years Away (Bloomberg)
The CHART OF THE DAY shows how West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, tumbled 69 percent from $31.82 a barrel in November 1985 to $9.75 in April 1986 when Saudi Arabia, tiring of cutting output to support prices, flooded the market. Prices didn’t claw back the losses until 1990. Oil has dropped 57 percent since June and OPEC members say they’re willing to let prices sink further.

NY Fed data confirm revolving door (FT)
A “revolving door” between US regulators and banks emphatically exists, according to new statistics published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which last year attracted criticism for its alleged coziness to Goldman Sachs. The paper published on the New York Fed’s website concludes that banking regulators move into the private sector when the economy is booming, while straitened times result in more former bankers joining regulatory agencies. Restricting hiring by either banks or regulators, however, could result in poor retention of quality staff by government authorities, the study claims.

Wife chops off cheating husband’s penis, twice (NYP)
Fan Lung, a dad of five, sealed his fate when he decided to use his wife’s cellphone to send his secret lover a hot and heavy email, Central European News reports. The 32-year-old forgot to log out of his account after the message was sent, which is how his 21-year-old wife, Feng — who is now under arrest for grievous bodily harm — came across the saucy exchange and snapped. The jilted wife went berserk, grabbed a pair of scissors, stormed into their bedroom and cut off his penis while he was sleeping. Lung was rushed to the hospital, where doctors were able to save the appendage and sew it back on. But Feng was able to sneak into the recovery room, where she chopped his penis off a second time and threw it out the window, according to CEN. A shocked Lung chased his wife outside, despite losing a lot of blood. “Staff rushed out to see what was happening and found the patient with blood streaming down his legs hitting the woman,” a hospital spokesman said. “He was stopped and the woman was taken in for treatment, and then we discovered she had chopped his penis off again.” Despite desperate search efforts, authorities were unable to find Lung’s manhood. Police believe it may have been stumbled upon by a stray dog or cat, according to CEN. Read more »

Write-Offs: 1.13.15

$$$ Wall Street will be part of “aggressive bidding” for the Brooklyn Nets, whose proximity might bring a price that eclipses the National Basketball Association record $2 billion former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers. [Bloomberg]

$$$ Will our very own mooch aka @Scaramucci put a bid in for the @BrooklynNets? [@cgasparino]

$$$ What B-school rejection feels like: When Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Tuck, and Yale all say no [Fortune]

$$$ Spoofers Tricked High-Speed Traders by Hitting Keys Fast [Matt Levine]

$$$ Police: DWI suspect was drunk on vanilla extract [UPI] Read more »

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Does this modest little shed look like the home of a systematically important financial institution?MetLife’s just not sure we have enough information or experience to know whether the largest insurer in the United States, with only 90 million customers in 60 countries and $900 billion or so in assets, could really be said to be “important” or to pose a “risk” in any kind of serious way. I mean, for argument’s sake, shouldn’t we wait a little longer to see whether a 147-year-old startup like MetLife really matters meaningfully? Steven Kandarian is just asking. In lawsuit form. Read more »

  • 13 Jan 2015 at 3:46 PM

Charlie Gasparino Beats His Cartilage Into Submission

Keep an eye on this guy.The Pershing Square chief knows you’ve heard it before. And before that. And, yes, he knows that sometimes, he gets a little carried away when talking about this particular no-doubt-about-it-any-idiot-can-see pyramid scheme. That he’s been a touch overoptimistic at times. Maybe even a bit, shall we say, hyperbolic?

But none of that matters anymore. 2014 was a great year for Bill Ackman—but it’s going to be nothing compared to 2015, when his ultimate vindication is certain. Read more »

veronica vainHere’s an interview with a woman going by the name Veronica Vain, who previously interned at Lazard, where she was known as Paige Jennings. Vain/Jennings was apparently quite taken by Steve Jobs’s 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, and, she says, used that inspiration as a springboard for getting into the adult entertainment industry. Read more »

  • 13 Jan 2015 at 1:47 PM
  • Banks

HSBC Won’t Be Laundering Money By 2018

If everything's not cleaned up in time, Stuart Levey will get this haircut.Money-laundering operations of the size and scale previously boasted by HSBC are not dismantled in a day. Or 730 days. But within 1,826 days? They definitely won’t be the banker of choice for drug cartels or rogue states anymore. So just cool your heels, Michael Cherkasky. Read more »