Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Executive Pay: Morgan Stanley's CEO is receiving a higher base salary and performance-related bonus but an overall pay cut. Barclays' CEO is giving up his bonus this year to avoid "unnecessary public debate." If that were the only issue, we'd take the dough, and you could debate us all you like. Then again, Barclays has other things to deal with … like allegations that during the crisis it made an undisclosed loan to Qatar to purchase the bank's own shares so it wouldn't need a bailout. Oddly, the "unnecessary debate" line disappeared from this story after we hit refresh — the updated version emphasizes more penitent remarks, e.g. it's "only right" that he turn down a bonus given the scandals that preceded his arrival. But we know we weren't hallucinating, because Britain's Sky News has the "debate" quote in their headline.
The JOBS Act: "About 100 small banks have stopped reporting financial details … to the Securities and Exchange Commission since April, when a law was enacted that aimed to lower the regulatory burdens for small companies," the Post reports. That's the JOBS Act, which raised the maximum number of shareholders a bank can have without registering with the SEC to 1,200 from 300. The agency still has to write regulations on Internet crowdfunding under this law, and in a Journal op-ed a law professor advises the agency to take a light touch, at least initially. "If we require companies that raise more than $500,000 through crowdfunding to provide investors with audited financial statements (a rule that the SEC is considering), will that substantially reduce the incidence of fraud? Or will it undermine crowdfunding by imposing an impossible requirement on companies that don't yet have any financials to audit?" He recommends "an experimental approach," in which audited financials wouldn't be required for several years but the rules would have a sunset provision, forcing the SEC to revisit the issue when it has more data on this new frontier.
Wall Street Journal
"Stop me before I trade again!" JPMorgan's London Whale blew the whistle (internally) on his own trades, according to "people familiar with" his emails that were obtained in the ongoing investigation by Sen. Carl Levin's subcommittee.
The mortgage refi boom is petering out already? "The spread between what it costs [lenders] to fund mortgages and what they charge borrowers has halved since a record set in September," despite a recent increase in rates, the FT reports. "At the same time, bankers say, demand has fallen as the surge in refinancings has tailed off." That was fast. Can lenders adapt as quickly?
New York Times
Three months after American Banker's series on the bonanza consultants received in the foreclosure reviews, the Times reports regulators are "questioning the prudence of relying on consultants so heavily" and "worried about the quality of the work." Lawmakers, including Elizabeth Warren, are investigating.