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 further down, "the bank will be demising the roles of 942 relationship managers." The use of the word "demise" in lieu of, say, cut or downsize drew the ire of Britain's largest workers' union, which said it may ask workers if they want to consider a strike ballot. It also earned the bank a fresh wave of criticism from a few media pundits, despite the bank's plan to create 2,017 new positions for which affected (or perhaps demised?) workers would be able to apply. "Let's hope HSBC used this absurd euphemism only in its baffling press release, and not in its formal letter to 3,166 employees warning them that they are at risk of redundancy," writes Nils Pratley of The Guardian. A London headhunter didn't mince words when talking to the I: "I've heard a lot of HR guff in my time. But this is something else. It makes them look not only foolish, but callous and thoughtless, too." A HSBC spokesman explained to the Journal's MoneyBeat blog (which was quick to point out demising doesn't mean what HSBC thinks it does) "the bank likes 'demising' because it suggests that while the jobs will disappear, the employees won't necessarily leave the bank." (So, perhaps, this is the opposite of job creation?) New York Times, Bloomberg
Bank Payday Crackdown: Regulators have decided to crackdown on — or perhaps reinvent — bank payday loan products, more formally known as some type of deposit or checking advance. Anonymous sources told several news outlets, including American Banker, that the OCC and the FDIC, while electing not to ban the product entirely, will impose "strict limits" on their use, including a month-long cooling off period between loans and underwriting requirements. Guidance is expected to be issued separately by each regulator on Thursday. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post
Watchdog Findings: A report from the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program weighs in on the ongoing debate over "too big to fail" by asserting "that not enough has been done by government overseers to address the interconnected nature of the largest and most complex financial companies," reports the Journal. Meanwhile, the Post focuses on another of the report's findings that is sure to provide some fodder for the persistent debate over the role government programs played in the housing crisis: "The Treasury Department's Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, has failed to ensure that mortgage reductions are sustainable."
Corzine Gets Sued: A bankruptcy trustee representing hedge funds and other creditors of MF Global is suing Jon Corzine and two other former executives, alleging it was their leadership that killed the firm back in October 2011. A spokesman for Corzine called the lawsuit "filled with seriously flawed allegations." According to Dealbook, the case might "complicate an effort to return money to customers," since a separate lawsuit, filed by MF Global trustee James W. Giddens and some of the firm’s customers "has already returned about 89 percent of the shortfall to MF Global’s clients in the United States." The Journal notes "a criminal case into why money was removed from MF Global hasn't shown much momentum."
Barclays Earnings: It's some more bad news from Barclays as the bank's earnings reveal a 25% drop in first quarter pre-tax profit due largely to ongoing restructuring efforts. But the Journal focuses on a silver lining: "investment banking results … offset higher-than-expected costs across the group, and were better than figures posted by U.S. rivals earlier this month." This is particularly noteworthy given Barclays has been cutting investment banking jobs as part of its strategic revamp following its involvement in the Libor scandal. Financial Times, New York Times
The paper recaps why finding a suitable replacement for Libor is far-from-simple: "more than $350 trillion in contracts around the world depend on Libor, ranging from retail mortgages and student loans, to buy-out financing and complex derivatives."
New York Times
The SEC whistleblower program could be effective, if it manages to address all the challenges it currently faces.
SEC chairman Mary Jo White has hired Anne K. Small, "currently a special assistant to President Obama," as the agency's general counsel.