Editor's Note: Morning Scan will not publish on Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Receiving Wide Coverage ... Goldman's Reforms: The highlight of Goldman Sachs' "otherwise muted" shareholders meeting was news that the investment firm has implemented 39 initiatives designed to strengthen its business practices and reputation in the wake of the scandals following the financial crisis. These initiatives include "greater balance-sheet transparency" and "a more rigorous system for ensuring employees
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Fed's Mixed Message: The Federal Reserve sent a "garbled message" about the fate of its QE3 program on Wednesday. First, Chairman Ben Bernanke endorsed ongoing stimulus efforts while testifying at a congressional hearing, though he did reveal the central bank could begin to slow down bond-buying in its "next few meetings," labor market conditions permitting. Then, just hours later, April meeting minutes revealed some Fed officials were hoping to pare down the
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Dimon's Big Day: The votes are in and it's Jamie Dimon by a landslide. After all the hoopla, the still chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase won the support of 68% of shareholders who rejected a proposal to strip him of the dual roles. For those keeping score, that means 32% voted in favor of separating the titles, a decrease from the 40% of shareholders who supported a similar proposal last year.
Receiving Wide Coverage ... National News: A devastating tornado swept through Oklahoma yesterday. Full news coverage: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times D-Day for Dimon: Today is the day JPMorgan Chase shareholders will vote on a proposal to strip Jamie Dimon of his dual title as chairman and CEO. Bad news for Dimon detractors: Shareholder activists pushing for the proposal were "talking down the prospects of winning" the vote after regaining access to preliminary tallies
Receiving Wide Coverage ... JPM Again: News outlet continue to closely monitor JPMorgan Chase ahead of Tuesday's shareholder vote on a proposal that could see Jamie Dimon stripped of his dual title as chairman and CEO. Dealbook reports the Council of Institutional Investors has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission "to intervene" after Broadridge, the firm that provides tabulations on these types of votes, stopped giving updates to the investors sponsoring the proposal, though the
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Deriving Pleasure: Too many price quotes will increase trading costs and reduce liquidity. That is the curious (if not spurious) story megabanks successfully stuck to in lobbying financial regulators to water down a key provision of the Dodd-Frank Act aimed at governing derivatives trading. The result was a 4-to-1 vote by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Thursday in favor of reducing the number of price quotes buyers must seek before conducting
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Aw Mom, JPMorgan Again? Yes, kids, but today's meatloaf is spicy. Broadridge, the firm counting JPMorgan shareholder votes on the resolution to sever the CEO and chairman jobs, has stopped providing running tallies to the investors sponsoring the proposal, the Times reports. Broadridge says it did so at the behest of SIFMA, the Wall Street trade group, whose members are the firm's clients. SIFMA told the Times that "one of its working
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Sick of JPMorgan Yet? The Times' "Deal Professor," Steven Davidoff, calls the fight over the upcoming JPMorgan shareholder vote "silly." Though severing the chairman and CEO roles has improved governance at many companies, he writes, "not all companies are alike," and he finds the benefits of the independent-chair model for a large, complex bank dubious. "No study to my knowledge has ever found that companies that do such a split are better
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More JPMeeting Previews: JPMorgan's annual meeting is a week from today, and the curtain-raisers keep coming. "Shareholders are taking a close look at financial relationships between some J.P. Morgan Chase board members and the company they oversee," according to the Journal. For example, the bank underwrote a bond issue, provided a line of credit and made charitable contributions to the American Museum of Natural History, run by Ellen Futter, a JPMorgan director.
Pushovers in the Boardroom; Serial Bungling in the Foreclosure Settlement; Should Art Galleries File SARs?
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Doormat Directors: With little more than a week to go before JPMorgan's annual meeting, some shareholders are wondering whether Lee Raymond, the board's lead director, "has been an effective counterbalance" to chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, the Times reports. If they conclude that Raymond, a former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, has been too lax in his oversight of the bank's management, these shareholders may vote to split the chairman and CEO roles. In
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More JPM Woes: California Attorney General Kamala Harris is suing JPMorgan Chase over alleged credit card debt collection abuses. Per the lawsuit, JPM "engaged in widespread, illegal robo-signing, among other unlawful practices, to commit debt-collection abuses against approximately 100,000 California credit card borrowers over at least a three-year period." The bank, thus far, is declining to comment on the lawsuit. Various news outlets report other enforcement actions from regulators concerning the collection
Foreclosure Settlement Gets Bungled Again; JPM's Corporate Governance Drama Revisited; Big Banks Band Together
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Another Foreclosure Error: First, the OCC and Federal Reserve oversaw a foreclosure review process that benefited independent consultants more than actual homeowners. Next, the regulators replaced this costly foreclosure review with a settlement that gave only $300 to most affected borrowers. Then some of the checks mailed to borrowers bounced. Now regulators have disclosed that nearly 100,000 borrowers received checks for less than what they were owed, due to a clerical error
Receiving Wide Coverage ... More Doubts Around Dimon's Dual Role: Another day, another round of worrisome headlines for JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon. Major proxy firm Glass, Lewis and Co. has come out in favor of a shareholder's proposal that would split Dimon's dual role as CEO and chairman. Scan readers will recall that yesterday, the Journal reported three of JPM's largest shareholders BlackRock, Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments "remain undecided" as to how they
Receiving Wide Coverage ... HSBC Earnings: HSBC's first quarter earnings almost doubled year over year, with pre-tax profit rising to $8.4 billion compared with $4.3 billion during the same period in 2012. The increase is attributed largely to all that cost-cutting the bank has been doing and a decline in bad debts. Expect the cost-cutting efforts to continue. Per the FT, "the bank is expected to close or sell a further eight to 10 businesses this
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Buffett Holds (Uneventful) Shareholder Meeting: Many members of the media spent the weekend with Warren Buffett, but the news coming out of Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting — per articles in both the Times and the Journal — is that the Oracle of Omaha managed to avoid making any "big news." Buffett did engage in a discussion with "bear" Douglas Kass, who was invited to ask questions since he is "betting that
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Jamie in the Hot Seat: When the nation's two most influential dailies simultaneously run stories in which federal authorities leak word that they're gunning for a megabank, it ain't no tempest in a teapot. That's the reality JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) Jamie Dimon woke up to this morning as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal published features quoting flies on the wall who describe meetings where government officials told the bank's
Receiving Wide Coverage ... QE3 Surprise: In a departure from recent statements, Federal Open Market Committee indicated a willingness to step up bond purchases. Previously the Fed had hinted only that it might reduce monthly purchases. Now the official line is they could go up or down, depending on inflation and job growth. The upshot of all this Kremlinology: The shift to a neutral stance means the economy is still pretty weak. Wall Street Journal, Financial
Breaking News This Morning ... Obama Said to Pick Mel Watt to Run FHFA: Watt, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina, would be the agency's first official director since 2009. Ed DeMarco has toiled as the acting director since then, and his policies have been unpopular with the administration, Democrats, and housing and consumer advocates. A formal announcement is expected today, various anonymice told their preferred media outlets. Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Politico Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Receiving Wide Coverage ... JPM Shakeup, Day Two: The departure of Frank Bisignano — one of a dozen senior executives to leave JPMorgan in the last four years — "has heightened worries about the persistent executive turnover at the bank," reports the Times. Some "wonder if the many reshufflings at the top point to a larger problem within the bank." Echoing the Journal's story yesterday, the Times calls Bisignano's exit "a particularly difficult loss for the
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Another Shake-Up at JPMorgan: Frank Bisignano is leaving the bank to run First Data and Matt Zames will add responsibilities as sole chief operating officer, a title he has shared with Bisignano since July. Bisignano and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon go back a long way, having worked together at Citi during the Weill era. The Journal casts the departure as a significant blow to the bank, starting with the headline ("Dimon Loses…").
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Bank Payday Loan Update: Regulators officially unveiled on Thursday their expected guidance on the payday-style loans or checking account advances offered by a few financial institutions. The guidance, which calls for more underwriting and stringent cooling-off periods between loans, was issued along with "a scathing assessment of the loans" from the OCC, which "warned banks that the loans could pose 'reputational risk,'" reports Dealbook. But proponents of bank payday-style products have argued
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Brown-Vitter TBTF Bill: Sens. Sherrod Brown and David Vitter formally unveiled their TBTF bill or the pointedly named Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act Wednesday. Key components include a 15% capital requirement for banks with more than $500 billion in assets. Regional banks would be required to meet an 8% capital requirement while community banks would be exempt from the proposal. The bill, if passed, would also impose restrictions on
Receiving Wide Coverage ... HSBC's Job 'Demise': HSBC got some extra attention for what could have been a routine and somewhat expected job cut announcement when someone got creative with the language in its press release. In announcing plans to cut more than 1,100 U.K. jobs due to new wealth adviser regulations, the bank noted "the integration of advisers means the roles of commercial financial advisers will be demised." And then, again, a bit
Receiving Wide Coverage ... A Whole Lot of 'Puffery': Standard & Poor's is formally urging a judge to dismiss the government's civil lawsuit alleging the agency ignored its own standards and rated mortgage investments much higher than they should have been in years leading up to the financial crisis. S&P argued on Monday that the DOJ "had failed to substantiate its allegation that the CDO ratings would have been lower based on the deteriorating housing market,"
Receiving Wide Coverage ... SEC's New Enforcer: Chairman Mary Jo White is set to appoint long-time colleague Andrew Ceresney as co-head of the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement unit pretty much any day now. Ceresney, who served with White while she was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, will share the role with interim enforcement chief George Canellos. Dealbook calls the joint leadership "unusual, if
Receiving Wide Coverage ... Who Needs Volcker?: The verdict is in on Morgan Stanley's (MS) weak first quarter, and it's a rousing thumbs down. The Wall Street giant's shares fell 5.4% Thursday after it reported disappointing results and a sharp drop in trading activity. Bond-trading revenue fell 42% and stock-trading revenue 19%, according to the company. The news arrived at a time when Wall Street is supposed to be shifting away from risky trading. That's the
Breaking News This Morning ... Earnings: BB&T, Fifth Third, KeyCorp, Popular Receiving Wide Coverage ... Insult to Injury: You can't make this stuff up. A handful of the checks sent to borrowers under the foreclosure settlement bounced. Fingers are pointing in the direction of Rust Consulting, the firm hired to distribute the checks. Anonymice tell the Times that "after collecting the $3.6 billion from the banks … Rust failed to move the money into a central account at
Breaking News This Morning ... Earnings: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Huntington, PNC Receiving Wide Coverage ... Money Market Funds: New regulations for them are on the way. An SEC spokesman tells the Times that the regulator's staff "expects to have something for the commission's consideration in the near future." BlackRock's Larry Fink told investors he anticipates "some sort of" floating net asset value to be imposed on prime funds (money market funds that buy
Breaking News This Morning ... Earnings: U.S. Bancorp, Comerica, Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust Receiving Wide Coverage ... Tragedy: The nation remains transfixed and saddened by the events in Boston. Boston Globe, Boston Herald, New York Times Shining Citi: Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat is basking in flattering coverage this morning after posting a 30% profit jump for the first quarter, a period when rivals' results suffered from refi droop. News accounts chalk it up to Corbat's cost cuts; the bank's
Breaking News This Morning ... Earnings: Citigroup, M&T, First Republic, Webster Receiving Wide Coverage ... Refi Party's Over: That seems to be the big takeaway from the JPMorgan and Wells Fargo first-quarter reports that came out Friday, which showed declines in mortgage banking income. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post
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