Receiving Wide Coverage ...
B of A Board Reckoning: A special meeting of Bank of America shareholders Tuesday will determine whether chief executive Brian Moynihan is permitted to hang on to the additional title of chairman. The bank’s board made a unilateral decision to put Moynihan in the dual role last fall, disregarding a binding 2009 shareholder vote to keep the positions separate. Disgruntled investors saw the move as “a classic case of a too-big-to-fail bank acting just as it pleases,” the Financial Times reports. That interpretation is shared by the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson, who writes Tuesday’s vote is less about Moynihan’s double role and more “about reminding the bank’s directors not to treat shareholders with contempt.” The Washington Post takes the upcoming vote as an occasion to explore the broader question of whether CEOs of public companies should be allowed to act as board chairs. Some management consultants say leaders in a dual role can make faster and more efficient decisions; critics argue there’s a clear conflict of interest embedded in this power structure.
Disappointed Bankers: Banks were none too pleased by the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay raising interest rates last week. But it’s not the government’s job to make bankers happy, according to the Times’ Paul Krugman. “There’s no reason to believe that what’s good for bankers is good for America,” he writes. He argues bankers’ undue influence over the Fed and other institutions has led to a confused monetary policy debate when in fact there’s little economic justification for a rate hike since inflation remains low. John Carney of “Heard on the Street” is less inclined to take a stance on the Fed’s decision, but he does opine bank profits will suffer as a result of the delay. Over at the FT, former Bank of England monetary policy committee member Andrew Sentence thinks the Fed is being overly cautious. “If you look around hard enough, there can always be a reason for not raising interest rates,” he writes. “But that highlights the key problem. Monetary policymakers are very timid at the moment.”
Wall Street Journal
The former chairman of JPMorgan’s Chinese unit has been implicated in the investigation into whether the company’s hiring practices violated bribery laws under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Charles Li served as chairman of J.P.Morgan China from 2003 to 2009 and is the current head of Hong Kong’s stock exchange. Emails reviewed by the paper suggest that Li weighed the advantages the bank would reap if it hired people connected to Chinese officials and clients, “particularly when requests were considered excessive, credentials were lacking, or the bank had no room for more people.”
The paper has debuted a series that will delve into “the new bond market that has taken shape since the financial crisis.”
The paper says it’s uncovered fresh evidence of sanctions violations by Standard Chartered. The paper says it has “identified transactions involving Iran that could put the bank at risk of severe penalties ranging from further fines to suspension or loss of its crucial dollar clearing license.” Documents reviewed by the paper suggest the bank was still doing business with Iranian clients even after promising to stop in 2007 and paying a hefty settlement for sanctions breaches in 2012.
The seventh anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ collapse is a good time to reflect on U.S. politicians’ failure to develop a coherent narrative of the causes of the financial crisis, writes Gary Silverman. “With so little agreement on the past, it has become more difficult to move forward, giving our current political discourse a decidedly fey quality,” he writes.
New York Times
As American Banker’s annual Women in Banking event approaches, it’s an opportune time to consider whether long working hours and other demands of contemporary corporate culture put certain demographics at a disadvantage. That’s the argument put forward by Anne-Marie Slaughter in a Times op-ed. She argues the inflexible structure of the American workplace rewards the young and child-free while punishing both men and women with caregiving responsibilities. The solution is a new “infrastructure of care” that includes such reforms as paid family and medical leave, affordable child care and elder care, better wages for professional caregivers and more flexible work schedules, she writes.