Spies Who Chased Terrorists Join Banks to Hunt for Rogue Traders (Bloomberg)
Bryon Linnehan spent more than two years chasing bad guys around Iraq as a U.S. military-intelligence officer. Since May, he’s been using skills he honed on the battlefield to monitor electronic communications inside Barclays Plc. Desperate to avoid more costly run-ins with regulators, investment banks are hiring former intelligence professionals like Linnehan to scrutinize virtually all aspects of their employees’ working lives, from how long they take for cigarette breaks to which websites they frequent. The goal: to deter the next market manipulator or rogue trader.
Goldman Channels FDR's `Nothing to Fear' With Sell Gold Call (Bloomberg)
There’s “nothing to fear but fear itself,” the analysts entitled the seven-page note, channeling comments from Roosevelt’s 1933 inauguration when the U.S. economy was being ravaged by the Great Depression. “It’s time to sell the fear barometer,” the bank said, and recommended shorting gold.
Desperate Whole Foods will offer tattoos to lure hipsters (NYP)
Bougie grocery chain Whole Foods is trying to appeal to hip millennials by selling . . . tattoos? That seems to be the concept behind 365 — the upscale food purveyor’s new spinoff supermarket — which will sell comparatively cheaper items along with some newly announced extras. Whole Foods’ co-CEO Walter Robb tells Bloomberg News that the company is thinking outside the grocery-store box with its program Friends of 365, which will allow suppliers and vendors like body-care-product sellers, record shops and tattoo parlors, to set up in their 365 stores.
Goldman Sachs banker embroiled in massive overseas money scandal (NYP)
The fallout from the widening scandal hitting the white-shoe investment bank involves Tim Leissner, the Singapore-based chairman of Goldman’s Southeast Asia operations, who has left that country and relocated to Los Angeles on a leave of absence from the firm. A state fund — 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — was set up with Leissner’s assistance, and Goldman was paid sky-high commissions for bond sales. Then $681 million tied to the fund mysteriously turned up in the bank account of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The FBI reportedly is investigating all the fund’s transactions in concert with wider probes of money-laundering allegations spanning five countries.
Octopus mating display canceled over cannibalism fears (UPI)
The aquarium said its annual event, which features two octopuses mating for the enjoyment of the public, was called off Sunday because officials feared the male octopus, Kong, would merely eat any female he encountered. Officials said Kong weighs in at 70 pounds, making experts concerned that he would eat any of the available female octopuses, which weighed only 30 to 40 pounds.
European Banks Buffeted by Bond Investors’ Fears (WSJ)
European banks struggling with falling stock prices are also being buffeted by concerns that bond buyers could take greater-than-anticipated losses if a lender hits financial straits. Investors say the recent rescue of four relatively small banks in Italy and one in Portugal taught them a lesson with wider implications: Central banks are wary of suffering a political and financial backlash if they force losses on a bank’s individual investors, who are often also depositors. And that means larger institutional investors across the Continent, especially in southern Europe, are more vulnerable.
Bank Failure Fallout Should Be Spread Thin and Wide, Lenders Say (Bloomberg)
Global bank regulators should allow “moderate” contagion to spread across the financial system should one of the world’s biggest lenders fail, preventing a fatal blow hitting the unregulated, non-bank part, a European bank lobby organization said. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision should allow less-connected banks to buy the debt of the world’s globally systemically important banks, even if the securities are designed to take losses in a collapse, the European Banking Federation said. The group commented on the committee’s planned rules for total loss-absorbing capacity, or TLAC.
Hong Kong Looks for Answers as HSBC Decides to Stay in London (WSJ)
HSBC Holdings PLC’s decision to keep its headquarters in the U.K. rather than move to Hong Kong is prompting soul-searching in this former British colony about how it is seen on the world stage. The decision comes as Hong Kong’s growing ties to the volatile mainland markets are sparking concern among investors, who are fearful of outsize interference from Chinese authorities.
Man Skipped Work For 6 Years And No One Noticed (HP)
According to deputy mayor Jorge Blas, it wasn’t until Garcia was due to be recognized for his hard work in 2010 that authorities realized his office was sitting vacant. "I wondered whether he was still working there, had he retired, had he died? But the payroll showed he was still receiving a salary," Blas told Spanish newspaper El Mundo, according to The Local. “I called him up and asked him, ‘What did you do yesterday? The month before, the month before that?’ He didn’t know what to say,” Blas said. Garcia's water company coworkers thought the plant was being overseen by local authorities because they hadn't seen Garcia in so long. Garcia’s attorney, speaking on his behalf, reportedly blamed bullying at his workplace for his absence. He also said there was no work to do.