Citigroup Attempts to Sing Itself to Public Approval (WSJ)
The banking industry has spent countless hours and dollars trying to make up for the damage done by the financial crisis. Banks have run feel-good advertisements, waged aggressive lobbying campaigns, apologized to the public, tried to lend more, even sponsored public bike-rental programs in cities such as London and New York. Now Citigroup Inc. is trying to a new tactic: singing. On national TV. Citigroup's London office recently opened up its Canary Wharf skyscraper to a BBC crew filming the popular TV series "The Choir." The long-running British show—which is something of a cross between "Glee" and "The Office"—features teams of workers competing to be crowned workplace choir of the year. Bankers remain deeply reviled in the U.K., and Citigroup executives admit they are a bit nervous about whether they will be lampooned when their segment airs on BBC2 on Monday night. But they say it is a risk worth taking. "We ultimately won't know how this will play out until it airs," said James Bardrick, Citigroup's co-head of European banking, who championed the project and is a tenor in the choir. "But if people get to see that we're not a bunch of monsters hiding behind our screens and planning financial apocalypse, we'll have done the industry a small service."
UBS Revamps Forex Unit (WSJ)
s shaking up its investment bank, and has removed a top foreign-exchange executive, amid a burgeoning investigation into potential manipulation of currency markets. The bank is rolling its foreign-exchange and precious-metals business into another unit, according to an internal memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. As part of the changes, Chris Vogelgesang is stepping down as global co-head of foreign exchange and precious metals.
London leads 11 percent jump in bankers earning 1 million euros (Reuters)
More than 3,500 bankers in Europe earned 1 million euros ($1.4 million) or more last year after a big jump across the continent and in Britain, which had 12 times as many high earners as any other country. Figures from the bloc's banking regulator on Friday showed that London-based bankers would have easily bust the European Union bonus cap rule coming into effect next year. Bonuses for the highest earners were almost four times fixed pay.
Wal-Mart Steps Up Security as Fights Break Out Over TVs (Bloomberg)
Malls are beefing up patrols with off-duty cops. Chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are using quota systems for popular doorbusters from iPads to jewelry. Yet all was not peaceful. In one incident, uploaded to YouTube, uniformed security officers handcuffed a female shopper at an unidentified Wal-Mart store after a tussle over a television. Bill Simon, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, was asked about the incident on a conference call today with reporters. “Any time you get more than 22 million people together you’re going to have some behavior you’re not proud of,” said Simon, who also said “the number of incidents” was down from last year and that it’s “hard to tell what happened in any individual incident.”
Violence flares as shoppers hunt Black Friday deals (CNBC)
After buying a big screen TV, a Las Vegas shopper was shot around 9:45 p.m. PST Thursday as he tried to take his purchase home, Lt. David Gordon of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told NBC News. "As the victim was walking through his complex he was approached by a suspect who fired warning shots which caused the victim to release the television," he said. As the thief tried to load it into a vehicle the victim approached him to try to get it back, Gordon added. "The suspect fired two more shots and the victim was struck in the leg," he said. "He was not seriously injured."
SAC tech analyst testifies: Give stock tips or lose job (NYP)
Former SAC Capital Advisors tech analyst Jon Horvath testified he was afraid he would lose his job if he didn’t come up with illicit stock tips for his boss, Michael Steinberg. “I thought my job was in danger. I thought he would fire me,” Horvath, the government’s star witness in the insider-trading case against Steinberg, told a Manhattan federal jury. Horvath, testifying Wednesday on the fifth day of the trial, said he received an ultimatum from the top SAC money manager after Horvath’s tech recommendations for Steinberg lost money in 2007. “What I need you to do is to go out and get me edgy, proprietary information that we can use to make money in their stocks,” Horvath testified that Steinberg told him after a bad losing streak.
Netherlands Loses Triple-A Rating (WSJ)
The Netherlands became the latest country to be stripped of its coveted triple-A credit rating Friday, after Standard & Poor's downgraded the country to "AA+," citing weakening growth prospects. S&P is the first rating firm to downgrade the Netherlands, saying the country's growth prospects are "weaker than we had previously anticipated" and that the "real [gross domestic product] per capita trend growth rate is persistently lower than that of peers."
Man fined for breaking bed, curtain rail and window sill having sex in his old flat (Mirror)
Adam Disney 'got carried away' during the impromptu bonk with his partner and trashed the home in the process. The bed collapsed as he had sex and the 28-year-old also damaged a window sill as he romped the night away. Puzzled neighbours heard noises coming from the flat in Wavertree, Liverpool, and wondered what was going on September 3. The home's landlady spotted Disney, from Solihull, leaning out the window smoking a cigarette. Dan Lupton, defending at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Thursday said: “This is a curious case of the morning after the night before. “They had been drinking and the couple were passionate in their interest to have sexual relations. “On this occasion they were seeking to avail themselves rather quickly.” He added: “The closest place for them to seek refuge, in an effort to avoid offending public decency, was his former flat. “The window sill was loose and they hadn’t done a good job of securing the curtain rail. This was not a posh hotel room.” Once inside the flat Mr Lupton said the couple were “carried away with the intensity of physical relations” and in the course of events the bed collapsed and drapes were pulled down. He said the damage was not intentional but happened in the course of “sexual antics”. Disney was fined #100 after admitting criminal damage in the 'shabby bedsit' after a charge of burglary with intent to cause damage was downgraded.
European Banks Could Take Their Hits Early (WSJ)
European banks are already facing up to a huge potential capital shortfall next year, thanks to several regulatory pressures. The European Central Bank will carry out an asset quality review aimed at ensuring banks' balance sheets conform to uniform rules in areas like bad loans; stress tests will examine how robust banks might be in a downturn. That's not the banks' only problem. They also need to comply with minimum capital requirements under Basel III regulations; and ensure they meet leverage ratio rules designed to make them less reliant on borrowed funds. In sum, European banks could need to plug a €280 billion ($380.21 billion) capital gap, according to a report by PwC. Technical adjustments could reduce the gap by around €100 billion. But banks could still have to raise €180 billion from new capital raising or restructuring, PwC reckons. Rather than wait for the ECB, banks could try to get ahead. Already this year European banks have issued €60 billion of new equity, according to Thomson Reuters data, up from €30 billion in the whole of 2012. Banks like Barclays and Deutsche Bank have undergone sizable rights issues. But the process is far from complete. One implication is that banks could use upcoming fourth-quarter results to clear the decks, so that their balance sheets anticipate as far as possible the rules they expect the ECB to apply in its asset quality review.
Microsoft Said to Lean to Mulally, Nadella in CEO Search (Bloomberg)
Microsoft Corp.’s board is focusing on Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally and internal executive Satya Nadella as part of a group of more likely candidates to become the next CEO of the world’s biggest software company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Credit Suisse names investment banker to lead Swiss ultra-rich clients (Reuters)
Credit Suisse is promoting veteran Swiss investment banker Thomas Gottstein to head up its ultra-rich clients business in Switzerland, highlighting the expertise increasingly sought by private banks to cater to their wealthiest customers. Both Credit Suisse and crosstown rival UBS are trying to sell their capital markets expertise through their wealth management divisions, ramping up sophisticated and tailor-made products and services in a bid to win more business from clients with more than $50 million in bankable assets.
Billionaire Alwaleed’s CFO Said to Quit Kingdom Holding for U.S. (Bloomberg)
Shadi Sadeek Sanbar, chief financial officer at Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. (KINGDOM), is planning to leave the company this month, according to four people with knowledge of the matter. Sanbar is stepping down after more than eight years with Riyadh-based Kingdom to move with his family to the U.S., the people said, asking not to be identified as the departure hasn’t been announced. He’ll remain on the board, they said.
Fed Reveals New Concerns About Long-Term U.S. Slowdown (Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues are suffering through their own form of cognitive dissonance: revealing new concerns about the economy’s long-term prospects even as they forecast faster growth in 2014. Worker productivity, a key component of an economy’s health, has risen at an annual clip of 1 percent during the last four years, as the U.S. has struggled to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. That’s less than half the 2.2 percent average gain since 1983, according to data from the Labor Department in Washington.
Turkey hit by car rescued by Maine woman (WMTW)
She is recovering at the Center for Wildlife in York after being hit by a truck several weeks ago. Alice and some other turkeys found themselves in the path of a pickup truck on the road outside Limerick on Nov. 1. "Two of (the turkeys) scooted back, and one squatted down and (Alice) got hit," said Meg Lord, of East Parsonsfield. Lord, the driver of the pickup and another woman all stopped to help. "When I went over to her, I spoke to her really quietly and said, 'I'm going to put the blanket over you,' and I reached down and picked her up and she was huge. She just felt huge in my arms," Lord said. Lord buckled Alice into the passenger seat of her truck and took her home. "I just drove with my flashers all the way home," Lord said. The next day, she took Alice to the center. Workers said the bird had a broken wing and a brain injury, but she's doing much better. "The fracture has healed, but because it's been wrapped for so long, the joints are a little stiff, so right now we're doing physical therapy. The wing is no longer wrapped, but we have to stretch the wing twice a day to try to release some of that stiffness in the wing, so that she's able to use it," said Erin Burns, wildlife specialist at Center for Wildlife. Burns said it's a good time of the year for Alice to be cooped. "It is hunting season for turkeys, so she kind of gets a pass this year, I guess," Burns said. The turkey is expected to be released back into the wild long after Mainers have finished digesting their Thanksgiving dinners.