The Netherlands wants to introduce legislation that will cap bankers’ bonuses at 20% of their annual salary, a move that could lead to Dutch bankers facing one of the most stringent pay curbs in Europe amid public anger about compensation. Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Tuesday that the bonus cap should help curtail excessive risk-taking and avoid future taxpayer bailouts. Banks will also be forced to limit severance pay and claw back bonuses when employees have violated professional standards or are responsible for hefty losses, he said in a letter sent to Dutch parliament. The proposal goes a step further than in many other European countries, where policy makers are scrambling to address ongoing public criticism over generous corporate pay packages, especially for bankers. Mr. Dijsselbloem said the EU rules “don’t go far enough” and that he wants to introduce legislation to establish the “strictest bonus policy in Europe.” The new rules are planned to come into effect Jan. 1 2015, and still require parliamentary approval. They will apply to all employees in the Dutch financial sector, including those working for foreign branches of Netherlands-based banks and insurers. [WSJ]
London Gold Fix Calls Draw Scrutiny Amid Heavy Trading (Bloomberg)
Every business day in London, five banks meet to set the price of gold in a ritual that dates back to 1919. Now, dealers and economists say knowledge gleaned on those calls could give some traders an unfair advantage when buying and selling the precious metal. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is scrutinizing how prices are set in the $20 trillion gold market, according to a person with knowledge of the review who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The London fix, the benchmark rate used by mining companies, jewelers and central banks to buy, sell and value the metal, is published twice daily after a telephone call involving Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc and Societe Generale SA.
Volatile Loan Securities Are Luring Fund Managers Again (WSJ)
Investment funds aimed at individual investors are barreling into collateralized loan obligations, a complex and volatile type of security that was shaken by the financial crisis. Lured by annual returns of as high as 20%, some mutual-fund managers are buying CLOs through investment funds that purchase stakes in loans to companies with low credit ratings. Another type of loan investment fund, business-development companies, also have begun buying CLOs, according to securities filings.
Alfred Feld, Goldman Sachs’s Longest-Serving Worker, Dies at 98 (Bloomberg)
Alfred Feld, who joined Goldman Sachs & Co. in 1933 and rose from office boy to private-wealth manager and became the firm’s longest-serving employee, has died. He was 98. He died on Nov. 25 in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a memo distributed yesterday by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein and President Gary D. Cohn. No cause was given…Feld this year celebrated his 80th anniversary with the bank, which had 200 employees, including five partners, when he joined. The firm became Goldman Sachs Group Inc. when it went public in 1999 and now has more than 32,000 employees. He started as a messenger in mail operations, before being promoted within five days to “office boy,” according to Andrea Raphael, a spokeswoman for the New York-based bank. He later covered the railroad industry as a research analyst, before becoming a financial adviser.
SAC money manager had ‘insider’ training (NYP)
SAC Capital money manager Michael Steinberg was trained to spot insider trading. Steinberg, who is on trial for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, attended three training sessions on the topic run by SAC’s compliance department, an SAC executive said in court Tuesday. John Casey, a member of the $14 billion hedge fund’s compliance team, testified in a Manhattan federal court that SAC gave employees explicit rules about what it believed constituted insider trading and told them to ask compliance to put stocks on the firm’s restricted list if there was any doubt about the matter. But Casey said he was not aware that Steinberg had ever made any such a request.
Thanksgivukkah Spawning Menurkeys in Mashup Celebration (Bloomberg)
Owing to an overlap in the Gregorian and Jewish calendars, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have collided for the first time since at least early last century. Merchants as varied as Amazon.com Inc., Martha Stewart and Teaneck’s Smokey Joe’s kosher barbecue are rising to the occasion with Thanksgivukkah menus, tchotchkes and merchandise. Exhibit A: the Menurkey, a turkey-themed menorah, the eight-tiered Hanukkah candelabra, dreamed up by a 9-year-old boy from Manhattan. For folks who want to commemorate the occasion there are “Gobble Tov” and “Happy Thanukkah” shirts. Americans will spend $2.38 billion on Thanksgiving dinner alone, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Everybody’s excited about it,” Kahan said. “It’s like a double whammy, two for the price of one.” The holiday merger has spawned unlikely combinations, including maneschewitz-brined turkey, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, challah-apple stuffing and pecan pie rugelach.
Blackstone Books Profit With Hilton Hotels (WSJ)
In six years, Blackstone Group LP transformed Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. into the largest hotel company by rooms, more than doubling its $6 billion investment. That growth came not by expanding Hilton’s empire of company-owned hotels. Instead, the New York private-equity firm has taken a more economical route—renting out Hilton’s brand names such as Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Doubletree to franchisees.
This man made a movie about his small penis (NYP)
Patrick Moote’s penis is so small, his girlfriend turned down his marriage proposal. Patrick Moote’s penis is so small, he traveled around the world looking for enlargement solutions. Patrick Moote’s penis is so small, he made a movie about it. In the new documentary, “UnHung Hero,” which is available on Showtime now and on DVD Dec. 10, comedian Patrick Moote searches for a way to deal with his less-than-large member. It all began when Moote’s girlfriend rejected his marriage proposal on a Jumbotron at a UCLA basketball game. Video of the fail went viral, and Moote’s girlfriend told him that one reason she couldn’t marry him was that his manhood just didn’t pack enough punch. In “UnHung Hero,” Moote sets out to change that, and answer the question, “Does size matter?” The Post asked him all about it. NYP: Why don’t you give a specific measurement for how small you are Moote: When you’re measuring an erection, there’s an average for it, but there’s no set number. If you put on 10 pounds it’s gonna take off a centimeter. If you’re not having a particularly good day with circulation, it’s going to affect it. If you’re feeling stressed out or your heat doesn’t work in your apartment, it’s going to affect how large it is. But the doctor who measured me, flaccid, she basically grabbed it by the tip and yanked on it and “low normal” is what she said. But like Dan Savage says in the movie, half of everyone is. NYP: How’s your sex life now? Moote: It’s interesting because the times that I have been on dates and the penis has come up, I think I’ve set the bar so low, girls are just surprised I even have a penis. A girl I had been on a couple of dates with before, it came out and she said, “Oh, my God, it’s not that small.” And I said, “That’s not really a compliment.” The expectations are so low I can’t disappoint. Read more »
$$$ Pope calls unfettered capitalism ‘a new tyranny’ [Reuters]
$$$ This Soho restaurant and bar is designed like the interior of a luxury train, only with marble walls and terrazzo floors. You sit in booths with individual buttons marked Champagne. Press and a light goes on above the bar, summoning a smartly dressed waiter pushing a cart of emergency supplies. “The Champagne buttons help set the mood for people to splurge and to have a good time,” says Leonid Shutov, 47, who founded Bob Bob Ricard with his business partner Richard Howarth in 2008. “They embody the spirit of the restaurant. Yes, they are a gimmick, but people absolutely love them.” [Bloomberg]
According to Charlie Gasparino, Larry Leibowitz (far left) is going to fare pretty okay for himself upon bidding the NYSE adieu. Read more »
First, put all of your money into S&P index funds and short bets against the Australian dollar. Guaranteed* 13% return.
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