Back in May, Barclays named longtime Lehaman Brothers-turned-Barclays employee Hugh “Skip” McGee III Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Americas. Following last summer’s revelations that the bank had been engaging in interest rate manipulation, the resignations of chairman Marcus Agius, CEO Bob Diamond, and COO Jerry del Missier, and the general tarnishing of the Barclays name, the appointment came with the obvious mandate to “improve relations with U.S. regulators,” at a time when the Fed is “preparing to make foreign banks meet higher capital standards” and BARC is writing checks for $488 million to settle charges of energy market manipulation. This, Bloombergwrites today in a profile of HSM3, makes him “a noteworthy choice” as peacemaker. Colleagues “don’t expect contrition or retreat” from the banker (he’s already told the Fed its proposed rules are “not sufficiently nuanced,” “inappropriate,” and “unnecessary”) and, if anything, think he’ll be “an advocate for robust pay and freer capital.”
How do these people know they can count on McGee to 1) get them paid, optics be damned and 2) not roll over and take it from U.S. regulators in an attempt to prove that Barclays is a changed bank? Ol’ Skippy secured their votes four years ago, when he penned his opus to his kid’s school, a sagging institution employing a “gay female coach” and even worse, a history teacher with the audacity to say “hurtful things about bankers” in the presence of his child, not to mention, “humiliating” a group of boys by refusing to allow them to dress in drag for a pep rally (“The Incident”), all clear indications of the fact that the place was going to hell in a handbag. Read more »
Last November, hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman penned an “Open Letter To The President Of The United States of America,” in which he detailed the many ways Barack Obama was pissing him off. The Omega Advisors founder accused the President (and his “minions”) of engaging in class warfare, expressed disbelief that he could attack “capitalists who…fill store shelves at Christmas” and still sleep at night, and advised Obama to “eschew the polarizing vernacular of political militancy,” lest he lose Cooperman’s vote the next year. While LC says that he received a major outpouring of support for his words (“[he] keeps a bulging manila folder of congratulatory notes in his office”), others were less than pleased at what they saw as a guy who has actually done pretty okay under Obama lashing out because his feelings were hurt on the occasions the president was perceived to have a “tone” in his voice when discussing the mega-wealthy (“If I knew where you lived, I’d put a bomb in your car,” one person wrote Cooperman to say).
Similarly, Cooperman’s suggestion, made publicly several times, that America should be worried about the startling parallels between Obama’s rise to power and that of Adolf Hitler,* was met with mixed reviews, including one by his wife in which she called him a “schmuck.”
And while some** have found it preposterous that Cooperman would paint himself as a victim of Obama, their astonishment speaks to not knowing the whole story, i.e. exactly what this man- no, this monster- did to Leon, and why he is not fit to be President of the United States of America. Read more »
They’re not there yet, however; first, they’re going to send James Gorman a strongly worded letter about the issue and make a decision based on his response. They do sound pretty miffed though, so God help the guy if his answer is anything but “I’ve got my tool kit and I’m on the way over.” Read more »
As you may have noticed, Jamie Dimon has had some unwanted attention thrown his way over the last several weeks, on account of one of his employees losing a few billion dollars. Though the JPMorgan CEO has been dealing with public displays of hate previously reserved for Lloyd Blankfein and Goldman Sachs, and will certainly be on the receiving end of a lot more tomorrow when he testifies on Capitol Hill, he has had a few people come to his (and his bank’s) defense. Yesterday Stephen Schwarzman told Bloomberg to lay off JD and JPM, noting that “occasional losses are inevitable” and “publicly excoriating JPMorgan serves no purpose except to reduce people’s confidence in the financial system,” while former Goldman exec Bill Archer said the whale fail makes him just “kind of shrug.” Lee Bollinger, who is President of Columbia and chairman of the Federal Bank of New York’s board of directors told the Journal that Dimon shouldn’t step down from his post as a director, as some have requested, and that those who cite conflicts of interest have a “false understanding of how [the Fed] works.” Some individuals from the Columbia community read that comment and are not very pleased. Enter, a strongly worded letter. Read more »
My point about pigskin offense and defense is the perfect metaphor for the world of investing as well. Offensively minded risk takers in the markets have historically been the ones who have dominated the headlines and won the hearts of that beautiful gal (or handsome guy). Aside from the rare examples of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, however, the secret to getting rich since the early 1980s has been to borrow someone else’s money, throw some Hail Mary passes and spike the ball in the end zone as if you had some particular genius that deserved monetary rewards 210 times more than a Doctor, Lawyer or an Indian Chief. Nah, I take that back about the Indian Chief. The Chiefs, at least, have done pretty well with casinos these past few decades. [PIMCO Investment Outlook]
Board of Directors
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Attention: Mr. Roy Bostock, Chairman
Third Point LLC, as the beneficial owner of 5.2% of Yahoo! Inc.’s (“Yahoo”) outstanding shares, remains extremely troubled by news reports regarding the dysfunction and inequity being exhibited in the process of maximizing stockholder value that the Board is allegedly “managing”. We are disturbed but not surprised by this mismanagement given the history of strategic bungling by Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock and Founder Jerry Yang, which has been chronicled in our previous letters and in numerous critical media and analyst reports. As significant shareholders with our own fiduciary duties to investors to uphold, we cannot stand by silently if such reports are accurate and Yahoo, a company in no need of cash, plans to engage in a sweetheart PIPE deal which will serve only to entrench Mr. Yang and the current board while massively disenfranchising public shareholders and permanently robbing us of the opportunity to obtain a control premium.