Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Election Day Has Arrived: It seems remiss not to at least mention the story set to dominate today's news cycle. That is, of course, the presidential election, which appears virtually deadlocked as polls open today throughout the U.S. Some notable (and arguably left-leaning) pundits are predicting President Barack Obama will maintain the electoral edge exhibited in key swing state poll results and keep the presidency, while other (arguably right-leaning) pundits are arguing Mitt Romney's national momentum will peak at just the right time and ensure victory. (The Washington Post actually has a pretty good round-up of notable pundit predictions, in case you're interested in that type of thing.) Either way, we should know the results by this time tomorrow. Unless, of course, Ohio — or possibly another battleground state — needs to hold a recount. (We're a little inclined to echo New York Times blogger Ross Douthat's sentiments here: "But for the love all that's holy don't give us a recount in Ohio.") In either or, perhaps, any event, while you're waiting for the polls to close, you can catch up on how the election is likely to affect the economy (according to Dealbook, don't expect either outcome to solve all puzzles), how it may impact the markets (via the FT) or how it's likely to impact the jobs of top U.S. banking regulators (via American Banker).
Personnel Changes: Paul J. Taubman, co-head of Morgan Stanley's securities division, is resigning from the investment bank after his co-head Colm Kelleher was promoted to president of their division by chief executive James Gorman. Unnamed insiders have led Dealbook to conclude Gorman's move was the result of "a desire to better align the sales and trading operations with the investment banking arm" and meant "to persuade clients who rely on Morgan Stanley for advice on mergers and stock sales to use it for trading services as well." Unnamed insiders — though perhaps not the same ones — also told the FT that, prior to Taubman's resignation, he, "a reserved American" and Kelleher, "a smoker of Cuban cigars," had a "sometimes fractious relationship." Taubman is set to retire from the bank at the end of the year, at which time, (an also unnamed) colleague indicates he will look for another position.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs "has continued its independent board member recruitment spree" by appointing Mark Tucker, chief executive and president of Asian life insurer AIA Group, to its board. Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein cited Tucker's "broad and deep operating and strategic experience across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America" and "proven understanding of effective risk management" in a statement announcing the appointment. Financial Times, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
European countries and the European Central Bank are "at odds" over who should "shoulder the financial burden" as moves are made to give Greece more time to repay it loans.
Credit Suisse is teaming up with Qatar Holding LLC in a "new asset management venture" that will operate out of a hub in Doha and another international hub outside of the region.
This op-ed suggests Dodd-Frank is pushing business overseas as international banks are become increasingly reluctant to participate in the heavily regulated U.S. swaps market. Additionally, "while pushing more derivatives business into foreign jurisdictions, Dodd-Frank is simultaneously raising taxpayer exposure to this market," the op-ed argues.
U.K. banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Santander U.K., are urging Parliament to allow them "to sell simple derivative products from within their retail banking operations, a key flashpoint in banking reform."
Analysts estimate that HSBC's money-laundering penalties might top $2 billion. However, despite the hefty number now being floated around, one leading banking analyst told the FT the fine "wouldn't hurt the fundamental financials of the bank," thanks to the bank's $166 billion equity buffer and recovering underlying performance.
New York Times
Wall Street firms are contributing to Hurricane Sandy relief. In addition to donations made by big banks with consumer arms, Goldman Sachs has pledged "$10 million in loans and donations" and "hedge fund manager, Roy Niederhoffer, organized a group of friends to truck out supplies" to hurricane victims.
This Dealbook article takes a look at the "triple whammy" handed to Barclays from U.S. and U.K. regulatory agencies. "Barclays is certainly hoping that there are no more investigations lurking out there that could cause more pain," the author writes. "The last few months have been bad enough for its reputation and bottom line."