Morning Scan

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Swinging Pendulum: The JOBS Act, which President Obama is due to sign into law today, would punch holes in the Chinese wall built after the dotcom bust to keep stock analysts from flogging initial public offerings, and Wall Street is sniffing around for opportunities, the New York Times reports. The bill could undo a prohibition on communication between analysts and investment bankers for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue, a threshold through which Pets.com would have fit.

In "Capital" in the Journal, David Wessel weighed the need to restrain casino capitalism against the need to stand out of the way of socially valuable financial innovation. "A lot of today's argument is about where and how to draw that line. It isn't a good idea to let bankers draw that line."

Meanwhile, the Journal reported that New York state regulators are issuing a new round of subpoenas to insurers that write homeowners policies that mortgage servicers put in place when borrowers default or allow existing policies to lapse. The Department of Financial Services is seeking information on the portion of premiums paid out in claims, which it believes is "as little as 20 cents on the dollar, compared with estimates to regulators of 55 cents."

Payback: The Journal ran an article on Regions' repurchase of its $3.5 billion of Tarp preferred, which had represented the government's largest stake in a conventional bank still outstanding under the cornerstone bailout program.

The papers also reported that the New York Fed is exploring selling the collateralized debt obligations it picked up in the AIG rescue. The move follows sales of somewhat less toxic AIG offal early this year. Wall Street Journal, New York Times

Rich People: JPMorgan Chase's proxy statement showed that Chief Executive Jamie Dimon was paid $23 million last year, more than his counterparts at the other members of the Big Four. His services included a 39-page annual letter to shareholders, his "longest yet," according to the Journal.

The Journal also profiled James Schiro, Goldman's incoming lead director.

In the Times, a special section on "The Changing Face of Big Money" included items such as an Andrew Ross Sorkin column on the slimming chances for a rising financier to climb into the circle of the Super PAC-rich. But it has always been thus, Sorkin wrote. If you want to build that undersea lair or buy the presidency for your cat, it's long been best to build a business like Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

Wall Street Journal

An article covered the resurgent market for collateralized loan obligations.

New York Times

The paper took Canada's decision to stop minting pennies as an occasion for a Room for Debate feature on whether we should spruce up our own currency. Bitcoin entered the conversation: one contributor wrote, "We must ensure that we protect our civil liberties by preserving some untraceable payment method." Another contributor argued that "religious belief has no place on secular currency." (It turns out that "In God We Trust" was periodically added to and removed from coins in the century through 1955. Teddy Roosevelt opposed adorning money with the motto on the grounds that doing so "comes dangerously close to sacrilege."

 

, with contributions from Katherine Kane.

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