Opening Bell: 11.28.17

Wells Fargo forex bankers not quite as honest as you'd expect; Tesla semi still slightly fantastical; the big boys are coming back to private equity; bitcoin is a gateway drug; and more.
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Wells Fargo Bankers, Chasing Bonuses, Overcharged Hundreds of Clients (WSJ)
The whispers among employees had been around for years. They finally heard some facts during a conference call in June led by managers in Wells Fargo's foreign-exchange operation: Some of its business customers had been cheated, according to two employees who were on the call. An internal review showed that out of roughly 300 fee agreements based on anything from informal handshakes to emails to signed documents, only about 35 companies were charged the actual price they had been offered for currency trades handled by Wells Fargo.

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Casting Wall Street as Victim, Trump Leads Deregulatory Charge (NYT)
While Mr. Trump is tapping the regulatory brakes, there has not been a wholesale rollback of financial rules or law enforcement. Indeed, much of the post-crisis regulatory infrastructure erected by the Obama administration — most notably, the Dodd-Frank Act — remains intact. And some of the recent regulatory changes have won support not only from banks but from consumer groups and traditional supporters of staunch regulation.

How Guerilla Tactics Toppled RenTech’s Robert Mercer (II)
In late October, Sleeping Giants, the mysterious Twitter group behind a campaign against Breitbart, announced that it had set its sights on a new target: the institutions invested in Renaissance Technologies. According to the group, these pension funds, universities, and charities were indirectly lining the pockets of one of Breitbart’s biggest financial backers, Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies Corp. Just one week after Sleeping Giants launched its campaign, Mercer announced plans to step down from RenTech’s C-suite and board.

Tesla truck will need energy of 4,000 homes to recharge, says study (FT)
John Feddersen, chief executive of Aurora Energy Research, a consultancy set up in 2013 by a group of Oxford university professors, said the power required for the megacharger to fill a battery in that amount of time would be 1,600 kilowatts. That is the equivalent of providing 3,000-4,000 “average” houses, he told a London conference last week, 10 times as powerful as Tesla’s current network of “superchargers” for its electric cars. ALSO: Musk: I Am Not Bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto

Manafort Bankers, Associates Summoned to Talk to Manhattan D.A. (BBG)
Manhattan prosecutors investigating Paul Manafort’s New York business activities are scheduling interviews with 10 to 20 of his work associates and lenders, including Stephen Calk, whose Chicago-based bank provided millions of dollars in loans on Manafort family properties.

Goldman's Barracuda Role Signals Return of the Big Fish (BBG Gadfly)
The re-emergence of big banks in the financing group for the Barracuda buyout shows that the heyday for non-bank lenders may indeed have passed, at least in relation to big-ticket deals. Remember, those lenders are rarely the first port-of-call for buyout firms because their borrowing costs are so much higher than that of traditional lenders and they're often swiftly replaced by banks as soon as feasible.

The World Food Programme’s much-publicised “blockchain” has one participant — i.e., it’s a database (David Gerard)
You’ll be unsurprised to hear that the project is somewhat less than it’s been painted as. The blockchain is Ethereum, modified by Parity to run a private blockchain without mining. So how many entities are on this exciting new payments blockchain? Er, one: “The WFP operates the chain itself, although it simulates a scenario where four parties are working together, for future expansion.” This is otherwise known as a “database,” which they’re running as a cluster of four redundant instances.

Bitcoin could lead kids into illegal activities like drug dealing, South Korean prime minister warns (CNBC)
"There are cases in which young Koreans including students are jumping in to make quick money and virtual currencies are used in illegal activities like drug dealing or multi-level marketing for frauds," Lee said, according to a translation by CNBC. The South Korean leader called on government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, to look into the issues. "This can lead to serious distortion or social pathological phenomena, if left unaddressed," he said.

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