Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Gone: American International Group CEO Peter Hancock tendered his resignation at Wednesday's board meeting. Hancock's resignation comes on the heels of last month's announcement that the insurer lost more than $3 billion in last year's fourth quarter, which "shocked investors and caught management and the board flatfooted," in the words of the Wall Street Journal. "The loss left Mr. Hancock in a precarious position having just a year ago fended off pressure from activist investors by agreeing to meet a series of financial targets—targets that AIG then missed." The board asked Hancock to stay on until it finds his replacement, who would be the insurance giant's sixth CEO since 2005. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
The Wall Street Journal and New York Times look at possible replacements, but as the Journal notes, "many qualified executives may not want the job. It is one of the toughest insurance firms to manage, and it could take years to make AIG hum with strong profit margins."
Wall Street Journal
More to do: Wells Fargo is continuing to take steps to restructure its retail banking business following last year's fake accounts scandal. In addition to firing senior executives recently, the bank revealed several others were demoted or had their responsibilities reduced. In addition, Mary Mack, who took over the unit in July, is reorganizing groups within the business. Bank employees were also told that an independent consulting firm will be contacting several hundred workers to try to determine the root cause of the scandal. The outside review is part of regulatory consent orders the bank entered into last September.
On a lighter side, Wells' Abbot Downing division, which caters to ultra-high net worth people, has hired historian Mark Speltz, currently the senior historian at American Girl, "to help it boost its family history team and appeal to younger generations." A spokeswoman for the unit said Speltz will help "craft narratives to engage children and their families." The unit employs a team of more than a dozen family governance and education consultants and historians.
Looking east: Global banks are looking to Chinese companies to revive the initial public offerings market, which dropped 12% in listings and 30% in capital raised last year. Chinese tech startups worth "hundreds of billions of dollars" are expected to want to go public in the next few years, among them Alibaba's payments unit Ant Financial Services.
Flush: U.S. household net worth hit a record $92.8 trillion at the end of last year, boosted by a surge in stock and home prices. The biggest contributor to the increase was stocks, which lifted the total by $728 billion, according to the Federal Reserve. Gains in real estate held by households and nonprofit organizations rose by $557 billion to a record $26.5 trillion.
Talent war: Hedge funds and traditional asset managers are "trying unorthodox approaches" to lure technology talent, including "coding competitions, mammoth pay packets and even entire university research centers." The companies are making a "big bet that the future of investing is machine intelligence and Big Data, not human nous and quarterly corporate results." But because "it's nearly impossible to find people with experience in both computer science and finance, the talent war is unprecedented," says one quant.
"I believe this is the right decision to make for the company and all its stakeholders. Without wholehearted shareholder support for my continued leadership, a protracted period of uncertainty could undermine the progress we have made and damage the interests of our policyholders, employees, regulators, debtholders, and shareholders." — AIG CEO Peter Hancock, announcing his resignation