Nonbanks Set for Oversight (WSJ)
The Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by the Treasury Department, voted to propose designating several companies as "systemically important," according to government officials. While the panel of regulators didn't disclose which companies were proposed for designation, AIG, Prudential Financial Inc. and the GE Capital Unit of General Electric Co. confirmed they were part of the first group. ... Companies have 30 days to challenge the designation but the proposal clears the path for firms seen as systemically risky to be designated for tougher oversight by the Federal Reserve. Companies tagged as "systemically important financial institutions," or SIFIs, could be subject to tougher capital and liquidity requirements, annual stress tests and limits on executive compensation and dividends.
Wall Street Transfixed by SAC Deadline (WSJ)
But a major reason for the intense interest on Wall Street, senior brokerage firm officials say, is a commercial one: SAC has generated billions of dollars in revenues for brokerage firms over the years. Several executives — all citing client confidentiality — said that the prospect of a severely diminished SAC would hurt their bottom line, which has created fear and anxiety on trading desks across Wall Street. “This is going to have a significant impact to the Street, full stop,” said a senior executive at a brokerage firm that counts SAC as one of its largest clients. “It’s like that line in ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’: a lot of golden little crumbs have fallen off of SAC, and now it looks like there will be less of them.”
EU Seeks Role in Bank Shutdowns That Goes Against German Plan (Bloomberg)
The European Commission is seeking to give itself the power to shut down failing euro-area banks as part of a draft crisis blueprint that defies German calls for a more decentralized approach. The Brussels-based authority is set to propose that decisions to force losses on crisis-hit lenders’ creditors, as well as other steps to prevent a disorderly collapse, should be taken largely out of national hands, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. While the system would include a “newly-created central resolution body,” final decisions would be taken by the commission itself. ... The move puts the commission at odds with Germany, which has said that a centralized approach to bank resolution in the euro area should only come once the bloc has taken further steps toward common fiscal and economic policies.
French minister hits at Amazon ‘dumping’ (FT)
France’s culture minister has attacked Amazon, the online retailer, for deliberately undercutting traditional rivals to create a “quasi-monopoly”, in the latest assault by the socialist government on internet companies. “Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon which, through dumping practices, smashes prices to penetrate markets to then raise prices again once they are in a situation of quasi-monopoly,” said Aurélie Filippetti, the culture minister. Calling Amazon a “destroyer of bookshops”, she added that she was considering a ban on free postage offers and a current regime of allowable 5 per cent discounts on books.
Google Strips First Glass Porn App, Bans Adult Content on Its Connected Glasses (ABC)
The first pornography app for Google Glass has launched, though not for long. This morning MiKandi, a developer of adult content apps, released "T*** & Glass," an app for the connected glasses, which allows users to browse and vote on racy content. The app also takes advantage of the fact that Glass places both a screen and camera right above the eye. Glass users can record their own pornographic content or photos, and upload them to the app.
South Jersey mom vs. South Beach hookers: the rematch (Miami Herald)
Anna Burgese, the petite wife of a wealthy suburban Philadelphia homebuilder, claims in the federal lawsuit that as many as 10 prostitutes pounced on her in the hotel lobby on Jan. 19. They mistakenly believed that she was encroaching on their turf, according to Miami Beach police. ... In the suit, filed last week, Burgese claims that the assault was unprovoked and that the prostitutes threw her face-first against a stone wall in front of hotel employees. Her husband, who was on crutches, had been a few steps ahead of her when the attack began. He fought the women off with his crutches, Rogers said.
Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers (DealBook)
Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing. “The growth is being propelled by institutional money,” said Suzanne Mistretta, an analyst at Fitch Ratings. “The question is how much the change in prices really reflects market demand, rather than one-off market shifts that may not be around in a couple years.”
US funds left bruised by heavy bond losses (FT)
Every one of the most popular class of US mutual funds investing in bonds lost money in May, highlighting the risks for investors as interest rates rise. Bond yields around the world soared from some of the lowest levels in decades last month as investors anticipated an end to the extraordinary measures the Federal Reserve has used to stimulate the US economy. US funds that invest in higher-rated bonds with average maturities of under 10 years lost an average 1.8 per cent in May, marking their worst performance since the depths of the financial crisis in October 2008, according to Lipper, a research group.
Corbat faces ghost of Weill's deals in Citi's machines (Reuters)
Corbat's choice highlights how some 15 years after Sanford "Sandy" Weill merged Travelers Group and Citicorp to create Citigroup, the bank is still trying to integrate all its operations. For example, it still uses different account opening procedures and systems in different countries. ... The bank spends around $18 billion a year - or about a third of its operating expenses - on operations and technology, including facilities, systems and hardware, making it a major area of concern for the board as well, two sources said. The board is considering hiring a new director with technology expertise to help monitor and assess management's efforts, they said.
Zynga to Cut 18% of Workforce to Pre-IPO Level (WSJ)
The online game maker, which has struggled to build its mobile business while stemming a decline of its desktop games, said Monday it plans to dismiss about 18% of its staff, or 520 people. The cuts underscore deepening worries for Zynga, once seen as a pioneer in a wave of companies built on social technologies. The layoffs should save Zynga about $70 to $80 million per year, the company said.
2010 IRS Conference Featured 'Happiness Expert,' $17K Art Session (NBC)
The now infamous 2010 Internal Revenue Service conference in California — where goofy, expensive video parodies were shown — also featured $135,000 in spending on outside speakers like a "happiness expert" and a session titled "Leadership Through Art," congressional sources briefed on an upcoming inspector general's report told NBC News Monday night. The IRS hired 15 speakers to present at the conference in Anaheim, Calif., including $11,430 for positive psychology guru Shawn Achor — referred to as a "happiness expert" by the sources — to lead a 90-minute workshop and $17,000 for artist Erik Wahl to hold a session that used painting as a learning tool, said those familiar with the report. During his presentation, Wahl painted a portraits of Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Bono, and the Statue of Liberty, according to the sources. Wahl also lists the National Security Agency and U.S. Chamber of Commerce as clients on his website.
Come to Germany to work and find love, British are told (Telegraph)
With the aim of plugging the skills gaps in Germany’s prosperous economy, Berlin will encourage hundreds of Britons aged 18 to 35 to take up the three-year apprenticeships. ... Bob Bischof, of the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said: “This is a great offer for young Britons to get top-flight training in Germany. “We hope many of those who come over will like the life, maybe meet a German partner, and stay for good."
Court fuhrer! Nazi dad in uniform for kid hearing (NYP)
A white supremacist who named his oldest son Adolf Hitler strolled into a New Jersey courthouse yesterday dressed in full Nazi regalia — to try to convince a judge to allow him visitation with his toddler, Heinrich. “Prisoners get to see their children, murderers get to see their children. What’s so horrible about being a Nazi?” Heath Campbell, 40, told The Post after going to the Hunterdon County Family Court in Flemington in an effort to see his 2-year-old boy.