Pandit Pariah No More as U.S. Bankers Hunting Deals in Ascendance at Davos (Bloomberg)
Vikram Pandit, 55, is one of six co-chairs of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort this week, the first from a U.S. bank since JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon in 2008...Pandit, who refers to the benefits of his bank’s “globality,” will speak on two panels at this year’s annual meeting: a Jan. 25 discussion about the reshaping of the “global financial system” and a televised session on Jan. 29 in which the meeting’s co-chairs describe the “emerging issues for 2012,” according to the program. Last year, Pandit confined his activities to off-the-record events such as a lunch discussion about providing financial services to the poor. James Gorman, 53, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, the sixth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, will attend the annual meeting for the first time, having succeeded Davos regular John Mack in his chairman role. Lloyd C. Blankfein, 57, Goldman Sachs’s chairman and CEO, is skipping the meeting for the fourth consecutive year, sending deputies including President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn, 51, and Vice Chairman J. Michael Evans, 54.
EU Ministers Resume Crisis Talks (WSJ)
"Obviously Greece and the banks have to do more in order to reach a sustainable debt level," Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said on arriving for the meeting Tuesday. He said debt restructuring terms that ensure a sustainable debt level is "absolutely a precondition" for a second EU bailout package for Greece.
At BofA, Moynihan Grapples With Past (WSJ)
The 52-year-old chief executive is expected to be deposed in coming months in as many as three civil lawsuits over the bank's handling of its takeover of securities firm Merrill Lynch & Co. on Jan. 1, 2009. The pending appearances are the latest legal distraction for a CEO trying to shed the wreckage he inherited from the financial crisis. The suits accuse the bank, the second-largest U.S. lender by assets behind J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and its officers of misleading shareholders about ballooning losses at Merrill before the $19.4 billion acquisition was approved. It isn't clear what Mr. Moynihan will be asked, but the inquiries likely will center on disclosure of losses at Merrill and the decision to award Merrill employees billions of dollars in bonuses, said a person familiar with the bank's preparations.
Falcone Faces New LightSquared Questions (Bloomberg)
Senator Charles Grassley said yesterday that Falcone, whose Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund is LightSquared’s main backer, and a telecommunications executive implied that they wanted the lawmaker to “pull punches” in an investigation. “I won’t be part of that,” Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a letter to Falcone that sought details of Falcone’s contacts with the executive.
Romney Paid $3 Million Tax Bill In 2010 (WSJ)
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid a 13.9% effective income tax rate in 2010 after making $3 million in tax-deductible charitable donations and drawing most of his income from investments, according to a summary of Mr. Romney's 2010 tax form provided by his campaign. Mr. Romney reported $21.7 million in income. He paid $3 million in federal taxes, slightly more than the $2.98 million he made in charitable donations. At least $1.5 million of his charitable donations went to the Mormon Church. Of Mr. Romney's 2010 income, he noted a capital gain of $12.6 million, taxable interest of $3.3 million, ordinary dividends of $4.9 million and smaller sums of gains and losses on business income, refunds and other income. His 2010 return also showed that he had a financial account in Switzerland that was closed in 2010 and that he generated income from overseas investments. He also reported financial accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Man shoots 3 inch nail into his skull (NYDN)
Autullo, who had been using the nail gun to build a shed in his yard, said that he knew something strange had happened. "It really felt like I got punched on the side of the head," he told the Associated Press, adding that he continued working. "I thought it went past my ear." Still, he continued to work around the house and even clear snow from his driveway. He only decided to see a doctor the next day, when he awoke from a nap feeling nauseous. Scans revealed that the nail had indeed pierced his skull and entered his brain. Why no other pain? There are no pain-sensitive nerves in the brain itself, just in the skull, which explained the initial pain.
Hedge Funds Prepare Legal Battle With Greece (Reuters)
Funds forced into losses as part of the bond swap or default have several avenues to bring a case, including the European Court of Human Rights or the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, Olivares-Caminal said. Hedge fund tactics range widely. Many will be keen for a deal to get done and will not sue, especially if they can profit from the difference between the level of losses imposed and the price they paid for the debt in the secondary market. Others hope to be paid out in full if enough other private creditors - primarily banks and insurers - sign up to the bond swap.
Super-Rich Play Snow Polo Amid Davos Hecklers (Bloomberg)
This wasn’t Davos, where the World Economic Forum will urge presidents and bankers to “rethink capitalism” this week. Neighboring Klosters, a resort favored by the British royal family, held its eighth annual snow polo tournament. While young Swiss socialists protest against the power of political elites in igloos outside Davos, Duran Duran sang “A View to a Kill” to several thousand polo enthusiasts reveling in a bar and nightclub made out of shipping containers and snow. The four-day event, sponsored by menswear company Hackett Ltd. and Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier SA, is a chance to forget the global turmoil, according to founder Daniel Waechter, who runs a family business selling luxury lavatories. “Despite the financial crisis, we’ve never had so many team requests,” he said. “Last year we had a lot of trouble getting British teams over. Now, either they’ve recovered or they’re saying, enough of this misery, we want to have fun.” Eight teams of three horses and riders apiece, instead of the usual four, battled it out in a slimmed-down version of summer polo, which was first played in Switzerland by British cavalry officers in St. Moritz in 1899. The horses wear flat shoes with studs to grip the snow and riders, who can use six ponies during four 6 1/2 minute chukkas, wield mallets to hit a ball between goalposts shaped like giant champagne bottles.
End Of Era For Japanese Exports (WSJ)
The Japanese government is expected to announce Wednesday that the country recorded its first annual trade deficit since 1980. If the yen remains strong and global demand weak, economists warn that Japan could run trade deficits for years to come.
Cameras May Open Up the Board Room to Hackers (NYT)
Mr. Moore has found it easy to get into several top venture capital and law firms, pharmaceutical and oil companies and courtrooms across the country. He even found a path into the Goldman Sachs boardroom. “The entry bar has fallen to the floor,” said Mike Tuchen, chief executive of Rapid7. “These are literally some of the world’s most important boardrooms — this is where their most critical meetings take place — and there could be silent attendees in all of them.”
A Deal On Foreclosures Inches Forward (NYT)
About one million homeowners facing foreclosure could have their mortgage burden cut by about $20,000 each as part of a long-awaited deal taking shape among state attorneys general, federal officials and the nation’s largest mortgage servicers...The agreement could be worth about $25 billion, state and federal officials with knowledge of the negotiations said, with up to $17 billion of that used to reduce principal for homeowners facing foreclosure. Another portion would be set aside for homeowners who have been the victim of improper foreclosure practices, with about 750,000 families receiving about $1,800 each. But bank officials said Monday that the total amount of principal reduction and reimbursement would depend on how many states eventually sign on.
Halo Painted Over Paterno on PSU Mural (NBC)
Michael Bilato, the artist who removed the image of Jerry Sandusky in November after the former assistant coach was accused of child sex abuse, added the angelic sign atop Paterno on Monday.