Opening Bell: 09.27.11

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UBS Bankers Face Dwindling Options as Securities Unit Prepares to Shrink (Bloomberg)
“As soon as the news about Delta One came in, CVs from UBS started flying,” said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of London-based recruiter the Kennedy Group, using an abbreviation for resumes. “There are some very good people at UBS and they will be in demand. But for many there’s nowhere to go.”

Goldman Sachs Draws Up Deeper Cuts (DealBook)
With the company’s third quarter closing on Friday, Goldman has been revising its plans, potentially raising the cuts by as much as $250 million, to $1.45 billion. Based on its 2010 spending, such reductions would amount to 5 percent of the firm’s expenses. Along with the possibility of additional layoffs, the firm is expected to reduce employee pay, much of which is handed out later in the year. It is also sharpening its focus on noncompensation expenses, like real estate and travel, according to one of the executives with knowledge of the discussions.

$200K Per Job? Timothy Geithner Says White House Jobs Plan Is Still a Bargain (ABC)
"You've got to think about the costs of the alternatives," Geithner said when asked about Harvard economist Martin Feldstein's calculation that each job created by President Obama's American Jobs Act would cost taxpayers about $200,000. "If government does nothing, it does nothing now because they're scared by politics or they want to debate what's perfect, then there will be fewer Americans back to work, the economy will be weaker," he said.

Wall Street Demonstrations Test Police Trained for Bigger Threats (NYT)
The police’s actions suggested the flip side of a force trained to fight terrorism, in a city whose police commissioner acknowledges the ownership of a gun big enough to take down a plane, but that may appear less nimble in dealing with the likes of the Wall Street protesters.

I can’t be sued: DSK (NYP)
Accused maid molester Dominique Strauss-Kahn says that even the civil case against him should be tossed out now -- because he’s got diplomatic immunity as the former head of the IMF. ... International-law expert Bradford Trebach of The Bronx disagreed. “He can claim whatever he wants ... [but] under the IMF’s articles of agreement, high-ranking IMF officials have what’s called ‘official acts immunity,’ so that means that they would be immune from a lawsuit regarding acts done by them in their official capacity,’’ Trebach told The Post. “The type of thing the maid is talking about does not seem to be something that is an official act.’’

Freddie under fire over bad loan procedures (FT)
Freddie Mac, the US government-controlled mortgage financier, used flawed procedures for determining how lenders repurchased soured loans, probably saddling taxpayers with billions of dollars in losses, according to a federal audit to be released Tuesday.

Greece votes on unpopular tax, public seethes (Reuters)
The vote is an important first test of the government's ability to push through a new wave of belt-tightening announced last week to persuade the International Monetary Fund and the European Union that Athens deserves an 8-billion-euro ($11 billion) loan that it needs to avoid bankruptcy next month. Bus drivers and metro workers launched a strike against the austerity moves and tax collectors began a 48-hour stoppage.

Shipwreck to yield biggest silver haul (FT)
The hoard is worth £135m ($210m) at today’s prices, although its value has fallen 24 per cent since last Wednesday, as the silver price suffered its largest decline in 30 years. The SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German submarine, U-101, in February 1941 as it neared the end of a voyage from Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) in India to London. The wreck was located 4,700m below the surface and about 480km off the coast of Ireland in international waters.

New Capital Rules Likely for Banks (WSJ)
The watchdogs that make up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision are gathering Tuesday in the Swiss city to consider comments on a planned rule requiring big banks to maintain thicker capital cushions than other institutions. The proposal, first put out in July, aims to curb risk-taking and ensure that these banks are able to absorb sudden losses without damaging the broader financial system or requiring taxpayer bailouts.

"Trader" who told BBC "Goldman Sachs rules the world" was a prankster (YouTube via @nytjim)
He previously impersonated a Down Chemical spokesman (on BBC) and promised that Dow would liquidate Union Carbide to pay compensation to victims of the Bhopal disaster. [Update: or apparently not]

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Opening Bell: 10.04.12

France’s LBO Firms See ‘Death’ From Hollande’s 75% Carry Tax (Bloomberg) Hollande, who released his first annual budget on Sept. 28, plans to tax fund managers’ share of the profit from their investments, known as carried interest, at a rate of as much as 75 percent, part of a wider effort to increase taxes on the wealthy and narrow the country’s deficit. France also plans to as much as double taxes on capital gains and restrict the amount of debt interest payments a company can deduct from its taxable income, a measure that will reduce returns on leveraged buyouts. Facebook Test Turns Users Into Advertisers (FT) Facebook is testing a new product in the US that allows ordinary users to pay to promote their own status updates, marking a shift in the social network’s willingness to charge its users for a core service. The product has potential to generate revenues, analysts said, but could also threaten the organic feel of the site as people pay to market their own social lives. Mark Zuckerberg Confirms: 'I wear the same thing everyday' (DL) "I mean, I wear the same thing every day, right? I mean, it's literally, if you could see my closet," Zuckerberg starts to explain, as Lauer asks if he owns 12 of the same gray t-shirt. "Maybe about 20," Zuckerberg admits, somewhere between discussing the future of Facebook, his daily routine, the iPhone 5, and his wedding to college sweetheart Priscilla Chan last May. The Facebook CEO says that he doesn't really have much in his closet — it's mainly used by his wife, who graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco shortly before their marriage. Instead, Zuckerberg's identical t-shirt collection lives in the one drawer he's allotted. Tiger Global Up 22.4 Percent (Reuters) Tiger Global, one of the world's best-performing hedge funds, ended the third quarter with strong gains, leaving the fund up 22.4 percent for the year, two people familiar with the numbers said on Wednesday. The roughly $6 billion fund, run by Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan, has been the darling of the investment community for its string of strong returns at a time when the average hedge fund is delivering only low single-digit returns. In 2011, when most funds nursed losses, Tiger Global captured headlines with a 45 percent gain for the year after having made a good chunk of money on the short side, people familiar with the portfolio said. 'Dark Pool' And SEC Settle (WSJ) The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in its order that Boston-based broker-dealer eBX LLC allowed the third-party operator of its trading platform, called LeveL ATS, to use details on client orders, including the stocks involved and whether they were buy or sell orders, to its own advantage. That operator is Lava Trading, an electronic-trading unit of Citigroup, according to eBX. eBX agreed to pay $800,000 to settle the SEC's allegations. It did so without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Mohamed El-Erian: No corner offices at PIMCO (Fortune) "It doesn't matter whether you're CEO or whether you're an associate, you have the same size office. No corner offices. Just a conference room. And then I knew that I had made the right decision when my very first outing with PIMCO, I had come from the IMF, 15 years working on emerging markets. I had a swagger, I thought I knew what I was talking about. I put forward my view, and this summer intern felt safe enough to get up and say, "You know what? Mohamed is wrong and this is why he's wrong." The fact that PIMCO had created this safe zone where a summer intern could get up and question someone who was supposed to be an expert confirmed to me that I was in the right place." Bank-Friendly U.S. Regulator Shifts Focus to Revamp Reputation (Bloomberg) In a stately hearing room stuffed with senators and bankers, Thomas Curry began his apologies. His agency should have stopped a major bank from helping drug cartels launder cash. The violations went on for years while his agency was overly passive. “I deeply regret we did not act sooner,” he said. Curry had been on the job for just over three months on that day in July, so the mistakes hadn’t been made on his watch. His apologies were less a confession than a signal the new Comptroller of the Currency -- long seen as the most bank- friendly of U.S. regulators -- was changing course. “I’m not interested in what people thought about in the past,” Curry said in an interview. “My focus is going forward.” Since he took over in March, at least two key staff members closely associated with the agency’s pro-industry stance have departed, notably chief counsel Julie Williams. Williams, a 19- year OCC veteran, was known for helping nationally chartered banks resist state regulation by arguing they were preempted by often less-stringent federal rules. Curry has also raised the profile of consumer protection and shifted focus toward “operational risk” -- the idea that bank practices and management can pose as much of a threat to safety and soundness as external forces. Argentine Navy Ship Seized In Asset Fight (FT) An Argentine naval vessel crewed by more than 200 sailors has been seized in Ghana as part of an attempt by the US hedge fund Elliott Capital Management to collect on bonds on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001. A Ghanaian court ordered an injunction and interim preservation order against the ARA Libertad, a 100-metre long tall ship, following an application by Elliott subsidiary NML Capital on Tuesday. The hedge fund, run by the US billionaire Paul Singer, has been closely monitoring the course of the Libertad, according to sources familiar with the firm. Elliott had been waiting for the ship to stop in a port where it would have a chance to enforce legal judgments previously awarded by UK and US courts. The hedge fund declined to comment. Argentina slammed the interception of the Libertad as a “trick which these unscrupulous financiers” had pulled, adding that it “violates the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity”. Morgan Stanley commodities talks with Qatar hit snag (Reuters) Morgan Stanley's talks with Qatar's sovereign wealth fund over the sale of its commodities business have run into difficulty, and the deal may need to be reworked if it is to go ahead, banking sources said. One of the top banks in commodity trading over the past 30 years, Morgan Stanley has been in discussion for more than a year with Qatar over the sale of at least a majority stake in the energy-focused trading business, the bankers said. "There have been some differences, and Qatar is a bit lukewarm about it," one said. "It's not dead yet but definitely not imminent." Maple syrup stolen in Quebec seized by police in New Brunswick (The Star) Quebec police have seized between 700 and 800 barrels of maple syrup from a New Brunswick exporter, linking the drums to August’s massive heist of the sweet stuff. Étienne St-Pierre, owner of S.K. Exports in Kedgwick, N.B., told the Star that police executed a search warrant Sept. 26 and hauled away the barrels. “They said they were searching to find some stolen drums from Quebec,” he said. “It was a surprise. That was the first news I received.” St-Pierre said each barrel weighs about 270 kilograms and holds 170 litres of syrup, meaning police seized at least 119,000 litres of gooey Quebec gold. A spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec, Sgt. Bruno Beaulieu, confirmed a search warrant had been executed in Kedgwick but said he could not comment on the investigation. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has never revealed the amount of syrup stolen from its secure St-Louis-de-Blandford, Que. warehouse in August. The facility held about 3.75 million litres of syrup, enough to fill one and a half Olympic swimming pools. St-Pierre said he obtained the barrels from a regular Quebec supplier, who he refused to identify.

Opening Bell: 7.30.15

Zuckerberg tells Wall Street to chill; Petco IPO; Clinton & UBS; "A Vancouver man was taken into police custody after a standoff that featured the suspect serenading officers with a banjo"; and more.