BlackRock

One of the more unglamorous aspects of being an adult with a job outside the home is the matter of commuting. Whether you’re driving, taking the subway, or being chauffeured, the entire thing is a grind, a time-suck, a nuisance, and an opportunity to catch whatever the breeding grounds for bacteria violating your personal space are spreading, to say nothing of the fact that depending on how far you live from the office, the whole thing can cost a nice chunk of change, money that could be better spent on just about anything.

BlackRock exec Jonathan Burrows knew the evils of the daily commute all too well. He wanted to live outside of London, in East Sussex, but he still had to show his face around the office Monday through Friday, which meant spending an hour on the train each way. He couldn’t get rid of the 2+ hour slog, or the commoners with whom he had to interact en route, but he should, he told himself one day, be able to cut the cost. AND CUT COSTS HE DID. Read more »

“A couple of weeks ago, I visited Mexico City—one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s a remarkable place, not least because of the food, the museums, and the culture, but also because of the incredible economic changes taking place in Mexico right now—both in the capital and all around the country. Every time I visit, I think the same thing: if I were starting my career, especially if I lived in a nation where I couldn’t explore my full potential, I’d try my luck in Mexico. Why? Because Mexico is finally beginning to unlock its true potential as an economic powerhouse.” [BI]

Larry Fink Expands On His Dislike Of Hedge Funds

The capo dei capi of money managers doesn’t like these young guns (and, in one notable case, not so young) spreading a lot of damned nonsense and nuisance in pursuit of their short-term goals. If this was not made clear enough in his letter to S&P500 CEOs (because Larry’s the kind of guy who writes letters to S&P500 CEOs) last month, allow him to clarify his disdain. Read more »

A Watershed Moment For Carl Icahn’s Website

For the first time in more than a month, Carl Icahn has written about something other than eBay. Kind of*. “A Watershed Moment for Stockholder Participation” celebrates the fact that institutional investors have begun to stand up for themselves, and in Icahn’s lifetime, to boot, at least in between digs at and rehashings of his case against, you guessed it, eBay. Read more »

Eric Schneiderman’s determination to follow in Eliot Spitzer’s footsteps (to a point) is bad news for analysts who answer their phones. Read more »

BlackRock’s paper-issuing arm issued a pretty interesting paper this week on bond standardization.1 Basically: there are a lotta bonds, and none of them trade and it’s impossible to get the size you want of the bond you want, and this could be solved by each issuer only having, like, three bonds, and re-opening them when they need to borrow more money, instead of creating new bonds all the time. Each issuer has only one stock, mostly, so why can’t they cut back on the bonds a bit?

Also all the bonds should mature at the same times, preferably like IMM dates, to make hedging easier. And to make everyone refinance at the same time. What fun those times would be. September 20, 2008, for instance, five days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy, would have been a rough time to have to refinance bonds.

The argument is pretty straightforward. Bonds don’t trade very much: Read more »

All BlackRock wanted to do was make things easier for you. It had no prurient pecuniary motive in launching its own corporate bond-trading platform. It just wanted to help. That’s how it’s become the world’s largest money manager, after all. Read more »