Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Stumpf to the Hill: The Senate Banking Committee plans to question Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf as pressure on the bank grows in light of the unauthorized accounts scandal. Several Wells executives are scheduled to brief panel members Tuesday prior to the hearing, which is scheduled for September 20. "Clearly there is a disconnect between whatever Mr. Stumpf was telling the public and what was actually going on at Wells Fargo — and that's putting it politely," Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in the New York Times DealBook section.
Meanwhile, the bank is telling its employees to "please suspend referrals of products or services unless requested by customers until further notice."
Separately, the Financial Times reported that two large institutional shareholders are demanding to know what the bank plans to do about the millions of dollars in bonuses that were paid to Carrie Tolstedt, head of the community banking division at the center of the scandal, who announced her retirement in July. Tolstedt was paid at least $45 million since 2011, including more than $9 million last year, according to the paper. "There's no point having a clawback if it doesn't claw in circumstances like this," one large shareholder said. "What has happened at Wells is an affront to the integrity of the institution." Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, American Banker
Wall Street Journal
On their own: More than a dozen investment advisers who manage a collective $2.2 billion in client assets are leaving Morgan Stanley and striking out on their own. Members of Morgan Stanley's Kirk Bahm Group, in Wichita, Kan., said they quit to form their own investment-advisory firm called 6 Meridian LLC. Margaret Dechant, a 14-year industry veteran who led the group, said the "complexity and needs" of their clients and the "distractions of a larger firm" led them to seek independence. "Every investment option, investment manager and investment style has to be vetted by a big committee" at Morgan Stanley, added another advisor. "We're much more nimble."
Another exit at HSBC: Spencer Lake, a group general manager at HSBC Holdings, is leaving the bank, the latest in a series of executive exits from the global banking division as the bank reduces headcount and consolidates business units. Lake ran the bank's global capital financing business until last February, when it was merged into HSBC's global banking unit. He then had a greatly reduced role in day-to-day operations, the paper said. HSBC is cutting tens of thousands of jobs and exiting businesses to save money and improve returns.
Cure for QE: Two British bankers are looking to raise $250 million to fund a new corporate bank "that aims to help unwind some of finance's persistent contortions" caused by central bank quantitative easing programs, according to the Financial Times. The bank, called First Global Trust, was approved by U.K. regulators in April. It wants to become a "repository for the illiquid assets that are clogging up both central banks and commercial banks, preventing them from lending to mainstream customers. It will take corporate deposits and use them to buy assets such as securitizations, which have had their price and liquidity distorted by central bank buying and ultra-low interest rates."
New York Times
What a card: Usually, credit cards with $450 annual fees have only a select few customers. Not so JPMorgan Chase's Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The bank was inundated with requests for the card even before it was officially launched, then "ran out of the engraved card's fancy metal stock in only 10 days," leaving disappointed cardholders to settle for a temporary plain old plastic version. What's all the fuss about? The card offers a 100,000-point sign-up bonus, double the standard offer on competing cards. The card, the Times reports, has "intensified the arms race among large credit card issuers."
Whistleblower suit: A federal appeals court Monday said a private banker's whistleblower lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase can move forward. The former banker, Jennifer Sharkey, claimed she was fired seven years ago, a week after warning that an Israeli client might be committing fraud. A federal district court judge dismissed the suit last year, saying the former banker may have been fired based on her performance. But the appeals court said there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Sharkey had a "reasonable belief" that the client was engaged in fraud and that the "close temporal proximity" between her warning and her firing justified letting the case proceed.