Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Greener pastures: AJ Murphy, Bank of America’s head of global capital markets and one of the most senior women on Wall Street, is leaving the bank for Silver Lake, the private equity firm. “The departure means that BofA has lost another of its most senior female business heads, seven months after the loss of Lisa Carnoy, another former global head of capital markets,” the Financial Times notes. “Ms. Carnoy was ranked the fourth most powerful woman on Wall Street in 2013 by American Banker.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Court victories: A U.S. appeals court threw out the conviction of a former Jefferies Group mortgage bond trader, saying the district court “materially erred” in admitting evidence in his trial. The appeals court ordered Jesse Litvak, who has been serving a two-year prison sentence, released from detention. The Justice Department must now decide whether to seek a new trial.
Separately, federal prosecutors recently failed to make their case against former UBS precious metals trader Andre Flotron, who was charged with “spoofing,” or placing fake orders in order to create the impression of more investor interest than really exists. The trader was acquitted by the jury after only a few hours, which “raises questions about how the government will pursue future cases,” the New York Times says. “The verdict shows that prosecutors will continue to struggle to prove when a trading strategy crosses the line into criminal conduct.”
Mixed quarter: HSBC announced it would buy back another $2 billion in stock but said profit fell slightly as operating costs rose 13% and revenue rose 3%. “Given the state of the world at the moment and the opportunities in front of us, there are opportunities for us to invest in growth,” CEO John Flint said in explaining the increase in spending. “The fact we’re investing in the business is a sign of strength.” Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Ego in check: Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman’s “take-it-or-leave-it discipline has transformed Wall Street’s problem child into one of its steadiest performers,” the paper says in a long profile of the former McKinsey consultant. “Every big bank has changed since the financial crisis, but none as dramatically as Morgan Stanley under Mr. Gorman, who took the top job in 2010. His reboot offers a glimpse of Wall Street’s future: profitable enough, and with less of the outsize ambition and ego that drove firms toward the abyss a decade ago.”
So much money: China’s Ant Financial Services, which operates the world’s largest money market fund in addition to its big mobile payments operation, is opening two new funds in order to handle all the money coming in. The original fund, started just five years ago, now has $266 billion in assets after nearly doubling last year. The yuan-denominated fund is more than twice the size of the largest dollar-denominated money fund.
A little Yelp: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney is being raked over the coals for his comments about pay-to-play. But Blair Levin, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is more disappointed about Mulvaney’s desire to close the bureau’s consumer complaint database, saying he didn’t want to “run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government.”
“Governments need more, not fewer, Yelp-like services in their arsenals,” Levin says in an op-ed. “Consumer-supplied information can reduce reliance on regulation and enforcement to protect consumers by encouraging market forces that reward better business practices. The bureau has embraced an uncontroversial economic view that the free market works best when all sides have complete information about one another.”
“People know right from wrong and anyone we track down who kept a dollar of this money will be arrested for theft. The time to do the right thing and call us to turn in the money is now, because once we knock on your door, you won’t be able to avoid being arrested.” — Indiana State Police First Sgt. Bill Dalton after $600,000 fell out of the back of a Brink’s armored truck on Interstate 70 during rush hour, setting off a furious paper chase on the highway.