Pelosi Says Government Funding Won’t Lapse [WSJ]
“We will keep our government open by Sept. 30, which is our date, and continue the conversation about the debt ceiling, but not for long,” Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.) told reporters Thursday. “We will have a CR that passes both houses by Sept. 30,” she said, referring to the continuing resolution.

Apollo Unit Backs Hong Kong Insurer FWD’s $3 Billion U.S. IPO [WSJ]
FWD, which manages more than $62 billion in assets, is the insurance business of [Richard] Li’s private-investment company, Pacific Century Group. It was founded in 2013 when it acquired some Asian assets from ING Groep, and has since grown across Asia. It entered Malaysia in 2019 and Cambodia in 2020. Last year, it bought businesses in Vietnam, Indonesia and Hong Kong…. The company’s preferred measure of profitability, adjusted operating profit before taxes, jumped 56% from a year earlier in the first six months of this year to $106 million. Net premiums and fee income rose 36% to $4.85 billion over the same period.

Fintech Lender Affirm Leans on Investors to Fund Rapid Growth [WSJ]
The company entered the securitization market in July 2020 and has completed six transactions since then. Affirm during the quarter ended June 30 funded about a third of its $4.7 billion buy-now-pay-later loan portfolio with cash from securitization deals, in which the company packages its loans together into securities and sells them to investors…. Affirm generates most of its funding by selling the loans that it doesn’t slice up into securities. Direct loan sales to other companies accounted for 49% of the company’s funding mix during the period ended June 30, bringing in $2.3 billion, or nearly double the amount from a year earlier.

Ex-OppenheimerFunds worker charged in $8M inside trade case [AP via ABC News]
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said [Sergei] Polevikov misappropriated secrets about trades his employer, an investment adviser, planned to make on behalf of its investment company clients so that he could make personal trades ahead of large institutional trades, reaping over $8.5 million in gains.
She said in a release that he tried to conceal his scheme from his employer by lying about his trading activities from 2014 through October 2019.

Merger Mania Is Only Part of the Solution for Asset Managers [WSJ]
Scale helps—but probably not as much as strong inflows or having products in hot areas, such as key geographies or environmentally and socially conscious investing. Asset managers have their work cut out for them to keep funds coming in, no matter how big they get.

Wine beats scotch and Hermès bags as top luxury investment [Guardian]
Interest from collectors helped wine see off competition from watches and cars to top Knight Frank’s luxury investment index, with prices of investment-grade wine rising 13% in the year to the end of June. That performance beat watches and cars into second and third place with gains of 5% and 4%.
With the pandemic creating turbulent conditions for investors to navigate, the index’s editor, Andrew Shirley, said a fall in the worth of rare bottles of scotch and Hermés handbags meant they had relinquished their places at the top of the leaderboard.

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Opening Bell: 11.12.15

AB InBev seals SABMiller deal; Argentina finally pays off for hedge funds; $50,000 headphones; "Shia LaBeouf Live-Streams Himself Watching All of His Movies"; and more.

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Opening Bell: 1.18.18

Shutdown vote imminent; Morgan Stanely beats; Bitcoin fights back; Florida still Florida; and more!

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Opening Bell: 1.16.18

Cryptos in a nosedive; US government shutdown imminent; Ackman in court; car ends up in 2nd floor dentists office; and more!

Opening Bell: 07.30.12

New York Lender Files Libor Suit (WSJ) Berkshire Bank, with 11 branches in New York and New Jersey and about $881 million in assets, claims in a proposed class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York that "tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars" of loans made or sold in the state were affected by rigging the London interbank offered rate. Many adjustable-rate commercial and home loans are pegged to Libor, meaning that "misrepresentation…on the date on which a loan resets will generally reduce the amount of interest that a lender receives by an equivalent amount," the bank alleges..."Libor could well be the asbestos claims of this century," said James Cox, a law professor at Duke University in Durham, N.C. "Misreporting an index used around the world" has "ginormous" ramifications, he added. HSBC Hit By Provisions (WSJ) HSBC said Monday that net profit fell in the first half, as the bank was forced to put aside $2 billion to cover the fallout of a U.S. money-laundering probe and the improper selling of financial products. The series of provisions at the bank pushed up underlying costs by $1.9 billion and ate into the lender's bottom line, cutting net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders in the first six months by 9% to $8.15 billion. HSBC Apologizes For Compliance Failures (Bloomberg) “Regulatory and compliance events in the first six months of the year overshadowed financial performance,” Chairman Douglas Flint said in a statement today. “HSBC has made mistakes in the past, and for them I am very sorry.” Big Banks Are Getting Tough With Hedge-Fund Clients (Reuters) Major banks face growing pressure to extract more money from, or even sever ties with, unprofitable hedge-fund clients as they cut costs in the face of tough trading conditions and try to refocus on the biggest managers. Industry insiders say prime brokers are sifting through their client lists, in some cases demanding higher fees on trading or a greater share of a fund's business, and sometimes telling funds to look elsewhere. Investors eye wine, art funds for hedging (NYP) Rising fears that traditional investing has become a lose-lose proposition have a growing number of wealthy folks seeing dollar signs in niche funds that invest in art, wine, musical instruments and even classic cars. They’re known as “collectible” funds or “treasure” funds, and while they come with plenty of skeptics and potential pitfalls, they’re also promising returns reminiscent of the days before the Great Recession. Sergio Esposito, founder of Union Square’s wine shop Italian Wine Merchants, said the wine fund he helped start in 2010, The Bottled Asset Fund, has been doing so well he hopes to launch another next year. After selling its first batches of wine this year, the $8.2 million fund is now seeing profits upward of 30 percent, he said. Gymnast’s parents perform their own routine at London 2012 (The Score) Lynn and Rick Raisman have been watching their daughter Aly work towards the Olympics since they first brought her to a gym when she was two two years old. It’s no wonder then that watching her compete for an Olympic medal is a nail biting experience. Here they are with their eyes trained on Aly’s uneven bars routine in London. Her dad just about makes it through unscathed: Fed Weighs Cutting Interest On Banks’ Reserves After ECB Move (Bloomberg) “They’re reconsidering it,” said Ward McCarthy, a former Richmond Fed economist. A July 5 decision by the European Central Bank to cut its deposit rate to zero is prompting renewed interest in the strategy, said McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. McCarthy said it’s unlikely the Fed will reduce the rate at a two-day meeting that starts tomorrow. Used Lamborghinis Linger On H.K. Lots Amid China Lull (Bloomberg) Dealers of such second-hand cars say job cuts and the worsening global economic outlook are creating uncertainty among the finance-industry and expatriate professionals who make up the bulk of their buyers. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank are among firms with Asian headquarters in Hong Kong that are cutting jobs worldwide. “The more expensive the car, the more dry the business,” said Tommy Siu at the Causeway Bay showroom of Vin’s Motors Co., the used-car dealership he founded two decades ago. Sales of ultra-luxury cars have halved in the past two or three months, he said. “A lot of bankers don’t want to spend too much money for a car now. At this moment, they don’t know if they’ll have a big bonus.” “In the car market, it’s not buying like watches,” said Booz & Co.’s Russo. “Here you are getting a true look at a category of product bought by Hong Kong buyers. It’s a pulse check on how Hong Kong residents view the stability of the financial system.” Sarbanes-Oxley's Jail-Time Threat Hasn't Been Applied in Crisis-Related Cases (WSJ) After the financial crisis, the certification rules seemed like a strong weapon against executives suspected of misleading investors. But prosecutors haven't brought any criminal cases for false certification related to the crisis. Regulators have brought only a handful of crisis-related civil allegations in that area...For example: Richard Fuld, former CEO of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. A bankruptcy examiner's report on Lehman's 2008 collapse said there was enough evidence to support claims that Mr. Fuld failed to ensure the firm's quarterly reports were accurate, because he knew or should have known Lehman had cut its balance sheet through questionable transactions. But the government hasn't charged Mr. Fuld with false certification or other wrongdoing. His attorney couldn't be reached for comment. There also haven't been any charges against James Cayne, Bear Stearns Cos.' ex-CEO, which spiraled into a liquidity crisis that led to a 2008 forced sale to J.P. Morgan. Mr. Cayne and other Bear executives recently agreed to a $275 million settlement of shareholder litigation accusing them of misleading investors about the firm's finances—including allegations that Mr. Cayne falsely certified Bear's financial reports. Fla. Man Who Lost Hand Charged With Feeding Gator (AP) A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 9-foot alligator faces charges of feeding of the animal. Collier County Jail records show 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt was charged Friday with unlawful feeding of an alligator and later posted $1,000 bond. His next court date is Aug. 22. Weatherholt was attacked on June 12th as he was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades. The family said Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water's surface when the alligator attacked. Wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the gator. Weatherholt's hand was found but could not be reattached. A criminal investigation followed. Feeding alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Photo: Getty Images.

Opening Bell: 6.20.16

Visium to shut funds amid probe; Gundlach fears Trump; Credit Suisse puts 5 on leave; Colorado company releases wine for cats; and more.

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Opening Bell: 2.9.18

Shutdown over fast; Global stocks still getting hammered; Brexit still a mess; Florid woman mercy flushes emotional support hamster; and more!

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Opening Bell: 7.22.21

Taper timing; Delta draws shrugs; Blackstone booms; who wants to pretend they work for Bridgewater? and more!

Opening Bell: 4.16.15

Goldman and Citi beat estimates; Ben Bernanke works for Ken Griffin now; Schwarzman describes Blackstone as "earnings machine"; Stripper School shutdown; and more.