Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Judgment Day at JPM: Today is the day JPMorgan Chase shareholders will vote on a proposal to strip Jamie Dimon of his dual title as chairman and CEO. Bad news for Dimon detractors: Shareholder activists pushing for the proposal were "talking down the prospects of winning" the vote after regaining access to preliminary tallies from Broadridge, the firm that provides tabulations, the FT reports. Good news for JPM critics: The bank is "preparing for a shake-up of its board" even if each director wins re-election and Dimon retains both the chairman and CEO titles, anonymous sources tell the Journal. Three directors Ellen Futter, David Cote and James Crown are showing very small majorities in early voting and other directors Laban Jackson and Lee Raymond may leave "because they are tired of serving" on the board. Both news outlets indicate the battle over corporate governance at JPM may not end in Tampa. Investors hoping for more oversight vowed to the FT to "press on even after the meeting", and told the Journal "a lack of corrective steps from the bank even if it prevails on the split-role measure and directors' re-election could spark another shareholder firestorm in 2014." Those looking for real-time updates from JPM's annual shareholder meeting can follow American Banker National Editor Maria Aspan on Twitter.
SAC Update: SAC Capital Advisors "is bracing itself for another round of withdrawal requests from investors," Dealbook reports, following the news that Steven Cohen and other executives have been subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury as the government investigates insider trading at the hedge fund. Dealbook notes that Cohen has maintained he wants to continue managing other people's money, but may have to wind down the firm due to the increased scrutiny. More pointedly, an anonymouse tells Bloomberg the exec is "considering proposing a deal to prosecutors that would shut his $15 billion hedge-fund firm to outside investors" to avoid criminal charges against SAC. Meanwhile, another Dealbook article analyzes the hedge fund's decision to no longer fully cooperate with the government's investigation. "The whole idea of dangling a carrot in front of a mule is so that it thinks it can get the reward by moving forward," Peter J. Henning writes. "SAC may have decided it will never get the benefits offered to cooperative companies in other cases, so there is no reason to make the prosecutor's job any easier if the end result is likely to be the same."
Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to allow its case against Standard & Poor's Ratings Services over allegedly overrated mortgage investments to proceed. Scan readers will recall S&P formally urged a judge to dismiss the case back in April, citing that "snippets" of conversation in the DOJ's claim don't constitute evidence and, instead, added up to puffery. "It would no doubt come as some surprise to many [ ] that S&P's repeated assurances that its ratings were objective, independent, and uninfluenced by any conflict of interest were 'mere puffery,' entitled to no more weight than an infomercial hawker's claim that his knife will outlast any other," the DOJ countered in its filing.
Institutional investors at mutual-fund firms are getting more aggressive about making demands on board director pay, believing compensation should be tied directly to performance. "When you've gone to restricted-stock world, basically directors get paid more or less for showing up," one mutual-fund firm executive tells the paper.
This news may come as a surprise, given the negative headlines global banks have been known to generate: A quarter of the names appearing in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking from Millward Brown Optimor "are banks, insurance companies or credit cards."
New York Times
Former senator Judd Gregg will become chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Nine financial firms, including Barclays, Citigroup, JPM, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, are working with Thomson Reuters and Markit on creating an alternative to Bloomberg's chat messaging network. The initiative predates the controversy over Bloomberg reporters getting access to customer information via the company's financial data terminals to get a jump on news coverage. "Banks have been looking for ways to lessen their reliance on the terminals and lower their payments to Bloomberg," the Dealbook article notes.
"Few bankers" were invited to preside over the $1.1 billion Yahoo takeover of Tumblr.