Chief Executive of Social Finance, an Online Lending Start-Up, to Step Down (NYT)
The resignation follows a lawsuit over claims of sexual harassment at the San Francisco-based start-up, which is known as SoFi. Several former employees said that Mr. Cagney, 46, had inappropriate relationships with SoFi employees, which helped foment a toxic workplace culture. In addition, Mr. Cagney may have been overaggressive in expanding SoFi’s business, skirting risk and compliance controls, said people with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Ex-Executive at Deutsche Bank Accused in Subprime Loan Case (WSJ)
The civil claims against Paul Mangione, of Scarsdale, N.Y., come nearly a decade after the financial crisis, and months after Deutsche Bank settled with the U.S. Justice Department for $7.2 billion to resolve related claims about the bank’s use of mortgage-backed securities and its lending practices. In a 69-page complaint, prosecutors allege that Mr. Mangione schemed to defraud investors and “systematically and intentionally misrepresented key characteristics of the mortgage loans securitized by Deutsche Bank,” through two residential mortgage-backed securities, worth $1 billion and $400 million.
Equifax Lobbied for Easier Regulation Before Data Breach (WSJ)
Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017, according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports. Among the issues on which it lobbied was limiting the legal liability of credit-reporting companies. That issue is the subject of a bill that a panel of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the industry, discussed the same day Equifax disclosed the cyberattack that exposed personal financial data of as many as 143 million Americans.
Goldman Cuts Smart-Beta Fees to a New Level (BBG)
Building a successful ETF business has become a race to the bottom, as money managing Goliaths from BlackRock Inc. to Vanguard Group Inc. find lower cost products win business. Most of the savings have gone to investors in plain vanilla funds that are cheap to run, but Goldman is now pushing the fee war into more complex smart-beta strategies that shun indexes weighted by market capitalization in favor of other factors.
Hedge Funds Used to Love Shorting China. Now, Not So Much (BBG)
Crispin Odey has moderated his views -- somewhat. He’s shorting metal stocks on expectations that China’s economy will slow in the second half. But he says betting against the yuan is no longer worth the trouble. “They can control their currency very easily,” he said in an Aug. 8 interview, citing China’s massive current-account surplus. “It’s not really worth fighting very much.”
Booze, Drugs and Fistfights: Another Summer In The Hamptons (II)
What is it about the Hamptons – home to gorgeous estates, pristine beaches, and quaint villages – that makes people go crazy? Is it the lack of cell service just about everywhere? Every summer stories abound of drunk revelers trashing houses, crashing cars, and getting into fights, occasionally over property lines. Each year the population of the Hamptons more than triples during the summer, to what is now about a quarter of a million people, all on a slim stretche of land less than 50 miles long. That strains everything from septic tanks (the Hamptons has no sewer lines) to nerves.
Fancy Yourself a Kleptocrat? Here’s a Chance to Try it (WSJ)
The game is intended to be instructive, as well as fun. Jim Mintz, founder and chief executive of The Mintz Group, in an interview, said his firm studied dozens of cases of kleptocracy, noticing patterns in the “mechanics” of how kleptocrats handled their stolen money, regardless of where in the world the corrupt official were based. The game replicates those patterns.
What if there isn’t a “global financial cycle” after all? (FT Alphaville)
The positive conclusion from all this is that the post-crisis fetish for capital controls is overdone. Floating exchange rates, sensible domestic financial regulation, and reasonable macro management should be sufficient to avoid problems without resorting to autarky or massive foreign exchange reserves.
Private Assets Are the New Hedge Funds (BBG Gadfly)
Like hedge funds before them, there’s little chance that 7,000-plus private capital firms will on average continue to deliver the highflying returns that investors see in the rear-view mirror. The trillions of dollars now chasing private assets have driven up private equity valuations, slashed private debt yields and compressed capitalization rates for private real estate. None of those things bode well for future returns.
Furious Foodies Call Brooklyn Pizza Festival The 'Fyre Festival' Of NYC Food Events (Gothamist)
To make matters worse, the event organizers also appeared to have sold tickets to a "Hamburger Festival," that was scheduled for the same exact time and place as the Pizza Festival. That event promised "mountains of french fries, oceans of ketchup and waterfalls of beer," with admission prices ranging between $35 and $69. "This was a rotten scam, they promoted this as a pizza festival and a hamburger festival. People who arrived early said there were about 5 pies cut into micro slices of really bad pizza. There were no hamburgers!" reads a Facebook group called Pizza Festival Scam Victims started to organize attendees looking for their money back. "Those people were sitting, waiting in line to get the burgers that were not there," Burke recalled. "And when they tried to eat pizza, the people were like, 'No, no, that's for the pizza people.'"