Credit Suisse Dismisses London Trader Over 'Unusual Trading' Losses (WSJ)
Credit Suisse said a London trader within its investment bank racked up nearly $6 million in losses that haven't previously been made public. The incident has sparked an investigation and attracted scrutiny from British regulators, according to people familiar with the matter. The losses were sustained late last year, but Credit Suisse this week dismissed an exchange-traded-funds trader, Rohit Jha, in connection with the money-losing positions, these people said. The Swiss bank in January suspended his boss, Matthew Tagliani, who oversaw the bank's London ETF-trading desk, which does business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, these people said. While the losses aren't considered financially material, Credit Suisse is continuing to investigate how the positions went undetected by its safeguarding systems—and weren't reported to supervisors—for 16 business days last December, according to the people familiar with the matter. At issue is whether other trades that could be more damaging are being properly monitored, the people said.
Second NFL Stars Signs IPO Deal (NYP)
Sports branding upstart Fantex Inc. has struck a second deal to sell shares in the financial future of an NFL star. Fantex, which last month said it would sell shares of Arian Foster, on Thursday said it would do the same with San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Under the Fantex deal, Davis, 29, would relinquish 10 percent of his future brand income for life. Fantex put the value at $4 million.
CFTC Backs Off, Lacking Funding (WSJ)
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is so cash-starved that the agency is being forced to delay cases, shelve certain probes and decided not to file charges against two former traders over J.P. Morgan Chase's "London whale" trading mess, a top official said. In an interview, David Meister, who stepped down this week as the CFTC's enforcement chief, said the agency is "absolutely undersized" for the sprawling futures and options markets it must police. "We will do everything we can…but we have limited staff and limited resources," Mr. Meister said. "Ultimately, it comes down to the math."
Jos. A Bank won’t go hostile in Men’s Wearhouse bid (NYP)
Jos. A. Bank says it won’t make a hostile bid for Men’s Wearhouse after all — a tricky gambit that could put even more heat on the latter in the coming weeks. Jos. A. Bank Chairman Bob Wildrick delivered an ultimatum to the board of rival Men’s Wearhouse, signaling that he would drop a $2.3 billion takeover bid if he doesn’t get a response by Nov. 14.
J.P. Morgan, Regulators Wage War of Wording (WSJ)
In the frenzied final hours before J.P. Morgan Chase acquired the banking operations of failed thrift Washington Mutual Inc., the bank's lawyers tangled with regulators over the wording of the 39-page purchase agreement. Five years later, J.P. Morgan and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are still fighting over the meaning of those words. The question of who bears responsibility for Washington Mutual's legal liabilities is taking on increasing urgency as J.P. Morgan negotiates a pact with the Justice Department that would end probes of soured mortgage bonds issued by J.P. Morgan and Washington Mutual during the housing boom. The Justice Department is trying to insert language into the settlement stipulating that none of the costs the bank pays regarding Washington Mutual will be passed to the FDIC, said people close to the talks. J.P. Morgan wants the ability to recover costs associated with Washington Mutual from the FDIC receivership that liquidated the thrift in 2008. The settlement talks are at risk of falling apart over this and other disagreements, said people close to the talks.
Bikini-clad Hillbilly Hotties coffee workers arrested for lewdness in Wash.: cops (NYDN)
A trio of bikini baristas has been arrested for allegedly serving up more than just coffee at Washington state espresso stands. The scantily clad women, who worked at Hillbilly Hotties in Everett, were jailed Wednesday following a surprise bust by police carrying out a search warrant after rising complaints by residents. "Body parts were being shown; inappropriate things were being done at the location," Officer Aaron Snell told KOMO. The hot-pink stand, which celebrates "wet t-shirt Wednesdays" and "pasty Fridays," boasts "tasty treats" with scandalous photos of its baristas wearing barely-there bikinis on the company Facebook page. A photo of a brunette named Tasia stretching back in red and black lingerie reads: "Hurry in she needs you!" Other photos also pair sexually suggestive captions with provocative poses. Authorities, who are not identifying the women by name, charged two of them, ages 20 and 21, with violating the city's adult cabaret law prohibiting performing in public while either unclothed or exposing private parts. The third woman, age 33, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct after an unrelated investigation at a different coffee stand, according to police.
Einhorn Pares Bet on Stock Rally After ‘Relentless Climb’ (Bloomberg)
Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn is taking a more conservative approach to his investment portfolio even as wagers that stocks would fall caused his results to trail the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Long positions, which gain on rising asset prices, exceeded short bets by 35 percentage points as of Sept. 30 at Greenlight Capital Re Ltd. (GLRE), the Cayman Islands-based reinsurer where Einhorn oversees investments and serves as chairman. That’s down from about 42 percentage points three months earlier, the money manager said today on a conference call. “As the market continued its relentless climb, we’ve become more conservatively positioned,” he said.
Muddy Waters Breaks Cold Streak Going Back to China (Bloomberg)
Carson Block, the Muddy Waters LLC founder whose short sales outside of China have borne little fruit, reclaimed a measure of success this week targeting a company in the country where he started out. NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ), a Beijing-based mobile services provider that started the week with a market capitalization of more than $1 billion, lost half its value after Block said on Oct. 24 that it fabricated revenue and lied about its cash. The shares extended a two-day slump to 54 percent yesterday even as the company labeled the assertions false, inaccurate and malicious.
Ziff Brothers Investments expected to close U.S. hedge fund: report (Reuters)
Some of the fund's top people are expected to be given proceeds to start their own independent firms, the report said, citing people familiar with the firm. Other money could be shifted to Ziff Brothers Investments' internal hedge fund based in London, or to external hedge-fund managers. The closure of the U.S. fund is tied to the planned retirement of its head portfolio manager, Ian McKinnon, in 2015, the report said. McKinnon, 46 years old, had held the post since 1999.
Lazard Capital Markets CEO Leaves After Strategy Review (Bloomberg)
Lazard Capital Markets LLC, the closely held brokerage controlled by current and former Lazard Ltd. employees, said Chief Executive Officer William Buchanan resigned after the firm completed its strategic review. Scott McLaughlin and William Rosenberg will become co-CEOs, said Scott Sunshine, a spokesman for New York-based Lazard Capital. McLaughlin will continue as head of equities, and Rosenberg will keep his chief financial officer and chief operating officer positions, Sunshine said.
Goldman Sachs Wheels to a Top Grade (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New York Department of Financial Services recently awarded the firm a top rating of "outstanding" for its commitments to the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA. Among those singled out by state regulators: Goldman's loan to the Alta BikeShare unit that operates New York City's bicycle program. Citigroup, which paid for the naming rights to the bicycle program, declined to comment.
Canadian Cops Arrest Female Flier Carrying Pumpkins Stuffed With Cocaine (TSG)
Canadian border agents arrested a woman who arrived at the Montreal airport carrying three pumpkins stuffed with cocaine. The Halloween seizure netted nearly two kilos of the drug, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (whose fine work has previously been detailed in these pages). The pumpkins, discovered during a search of the woman’s luggage, seemed heavy for their size, so investigators X-rayed them and discovered suspicious masses inside. Further investigation revealed that the pumpkins (seen in the above evidence photo) contained bags filled with the cocaine. Another CBSA photo shows a white powder on the tip of a knife that investigators plunged into one of the pumpkins. The cocaine was turned over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which is expected to file narcotics charges against the woman, whose identity was not disclosed by investigators.