More changes at Goldman; SunTrust outage continues

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More new faces
Goldman Sachs announced more executive changes as David Solomon prepares to take over as CEO next month. Richard Gnodde, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, was given responsibility for the rest of the firm's business outside North America. Tim O'Neill, head of investment management, picked up the additional title of vice chairman.

Solomon's ascension to the Goldman throne marks the end of an era for J. Aron & Co., the commodities broker Goldman purchased 37 years ago which produced "a bloodline of executives that would come to dominate [Goldman's] upper reaches for years." J. Aron alumni include outgoing CEO Lloyd Blankfein and the "cadre of J. Aron alumni he elevated as he rose—Gary Cohn, Harvey Schwartz, Isabelle Ealet, Edith Cooper and others," most of whom have left the firm. "When Martin Chavez, a former J. Aron strategist, steps down as Goldman's chief financial officer in November, it will mark the end of the commodities traders' decadelong grip on the executive suite."

Goldman also promoted Carey Halio, the chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs Bank USA, its lending and deposit-taking division, to CEO of the unit.

Wall Street Journal

Technical difficulties
The outage of SunTrust Banks' website and mobile app continued into a second day on Monday, preventing many of the bank's customers from accessing their accounts. The bank blamed the outage on "a normal system upgrade that experienced technical difficulty." (We cover it here.)

It was a very good year
The average salary and bonus for employees at securities firms in New York City rose 10% last year to an average $422,500, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office said. The average for securities industry employees in the whole state rose 12% to $403,100. That's more than six times the average pay for all employees in the state.

Sworn in
Richard Clarida was sworn in as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve on Monday, taking the oath of office from Fed chair Jerome Powell. The seven-seat Fed board now has three vacancies. Kansas bank regulator Michelle Bowman and Carnegie Mellon economist Marvin Goodfriend have both been approved by the Senate Banking Committee but await confirmation by the full Senate.

Financial Times

In like Flint
Goldman Sachs isn't the only major bank shuffling executives as a new CEO takes over. António Simões, chief executive of Europe and head of HSBC Bank plc, will become head of HSBC's private bank effective January 1. James Emmett, who has been acting head of Europe after Simões went on sabbatical in March, will replace him on a permanent basis. "The appointments show [new CEO] John Flint is steadily reshaping his senior leadership team."

Vote of confidence
Berkshire Hathaway's $300 million investment in Paytm couldn't have come at a better time for the Indian fintech company, which "faces questions about rising competition and structural changes in the market" that threaten its growth prospects and the future of mobile payments in India.


Ready to launch
Ripple, which has been working on a system that would enable commercial banks to use its XRP cryptocurrency to facilitate global interbank payments, expects to go live with the xRapid product soon. "I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production," said Sagar Sarbhai, Ripple's head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.


"A couple of years ago the narrative was: blockchain good, crypto bad. What we're now seeing is more and more regulators, policymakers taking the whole space in one conjunction. So, I think that narrative thankfully is now changing because policymakers, regulators are seeing that there is a strong benefit that digital assets, cryptocurrencies bring in." — Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple.

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