The Latest

  • 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 »

  • 01 Dec 2014 at 12:33 PM

Apple Nation Could Be An Actual Nation

Hail!It’s already effectively tax-exempt and boasts a cult of personality of despotic proportions. It knows what’s best for its subjects customers, and it’s already won the fealty of Carl Icahn. It could even arm itself with an impressive navy. It’s the future sovereign Grand Duchy of Jobsiana-Cupertino; kneel before His Serene Highness Tim I. Read more »

  • 01 Dec 2014 at 9:30 AM

Opening Bell: 12.1.14

snapchatHackers With Wall Street Savvy Stealing M&A Data (Bloomberg)
Hackers with Wall Street expertise have stolen merger-and-acquisition information from more than 80 companies for more than a year, according to security consultants who shared their findings with law enforcement. A group dubbed FIN4 by researchers at FireEye Inc. has been tricking executives, lawyers and consultants into providing access to confidential data and communications, and probably using the information for insider trading, FireEye said in a report today. The hackers’ sophistication suggests they’ve worked in the financial sector, Jen Weedon, FireEye’s manager of threat intelligence, said in an interview.

Bankers can soon cash-in on deferred recession era bonuses (NYP)
A rash of bonuses that were deferred in the wake of the financial crisis will begin to vest in the coming weeks, resulting in vastly larger paydays than if bankers and traders had been paid in cash, according to a report by Crain’s New York Business. After a challenging 2009, Goldman Sachs cut average employee pay by 13 percent, but to dull the pain, granted staffers $3.6 billion worth of shares that couldn’t be sold until January 2015, according to a regulatory filing. The stock is currently valued at $5.1 billion, thanks to a 40 percent-plus run-up in Goldman stock to Friday’s close at $188.41. “You’re going to see a deluge of bankers cashing out their restricted stock grants in the weeks ahead,” said Mark Williams, a lecturer at Boston University and former Federal Reserve Bank examiner. “These grants are deeply in the money.”

Snapchat for CEOs? Anonymous app OneOne launched (CNBC)
An Irish entrepreneur has launched an anonymous messaging app aimed at the business elite, with messages that self-destruct in 24 hours. OneOne – described as a “super-secure version of Snapchat” by the founder – was launched just over a week ago and allows users to send messages to each other with no tracking or storing of data…”I have been doing a small road-show speaking to lawyers, execs, because I think they will be our early adopters,” founder Kevin Abosch said. “A couple of big CEOs said they are using it when they wanted to talk to somebody on the board about terminating someone else’s employment. That is a touchy area.”

Greenberg’s AIG Suit in Hands of Judge Unfazed by Stars (Bloomberg)
The presentation of testimony in the case ended last week. Once considered a long-shot, Wheeler’s rulings in favor of Boies, the lawyer’s success in eliciting damaging testimony and the judge’s impatience with the tactics of government lawyers have made a victory for Greenberg and Starr seem plausible. Wheeler, who sang in his church choir and coached softball, is seen by those who know him as unfazed by the heavyweights who were called as witnesses during the AIG trial. “Those are big names. That’s not going to intimidate Tom,” said Carl Vacketta, a former law firm colleague who said he taught Wheeler when he was a student at Georgetown University Law Center. “He’s smart and adept,” Vacketta said. “He’s not going to be bothered by anybody from Wall Street.”

Program Offers Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Camplike Atmosphere (WSJ)
For three months this summer and fall, in an open-plan office here stocked with Red Bull and ramen noodles, Brian Gamido and a couple dozen other true believers toiled at what he conceded sounds like “a pipe dream”—building viable businesses based on bitcoin. But this bitcoin boot camp was hardly a shoestring effort: Mr. Gamido and the other fledgling entrepreneurs were bankrolled in part by one of Silicon Valley’s most storied families, which has emerged as among the alternative currency’s biggest supporters.

Cops: Woman, 47, Stabbed Boyfriend For Starting Thanksgiving Dinner Without Her (TSG)
Incensed that her boyfriend began eating their Thanksgiving dinner while she was asleep following a day of drinking, a Pennsylvania woman grabbed a knife and stabbed the man after chasing him around the dining room table, cops report. Jack-Lyn Blake, 47, is locked up in the Luzerne County jail on an assortment of criminal charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, and making terroristic threats. According to Wilkes-Barre police, officers responded yesterday to Blake’s residence around 6:30 PM after receiving a 911 call about a stabbing. When they arrived at the home, Blake, who was exiting the residence, announced, “I stabbed him.” Further investigation revealed that Blake’s beau, Benjamin Smith, had been stabbed in the chest. Smith, who was pressing a towel to his wound when police arrived, was later treated at a local hospital for the non-life-threatening injury. Smith, 45, told officers that he had argued earlier in the day with Blake, who was reportedly intoxicated and had gone upstairs to sleep. While Blake snoozed, Smith began Thanksgiving dinner without her. Read more »

The Anticipation Is Building At 200 West Street

Let's eat!Here’s something for which Lloyd Blankfein’s feeling pretty thankful. Read more »

John Paulson Declares The U.S. Recovery Over

Doin' what he has to do.Not only is the noted patriot no longer making any money on the Great American Turnaround, he’s losing money! Lots of it last month, on all of the same things his other funds lost lots of money on. So it’s time for a change. In this case, a change to be more like all of his other funds. Read more »

Holiday Bell: 11.28.14

canine massageMysterious ‘Batman’ of Wall Street is taking down fraudsters (NYP)
A 32-year-old Staten Island investor — who likens himself to the Caped Crusader, patrolling Gotham for corporate wrongdoing — has become the hottest Wall Street whiz of 2014. Daniel Yu, whose Gotham City Research is a tip of the cowl to his favorite comics character, has emerged as one of the Street’s most controversial figures as well. Yu, in lengthy short-selling reports, targets what he believes are frauds — and has taken down three European companies this year. The stocks of the companies have fallen an average of 76 percent. That makes him the year’s best short seller, according to an analysis by database ShortActivists, which tracks short sellers who make their research public.

Hedge Funds Seek to Tie Up Money for Longer (WSJ)
Two-thirds of new hedge funds demanded a lockup of one year or more in 2013, a 30% increase from the previous year, according to the most recent data available from research firm eVestment. The average fund has a lockup of 377 days, eVestment said. Those pushing for longer terms include funds managed by industry stalwarts like Fir Tree Inc., GoldenTree Asset Management LLC, Trian Fund Management LP and Viking Global Investors LP, said people with knowledge of the funds.

New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs (WSJ)
Chrisy Bossie built a $100,000-a-year gemstone e-commerce business by sharing information about her products on her company’s Facebook page several times a week. “Steals in the Shop! I have a TON of new 36-inch-long necklaces, most priced at $15, available in amethyst, lapis, watermelon tourmaline, turquoise…. Shop them all here,” she wrote in a recent marketing post on a Facebook page for Earthegy, the business she runs from her home in rural Kent Store, Va. She also included photos and links to the products, hoping the business’s 70,000 Facebook fans would share the posts with their own Facebook friends. But small-business owners like Ms. Bossie will soon get less benefit from the unpaid marketing pitches they post on Facebook. That’s because, as of mid-January, the social network will intensify its efforts to filter out unpaid promotional material in user news feeds that businesses have posted as status updates. The change will make it more difficult for entrepreneurs like Ms. Bossie, the founder of four-year-old Earthegy, to reach fans of their Facebook pages with marketing posts that aren’t paid advertising. Businesses that post free marketing pitches or reuse content from existing ads will suffer “a significant decrease in distribution,” Facebook warned in a post earlier this month announcing the coming change.

Shia LeBeouf: Woman raped me at gallery (NYP)
The “Fury” star made the surprising admission in a series of emails with a journalist from Dazed and said the incident took place during his #IAMSORRY event in Los Angeles. During the event in February, LaBeouf sat silently in a gallery for five days with a paper bag on his head and members of the public were invited to visit him, one by one, and spend some time with him. But not all of the public encounters were pleasant, according to LaBeouf. “One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me,” said LaBeouf in an email to the Dazed journalist. “There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with disheveled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well. “On top of that my girl was in line to see me, because it was Valentine’s Day and I was living in the gallery for the duration of the event — we were separated for five days, no communication. “So it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it traveled through the line.

Argentina Accuses HSBC of Aiding People in Tax Evasion (AP)
Argentina’s tax agency accused the HSBC bank on Thursday of helping more than 4,000 Argentines evade taxes by placing their money in secret Swiss accounts. The head of country’s AFIP tax agency, Ricardo Echegaray, said Argentine citizens had evaded about $3 billion in taxes that were handled by intermediaries through a network of offshore accounts. Mr. Echegaray contended that some of those accounts in Geneva were owned by HSBC Argentina’s president and other bank executives.

Too much makeup sex led to millionaire’s restraining order (NYP)
Breaking up is hard to do — especially when your girlfriend is a pretty brunette 20 years your junior. That’s what a Wall Street trader said Tuesday, explaining in Manhattan Family Court why — after several attempts to end the relationship only led to makeup sex — he got an order of protection against his gal pal of five years. “I attempted to break up several times and somehow was convinced not to,” multimillionaire private equity investor Brad Zipper, 50, admitted on the witness stand. The burly, 6-foot, 200-pound former hockey player glared at his petite ex, Nicole Raef, 28, from the witness stand, admitting “nobody forced” him to stay in the relationship. Zipper even said he “laid in the same bed” with his girlfriend just days before filing an order of protection against her in September, but claimed amnesia when he was asked by Raef’s lawyer if the two had sex on that occasion. “On Sept. 5, did you sleep in the same bed with her?” Raef’s attorney, Brett Kimmel, asked. “I laid in the same bed with her at some point, I think,” a blushing Zipper said. “Did you engage in sexual intercourse with her?” Kimmel pressed. “I don’t recall,” Zipper said…Kimmel said he was trying to understand why Zipper didn’t end things then if Raef had acted as crazy as he has alleged — setting his oven on fire in 2012 and dousing his electronics with water. Read more »