Opening Bell: 5.2.17

Jes Staley is in the hot seat again; Goldman is finally becoming a real bank; the only good outfit at the Met Gala; and more.
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When Barclays’s Jes Staley Went to Bat for an In-Law, a Powerful Client Cried Foul (WSJ)
Mr. Staley’s view, according to people familiar with it, is that KKR improperly pressured the CEO and is trying to turn a personal situation for the executive into a business matter for the bank. Mr. Staley has told multiple people that he wasn’t acting in his capacity as Barclays’s CEO when he interceded for his brother-in-law, and that his actions in the dispute were what anyone would do to defend a family member.

JPMorgan's Dimon says biggest fear is bad public policy (BBG)
Dimon shrugged off any aspirations for running for office when asked. He said it was too late for him to live as a civil servant and that he does not want to be a mayor, a senator or governor. "You've got to start early. President Obama wrote two books about himself before he did anything," Dimon said - a line that prompted laughter and applause from the hundreds of business leaders, financiers and government officials packed into the Beverly Hills Hilton ballroom.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money (WSJ)
The firm has been opening its checkbook for the past several years to finance corporate takeovers, lend against mansions and art, and make personal loans for things such as kitchen remodels and fixing broken windshields. It is exploring new credit businesses such as trade finance, equipment leasing and extending credit that consumers use for online purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions.

GMO’s Grantham on what’s driving abnormal profit margins (FT Alphaville)
Interestingly, Grantham links the increase in corporate power over the last 40 years to a somewhat counterintuitive factor: The increasingly weighty regulatory environment which counterintuitively ends up benefitting the larger and more politically savvy corporations. These large corporations, he says, can use their incumbent clout and income streams to navigate and manage the regulatory burden. Smaller companies can’t, hence there’s been a steady drop of net new entrants into the US business world since 1970.

The Michael Milken Project (Institutional Investor)
Someone who met Milken later in life and spent hours with him describes his “burning eyes” and says he was “manipulative to the core” and only seemed truly happy when he believed he had won her over to his way of thinking about things. “Mike Milken was kind of like Jim Jones [of Jonestown massacre infamy] with a billion dollars, a PR man, and a fancy office,” she says.

Citadel's Griffin Urges Breakup of Big Banks, Echoing Trump (BBG)
“Would I argue to break these banks into many, many small banks? No,” Griffin said in an interview Monday with Bloomberg TV. “But should we think about separating the investment banks from the commercial banks, a new Glass-Steagall? I would be really excited to see that. I think it would be great for the economy."”

Mnuchin to Wall Street: U.S. Is Serious About Ultra-Long Bonds (BBG)
David Mericle, an economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a report last week that he doesn’t expect the Treasury to sell ultra-long term debt partly because it’s “likely to again receive skeptical feedback from dealers.” Nomura also said the Treasury needs to do a “deep and comprehensive analysis” before trying such sales because it isn’t clear whether the benefits would outweigh the costs. Morgan Stanley warned in an April 21 report that “investor demand for ultra-long issuance will not be robust enough.”

China’s banking watchdog vows to sort out ‘chaos’ (FT)
“If the banking industry becomes a complete mess, as the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, I will resign!”

What senior bankers say, and what senior bankers mean (EFC)
When you wear your best tie for the client meeting
What they say: “That’s a great Hermes tie Jim, great choice.”
What they mean: Looks like we are overpaying you, Jim.

Russian artist busted in nude Met Gala stunt after firefighters pry him from clear box (NY Daily News)
Cops quickly descended on the bizarre stunt and demanded the lanky 6-foot-2 performer step out of the box. Pavlov allegedly refused and firefighters were forced to cut open the see-through prop, said Sgt. Brendan Ryan. Once freed, police escorted Pavlov away from the celebrity hot spot, where some stars similarly brandished their most sheer gowns.

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Opening Bell: 11.20.17

Jes Staley is swimming upstream; blockchain gets high marks on Wall Street; Venezuela's debt talks will be a nightmare; a literal interpretation of "the jig is up"; and more.

Opening Bell: 07.27.12

Barclays Faces New Scrutiny (WSJ) n what could turn out to be a new black eye for the bank, Barclays said the U.K. financial regulator has started an investigation into four current and former senior employees, including Chris Lucas, Barclays's finance director. The issue centers on the "sufficiency of disclosure" in relation to fees paid when Barclays conducted an emergency £7.3 billion ($11.45 billion) capital increase with Middle Eastern investors in 2008. The cash injection likely saved Barclays from being bailed out by the government and part-nationalized. The Financial Services Authority and Barclays declined to elaborate further the issue. Barclays said in a statement that it was confident it had satisfied disclosure obligations. In a separate debacle, Barclays said it put aside £450 million to cover the misselling of derivatives products to small businesses. Merkel, Hollande Vow to Do Everything to Defend Euro (Reuters) FYI: "Germany and France are deeply committed to the integrity of the euro zone. They are determined to do everything to protect the euro zone," they said in a joint statement. Treasury Eyes Funds Hidden Overseas (WSJ) he Treasury Department released new details Thursday of a plan to ferret out Americans' global tax dodging, though some lawmakers and banks remain concerned about the initiative's scope and regulatory costs. Treasury officials said they hope to finalize the system's basic rules by the fall and expressed confidence it would be on track for implementation by 2014 as scheduled. Congressional experts said the new system would recover $8.7 billion in tax revenues over 10 years. Facebook Growth Slows Again (WSJ) The company swung to a second-quarter loss largely weighed down by expenses from compensating employees with stock upon its initial public offering in May. Revenue in the second quarter was $1.18 billion, up 32% from $895 million a year ago. That revenue growth was the lowest percentage since at least the first quarter of 2011, when Facebook was more than doubling the amount of money it brought in from advertising, and to a lesser extent, the cut of fees it takes from payments on its platform. Facebook Falls After Report Fails To Quell Growth Concerns (Bloomberg) “It took a long time for the TV market and advertising to be truly understood, it took a long time for search, and I think we’re still in that learning curve with a lot of our clients,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said. The Guy In The Clown Nose? He's An Olympian (WSJ) Terry Bartlett is a world-class gymnast who leapt, tumbled and swung for the glory of Great Britain in three Olympic Games. Today, he is also a world-class clown. Ten times a week, he dons a red nose and floppy shoes to elicit chuckles at "O," a Las Vegas water-themed circus run by Cirque du Soleil. "It's better than having a real job," says the 48-year-old Bartlett...A few months after Bartlett's audition, Cirque hired him as an acrobat for a new show in Las Vegas. At first, he says, he had to confront some stigma about joining a circus. "Some people were like, whoa, that's not much of a move from what you've done," he says. But today, he says Cirque is so well-known that he gets few smirks. Spanish Banks Hit By Real Estate Woes (WSJ) Caixabank SA, Spain's third-largest lender by market value, number five bank Banco Popular Español SA, and smaller Banco Español de Credito SA, all said they had set aside most of their profit to bolster their buffers against property sector losses, after the government twice this year raised the minimum required provisioning level for banks. Caixabank said quarterly net profit tumbled 78% to €118 million ($145.1 million) and Popular's profit fell 37% to €75.4 million. Smaller Banesto, which is owned by banking giant Banco Santander SA, said quarterly profit sank 97% to €14.4 million. Goldman PR Guru's Charm School (NYP) Under Siewert, the bank has scheduled weekly roundtable meetings between the media and executives including Goldman President Gary Cohn and CFO David Viniar. In one of those meetings yesterday, rising-star Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Beshel Robinson met the press for the first time. Not everyone’s keen on the changes. Goldman’s financial rock star Viniar, sources said, has sworn off appearing on TV. JPMorgan Revamps Business Units (WSJ) The bank said Frank Bisignano, who was tapped in early 2011 to lead J.P. Morgan's transformation of its mortgage banking group, will become co-chief operating officer for the entire company, in addition to continuing as chief administrative officer of the firm. He will transition the mortgage business to Gordon Smith in early 2013. Matt Zames will serve as co-COO, and will remain head of the chief investment office and mortgage capital markets...J.P. Morgan said its investment banks, treasury and securities services and global corporate banks businesses are being combined into the corporate and investment bank unit, to be chaired by Jes Staley, CEO of the investment bank business. Mike Cavanagh, head of treasury and securities, will become co-CEO of the new unit, along with Daniel Pinto, who currently heads EMEA and global fixed income. Romney Riles Londoners With Comments On Olympics Games (Bloomberg) It was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s flawless world stage debut. Instead, the Republican presidential candidate spent the start of his overseas trip fending off a furor over his London Olympics comments and scrutiny of a fundraiser with bankers linked to the Libor rate-fixing scandal. “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready,” London Mayor Boris Johnson told 80,000 cheering people gathered at Hyde Park for the arrival of the Olympic torch last night. “Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!” Romney worked to put the controversy behind him today, scheduling an interview at Olympic Park to quell the storm of criticism over his comment that the city was unprepared to host the games. “After being here a couple of days, it looks to me like London’s ready,” he told NBC’s “Today” program. “What they’ve done that I find so impressive is they took the venues and put them right in the city.” In the July 25 NBC interview, Romney described reports of difficulties recruiting enough security staff for the games, which begin today, as “disconcerting” and said, “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.”

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Opening Bell: 8.31.17

BNY Mellon has become the one and only repo man; blockchain is coming to trade settlement, for real; feel-good capitalism is in trouble; man bites bird; and more.

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Opening Bell: 6.16.17

Neel Kashkari isn't here to make friends; Jes Staley is in trouble again, again; coming soon to a major metropolitan area near you: Teen PD; and more.

Opening Bell: 10.13.15

Barclays to appoint Jes Staley CEO; Fortress will shutter macro hedge fund; Ex-chief of Anglo Irish Bank arrested; "Porn Shoot Accidentally Allowed At LA High School"; and more.

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Opening Bell: 7.28.17

Barclays hits the skids; Scaramucci gets a few things off his chest; robbing bank, stripping nude and throwing cash actually comedy routine, says guy; and more.