Allianz Raises Payout, Confirms Target Amid Pimco Trouble (Bloomberg)
Allianz SE pledged to pay a higher share of profit to shareholders and confirmed its full-year profit target as the Pimco asset management unit struggles to contain outflows following the departure of Bill Gross. “Starting with the financial year 2014, the intention is to propose an increased regular payout to Allianz shareholders of 50 percent of net income,” the Munich-based company said yesterday in a statement. That compares with a pay-out ratio of 40 percent at Europe’s biggest insurer in the past.
Morgan Stanley Among First to Add Uber to Travel Policy (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley employees can use Uber Technologies Inc. cars for company trips, making the bank one of the first firms to make it policy to reimburse employees for the service. “Employees expressed their strong affinity for the convenience Uber offers them in their personal lives and wanted that flexibility for their business travel needs as well,” Jeff Brodsky, human resources chief at New York-based Morgan Stanley, said today in a statement.
Luxembourg vows to end banking secrecy (FT)
Luxembourg has pledged to overhaul its culture of financial secrecy, and has fought back against accusations that it helped leading multinationals avoid billions of dollars of tax. The claims could prove highly embarrassing to Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, who was prime minister of Luxembourg when the corporate tax deals were allegedly struck. Officials were responding to a report that more than 340 multinationals, including such global names as Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and JPMorgan, made secret deals with the Grand Duchy between 2002 and 2010 that saved them billions of dollars in taxes. The commission is already investigating whether rulings agreed by the Luxembourg tax authority with Fiat Finance and Trade, the financial arm of the car company, and Amazon, the ecommerce company, which were also issued during Mr Juncker’s premiership, amounted to improper state aid. Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister, refused to blame Mr Juncker on Thursday for past practices, but insisted that his own government was now forging a new culture of financial transparency.
Mark Zuckerberg says ‘The Social Network’ hurt his feelings (NYP)
"They just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found really hurtful. They made up this whole plot line about how I somehow decided to create Facebook to attract girls. The real story is a lot of hard work. If they were really making a movie [about his starting Facebook]...it would be of me sitting there coding for two hours straight."
Ex-Billionaire Insider-Trading Case an Anomaly (Bloomberg)
Less than three years after Eike Batista was dubbed by President Dilma Rousseff “the pride of Brazil,” prosecutors will try to send the former billionaire to prison for alleged insider trading in a trial set for later this month. He’d be the first. In a nation where most big deals leak, no one has ever been imprisoned for using insider information in the 13 years since such activity was made illegal. And fines are small: Of the 57 cases of insider trading ruled on by securities regulator CVM between 2006 to 2013, all but seven involved fines of less than $160,000.
Man eats 100 Olive Garden meals in 6 weeks with $100 'pasta pass' (Today)
The pass, sold in a limited quantity of 1,000 during a recent stunt by the beleaguered casual Italian dining chain, grants its bearers as much pasta, salad, soup, breadsticks and soft drinks as they can consume during the seven-week promotional period. On November 5, Martin ate his 100th meal at the Olive Garden near his home, gluten-free rigatoni with spicy meat sauce and meatballs. "I try something different every time,” said Alan Martin, who has now become something of a celebrity at the restaurant. “I tried chasing him out the door,” said Burlington Olive Garden manager Jeremy Byrnes. “I just wanted to congratulate him. Mr. Martin's like part of the family now.” So far Martin has eaten over $1,600 worth of food after paying $100 for the pass. His goal is to hit $1,800. Each meal has a value of about $16. Getting through the first week was tough, even though Martin and his family love Olive Garden. But by the second and third week, "I was craving it," said Martin. "I started getting there earlier and earlier." Now, six weeks in and with days to go before the free pass runs out, "it’s hard eating other food,” he said. Martin says he currently weighs 212, the same as when he started. To keep the pounds off his 5 foot 11 frame, he's kept up his weightlifting routine and watches the calorie count. The average Olive Garden pasta bowl with toppings is 500-600 calories, of which he usually eats half. Each breadstick is 180 calories. The salads can be another couple hundred depending on which you order. "I just eat enough to knock out my appetite," said Martin. His doctor doesn't know about the pasta diet yet, but Martin, who's been taking vitamins since beginning his campaign, isn't worried. “I'm going to let him fix me if I'm broken,” he said. Previously, Martin won free breakfast for a year at Chick-Fil-A. “That whet my appetite for this kind of contest,” he said.
Some senior Merrill brokers leave, BofA executives concerned - sources (Reuters)
A number of high-profile brokers have left Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch wealth management unit in recent weeks, and top executives at the company have grown concerned enough to ask business head John Thiel to explain the departures, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Among those who have exited are top-producing brokers like Brian and Tim Brice, who oversaw around $4.5 billion in client assets in a suburb of Detroit, and whose father had also worked for Merrill. The brothers had been with Merrill Lynch for decades, before joining Morgan Stanley in September. Raymond George, a 23-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, has also left. George joined Morgan Stanley’s office in Garden City, New York in October. Eugene Montoya, who had been at Merrill for more than 40 years, decamped in September for Wells Fargo Advisors’ office in Miami.
New SEC Chief Accountant Weighing Switch to Global Accounting Rules (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new chief accountant said Thursday he hopes to make a recommendation in the next few months on whether the SEC should move toward switching U.S. companies to using global accounting rules. In his first public comments since taking over as chief accountant a month ago, James Schnurr didn’t tip his hand over whether he favors a U.S. move toward the global rules, known as International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS. But “I would hope that within the next few months there would be movement on this,” Mr. Schnurr said on a panel at a Practising Law Institute securities-regulation conference in New York.
Starbucks brings back eggnog latte after customer outrage (NYP)
The coffee chain opted to scrap the flavor last month and replace it with a new praline chestnut latte — sparking freakouts from soccer-mom types and other coffee buffs in New York and across the country, except the Pacific Northwest, where it remained on menus. Steaming customers took to Twitter to blast Starbucks, saying the firm had stomped on their holiday spirit. “The eggnog latte was the only thing keeping me from beating people during the holidays. Please bring it back,” one customer blasted on Twitter. Other coffee fiends launched a petition Nov. 2 dubbed “Bring Back Eggnog Latte” — which garnered more than 2,500 signatures in less than a week. “The king of Red Cups, the eggnog latte, has been discontinued across the country,” it boldly proclaims. One outraged petitioner called the firm nuts for trying to sub praline for eggnog. “I was horrified at this decision with no warning … What about people with nut allergies? Chestnut Praline won’t be an option. Nice Starbucks,” one woman blasted in the petition’s comment section.
Sandy Weill: 'Banks aren't the same anymore' (CNBC)
"Most young people graduating from colleges are not going to banks anymore. They're going into hedge funds and private equity companies instead … I think that we're not attracting the people, and it's not a fun place to be," Weill said.
Shopper Attacked After Telling Mom To Calm Down Child Throwing Tantrum (CBS)
Natalie Bree Hajek-Richardson told KPIX 5 that she was in the checkout line of the Nordstrom Rack when a child between the age of 4 and 6 began throwing a loud tantrum. “It didn’t bother me that the child was throwing the tantrum, but the volume was very loud, it was hurting my ears,” Hajek-Richardson said. The shopper said she asked the child’s mother to quiet the child down, but nicely. That’s when things began going sideways. “She came to the side of me and told me not to tell her child what to do. And I told her that I didn’t ask your child what to do, I asked you very nicely to calm down your child just a little bit,” Hajek-Richardson recalled. Hajek-Richardson said she then told the mom off. “I told her to go to hell and she told me I’ll see you there,” she said. When Hajek-Richardson left the store, she said the mom followed her to her car. “Was asking me, ‘Where’d you tell me to go?’ So I repeated again what I said to her, and I told her that I told her to go to hell,” she said. Video shows a woman in a red shirt walking toward Hajek-Richardson before they both end up on the asphalt. The victim said she was punched twice in the face.