Perhaps, you thought, that the day Vikram Pandit was abruptly and unceremoniously fired from Citigroup was the end. That we’d lost him for good. That he’d retreat to the his Upper West Side manse and spend his days beefing up his Odd Couple memorabilia collection, or work on that novel about a love that dare not speak its name between a bank CEO and the analyst who only acted like she hated him, or build that Zen garden he’d always wanted that the fucks at Citi never let him have. That he was finished with Wall Street. Well fret not. Uncle Vik wouldn’t never do that to you. Read more »
Barclays CEO Promises To Clear Out His Desk In Hypothetical Scenario In Which Bank Decides To Start Engaging In Rampant Fraud AgainBy Bess Levin
Mr. Jenkins and the firm’s chairman, David Walker, told politicians on Tuesday that they were prioritizing ethics and reducing risky trading activity, adding that they would take responsibility if future problems were discovered at the bank. The Barclays’ chief, who agreed to forgo his bonus in response to the series of scandals that have hit Barclays in recent years, said he would resign if another scandal was uncovered while he was leading the bank. “The chief executive is responsible for what happens during their tenure and when incidents happen the price needs to be paid and I believe were I to find myself in that position I would do the right thing,” Mr. Jenkins said on Tuesday. When politicians asked Mr. Jenkins if he was eradicating the culture that he inherited from his predecessor Robert E. Diamond Jr., Barclays’ new chief said he was indeed “shredding that legacy” of sometimes being “too self-centered and too aggressive.” [Dealbook, related]
The regulator didn’t specifically suspect anything re: propensity for manipulating Libor, just a general feeling it couldn’t necessarily trust the guy, which Barclays chairman Marcus Agius conceded was not entirely off base. Read more »
Bob Diamond Lieutenant Jerry Del Missier Ended Up Faring A Bit Better In The Parting Gifts Department Than The BossBy Bess Levin
The bad news is that former Barclays chief operating officer Jerry del Missier is still out of a job and it may be some time before he gets a new one, on account of “investigations conducted by American and British authorities [demonstrating] he was a central figure” in the scandal du jour and “asked other bank officials to lower the firm’s submissions to Libor.” The good news is that Jer is still (probably) getting paid, unlike some people he knows. Read more »
Protesters at Colby College on Saturday afternoon called on the administration to “restore Colby’s moral compass” and demand the resignation of Robert E. Diamond Jr., chairman of the college’s board of trustees…Among the roughly dozen demonstratoers, Josh Lawrence, of Farmingdale, said college officials should acknowledge that millions in donations to Colby came from alleged illegal profits to Barclays and, in turn, Diamond. “They should make a public statement and not take money from him again and remove him as the chairman,” Therrien said. A Colby spokesman said earlier this month that the college is “mindful” of Diamond’s situation. “Nothing that’s emerged from these stories has changed Bob’s relationship with the college,” Colby spokesman Michael Kiser said in a story published July 14 in the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. “He’s long, long been a valuable supporter and a great leader for the board of trustees.” [Morning Sentinel via Counterparties]
Barclays ex-chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier, contradicted Robert Diamond, saying his former boss told him to submit artificially low Libor rates, and blamed compliance managers for failing to act. Del Missier, 50, told Parliament’s Treasury Committee today that he received an instruction from Diamond, then chief executive officer, that he took to have come from the Bank of England. He said he then “passed the instruction along” to Mark Dearlove, head of the bank’s money-markets desk, to lower its contributions for the London interbank offered rate… [Bloomberg, related]
The Barclibor scandal doesn’t seem to be going away, so it might be productive to try to figure out how much outrage is the right amount of outrage and express it in dollars. You can be all “what a bunch of crooks, with the emails, and whatnot” and sure, but there are lots of crooks in the world and for you to expend your energy being mad about particular crooks should require a considered judgment as to whether they are petty crooks or massive, massive crooks. And despite the $800 trillion notional size of the market they were monkeying with, the range of answers given to this question is unusually broad, from a dismissive “it’s still not clear just what the big harm was in the Libor scandal” to a mouth-foaming “this is the mega-scandal of mega-scandals.”
So start with the question of who got hurt by the basic horse-trading fixing where Barclays increased its fixings to make money on its contracts: derivative trader called submitter, said “hey [raise | lower] me some Libor because I have some contracts fixing today,” and the submitter did in exchange for champagne or just a manly pat on the ass. Here who got hurt is sort of messy and boring: you got hurt if you borrowed floating-rate money, or paid floating on a swap, and Barclays pushed your relevant Libor up on a fixing date for your contract; and you got hurt if you lent floating-rate money, or paid fixed on a swap, and Barclays pushed your relevant Libor down on a fixing date for your contract. And in expectation probably neither happened, for you personally.
More relevantly, you get the very strong sense from the Barclays emails that the traders manipulating Libor often thought they were shooting against other banks doing equal and opposite manipulations, so it’s not clear that it worked. In fact in some sense you have to hope that they were right and this was a systemic problem: if it was just Barclays then they actually manipulated rates,* while if it was everyone then probably no one managed to manipulate rates for their own advantage – unless there was some systemic reason for the Libor submitter banks to manipulate Libor in one direction prior to the financial crisis, on which more later.
The second question is who got hurt by more systemic fixing where Barclays – and maybe others – and maybe at the BoE’s oblique suggestion – systematically pushed their Libor submissions down to make themselves appear healthier than they were. This struck me as potentially a bigger deal (dollarswise) yet somehow more forgivable, and The Economist is with me: Read more »