Citigroup Sorry Angry Investors Who Lost Billions Feel That Way

And while the firm is not gonna admit it made any mistakes, it will offer said investors a hundred mill or so for their time.
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Citigroup’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced on Monday, comes more than seven years after the two hedge funds collapsed, saddling investors with billions of dollars in losses...In the fall of 2007, one of the hedge funds, called Falcon Strategies, sold as much as $110 million in additional shares in the funds to investors. Yet only a few months later, in January 2008, the liquidity problem had become so dire that the manager of the Falcon fund had drawn up “liquidation scenarios.” Even Citigroup, the parent, wouldn’t extend emergency liquidity to its own hedge funds...Citigroup agreed to pay the $180 million to harmed investors without admitting any wrongdoing. [Dealbook]

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Citigroup Investors Don't Care About Making Vikram Pandit Smile

[caption id="attachment_73871" align="alignleft" width="234" caption="Y'all can kiss this ear to ear grin good-bye"][/caption] In the spring of 2010, almost exactly two years ago to date, the New York Times reported that some of Vikram Pandit's top lieutenants had noticed "a new bounce in his step" and "a smile on his face," with one executive speculating that the Citi CEO's cheer could be attributed to the fact that he was starting to "see the day when he will earn more than $1 a year" within reach. On January 18, 2011, that day came. After essentially not receiving a salary since 2008, when he pledged to abstain from getting paid until Citi turned a profit, the board of directors approved "an increase in the annual rate of base salary for Vikram from $1 per year to $1,750,000 per year, effective immediately." It felt good. Really good. Know what doesn't? This crap. Citigroup investors rejected the bank’s executive pay plan, a first among the six largest U.S. lenders, amid criticism it lets Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit collect millions of dollars in rewards too easily. About 45 percent of the votes favored the plan, which Citigroup had argued would help attract and retain top talent, according to a preliminary tally at the New York-based firm’s annual meeting in Dallas today. While the vote isn’t binding, outgoing Chairman Richard Parsons said changes will be made. Citigroup Shareholders Reject Management’s Compensation Plan [Bloomberg]

Bill Gross Is Not The Only One Who Feels Fat

Are your pants getting a little tight? Have you become convinced mirrors have a personal vendetta against you? Are you too distracted by the rolls spilling over your pants to trade? Do you find yourself veering off course in your letters to investors to talk about your love handles? Is it only a matter of time before you lose your firm billions and/or take down the entire market because your fingers are so big they span four keys each on the keyboard? Do you want to do something about it but are repulsed by the idea of healthy eating and exercise and also know yourself well enough to realize that there is no way you're going to be able to stay strong if everyone around you is eating delicious fried food at lunch and sooner or later you, a usually pretty mild-mannered guy, will be leaping across a row of Bloomberg terminals and threatening to kill a coworker (and meaning it) unless he hands over Ho Ho now? Then round up your tubbiest colleagues and tell them they're in for a real treat. Eric Helms, who founded the four-year-old Cooler Cleanse company with the actress Salma Hayek, says office cleansers now make up 30 percent of his business, and in the last year he has hired three customer-service employees just to handle the details of them. He said there has been a “huge increase in popularity” of cleansing with co-workers in the last year, which he credits to juice diets being more mainstream. “Everyone knows someone who’s done one, and they realize they’re a lot easier to do with colleagues during the workweek,” he said. “People want to indulge” — not sip celery — “on weekends.” Recent six-juice-a-day-dieters include employees at Merrill Lynch and the Carlyle Group, she said. In May, Citigroup began offering BluePrintCleanse in some of its Manhattan cafeterias, a spokeswoman said...About two-thirds of cleanse clients over all are women, but corporate cleanses “commonly skew toward men, especially traders, investment bankers and lawyers,” said Jina Wye, director of sales and marketing for BluePrintCleanse, founded in 2007 by two former Hudson Hotel bartenders looking to swap their poisons. (Mr. Helms said 90 percent of his male customers are part of groups.) Ms. Wye said: “These Type-A men have an all-or-none perspective. If they’re going to commit, they do it whole hog.” Most popular among male en masse cleansers: the Excavation cleanse, described on the Web site as “the most intense.” And if you want to really crank things up a notch, consider gauging interest in a group colonic to top things off. Cleansing From Cubicle To Cubicle [NYT] Related: I’m afraid I might tell her to buy a gun and just shoot me before the fat and the cellulite strike again.

Bernie Madoff Was Just Trying To "Change The Way Money Was Managed," Not That Anyone Cares

For about a year now, Bernie Madoff has been holding court with various members of the press about something that's been plaguing him: the fact that few people if any are willing to give credit where credit is due. Yes, he may have pleaded guilty to a $50 billion crime that ruined countless people's lives, including those of his wife and children, one of whom committed suicide as a result, but he did a lot of other stuff too, like run a "successful business" for which he won lots of "industry awards" during his "legitimate years." And, yet, everyone seems to forget all that when his name comes up, much like they conveniently forgot about how Mussolini made the trains run or time, or how Hitler built those wonderful autobahns, or how Ted Bundy made women feel special. And since he's serving a 150 year sentence, Berns has had lots of time to ponder why his years of legitimate achievements go unmentioned and the one thing he keeps coming back to? Irving Picard, who's pulled a fast one on you all, by suggesting that Bernie's crime started wayyyyy before it did, when, in fact, Madoff Securities was only running a Ponzi scheme for barely even 20 years. Examine the evidence Madoff shared with Forbes contributor Diana B. Henriques via email: Jan. 17, 2011 11:05 A.M. … Also remember that the U.S. Attorney admitted that they had no evidence that the crime started in the 80’s and could establish that Montauk and the N.Y. homes in Ruth’s name were not purchased with tainted funds … Mar. 10, 2011 7:35 A.M. … I would love to know what evidence [Picard] has to date my crime back to 1983 … THE FACT IS THAT THERE IS NONE. 8:05 A.M. … I say once again the fraud started in the 90’s … Mar. 18, 2011 9:26 A.M. … I guess I’m obsessed with this START OF CRIME ISSUE. Don't you see, idiots of the media?! That's the real issue here. Not the crime itself but the start of the crime. Do the math. Oct. 11, 2011 7:20 A.M. ... You can do a back of the envelope calculation as follows. From 1963 I made substantial arbitrage profits for the Picower, Shapiro and Chais families joined by the Levy family in 1970. [M]ost of these profits were re­invested and the amounts compounded. In 1970 Saul Alpern formed his partnerships later [run] by Avellino and Bienes. In 1980 I started trading for [French banker] Albert Igoin and his French and Swiss banking associates. All of these accounts averaged about 20% annually and were involved in various forms of convertible arb using bonds, pfds [preferreds], Rts. [rights] and units. [A]nd ALL WERE LEGITIMATE TRADING. THIS CONTINUED THRU THE EARLY 90’S. Nov. 24, 2011 6:51 P.M. … When you look at my RIDDLE [in the Nov. 23 letter], consider the fact that there was in fact no crime until I did not have enough capital in the firm to cover the losses. There is your real STORY The interesting thing here is not that there was an 11-figure fraud, okay? The interesting thing is how long the 11-figure fraud went on. And it stinks to high hell that that slippery fuck Picard and Co. are claiming it dates back to 1983 and that you're all buying it, hook, line and sinker. Come on, people. They're lawyers. Who are you gonna trust, them or a Ponzi schemer? But don't feel sorry for Bernie. Feel sorry for yourselves, for what could have been and what never was. Near the end of that e-mail the clouds of self-deception close in again, and Madoff turns himself into a pitiful martyr: “I made the tragic mistake of trying to change the way money was managed and was successful at the start, but lost my way after a while and refused to admit that I failed at one point.” HE WAS TRYING TO THE WAY MONEY WAS MANAGED! A legitimate way to make Ponzi scheme payments, before it was tragically snuffed out. Oct. 11, 2011 7:36 A.M. … I will never get over the distortions being presented by everyone as to the poor and now homeless when in fact they all signed documents when opening their accounts that they were sophisticated and had enough wealth to withstand the possible losses of short term trading. I wish I had saved the hundreds of letters I received thanking me for how I was responsible for their happiness over the years and their pleading with me to keep their accounts open when I tried to close them … when I worried about the wreckage I might cause if I couldn’t recover. Is the REAL STORY that the investor agreements specifically authorized BLMIS to make Ponzi scheme payments (a totally legitimate type of securities transaction, a short term trade if you will)? Unless someone pulls their head out of their ass, the world will never know. Exclusive: The Secret Madoff Prison Letters [Forbes]