Credit Suisse Profit More Than Doubles as Trading Rises (Bloomberg)
Net income more than doubled to 1.03 billion Swiss francs ($1.08 billion), the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. That compares with 454 million francs a year ago and beat the 809 million-franc average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan said earnings at the investment bank reflected “robust client activity” across businesses, while October has been “mixed.” Last week, he promoted two investment bankers in a revamp that boosts the influence of the securities unit within the executive board. Trading activity has benefited from price swings stemming from a stronger U.S. dollar and a slowdown in the European economy.
Hedge Funds Add To Venture Capital Bounty (WSJ)
Maverick Capital Ltd., one of the oldest hedge-fund firms, plans to launch its first venture-capital fund on Jan. 1, according to investors, with hopes of raising $400 million to take stakes in young companies. In pitching the fund at Maverick’s annual investor meeting last week, one investor said, founder Lee Ainslie III said the New York firm was seeing the best opportunities in many years for making early-stage investments in private companies. Such deals aren’t the bread and butter of hedge funds, which typically bet on the moves of stocks and other publicly traded assets. But Maverick, with roughly $9 billion under management, is among a growing number of Wall Street firms that are trying to get a piece of the lofty valuations being achieved by startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. New York investment firms Tiger Global Management LLC and Coatue Management LLC have been players on the West Coast venture-capital market. Tiger Global, which started as a hedge fund, now manages more money in its venture funds than in its hedge funds, according to a person familiar with the firm. Hedge-fund firm Valiant Capital Management LP, out of San Francisco, has also been active.
UBS Hunts for Millionaires in Hong Kong’s Nine Dragons (Bloomberg)
UBS is seeking to bolster its position as the largest manager of private wealth in Asia by looking for millionaires in an unlikely place: the lower-income part of Hong Kong. Switzerland’s largest bank is searching for clients in Kowloon, a name derived from the Cantonese translation for “nine dragons,” and the New Territories, said Amy Lo, the Hong Kong and Greater China head for UBS’s wealth unit. While average incomes are 27 percent lower on the north side of Victoria Harbour than on Hong Kong Island, the business people include toy, electronic and plastics entrepreneurs who like being closer to their factories in mainland China. UBS is targeting as many as 25,000 such individuals who each have at least $1 million in cash and liquid assets, according to Lo.
As Facebook Eyes China, Zuckerberg Makes Ties With Chinese Business School (BusinessWeek)
In its quest to dominate the social media industry worldwide, Facebook has long hankered after China, where the company been been banned since 2009. Facebook may have just gained a foothold to help it infiltrate the Chinese market: the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to the board of one of China’s top business schools, the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.
California venture firm does not have to release documents in discrimination suit (Reuters)
California’s privacy laws have saved a high-profile venture capital firm from having to release potentially embarrassing information about a former partner in a discrimination lawsuit by a former female partner. A judge ruled Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, defending itself against allegations of discrimination and retaliation, will be able to keep to itself any other harassment complaints against former male partner at the center of the lawsuit, Ajit Nazre, in part because producing such complaints would hurt the privacy rights of other Kleiner employees. The suit, brought in 2012 by former partner Ellen Pao, claims discrimination and retaliation at the firm and helped kick off a broad and ongoing discussion in Silicon Valley about sexism in technology.
Could Allen Stanford go free? Convicted fraudster appeals (CNBC)
Jailed financier R. Allen Stanford, convicted in 2012 of running a massive global Ponzi scheme that rivals the Madoff scandal, says he is the victim of an illegal prosecution, and "the clearest of assaults on the U.S. Constitution." The comments come in Stanford's formal appeal of his conviction, filed in federal court on Wednesday. Stanford wrote the appeal himself at the prison in Florida where he is serving a 110-year sentence. Having fired the last of a string of court-appointed attorneys, and with no funds to hire a replacement, he is representing himself even though he has no legal background. He has also asked to argue his case in person before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, a task normally handled by experienced attorneys. Stanford calls the case against him a "reckless action," and accuses authorities of a "by-any-means pursuit" of him to cover up their missteps in the still-unfolding financial crisis.
Romanian Princess Irina Walker Sentenced For Cockfighting (AP)
A Romanian princess was sentenced Wednesday to probation after apologizing for her role in an Oregon cockfighting enterprise that she said brought shame to her and her family. "I'm very sorry about my involvement in this business," Irina Walker told a federal judge before she was given three years' probation. "It was not my intention to go against the law." She and her husband John Walker both pleaded guilty in July to operating an illegal gambling business. John Walker, a former sheriff's deputy, was also sentenced to probation by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman...Irina Walker, 61, is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I, who was forced to abdicate by communists in 1947. The judge agreed to let the Walkers travel internationally during their probation after their attorneys said the 93-year-old former king has health problems and Irina wants to visit while he's still alive. The Walkers were arrested in 2013 after authorities said they staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies in a barn at their ranch in Irrigon, 175 miles east of Portland. The Walkers charged spectators each $20 to watch roosters with knives attached to their legs fight to the death. Crowds generally exceeded 100 people, and the couple also made money from the sale of alcohol. Authorities said the people who brought roosters paid $1,000 to enter the fights, and the prizes ranged from $10,000 to $18,000. The person whose roosters won the most matches took home the money, except for 10 percent kept by referees.
SEC to Keep Veil Open on ETFs (WSJ)
BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager with $4.32 trillion in assets, had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September 2011 for permission to sell the ETF. Precidian Investments had filed a proposal of its own in January 2013. Firms that had planned to offer similar ETFs include Invesco Ltd. ’s PowerShares unit and Capital Group Cos., which runs American Funds. Most funds in the nearly $2 trillion ETF market track indexes such as the S&P 500. Some actively managed ETFs, in which a manager or team makes decisions about asset allocation, have gotten the green light from the SEC. But in a twist New York-based BlackRock, led by CEO Laurence Fink , had proposed keeping the fund’s investments secret, which is against the agency’s rules.
Jimmy John's Noncompete Agreement Comes Under Congressional Scrutiny (HP)
House Democrats plan to send a letter to the Labor Department and the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday asking the federal agencies to look into the use of noncompete agreements by the Jimmy John's sandwich chain. As The Huffington Post first reported last week, many workers at Jimmy John's stores have been required to sign noncompete clauses in which they agree not to work at a competing sandwich shop for a period of two years following their employment at Jimmy John's. A competitor is defined as any business that earns 10 percent or more of its revenue from sandwich sales and sits within three miles of a Jimmy John's location.
Manhattan’s Mr. Chocolate Proves Cost Surge Not a Problem (Bloomberg)
Jacques Torres is betting Americans simply can’t kick their chocolate habit even after the price of cocoa surged to the highest in three years. Torres, a former pastry chef at New York’s swanky Le Cirque restaurant who dubbed himself Mr. Chocolate, spent more than $3 million on a Brooklyn confection-making plant last year and doubled his eponymous shops in New York to eight from four, with seven Manhattan locations. He said 2014 sales will top last year’s record of $10 million. “People love chocolate,” Torres said by telephone from his Hudson Street store, where a 12-piece box of popular treats sells for $19.20 and three monthly of deliveries of assorted goodies fetches $145. “Business is still strong. The market is there. The economy in New York and the U.S. is better.”
Hedgie Brevan Howard invades Fortress, nabs top executive (NYP)
The $40 billion investment company tapped Hilmar Schaumann as its head of risk on Oct. 1, Max Hilton, a Brevan Howard spokesman, confirmed to The Post.
Lovelorn Chinese woman lived at KFC for a week (UPI)
Tan Shen, 26, of Chengdu, said she decided to stop into the KFC at the train station near her home shortly after she and her boyfriend broke up and she ended up staying at the fast food restaurant for a week. "I hadn't planned on staying there long, I just wanted some chicken wings," she said. "But once I got in there and started eating I decided I needed time to think." Tan said she decided to end her weeklong stay at the eatery and catch the next train toward her parents' house when she started attracting attention from local media. "And I was getting sick of the taste of chicken so there was no point in staying there anymore," she said. Jiang Li Lung, a worker at the train station KFC, said it took some time before employees noticed the woman wasn't leaving. "At first no one really noticed her," the worker said. "But after a few days I began thinking she looked really familiar. Then I realized we had been serving her for the past three days and that she hadn't actually left."