Opening Bell: 03.30.09

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Study Has Banks Admitting Pay Structure Was A Contributing Factor (WSJ)
"Banks almost unanimously agree that their compensation packages contributed to the global financial crisis but still are struggling to correct some of the flaws in their pay structures, according to a survey of financial institutions due for publication Monday.
The survey, conducted by U.K. management consultancy Oliver Wyman, was commissioned by the Institute of International Finance, a global association of banks and other financial companies based in Washington, D.C. It found 98% of responding banks "believe the compensation structures were a factor underlying the crisis.""
Thoughts On Ratigan Leaving (MarketWatch)
People think Dylan Ratigan is the Che Guevara of business news.
Geithner Says Some Banks Need 'Large Amounts' Of Assistance (Bloomberg)
The article has a couple of strong points, most notably that there's an open admission that if this plan changes (or there's a hint at change, or someone looks at it wrong) it's going to fuck any chance of success.
""We still don't have the transparency and oversight," McCain said on "Meet the Press." He said his biggest concern is that the cost of stemming the financial crisis will worsen annual deficits projected to exceed $1 trillion for many years.
"What I am most worried about is laying the debt on future generations of Americans," he said."
Blackstone Tells SEC To Get Bent (Bloomberg)
The SEC asked both Fortress and Blackstone to disclose their performance in their financial reports; Fortress agreed, Blackstone declined. You have to wonder what the long term agenda is going to be for the reporting agencies: there's going to be a marked change to the regulatory landscape, of that we're certain - but where and how the power fall have yet to be seen.
"In the prospectus for its initial public offering, Blackstone said it intends to be a "different kind of public company" whose managers take a long-term perspective. The firm won't provide earnings forecasts because the performance of its businesses may vary in "significant and unexpected ways" from quarter to quarter, according to the filing."
China Looks For Global Currency (Reuters)
This is fun:
"Beijing's ultimate goal is to replace the globally dominant dollar with a beefed-up Special Drawing Right, the International Monetary Fund's in-house unit of account, which would become a "super-sovereign reserve currency."
[...]
However, with 5,000 years of history behind it, Beijing is ready for a long game. Zhou knew his trial balloon would immediately be shot down, save for backing from Russia. Hence his acknowledgement that creating a new international monetary order would require "extraordinary political vision and courage".
Translation: Beijing realizes that a currency does not lose its global domination overnight. Even after the United States overtook Britain in economic size in the late 19th century, it took two world wars that drained Britain's Treasury and its military might before the dollar supplanted sterling. The American grandmaster will not surrender his title lightly."


FASB To Consider Changes After Threats By Government (Bloomberg)
"What disturbs me most about the FASB action is they appear to be bowing to outrageous threats from members of Congress who are beholden to corporate supporters," said Levitt, now a senior adviser at buyout firm Carlyle Group and a board member at Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

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