Citi

Citi today paid out some of its DVA gains to settle SEC charges that it sold investors a CDO-squared that facilitated its own naked CDS purchases on the underlying CDOs, while misleading investors into thinking that an independent collateral manager selected the underlying portfolio. If my grandmother reads Dealbreaker she’s now stopped.

Anyway. I’m proud of my time at Goldman, which I thought was a great place filled with smart and ethical people (really) and which also was a market leader in many areas, including paying fines for fraudulent CDO structuring fraud. In that line of business we were first both in time and in market share, settling Abacus for $550mm in July; JPMorgan’s $153.6mm Magnetar settlement came a week later and Citi didn’t get around to their $285mm entry (and Credit Suisse’s $2.5mm addition) until today.

Now, maybe it’s just my Goldman bias talking but I never really got the outrage at these things, which always seemed to come from importing an already incorrect understanding of how nonfinancial transactions work into a market-making, two-sided, financial markets context. But reading the Citi CDO documents, which are fascinating, I think makes it a little more comprehensible.

There are five points to which your free-floating rage could maybe attach:
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Michael Feroli at JPMorgan had an interesting note this morning (via ZH) on the Republican letter to Bernanke, pointing out that this sort of saber-rattling against easing might actually make it more likely as a way for the Fed to assert its independence.

Moody’s downgrade of BAC/WFC/C, on the other hand, may have the opposite effect, precisely because the government hasn’t yet been able to declare its independence from the ratings agencies. Moody’s cut the banks’ credit ratings because they think the government is less likely to bail them out if they run into trouble. And that downgrade itself may have the effect of making the government less likely to bail out the banks if they run into trouble.
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“Citi rented out a yacht in the New York harbor the other night for interns who got offers. It was a four hour open bar with a DJ and let’s just say it got interesting at the end. There was limbo.” Read more »

Supposedly the three Citi officials were “angered” by the customer contesting his credit card bill. Read more »

Yes. Read more »

Charlie Gasparino is hearing that senior bonuses at Citi this year will be paid out half in stock that vests in five years and half in cash that only 20 percent of which is immediately available (30% of the cash portion will supposedly be awarded in two years). For those who don’t know you’re supposed to stop pushing the Q-tip when there’s resistance who may be having trouble figuring out why some people wouldn’t be so happy about being paid in such a structure, Chaz’s source explains: Read more »

  • 17 Dec 2010 at 10:33 AM

Caption Contest Friday


Vikram Pandit tests out the goods at Citi’s new branch, which the bank opened yesterday and celebrated with a red carpet and a waiter carrying ‘a platter of bite-size donuts and a sugary dipping sauce.’ [Dealbook via HNM]