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Opening Bell: 01.27.10

AIG Testimony: Paulson -- 'Confident' Fed AIG Decisions 'Appropriate' (Deal Journal)
Paulson said he wasn't happy that the government needed to intervene in AIG, and the financial system more broadly, but that he believes that he, Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "acted properly and in the best interests of our country." He also said he was "confident" that the congressional review of the Fed's rescue of AIG will show that "they sought to make appropriate decisions on those matter." Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins has (again) denied telling his employees to shut it on the deal.

Diamond Lashes Out At Obama Bank Plans
"I am angry at banks that had poor management and poor regulation," BD said. Although Mr Diamond recognised that regulatory demands for higher levels of capital and liquidity would be essential, describing that "more intrusive regulation" as "a good thing," he stressed that the new rules had to be "connected [across] the major economies around the world".
Emails Reveal Fed Staffers' Angst During AIG Crisis (WSJ)
On Nov. 5, the New York Fed received a presentation, a 44-page analysis put together by a unit of BlackRock Inc., saying that the banks had significant bargaining power with AIG and had little incentive to cancel the contracts unless they received par, or 100 cents, on the dollar. The next two days, Fed officials negotiated with executives at AIG's trading partners. "The concession negotiations did not go favorably...we've given up," in-house counsel James Bergin wrote in an email to New York Fed colleagues at 7:11 p.m. on Nov 7.
Wall Street Beefs Up Clawback Rules (WSJ)
JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are all doing it but some people aren't sure they're buying it: "Firms have not been providing outsiders with the information that is necessary to assess whether the clawbacks are meaningful and effective or merely cosmetic," says Lucian Bebchuk, a Harvard University law professor who runs the college's corporate-governance program.
Davos: sign of the times. Or maybe not. (Telegraph)
"All participants in the WEF as part of their conference kit have been issued with a bottle of sanitising gel. Presumably this is for use after shaking hands with a banker, though the organisers don't explain." Hint: that's not 'sanitising' gel and it doesn't go on your hands.

Vote on Bernanke Confirmation Is Scheduled for Thursday (NYT)
John McCain has said again the Beard will not be getting his vote on account of Bernanke being, as he told reporters "the captain of the ship when it hit the iceberg." For those of you who weren't on the Titanic with a young J McC, it was a harrowing experience he'd rather not go through again.
UBS says Swiss govt must save U.S. tax deal (Reuters)
A bunch of UBS clients are getting court orders to block their account data from being given to the IRS re: evading taxes, which puts UBS in a kind of awk position because the bank promised it'd turn over the info.
Bloomberg working on new editorial product dubbed "First Word" (TB)
The new service, called by one employee as a "wire within a wire," is designed to compete against StreetAccount.