Former Buffett Heir-Apparent Now an Activist Investor (WSJ)
David Sokol, once widely expected to succeed Mr. Buffett as chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has kept a fairly low profile since leaving the conglomerate amid a stock-trading controversy five years ago. In recent weeks, though, Mr. Sokol has aggressively and publicly pushed Middleburg Financial Corp. to put itself up for sale. The former Berkshire executive has been invested in the bank for nearly eight years and holds 30% of its stock. Last week, he wrote the bank’s directors and said he believes Middleburg “has more value as part of a larger bank” and urged it to explore a sale...In addition to becoming a more-vocal investor, Mr. Sokol, 59 years old, is becoming increasingly vocal about politics. He is an avowed fan of “Atlas Shrugged,” the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand that made a moral case for capitalism and self interest. In public speeches and columns, Mr. Sokol has drawn comparisons between the dystopian, over-regulated America portrayed in the book and the present day, saying that free enterprise is increasingly under attack.
As Bond Yields Rise, Some Investors Fear Another False Dawn (WSJ)
Government-bond yields are heading higher around the world, a move typically linked to rising expectations of economic growth and inflation. As investors drive down bond prices, yields rise. But while there is some suggestion that this trend could continue—investors this month had accumulated the most bets in favor of rising yields since November, according to TD Securities—many believe this could be yet another short-lived move. For some, the worry is that the recent bond selloff is just the latest in a series of false starts. In three of the last four years, bond prices have fallen sharply to start the year, only to surge later as economic and geopolitical concerns took over investors’ minds.
Most Dangerous Bond Market in History Divides BlackRock, Allianz (Bloomberg)
Richard Turnill, the global chief investment strategist at BlackRock Inc., the $4.7 trillion money manager, also said the firm expects losses for long-dated U.S. Treasuries and euro-area debt over five years, while Japan’s biggest life insurers are looking for higher returns in corporate bonds and infrastructure lending in the year ahead, as central bank stimulus clouds the outlook for sovereign debt at home. Some investors like Allianz Global Investors see it differently. They expect yields of ultra-long bonds to keep declining as weak growth spurs more monetary easing in Europe and Japan and keeps the Fed from raising rates.
For This Fintech Upstart, Small Is Beautiful (WSJ)
Acorns Grow Inc. is banking on the idea that tiny investments are the future of Wall Street. To prove that point, the latest financial-technology upstart installed as its chief executive an ex-disc jockey turned marketing guru who has never worked in wealth management. The company is generating believers: PayPal Holdings Inc., Rakuten FinTech Fund and other investors contributed $30 million in venture funding last week, bringing Acorns’s total funding to $62 million raised.
‘Female Ted Cruz’ is making a p0rno (NYP)
Searcy Hayes, who was dubbed the “Female Ted Cruz” when a meme of a side-by-side comparison between her and Ted Cruz went viral after she appeared on the Maury Povich show last week, is cashing in on her unique looks – – by shooting a $10,000 p0rno with her boyfriend, Freddie Green. The 21-year-old Mississippi native has accepted a deal with XHamster.com to film a six-minute sex tape and said she’s not nervous to strip down, because she’s already made a few private p0rnos of her own...Green is pumped about his lady’s new found fame and said he had no doubts about making the risque video. “We want to buy a truck, pay off our house and we might get married,” he told the site. “I never had anyone say, ‘Here’s $10,000! Go make a sex tape.’” The couple was approached by reps from XHamster following their appearance last Monday on the talk show, where they were getting a paternity test on their three-month-old son to confirm Green was the father.
It’s not that hard to be a venture capitalist anymore (NYP)
Starting May 16, the Securities and Exchange Commission will roll out a program — mandated by 2012’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act — that will allow private companies to use crowdfunding to sell securities. Under the program, companies not registered to sell stocks will be able to raise up to $1 million over a 12-month period for their initial public offerings. Individual investors with less than $100,000 of net worth will be allowed to invest up to $2,000 in these companies via authorized funding portals under the new rules. Wealthier individuals will be able to pony up 10 percent of their annual income or net worth.
U.S. Regulators to Propose New Liquidity Demand for Big Banks (Bloomberg)
The so-called net stable funding ratio, which would require banks to back away from reliance on volatile shorter-term funding, will be considered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. at a meeting on April 26, the agency said Friday. The measure stems from an international accord and is intended to help prevent a repeat of the liquidity crunch seen during the 2008 financial crisis.
Glass Lewis tells Credit Suisse investors to reject pay packages: paper (Reuters)
Proxy adviser Glass Lewis has recommended shareholders in Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) reject the amount of remuneration set for the bank's management and board members, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported. The advisory firm criticized a lack of transparency at the world's fourth biggest private bank in connection with the termination package of former Chief Executive Brady Dougan, the paper said, citing a Glass Lewis analysis.
Coast Guard rescues Florida man from unsuccessful bubble journey to Bermuda (UPI)
The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved an endurance runner after he ended his aquatic voyage from South Florida to the Bermuda Triangle in his "hydropod" early Sunday. It was the second failed attempt for Reza Baluchi, an Iranian-born man who lives inPompano Beach. His planned five-month trip started Friday in Pompano Beach. The Coast Guard had warned Baluchi, 44, he was "not authorized to depart" on his journey because his vessel and water conditions were unsafe. The penalty was a seven-year confinement and a $40,000 fine.