Receiving Wide Coverage …
Panama Papers: The Australian Tax Office will investigate some 800 wealthy clients of a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, after a leak of 11.5 million records that reveal detailed information about hundreds of thousands of clients — including former world leaders, businessmen, celebrities, sports stars and criminals — spanning from 1977 to last December. The German newspaper S#umlautu#ddeutsche Zeitung, Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and more than 100 global news organizations on Sunday released the documents that reportedly show some companies in the Caribbean tax haven were allegedly used for suspected money laundering and tax evasion. New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, BBC
By the Minutes: Investors will seek clues about the timing of a potential interest rate hike after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday releases the minutes from the March meeting of the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee, when Chairwoman Janet Yellen and fellow policymakers opted to leave interest rates unchanged for the immediate future. The European Central Bank will release the minutes of its March meeting the next day. New York Times, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
The new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari, is expected to call for yet more regulations on the nation's biggest banks Monday when he begins a series of public meetings to support his case that current rules fall short of properly preventing taxpayer bailouts of financial institutions in another crisis. Kashkari — a former Treasury Department official tasked with administering the TARP program — plans to end the year with a proposal to Congress about how that body should strengthen such rules. This comes after Kashkari earlier this year called on government to split up big banks such as Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase during a speech in Washington. Critics says Kashkari is under-informed about the process, has failed to prove his underlying premise that regulators are unwilling or unable to wind down failing firms during a crisis, and that he is wading into an area in which he is without authority.
Citigroup is signaling more activity overseas on a couple of different fronts. The bank is preparing to lend more in emerging markets (such as Turkey, the Middle East, Africa) in an effort to fill a void left by local banks which for years provided abundant cheap money but are now in retreat. Lending in these markets will become a top priority of two newly appointed heads of Citi's Emea corporate banking that covers 54 nations. Manolo Falco, the bank's head of corporate and investment banking for Emea, said the new lending would not mean Emea's overall balance sheet in these areas would grow. "It's more that we really move our balance sheet for better returns … where margins are better," he told the paper.
Meanwhile in Europe, Citi was tapped to safeguard $230 billion worth of securities for a few of Switzerland's largest financial institutions as the investment bank looks to expand its custody business. Citi will announce this week that it has entered a deal with an arm of the Swiss stock exchange in which the bank will handle U.S. assets for UBS and several state-backed Swiss "cantonal" banks. The deal will maintain Citi's status as the world's fourth biggest "custodian bank," after it has retreated elsewhere, as with its consumer operations, since 2012. Two years ago Citi wrested the Norwegian oil fund from rival JPMorgan, securing a $856 billion custody deal.
New York Times
The paper opines that while recent actions (MetLife winning a case against its SIFI designation; GE pursuing the same) may give the impression that regulators are losing ground against "too big to fail" institutions, a broader perspective reveals that "Dodd-Frank is mostly intact — and exacting slow, steady results." The Times offers as evidence that General Electric has slashed its assets more than half in response to the designation, and contends ruling in favor of MetLife "probably does not give traditional banks, like JPMorgan Chase, a pathway to shed stricter regulations."