Fed approves proposal to relax bank regs; AIG losses continue

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Four playing fields
The Federal Reserve voted 3-to-1 to approve a draft proposal that calls for looser capital and liquidity requirements on large American banks, "one of the most significant rollbacks of bank rules since President Trump took office." The plan "would divide big banks into four categories based on their size and other risk factors. Regional lenders would be either entirely released from certain capital and liquidity requirements, or see those requirements reduced. They could also, in some cases, be subject to less frequent stress tests. The largest U.S. banks … wouldn't see any significant rule changes." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker

AIG battered again
American International Group reported a $1.26 billion third-quarter net loss following big losses from "Asian typhoons, California mudslides, and Hurricane Florence." Yet the deficit was less than the year-earlier period's $1.74 billion loss, when the company got hit with claims from three major hurricanes. "Excluding the impact of catastrophe claims, the most-recent results showed modest progress in the company's goal of earning an underwriting profit in its core business of selling property and casualty policies to corporate clients." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Wall Street Journal

Talent competition
Capital One finds itself "competing with Silicon Valley for talent in software engineering, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, as it seeks to deliver on its mission to operate like a nimble tech company under the direction of CIO Rob Alexander." "I think the great separator between the companies that survive in this digital transformation and the companies that are roadkill will be their ability to attract and retain great technology talent," Alexander said.

Talent wars are also raging in the private-equity business, where companies are offering "22-year-old spreadsheet crunchers" starting salaries of $300,000 or more as the industry competes to hire young investment bankers. "The instigator was Thoma Bravo LLC. Word spread quickly to rivals like Blackstone Group, Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group."

Taking a stake
Activist hedge fund Hudson Executive Capital has taken a 3.1% stake in Deutsche Bank, "betting the German lender's new chief executive can revive its sagging profits by pursuing a turnaround strategy investors so far have found unconvincing." Hudson chief Douglas Braunstein calls the bank "misunderstood and undervalued."

Failure to deliver
Bitcoin celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, but not everyone is cheering as the price of the digital currency is down sharply from its late 2017 peak. It also has failed to become "the one thing it was built to be: a payments system." "Apart from the group who are passionate about it for ideological reasons, it hasn't caught on," admits Jeff Klee, CEO of online ticket-booking service CheapAir, which accepts bitcoin for payment.


"The proposals before us would prescribe materially less stringent requirements on firms with less risk, while maintaining the most stringent requirements for firms that pose the greatest risks to the financial system and our economy." — Fed chair Jerome Powell on the plan that would relax regulations on some large banks.

"This increases the risk that the taxpayers will again be on the hook." — Fed governor Lael Brainard, who voted against the proposal.

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