Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Lots (and Lots) of Personnel Changes: News broke late yesterday that Wells Fargo was shuffling around some of its senior executives. Timothy Sloan is vacating his chief financial officer position to take over as Wells' head of wholesale banking. He replaces David Hoyt, who is retiring. John Shrewsberry, currently head of securities, will take over Sloan's CFO position. Wells didn't offer much of an explanation for the changes. CEO John Stumpf issued a statement about the value of rotating "high-caliber" leaders, but that was about it. Sloan is widely considered a potential Stumpf successor. "It's a vote of confidence in Tim Sloan from the management team," one analyst tells the FT. "If he's going to move on eventually, much higher, you would think he'd be in a position to be head of a major business." Meanwhile, Citigroup apparently fired two rogue bond traders at its Mexican unit last year. Per Reuters, the two traders executed unauthorized trades that caused millions of dollars in paper losses. These losses, interestingly enough, are not related to the fraud Citi uncovered in its Mexican unit back in February, reports the Journal. And, in other big bank personnel news, the Journal is also reporting currency trader Milko Campusano will be leaving Bank of America. The paper's not sure why, but hints at a few possible explanations: could be because currency trading has suddenly become less lucrative, thanks to regulation and electronic trading; could be all those forex probes of big banks lately.
Some Goldman News: Goldman Sachs is close to selling its iconic market-maker unit to Dutch firm IMC Financial Markets. "Market makers facilitate trading by buying and selling shares of public companies," Dealbook explains. "Once known as specialists, the industry has largely been phased out by technology." Meanwhile, the FT reports the investment bank is preparing to be hit (any minute now) with a multimillion dollar fine "as part of an EU cartel case on subsea power cables that will underline the legal risks faced by buyout groups."
Wall Street Journal
By the way, speaking of high-speed trading (and, you know, isn't everybody?), anonymice say both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission "are looking into ties between high-speed traders and major exchanges, examining whether the firms are getting preferential treatment that puts other investors at a disadvantage."
HSBC has been told by an independent monitor that its anti-money laundering systems need an upgrade.
Overdraft fees are being lifted to new heights, as regulation and low rates on loans eat away at banks' revenue.
Wall Street banks "are seeking to tear up as many derivatives trades [as] they can to meet new, tougher rules on capital."
Risk management at big banks, in general, can expect scrutiny. "So far most large banks have failed to meet new heightened expectations on risk management outlined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency after the financial crisis," an article notes.
Anonymice tell the paper the People's Bank of China is mulling whether to order Chinese banks to close Bitcoin trading accounts. "If that order goes through, it would eliminate the last major remaining channel by which people in China can buy the virtual currency," the paper notes.
New York Times
German stock exchange Deutsche Bore is the subject of a U.S. criminal investigation into potential violations of money-laundering laws and Iran sanctions.
In case you have some time today, Dealbook has been running an ongoing Future of Money series. (Per Andrew Ross Sorkin's contribution: "If the last three decades revolutionized the information and telecommunications industries, the next three may upend the basic tenets of finance: currency, credit and banks, as well as payment and transmission systems. Your children may even ask you, 'What was it like to see that old-fashioned building called a bank?'") Some of the series' features will sound familiar: U.S. mobile payments adoption lags behind other nations; bank branches are getting smaller; credit card security is a priority in card innovation. But a few points are worth exploring. Cash, for instance, may not be dead (a new recurring theme, it seems). Bitcoin and other virtual currencies may have yet to take off, because current monetary systems work so much better. And this infographic "Where's Satoshi Nakamoto?" is certainly clever, given the whole Newsweek unmasking/not unmasking drama around Bitcoin's creator a few weeks ago.