The Latest

Opening Bell: 12.11.14

Small_USPS_TruckHarvard Business School Professor Is Sorry for Overreacting to a $4 Chinese-Food-Order Discrepancy (Daily Intel, earlier)
“Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline. Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future. I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.”

Investec apologizes after ‘I can’t breath’ backlash (BBC)
South African bank Investec has apologized after the headline “I can’t breathe” on a research note caused an uproar on social media. The bank used it in a briefing about Standard Chartered facing regulatory hurdles in the US. It echoes the last words spoken by Eric Garner, an unarmed black man killed by US police in an apparent chokehold in July. The words have become a slogan in US protests against police violence. “Investec apologizes unreservedly for the inappropriate content in this morning’s research note on Standard Chartered and for any offence caused,” the bank said on Wednesday. “The content in question does not represent the views of Investec.” In the research note, London-based analyst Ian Gordon had originally drawn more comparisons between the Garner case and the US government’s scrutiny of British bank Standard Chartered, but that was edited out by Investec’s compliance team before it was published. Mr Gordon said the US government put too much control and influence on the bank’s business.

Treasury Pick’s Wall Street Ties Split Democrats (WSJ)
Five years after President Barack Obama decried “fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” he is being pilloried by fellow Democrats for nominating a Wall Street banker to a senior Treasury Department post. In tapping Antonio Weiss, Lazard Ltd. ’s global head of investment banking, as Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, Mr. Obama has rekindled criticism he is appointing too many regulators with Wall Street ties who are unable—or unwilling—to engage in tough oversight of the big banks at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. The brawl has become a proxy battle for a deepening rift in the Democratic Party over its ties to the financial industry. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) all have expressed opposition to Mr. Weiss, as support for the 48-year-old banker continues to buckle.

Merrill raises broker bonuses for new accounts and assets (Reuters)
Merrill Lynch told its 14,000 brokers on Wednesday they will get higher bonus payments in 2015 for attracting new clients and assets but eliminated pay for servicing clients with less than $250,000. The brokerage subsidiary of Bank of America Corp will pay brokers .10 percent of new assets clients use to buy loans, banking and trust products, or put into fee-based advisory accounts. The cash bonus – half paid at yearend and half over eight years – doubles the .05 percent paid this year for such “strategic” money. Brokers attracting over $10 million of such assets get .20 percent and .23 percent for those reaching $50 million. However, bonuses in 2015 are being halved for new money put into low-profit money-market or bank accounts.

What an Appeals Court Insider Trading Decision Does, and Doesn’t, Do (Dealbook)
In a clear slap at Mr. Bharara’s campaign against insider trading, the appeals court criticized the “doctrinal novelty” of recent prosecutions aimed at tippees who receive information third- or even fourth-hand. “We note that the government has not cited, nor have we found a single case in which tippees as remote as Newman and Chiasson have been held criminally liable for insider trading,” the appeals court said. Thus, “the circumstantial evidence in this case was simply too thin to warrant the inference that the corporate insiders received any personal benefit in exchange for their tips.” Rather than just reverse the conviction and send the case back for a retrial, the appeals court went a step further by finding that the government failed to introduce enough evidence to convict them. This is something it typically doesn’t do even when siding with a defendant. Thus, these two defendants cannot be retried for their trading in this case.

‘Vulgar’ undies Comfyballs denied a U.S. trademark (UPI)
he Norwegian manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear said the U.S. patent office told them the brand name is too “vulgar” to trademark. Company founder Anders Selvig said officials filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this year with an aim toward bringing the products to the North American market, but the office’s reply said the name was too “vulgar” to trademark. “The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression… When used in this way, the word ‘balls’ has an offensive meaning,” the office said in its reply to Comfyballs…Selvig called on the patent office to review its guidelines. “The trademarks ‘Nice Balls’ and ‘I love my balls’ have recently both been approved by the USPTO,” Selvig told The Telegraph. “Luckily, Europeans have a softer view on what is deemed to be vulgar and the [European Union] allowed Comfyballs to trademark without hassle earlier this year.” Read more »

Write-Offs: 12.10.14

$$$ Congress Deal to Avoid Shutdown Includes Victory for Big Banks [Bloomberg]

$$$ Standard Chartered Beefs Up Anti-Crime Defenses [WSJ]

$$$ At Stanford, venture capital reaches into the dorm [Reuters]

$$$ Your Life Is Worth $6 Million Less in a Nuclear Meltdown [Bloomberg]

$$$The Ultimate Guide To Hooking Up At Your Office Holiday Party” [YT] Read more »

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preetbhararawhiteboardAnthony Chiasson and Todd Newman will be enjoying themselves this evening. Preet Bharara, less so. Read more »

Nothing is fucked, Dude.Mike Corbat is going to go ahead and just send every one of the 54 billion nickels Citi’s going to make this quarter to the bank’s lawyers, the latest last big legal charge it will have to take, he swears. Read more »

[via Gawker]

Related: Don’t Delete That Black Friday Jacuzzi F*ckfest Evite From Nourel Roubini Just Yet

Colgate University: Cradle Of Hedge Fund Traders

Buy-Side U.The folks over at SumZero have crunched the numbers on their 11,000 members to find out just where you should send your kids if you want them to follow your footsteps into the buy-side at a hedge fund, and you’ll be stunned by the results. Just kidding: Send them to Wharton or Harvard. Or, if possible—or if, say, Wharton or Harvard aren’t, either because you’re kid’s a dolt and/or because you foolishly went to Brown or Binghamton or something, depriving your progeny of that most important gift, legacy status—you could always just ship them off to Colgate which, on account of its size, doesn’t have many alums at the best fund, but which Sabermetrically blows everyone out of the water. The place down the road from Harvard’s not a bad choice, either. Nor is Mike Bloomberg’s alma mater. Read more »

Christopher Zigmund Barra and Luis Miguel Sampedro likely have $7.5 million coming their way. Read more »

  • 10 Dec 2014 at 10:15 AM

Layoffs Watch ’14: Deutsche Bank

deutsche-bank1The Germans are said to have asked a number of employees to clean our their desks. Read more »