Breaking News This Morning ...
Discount brokers to merge: TD Ameritrade is buying rival Scottrade for $4 billion. The combined company will have $944 billion in client assets and execute 600,000 client trades a day. TD says the merger will enable the two companies to cut costs by $450 million a year. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Visa B2B system to use blockchain: Visa is working on a new B2B cross-border payments system that uses blockchain technology. The new offering, called Visa B2B Connect, will use technology developed in partnership with Chain, a tech startup Visa has invested in. "Visa and Chain's system represents a new effort to challenge the Swift messaging network as the dominant method for moving large sums of money across borders between banks on behalf of businesses," the Wall Street Journal said. "Swift has been the subject of recent high-profile hacks and is under intensive regulatory scrutiny."
Visa, which is scheduled to report earnings after the close Monday, is expected to earn 73 cents a share in the third quarter, up 17% from a year earlier. "The actual number likely won't deviate much," says the Journal's Heard on the Street column. "The card giant has exceeded Wall Street's estimates with uncanny regularity, missing earnings forecasts only twice in the past five years. Both misses were slight."
Wells fund head to retire: Karla Rabusch, president of Wells Fargo Funds and head of Wells Fargo Funds Management, said she is retiring at the end of the year. Her retirement follows that of Michael Niedermeyer, the bank's former asset management head, who left earlier this year and was succeeded by Kristi Mitchem, who came over from State Street in June. Wells Fargo's asset management division has more than $480 billion under management. Rabusch has worked at Wells for the past 20 years.
Moody's discloses suits: Moody's said the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing a civil complaint against the ratings agency for allegedly inflating ratings on securities backed by residential mortgages before the financial crisis. It also said several state attorneys-general are preparing their own claims against the firm. "Critics have long complained that such ratings were inflated to win business, misleading countless investors who relied on agencies such as Moody's to provide a good guide to the securities' risk of default," the Financial Times said. Moody's shares fell 5% last Friday after it disclosed the suits in its third-quarter earnings report. In February 2015 rival S&P agreed to pay $1.38 billion to the DOJ and 19 states and the District of Columbia to settle a similar suit.
New York Times
What's better than a fish taco?: JPMorgan Chase is targeting millennials in a new marketing campaign that rolls out Monday to promote its Sapphire Reserve credit card. Three advertising spots feature James Corden, host of CBS's "The Late Late Show." The card, which has a $450 annual fee and offers a 100,000-point sign-up bonus plus triple points on dining and travel, has met with huge demand since it was introduced in August. "Millennials do travel differently," said Kristin Lemkau, the bank's chief marketing officer. "They clearly like experiences more than stuff. It's more fun to post a picture of a fish taco or of a sunset over a beach than of a new couch."