Somebody got that Jamie Dimon thirst for REAL.
Sometimes people just love banks so hard.
When regular old bank analysts switch firms, people don't tend to make a big deal about it. Gardening leave is taken, contracts are signed, key cards are distributed, new business cards are printed. Sometimes you'll get an email address with updated contact information. That's usually it. Dick Bové, as you all know, however, is no regular bank analyst. Which is following his departure from Rochdale Securities, potential employers didn't interview him, he interviewed them, why his son/spokesman, Joe Bové sent out a press release announcing the final countdown to Bové Day, and why, when that blessed day arrived, it was celebrated with a three-course banquet and a little something called the Dick Bové Banking Manifesto.
Last month, "noted bank analyst" Dick Bové informed the people that after careful consideration, he had finally selected the lucky winner of the Dick Bové Sweepstakes, tapping Rafferty Capital Markets LLC to be his new employer over a large pool of suitors banging down his door. Today, Bové's colleague/unofficial spokesman/son none of us knew about until now sent a letter to clients containing good news and bad news.
Dick Bove, the bank analyst whose brokerage, Rochdale Securities LLC, is struggling to survive after an unauthorized $1 billion Apple Inc. trade, said he’s been interviewing for a new job. Bove said he has narrowed his choice to three firms, which he declined to name, and will make a decision by about Dec. 15. The 71-year-old analyst said he’s giving Daniel Crowley, Rochdale’s chief executive officer, time to seek rescue financing after a loss on the Apple trade decimated the firm’s capital. “I indicated to them that my loyalty is with Dan Crowley and so I couldn’t make a decision until Dan threw in the towel,” Bove said today in a telephone interview. “The decision I make is really based on whether I want to stay with a small firm and write what I’m going to call provocative research or whether I want to go back in the general Wall Street milieu, dealing with corporate finance issues.” [Bloomberg]
Picture this. You're world-renonwn bank analyst Dick Bové, famous for, among other things, issuing a report in summer 2008 about which banks were "next" to fail, not rolling over and taking it when Citigroup tried to screw you good, and standing by Ken Lewis when literally no one else (including his board) would. When you walk into rooms, people notice. More often than not, they ask you to pose for pictures, kiss their babies, sign their tits. Some have fainted in your presence. You're the fifth Beatle, Justin Bieber, and George Clooney, all wrapped into one devastating little package. It should go without saying that an appearance by you at your local branch bank, to cash six-figure checks, as you often do, would be call for a red carpet and the crème de la crème of customer service, right? Apparently wrong. The following is an accounting of Dick Bové's experiences as Wells Fargo customer. (Originally he banked with Wachovia, who he had only good things to say about. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the degenerates he's encountered at WFC.) * "Dick Kovacevich, Wells retired CEO, felt strongly that customers should be greeted when they entered the branch and that the visit should be a positive experience. I can honestly state that no one ever greeted me when I entered my local branch. In fact, on one occassion, when I needed to speak with a platform person, I never got the opportunity. The bank officer made me wait a bit; came out of his office and entered the public bathroom; and left the bank." * "On a second occasion, I entered the branch with a low six figure check. I needed some information concerning more than one issue related to the deposit. After searching out an employee, I was told that he could not handle the transactions...It is interesting to note that no one at the branch suggested any investment to me but simply deposited the check. No one ever called me to indicate that there was over six figures sitting in a no interest checking account." * "What my Wells Fargo experience suggests is that a successful bank is one that keeps seeking new customers and selling them more products and not getting bogged down by offering service...My interaction with Wells has been an enlightening experience." Does Dick Bové "rate banks based on one person's anecdotal experience"? No, at this time he does not. If he did though, a bank--if you can call it that-- named Wells Fargo would be up shit's creek right about now. Because in the scenario in which DB did assign ratings based on his own interactions with management, WFC would have a giant red "U" across its chest, for "unacceptable" and caution tape around its buildings which would in turn be condemned and schedule for demolition at 9AM.
Rochdale analyst Dick Bové loves fairy tales as much as the next guy. He loves the romance, he loves the drama, he loves the idea of magical footwear. Does he start every morning asking the question, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest analyst of them all?"? Yes. Does he consider Mike Mayo and Meredith Whitney his evil step-sisters? Yes. Does he dream about being awoken from his slumber by a handsome prince? But even Dick knows that five minutes after the prince wakes you up you're going to be bitching to your girlfriends about being stuck with this asshole who lets the dishes pile up like you're the god damn maid service. Everyone knows that when the handsome prince kissed the beautiful Snow White she awakened and everyone lived happily ever after. “It’s in the book” said comic John Standley when discussing another one solution character Little Bo Peep. This “one solution fits all,” or what I like to call the Snow White Syndrome, is a core belief of most who look at the financial crisis. There are three examples of this in today’s press: Just about everyone is unhappy that the EU leaders could not solve all of the European debt problems with one single solution – i.e., creating Euro Bonds that absorbed all individual country debt. In today’s Financial Times Senator Sherrod Brown (OH, Dem.) and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher have a single solution to the nation’s banking problem – i.e., break up the big banks. The Wall Street Journal has a different single solution to the problems in banking – i.e., eliminate hedging in bank portfolios. Then there are the other big-time single solutions: The central banks in the North Atlantic Communities believe that by printing money economic woes will go away. Conservatives argue that by cutting taxes, this nation’s economic woes will disappear. The President and Congress believe that by passing laws the economic cycle will be eliminated (“kinda” like the dot-comers who had already eliminated the economic cycle in the 1990s). The Snow White Syndrome is everywhere. We only need to find that prince with the potent lips. The problem, of course, is that no single solution quickly arrived at is likely to achieve the results promised. Snow White Syndrome [Rochdale Research]
Last month, Rochedale analyst Dick Bové sent out a note to clients that began with what he dubbed "some interesting stats." Said stats were salaries of the New York Yankees' top infielders ("not including promotional deals"!) versus those of JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Wells Fargo's John Stumpf, Citigroup's Vikram Pandit, and Bank of America's Brian Moynihan. The baseball players' compensation totaled about $80 million, the CEOs' $65 million. Fair? Bové didn't think so, noting that while the talentless hacks in the Bronx have won but single World Series in the last 10 years, the banks run by the aforementioned CEOs "impact virtually every American household" (and if pressed to, could surely bring home at least a few Major League Baseball championships). "Clearly, society values the New York Yankees infield above that of the leaders of the banking industry even without a World Series ring," Bové concluded sarcastically, shouting "nailed it" at Mr. Giraffe. Obviously, Bové is of the mind that it's a crock how little these chief executives are paid considering all they do compared to noncontributing zeroes like Alex Rodriguez and Co. It's unclear if the former head of MLB's players' union caught Bové's riff or if not but last night he offered something of a rebuttal and, spoiler alert, he thinks Wall Street pay is bull shit. Appearing at the New York University School of Law on Tuesday night to discuss the 40th anniversary of the first baseball strike and the rise of the players' association, Marvin Miller, the 95-year-old former union head, spoke for 68 minutes and delivered a blistering criticism of corporate pay. He also said collusion by owners in the mid-1980s was worse than the Black Sox scandal in 1919 and claimed the first baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, may have been a member of the Klu Klux Klan. "Let's take chief executive officers of important corporations, or the stock exchange or Wall Street firms," he said. "The typical way that compensation is set is for the board of directors, most of whom if not all of whom have been appointed directly by the CEO, decide what the CEO's salary should be, or they have a committee, a compensation committee composed of board members. "The first thing about that is that here you have a direct conflict of interest, because sitting on a board are executives of other corporations, and what they are doing is adding ammunition to their own quest for higher salaries. And it's such an obvious conflict of interest that it's awful. Of course they're going to vote for higher salaries." He said the directors are at fault because "they don't pay for it. It's paid for by stockholders, who have had no voice on what the salaries and compensation and perks of the chief executive should be." He then compared the system to baseball, where the average salary on opening day this year was $3.4 million and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez topped players at $30 million. "There always has been and is a rule that no contract of a player is valid unless it is signed by the franchise owner or somebody designated by the franchise owner in his place," Miller said. "In other words, no salary is put on paper and becomes valid until the man who is going to pay for it, the owner of the franchise, has signed the contract. A better check and balance you can't find anywhere." According to Miller, "the more democratic thing is to require the approval of a majority of the stockholders." Whose Pay Is More Deserved: CEOs or Ball Players? [Real Time Economics] Marvin Miller Blasts Corporate Pay [AP] Earlier: Dick “Fire A-Rod” Bové: Underpaid Bank CEOs Should Seek Yankees Tryout