no further questions

The whole Swiss bank account thing is but an “isolated incident.” Read more »

The hedge fund billionaire will become CEO at the struggling department store chain Sears Holdings Corp, succeeding Lou D’Ambrosio, who headed up the company for around two years. Mr. D’Ambrosio’s departure was influenced by a close family member’s medical condition, people familiar with the matter said…”There’s a very big difference between being a CEO of a company and a shareholder or chairman of a company,” said Mr. Lampert, whose hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. controls 56.2% of Sears shares. But, he said, his longtime board seats at Autozone  and AutoNation have taught him a lot about retailing. [WSJ]

Allen Stanford Has No Idea What You’re Talking About

“I didn’t run a Ponzi scheme, I didn’t defraud anybody, and there was never any intent to defraud anybody,” Mr. Stanford, wearing a green prison jumpsuit, told U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner before he was sentenced [to 110 years in prison]. [WSJ]

The New York Yankees have won one World Series in the past 10 years. They will pay their players $196.9 million dollars this year. The team’s four infielders will earn 40.6% of that or about $80 million in 2012. The four largest banks in the United States employ more than 1 million people and have aggregate assets of $7.6 trillion. The actions of these banks impact virtually every American household. The four CEOs of these banks [JPM, WFC, C, BAC] are expected to earn about $65 million this year. Clearly, society values the New York Yankees infield above that of the leaders of the banking industry even without a World Series ring. [PDF]

The Fed is wide open, okay? Now, if you wanna talk about these “audits” of monetary policy some people in Congress are calling for? That would have “a very bad outcome.” [Bernanke At The National Press Club;WSJ]

At a panel yesterday in Davos, Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, perhaps testing out a few new jokes he’s hoping to use at the Laugh Factory‘s open mic night next week, made several interesting statements. The first was his reason for why banks shouldn’t be subject to greater regulation.

Mr. Cohn warned that greater regulation of banks would push risky activities into the “shadow banking sector” which he said was “less regulated” and “opaque.”

Mind you, we have no reason to assume Gary was saying any of this out of self-interest. He’ll have you know Goldman Sachs LOVES regulation. The more the better. He’s just doesn’t want Goldman and the other banks to be selfish and take more than they need when there are others who could really benefit from increased supervision, like the “unregulated” businesses that apparently caused the last financial crisis and might cause another, if we’re not careful.

“What I most worry about,” said Mr Cohn, “is that in the next cycle, as the regulatory pendulum swings, we are going to have to use taxpayer money to bail out unregulated businesses that, unlike the banks in the last crisis, may not be able to repay them.”

He continued. Read more »