The Latest

  • 28 Mar 2014 at 12:57 PM

Ben Bernanke No Cheap Date

Sure, he’ll accept your dinner invitation. But it’s gonna cost ya. The former Fed Chair doesn’t get out of bed/attend speaking engagements, pan roasted truffled squab or not, for less than a quarter mill. Read more »

  • 28 Mar 2014 at 12:42 PM

SAC Capital Throws Itself Upon The Mercy Of The Court

They’ve changed their name. They’ve given back the money. They’ve cried it out atop the fleeces. What other lessons could possibly be learned? Don’t make Steve Cohen walk up and down Park Avenue wearing a sandwich board that reads “I employ insider traders” on the front and “LOTS of ‘em” on the back.1 Read more »

A couple of notoriously lax securities regulators would like to see the adjective “notoriously lax” excised from before their names.

First, to Toronto, where the Ontario Securities Commission is looking longingly at Preet Bharara’s ability to command the entire FBI to stop what it’s doing to surreptitiously tape some mid-level hedge fund analyst’s phone calls. Read more »

Opening Bell: 03.27.14

Bad News Drew Citi CEO to Rush Home (WSJ)
The phone rang when Michael Corbat was half a world away in South Korea. It was about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning in Seoul, and on the line was a Federal Reserve official, charged with delivering news that left the Citigroup Inc. chief executive in shock and would shake the company’s stock soon after: The bank had failed the Fed’s closely watched “stress test” and would be denied the chance to raise the amount of cash it returns to shareholders for the foreseeable future. In the space of minutes, Mr. Corbat’s routine business trip to Asia turned into a mad scramble for the airport and then to New York to address the fallout from yet another setback for Citigroup, according to a person familiar with the situation.

SEC Is Urged to Shorten Window for Investor Tip-Offs (WSJ)
Some lawmakers and others are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to cut the time that large investors can secretly amass shares in a company, following a Wall Street Journal investigation into leaks ahead of public filings. At issue is the time frame for investors who own 5% of a stock to file a report disclosing the size of their stake. A 1968 regulatory rule gives investors a 10-day window to announce their holdings. The Journal investigation showed how activist investors—who push for changes at companies or try to move stock prices with their arguments—sometimes leak word of their plans to a favored few investors during the 10-day window before they announce a big trade, which typically jolts the stock higher or lower. Since 2010, the SEC has been authorized by the Dodd-Frank regulatory-overhaul law to shorten that window but hasn’t acted. In a 2011 letter to the SEC, law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz argued for cutting the 10-day period to one, saying the lag facilitates “market manipulation and abusive tactics.”

Sydney Property Agency Accepts Bitcoin Payments to Woo Chinese (Bloomberg)
Forsyth Real Estate, a Sydney-based property broker, will accept property deposits and payments from sellers in virtual currency Bitcoin to lure business from Chinese home buyers. The realtor, which has one office in Willoughby, a suburb 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) north of Sydney’s center, this week became able to accept Bitcoin payments, according to spokeswoman Hayley Johnston. While it hasn’t yet taken deposits in the virtual currency, it expects to soon, she said.

Judge rules Goldman must face lawsuit over mortgage securities (Reuters)
Filed in 2010 by Detroit’s police and fire retirement system, the lawsuit accused Goldman of misrepresenting the standards used to qualify borrowers for mortgage loans that were pooled into securities and bought by the fund.

Uintah County woman uses bacon in alleged arson attempt (KSL)
A Uintah County woman is accused of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s home with a pound of bacon left burning on a gas stove. Cameo Adawn Crispi, 31, was charged Wednesday in 8th District Court with arson, a third-degree felony. Crispi’s ex-boyfriend called Naples police March 14 to report that he’d received “multiple phone calls and texts” from her in an hour and wanted it to stop, according to charging documents. He also said he did not want her at his home. An officer went to the home. He said Crispi was obviously impaired and there was smoke coming out the front door. “I asked to come in and observed a wood stove left open with a fire burning inside and hot coals on the floor around the stove,” the officer wrote, noting that he also found a cookie sheet loaded with a pound of bacon sitting on top of the kitchen stove. “I observed the burner to be on the setting ‘High’ and the bacon to be severely burned and smoking badly,” the officer wrote. The officer stopped the spread of the fire and arrested Crispi, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.346, the charges state. Due to her impaired state, she was taken to the hospital for a medical clearance before being booked into jail. “The doctor asked her about the fire … and she stated she was attempting to start a fire in the house to get back at (her ex-boyfriend),” the charges state. Read more »

Write-Offs: 03.27.14

$$$ Lehman to Dole Out Additional $17.9 Billion to Creditors [WSJ]

$$$ BofA Wins Recommendation for U.S. Mortgage Suit Dismissal [Bloomberg]

$$$ U.S. high-frequency trading ban unlikely: Nasdaq [Reuters]

$$$ Economic ‘honeymoon’ between Germany and China fades [Reuters]

$$$ How does second lady Jill Biden prank her husband on April Fool’s Day? By disappearing on Air Force Two and then jumping out of an overhead luggage compartment. [AP via Heidi Moore] Read more »

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You may know “Mesmeralda,” AKA Marni Halasa, from her other roles as the Bank Reform Bitch, Better Banking Butterfly, and Ethical Fiscal Fairy, among other things. Today she paid a visit to NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office at 59 Maiden Lane to “push for divesting from fossil fuel investments in the NYS Common Retirement Fund” and “knock some sense into” Mr. DiNapoli, leaving a strongly worded note outside the building, in case her message wasn’t clear. Read more »

  • 27 Mar 2014 at 6:42 PM

Who Wants To Buy Some Argentine Debt On Their Terms?

Even though they don’t accept the authority of American law or courts, the Argentines have decided to save themselves all of the legal fees should they miss a few bills this time around. Read more »

On October 16, 2013, Mike Mayo wrote the following in a report to clients: “Citi is now more on the right long-term track than at anytime in the past decade.” It was a remarkable line because, as Mayo himself noted, “nobody’s been more negative on [Citi] than me.” That negativity has included:

But five months without demanding a senior exec pack up his things leave is a long time, far long enough some might say, so now this is happening: Read more »