Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Second Look at Citi: Don't be fooled by Citi's earnings. General consensus among news outlets is that profits may have bested expectations, but relief more than accolades is in order. "After two preceding quarters, in which Citi failed to meet already lowered expectations, a revelation of fraud in Mexico and a rejection of Citi's capital-return request by the Federal Reserve, discovering the ball hadn't been yanked away this time was a welcome change," Heard on the Street columnist John Carney explains. Plus, it's not as if the news sent Citi's stock soaring. "Shares jumped as much as 4.4 percent on the better-than-expected earnings report," notes BreakingViews columnist Antony Currie. "But even with that, the bank is trading at just 83 percent of its tangible book value, the only major financial firm currently stuck at less than its net worth." Echoes the FT's Lex: "A disappointing quarter would have made the bank's situation feel worse, but it needs to clean up its processes and produce even better profits for the stock to break out." Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, of course, is vowing an "'industrial-strength' solution to the regulatory problems dogging the bank," notes the Journal. Which is good considering Citi just revealed it has discovered a tad bit more fraud in its Mexican unit.
Disruptor Alert: Looks like Facebook is getting into mobile payments. Anony-mice tell the FT that the social network is close to earning regulatory approval to offer remittances and money transfers in Ireland and it's eyeing partnerships with London tech startups that offer international money transfer services as well. "Facebook could charge a commission for each transaction and collect a portion of payments, giving the company a new revenue stream beyond just advertising," speculates the Journal, since Facebook itself isn't commenting on its plans. Of course, "it is unclear that people will trust Facebook to handle their money, given concerns about personal data mining by the social media network to boost advertising on the site," notes the paper. Also: Reuters, PaymentsSource
Barclays Personnel Update: Barclays is replacing Sir John Sunderland as chair of its board remuneration committee following that whole thing where, you know, bank profits fell, but bonuses didn't. Per the FT, Sunderland will be succeeded by "city veteran" Crawford Gillies, who will take over as a chair of the committee at a yet-to-be-specified date. And the Journal is out with a profile albeit not an interview of Barclays new finance chief Tushar Morzaria. And how about this for a lede? "In recent private meetings with analysts and investors, Morzaria, surprised attendees with a frank admission, according to participants: The British bank doesn't have a credible plan for what to do with its sprawling investment bank." Ok, good to know.
Wall Street Journal
The Securities and Exchange Commission is mulling curbs on "maker-taker" fee plans used by many high-speed trading companies. "Such fees have come to dominate trading as exchange operators try to compete for orders," the paper notes. "The result, critics say, is an overly complex market often driven more by how fees are parceled out than by the availability of a stock."
"Stockbrokers Who Fail Tests Have Checkered Records," finds a new Journal analysis.
Columnist Martin Arnold argues that a look at Wells Fargo and the U.K.'s beleaguered Co-operative Bank exposes executive pay as the wrong target of critics: "The U.S. bank has thrived despite paying top dollar to its executives, while the ailing U.K. lender criticized the 'highly leveraged incentive plans' of rivals in its 2009 annual report and historically paid relatively low bonuses."