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  • 02 Dec 2014 at 1:07 PM

Ex-BofA Chief Ken Lewis Unloads Bro Pad

Ken Lewis houseThe home was listed in 2009 for $3.3 million and has been on and off the market; it was most recently listed in February for just under $2.5 million, and is under contract for “close to asking,” said listing agent Sally Papineau of Spring Island Realty. The buyer is from Chicago and works in the finance industry, she said. Located in Spring Island, a luxury residential community in South Carolina’s Low Country, the home is co-owned by Mr. Lewis and Dennis Thompson, the founder of the Charlotte, N.C.-based restaurant operator Firebirds International. They bought the property for $3 million in 2002, according to public records. Mr. Lewis said he and Mr. Thompson “have been good friends for a long time,” and decided to buy together, along with their wives, in part because they often golfed in the area. They decided to sell because they don’t use it as much as they would like. [WSJ via BI]

Opening Bell: 12.2.14

Jena Pang and BearRussian Woes Worsen as Recession Looms With Banks in ‘Panic’ (Bloomberg)
Speaking a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russia is scrapping a proposed $45 billion pipeline to Europe, the government predicted the economy will contract next year and canceled a bond auction. It was also forced to pledge 39.95 billion rubles ($740 million) to support OAO Gazprombank, at least the third lender to secure a capital injection since U.S. and European Union sanctions curbed their ability to borrow.

Lower Oil Prices Will Help Boost Global Economy, IMF’s Lagarde Says (WSJ)
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Monday said falling oil prices will help boost economies in the U.S. and across much of the globe, a net positive for a world struggling with slowing growth. “It is good news for the global economy,” Ms. Lagarde said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting. Oil prices tumbled to multiyear lows last week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain its production quotas, rather than lowering its output target. Lower oil prices are good for most consumers, who pay less for gasoline, but could squeeze energy companies and the economies of some major producers like Russia and Venezuela.

Encouraging Public Service, Through Wall Street’s ‘Revolving Door’ (NYT)
The issue — which some commentators have tagged as part of the revolving door problem between regulators and the industries they cover — moved into the headlines recently when Antonio Weiss, a Lazard banker who has been nominated for under secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance, disclosed that his firm would pay him about $20 million in stock and deferred compensation if he were to win confirmation. Mr. Weiss would not be entitled to that money if he were to leave the firm for a rival bank. “It feels icky,” Ms. Slavkin Corzo told me about the compensation policy. “We are looking at this from a shareholder perspective,” she added, allowing that she’s “open to the other side. We are asking questions. They are fair.”

Fed Leak Tipped Traders to Historic Stimulus Move, Prompted Secret Inquiry (Bloomberg)
Minutes of the FOMC, the 12-member panel that sets monetary policy, are so sensitive that an accidental leak in April 2013 caused a stir. The Fed inspector general was asked to examine how the Board of Governors handled confidential information and released a report to the public detailing weaknesses. More recently, the question of Fed leaks has focused on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where an employee passed confidential information to a banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That episode raised concern about ties between government agencies and the financial industry.

$157,000 teddy bear collection headed for auction (UPI)
A teddy bear collector preparing to move from Britain to Hong Kong is putting his $157,000 collection of vintage Steiff bears up for auction. Jena Pang, who named all of the bears in his collection, said the 32 vintage bears from German manufacturer Steiff will be auctioned Dec. 24 by Special Auction Services in Newbury, England, because they wouldn’t do well with the humidity when he moves to Hong Kong. The vintage collection, which Pang has been amassing since 2002, includes a 1904 bear considered to be the first teddy bear sold to the public. Similar bears have sold for more than $7,000 in previous auctions. “They are more than just collector’s items — they come with me most places I go, whether it be to dinner, the theatre or away on travel,” Pang told The Daily Mail. “I am selling them because I am planning on moving to Hong Kong, and the bears simply wouldn’t survive the humidity.” Read more »

Write-Offs: 12.1.14

$$$ Uber hires Goldman Sachs to raise money from bank clients [Fortune]

$$$ Hedge Funds Lose Money for Everyone, Not Just the Rich [Bloomberg]

$$$ Spanish Theater Company Solves Tax Problem With P0rn [BusinessWeek]

$$$ FBI warns US businesses of ‘destructive’ malware [Reuters]

$$$ Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading Night Part IV is December 17th. Wilbur will be there– will you? [DB]

$$$ Driver Says He Fled Car Crash To Get Away From Yelling Girlfriend: Cops [AP] Read more »

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  • 01 Dec 2014 at 5:53 PM

Banks Can’t Get Enough Double-A-Plus Rated Debt

Keep printing!Banks own more Treasuries now than basically ever before, as it seems Standard & Poor’s didn’t consider that Dodd-Frank was basically just a scam to force banks to buy up the stuff even though it makes no economic or business sense whatsoever. Read more »

michaelsteinberg1Last December, SAC Capital portfolio manager Mike Steinberg was found guilty on one court of conspiracy and four counts of securities fraud. In May, he was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, despite asking for leniency on account of the fact that he once raised money for a friend’s organ transplant with a bake sale. So, you might expect a guy in his position to be feeling pretty glum these days and pretty pessimistic about his prospects, particularly those of the professional variety. Yet, on the contrary, Steinberg is actually exhibiting signs of a man not just walking on sunshine but downright bullish about his career trajectory. In addition to appealing his sentence, the ex-SAC manager is already making plans to dive back into the investing game, ASAP. Read more »

Hedge funds are shutting at a rate not seen since the financial crisis, as many managers post disappointing returns and the largest players dominate money raising…In the first half of the year, 461 funds closed, Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. said. If that pace continues, it will be the worst year for hedge fund closures since 2009, when there were 1,023 liquidations. [Bloomberg]

Legitimate businessman.Banking and accounting, no. Fraud and money laundering, hell yes. Read more »

  • 01 Dec 2014 at 2:46 PM
  • Banks

John Strumpf Gets Green Light To Run Wells Fargo Into The Ground

Not systemically important.The bank has become boring enough to pose no threat to anyone but its shareholders. Read more »