Big NYC Pension Fund May Pull Hedge Fund Investments (WSJ)
The move by the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, which says it is the nation’s largest pension fund for municipal employees, is expected to be approved in a majority vote by its trustees, according to people familiar with the internal discussions. “Hedge funds are charging exorbitant fees for high-risk and opaque investments,” said Letitia James, the city’s public advocate, and one of the trustees of the pension fund. “As financial stewards of public employees’ money, we must invest in responsible and secure assets,” she said in a statement.
Investor Group Pushes for Shakeup at Chipotle (WSJ)
CtW Investment Group in a letter Wednesday urged Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. shareholders to withhold support for the re-election of two directors at the annual meeting in May, saying the burrito chain is in need of “genuinely independent oversight.” “The last three quarters’ onslaught of negative headlines, a federal criminal investigation and a nearly 40% share price collapse since October has reminded us that balanced leadership and independent board oversight are critical to sustainable, long-term value creation,” CtW, an arm of the union federation Change to Win, said in the letter.
‘Living Will’ Rejections Fuel Critics of Wall Street’s Biggest Banks (WSJ)
Big bank critics applauded the regulators’ verdict, but also said further crackdowns on the firms would be required to avoid future bailouts. FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, who has been much more critical of the banks than FDIC Chairman Gruenberg, issued his own statement saying that even if the firms have credible living wills, the plans still don’t show the firms are strong enough to weather a major crisis on their own, including a crisis where multiple huge banks fail. “The goal to end too big to fail and protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts remains just that: only a goal,” Mr. Hoenig said in a statement Wednesday.
Darling of Silicon Valley in danger of losing her business (NYP)
Just last year, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood testing company Theranos, ranked as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, a Silicon Valley darling who was revolutionizing her industry. Then came word on Wednesday that she’s in danger of losing her biotech baby. Holmes, 32, could be banned from operating her business in California, according to a Wall Street Journal report, amid investigations that Theranos’ blood-testing technology wasn’t really that revolutionary after all. In a March 18 letter to the company, California’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed temporarily ousting Holmes, as well as Theranos President Sunny Balwani, from doing business in the state after concluding the company failed to fix major problems at its labs, according to the report.
Slapping row pushes Portuguese minister to resign (Reuters)
Portuguese Culture Minister Joao Soares resigned on Friday, a day after threatening to slap critics who had called him incompetent and rude. A post on his Facebook page saying he wanted to slap two newspaper columnists, followed by what was seen as a half-hearted apology, provoked a flurry of calls for him to be sacked. Soares, a Socialist and the son of former president and prime minister Mario Soares, is the first minister to leave the new left-leaning government of Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa, which took over in November.
Verizon CEO fires back after being 'Berned' (CNBC)
In a LinkedIn blog post, McAdam aired his frustration with the Democratic presidential candidate and his "uninformed views." The CEO said that the senator's claim that Verizon doesn't pay its taxes is inaccurate. "As our financial statements clearly show, we've paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years — that's a 35% tax rate in 2015, for anyone who's counting," wrote McAdam, directing readers to the company's website in a Tuesday statement.
With Abenomics Withering, Japan Hears Calls for Fresh Action (Bloomberg)
More than three years on, the policy dubbed 'Abenomics' looks in its worst shape yet, and that's now spurring some to call for yet stronger efforts to reanimate the world's No. 3 economy. Kozo Yamamoto, one of the key members of Abe's brains-trust of reflationist advisers, on Wednesday called for new fiscal stimulus, fresh Bank of Japan easing and even the consideration of a tax on record corporate cash in a last-ditch effort to force them to deploy their earnings.
Singapore Adopts 2008 Crisis Policy as Growth Grinds to Halt (Bloomberg)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore moved to a neutral policy of zero percent appreciation in the exchange rate, causing the local dollar to slide and dragging down currencies across Asia-Pacific. The surprise announcement came two days after the International Monetary Fund warned of the risk of negative shocks to the global economy.
Corgis Put To The Test As Police Pups In Russia (HP)
The department’s canine unit is planning to train Welsh corgis to assist in their police work, according to Newsweek’s translation of Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. Specifically, officials are hoping that the dogs’ short legs will help them sniff out bombs and other contraband. Right now, the force is training two puppies. “It is not certain that they will be able to join the ranks of service dogs, but even if they don’t the experiment will be interesting for everyone,” Elena Haikova, head of the canine unit, told RIA Novosti. But there’s reason to believe those corgis will be star pupils, according to American Kennel Club spokeswoman Brandi Hunter. “[Corgis] have great noses,” Hunter said. “They’re very smart, they’re easy to train … they can get into smaller spaces.” Because of those qualities, she said, “they’d probably make excellent search dogs.”