Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Recovery and Liftoff: There are signs of an improving economy, yes. Factory orders are up, there are fewer vacancies in apartment buildings. Unemployment is falling, too, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg report. But, until there is more significant improvement in the job market and wage growth, Fed Chair Janet Yellen and other Fed officials in all likelihood are going to lean toward keeping short-term interest rates near zero, the Journal says. Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg
Wall Street Journal
Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating JPMorgan Chase to determine whether it inappropriately steered wealth management clients to its own investment products, according to anonymice. The Journal says the probe is "parallel" to a previously reported investigation being pursued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over the same matter. It's not clear whether the OCC has closed its probe, which was launched several months ago, the paper says.
Where did I put that pile of iron ore? Citigroup is locked in a court battle with a Swiss trading firm over $270 million worth of forward sales of metal. Copper, iron ore and aluminum have been used as collateral on hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to Chinese commodities traders. But the problem is that much of the metal is unaccounted for at the Chinese ports where it's supposed to be held, leading the Chinese government to launch an investigation. Citigroup is seeking expedited payments, saying that the government investigation triggered its right to an early settlement of the financing deals.
It's nice to be Wells Fargo. The San Francisco bank holds $1.6 trillion in total assets, giving it a secure place among too big to fail institutions. But apparently Wells is not so complicated, because its nonbank assets total less than $250 billion, and thus would be far easier to unwind than its TBTF brethren, the Journal's Overheard column opines. That's why Wells wasn't taken to task for turning in a shoddy living will, as were JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The FT reports on the venture capital fund founded by former Citigroup and Visa executive Hans Morris, a fund that American Banker reported on back in March. Morris' fund will invest $20 million to $25 million over the next 18 months in companies that focus on alternative consumer credit, merchant payments and financial infrastructure software. Nyca's portfolio includes crowdfunder Indiegogo, and Affirm, which is involved in developing applications for short-term credit.
High-speed traders in the U.K. are bolting from investment banks and joining specialized firms to avoid upcoming European rules that, like the Volcker Rule, would ban proprietary trading.
New York Times
The Fed is at least partly to blame for letting the too big to fail banks continue to take outsized risks, enjoy the big paydays associated with those risks and threaten the financial system, an unsigned Times editorial says. While the FDIC seems to have said that largest banks' living wills don't work, the Fed is acting as an enabler. The Fed rejected the living wills, but told the banks they have another year to work on the documents, although they've already had years to write them.
The paper profiles Stanford University finance professor Anat Admati, who has advocated for stronger bank regulation, namely by focusing on where banks get their money. Bankers have rejected her suggestions as impractical, but Admati's influence has grown among policymakers. One of Admati's suggestions that especially outrages bankers is that institutions should be required to raise at least 30% of their funding in equity, about six times more than the largest banks' current average. Interestingly, Admati says there is no particular science behind the 30% figure.