Opening Bell: 01.22.09

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Citi Wants More, So Sayeth Parsons (BBC)
The $306B guarantee of assets last year wasn't enough so far as Mr. Parsons is concerned: he wants the assets off of his sheets for good. The conversation came about when Parsons started making comments to the affect of lending and why they aren't doing more of it, and somehow ended with this: "It's not a situation of, you do this for me, and I'll do that." This, as I'm sure you're aware, is effectively like saying "I maxed out my credit cards on Hookers, take those off my hands and I'll donate to the charity pool"... "except I might not."
AIG Remains Active In Dissolution (FT)
AIG has been making headlines lately with their active spin-off and sell strategy, valuing companies and finding perspective buyers more quickly than I had imagined was possible. Having not yet found leniency in the government structured payment requirements (as mentioned, they were looking for stock in the sell instead of cash only), they appear to have developed a sustainable model in rent-to-own - the question now becomes one of who can afford to absorb this stuff; $20B isn't change these days.
"Prospective bidders include: China Life, the world's largest life assurer; HSBC, the UK-based bank; Prudential, the UK insurance group; as well as Prudential Financial of the US.
ManuLife Financial, one of North America's biggest insurance groups, and Allianz of Germany have also requested information."
More Merrill Mayhem (DJNewswire)
One has to wonder if the exits were strategic negotiations on the part of BAC, or just angered employees heading for the hills. Either way, ML Asia is projecting a flight of confidence from its upper ranks, as evidenced:
"Ajay Sawhney, head of regional leveraged finance, has left Merrill in Singapore, one person told Dow Jones Newswires.
Jon Pratt, head of Asia Debt Capital Markets, left the firm in Hong Kong recently, while Rahul Malhotra, head of the bank's Global Wealth Management Asia Advisory unit, has left the Singapore office, another person said."
Sortable TARP Map (WSJ)
While we've seen these on lunatic fringe sites, this one is actually kind of fun. You'll notice that there's eight states that didn't take TARP funds, so good for you: it turns out being boring DID actually pay off.
Math Could Have Proved Madoff Was A Thief (FT)
In a fleeting moment of genius, someone said let's bring in a risk manager to see if thing would have tested out..it didn't:
"A study to be published on Thursday by Riskdata, a risk management specialist, argues that Mr Madoff's returns are called into question by the bias ratio - a mathematical technique that identifies abnormalities in the distribution of a series of investment returns."
UBS To Cut More Jobs (Bloomberg)
Today, on the daily UBS update, we see that they're looking at cutting Securities and more Debt people. When asked, Dirk Hoffmann-Becking responded:
"The end-game result I expect for UBS's investment bank is a business entirely focused on equities, equity underwriting, merger advice and foreign exchange"

Bank of America Accused by Investor of Undisclosed Merrill Loss
(Bloomberg)
Some BAC shareholders are miffed over not being told MER was a pile of garbage pre-merger.

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