Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Romney's Reserve: Various news outlets are following up on a Times article from Binyamin Applebaum that focuses on potential Federal Reserve chairman replacements for Ben Bernanke should Republican candidate Mitt Romney win the upcoming presidential election. (It should be noted some attention is also being given to potential Obama appointees, given Andrew Ross Sorkin's recent disclosure Bernanke isn't interested in another term once his current one expires in January 2014, but with much less fervor, perhaps, since another Obama appointee is generally considered less likely to dramatically overhaul monetary policy. Romney, on the other hand, has criticized recent Fed attempts to stimulate the economy.) Applebaum's article focuses on three likely Romney candidates — R. Glenn Hubbard, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, his successor N. Gregory Mankiw and John B. Taylor, a Stanford University economics professor — with the general takeaway being that Taylor, "an outspoken critic of Fed policy" is most likely to implement a hawkish overhaul. (QE4 never, perhaps?) However, a subsequent analysis from FT blogger Robin Harding suggests it may be impossible for any new Fed chairman to turn a bunch of doves into hawks, given the term limits of its existing governors and the current body of regional presidents. "Even if a president Romney appointed a hawkish Fed chairman in 2014, around half the voting membership of the FOMC would probably be doves who had backed current policy," Harding writes. "Any change towards more hawkish policy initiated by a new chairman would have to be slow and gradual, which is just how the designers of the Federal Reserve System wanted it." This sentiment was echoed by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, who also believes a major revamp would be difficult, even from a hawk like Taylor. "The Fed board isn't a bunch of muppets, rubber-stamping whatever the chairman wants," he writes. "It's pretty easy to build a consensus around low interest rates when inflation is low. Taylor, by contrast, would be trying to build a consensus around higher interest rates when inflation is low — and that's much more difficult."
Wall Street Journal
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is expected to defend his latest stimulus plan today before Germany's parliament "where opposition to his crisis strategy runs deep."
Both NYSE Euronext, owner of the New York Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq are expected to alter proposals for automated trading tools amidst criticism from "mutual funds and securities regulators" that the planned rules could prove risky for the market and institutional investors.
The U.K. government continues to push the Royal Bank of Scotland regarding a sale of its U.S. unit RBS Citizens, with bank board members appearing before British parliament's Treasury select committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the "'trade-offs ... from a shareholder perspective" of any move to sell.
UBS is also looking to downsize, "planning further drastic cutbacks in its struggling investment bank" in an attempt to "retreat to its more profitable wealth management business." Executives in New York on Tuesday were hashing out the details of this plan, which will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the investment bank and support functions.
This article takes a look at what will happen to bond investors on the day Ben Bernanke reverses his promise to keep interest rates at a low level. (Spoiler alert: the headline calls this a "day of reckoning.")
New York Times
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced plans to oversee debt collection agencies.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission advanced new consumer protection rules for brokerage firms on Tuesday, "aimed at closing loopholes, bolstering internal controls and forcing firms to provide more disclosures to their clients."
Barnes & Nobles experienced a recent credit card data breach at 63 locations after hackers broke into the keypads in front of registers to obtain PIN and card numbers. The company discovered the breach around Sept. 14 but "kept the matter quiet at the Justice Department's request so the F.B.I. could determine who was behind the attacks."
Speaking of credit card data breaches, here's one of the wackier versions of credit card fraud we've heard in a while: Anthony Johnson, a 49-year-old Connecticut resident and his "string of accomplices" racked up as much $70,000 a week in fraudulent charges after stealing cards from patrons at local movie theaters. How did he obtain these cards, you're wondering? Not by cracking into PIN pads, it seems. Instead, "once the movie started, Johnson crawled on the floor, removed credit cards from the stored purses, and returned the wallet to the purses," the Hartford Courant quotes from the FBI's affidavit. Though only recently convicted, Johnson apparently "has been creeping over theater floors since at least 2007." He's currently awaiting sentence for his crimes.