Hanging Up on Earnings Calls: JPMorgan Chase Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake already does much of the talking on the megabank's quarterly earnings calls and soon she may start running the show. Jamie Dimon, the bank's famously outspoken CEO, told analysts on the quarterly earnings call Tuesday that he may sit back on future earnings calls so Lake can step up. "Don't be surprised one of these days if I don't show up don't read anything into it" he said on the call. Lake does "such a good job, that I've become unnecessary to be on all of them, and I can obviously go do other things." (The only leader of a top five U.S. bank that skips the quarterly call is Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.) Lake is often mentioned as a possible successor to Dimon, although he has said he wants to remain at the helm for another five years. Lake, 45, was ranked third on American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking rankings in 2014 and earlier this month Crain's named her the second most powerful woman in New York.
Batting for a New Team: Ex-Morgan Stanley heavy-hitter turned Google CFO Ruth Porat was a hit on her earnings call last week, her first time addressing Wall Street analysts since joining the tech giant in March. The call was held after markets closed on July 16 and the next day Google's shares rose more than 16% and its market capitalization topped $400 billion for the first time. One analyst said the stock surged in reaction to Porat's emphasis on capital returns for shareholders. Google has nearly $70 billion in cash and for more than a year the Street has been urging the company to return some of that capital to investors in the form of a dividend or a stock buyback. "The key issue is, what do we need for working capital?" Porat said. "What do we need for [capital expenditures]? What do we need for [mergers and acquisitions]? What do we need potentially for capital return?" She also spoke about reining in costs and tried to quell concerns about "moonshot" investments. Porat ranked third on American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Finance list in 2014.
Woman on the Verge of an SEC Shakedown: The Securities and Exchange Commission's suit against Lynn Tilton will proceed as planned, unless the wild woman of Wall Street wins an appeal to have her case moved to federal court. Tilton is accused of defrauding investors in three collateralized loan obligation funds operated by her private equity firm, Patriarch Partners. The SEC says Tilton, who specializes in trading distressed loans, told investors that loans were performing when they weren't and that Patriarch collected $200 million in management fees it shouldn't have. Tilton countersued, arguing that by bringing its case within its internal administrative law system, the SEC is is violating her constitutional rights, as well as tilting the playing field. A federal judge sided with the SEC and dismissed the countersuit on June 30, but Tilton has appealed the ruling in a last-ditch bid to move the case to federal court. The SEC trial is scheduled for October.
Another Woman in Washington?: President Obama intends to nominate Kathryn Dominguez for one of two vacant seats on the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. Dominguez is a public policy and economics professor at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and previously taught at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She has a doctorate in economics from Yale, with academic specialties in financial markets and foreign exchange-rate behavior. If confirmed by the Senate, Dominguez would fill a term that expires Jan. 31, 2018.
Open to Raising the SIFI Bar: Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen is open to raising the threshold for determining a bank's systemic importance. Under Dodd-Frank, banks with more than $50 billion of assets are labeled systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs, and are subject to extra scrutiny by the Fed. A bill introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and passed by a Senate panel in May would loosen the definition and permit banks with between $50 billion and $500 billion of assets to lose the SIFI classification if the Fed determines they aren't systemically risky. At a Senate hearing last week, Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, reminded Yellen that Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo has told the Senate Finance Committee that he supports raising the threshold above $50 billion. Her reply: "Like Governor Tarullo, I would be open to a modest increase in the threshold."
Three Bank of America executives have taken on new roles as part of a company shakeup. Global human resources executive Andrea Smith was promoted to chief administrative officer, a newly created position in which she will oversee global corporate strategy, legacy assets and servicing, community engagement, corporate security among other duties. Global chief strategy and marketing officer Anne Finucane has taken on the additional title of vice chairman. Cathy Bessant, global technology and operations executive, has had her title updated to chief operations and technology officer to reflect her operational responsibilities.
Folsom Lake Bank in Folsom, Calif., has appointed Renee Nash to its board. She's general counsel at Professional Educational Services in Granite Bay, Calif., and previously was a lobbyist for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
HomeTrust Bancshares has hired Kristin Powell as senior vice president and director of mortgage lending. Previously she was vice president and market manager for PNC Mortgage's Central North Carolina market.
First Niagara Financial in Buffalo has hired former HSBC executive Peggy Yankovich to lead
the commercial card and payments business of its treasury management group. At
HSBC she was global head of corporate cards, global payments and cash
Signature Bank in New York is expanding into municipal finance. Among the executives hired for its newly formed Signature Public Finance unit is Tonia Lee, formerly of Grant Capital Management, who will be a senior documentation officer. The subsidiary of the $28.6 billion-asset bank will provide tax-exempt lending and leasing products to governments throughout the U.S., including state and local governments, school districts and fire and police departments.
In Case You Missed It
A 99-year-old Wall Street adviser will ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 3 to commemorate her 100th birthday. Stralem & Co. adviser Irene Bergman's family came to the U.S. in 1942 after being chased by Nazis from Germany and then Holland. First a bank secretary upon her arrival here, she joined NYSE member Hallgarten & Co. 15 years later, made her way to Loeb Rhoades & Co. and in 1973, Stralem. "Women on Wall Street were not very popular," she told Bloomberg. "[Stralem] was the first place where I was treated like an equal." In an earlier profile, Bergman claims she has never lost a client. She turns 100 on Aug. 2.
National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver says he has "no doubt" that Becky Hammon or another equally qualified woman could be an NBA head coach. Hammon became the first full-time assistant coach in the NBA when the San Antonio Spurs brought her on last season and she just became the first female coach to win an NBA summer league championship. Analysts are now suggesting other teams in the league think seriously about hiring her as head coach. Silver said in an interview on ESPN that there could be more opportunities for female leadership in professional basketball as more women play in the WNBA and work in the NBA. "I think just like we've seen enormous change in our society, just in the last decade, I think that's another ceiling, another barrier that will be broken," Silver said. "And it takes women like Becky being out there."
Women now earn 81.9 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to new data from the Labor Department down slightly from 84 cents last year. Don't get too excited though; the new figure doesn't consider different types of jobs or total hours worked. The full-time status variable is reduced to anyone working 35 hours or more, but labor statistics from last year show men are more likely to work longer weeks. Why? One obvious theory: children. The wage difference between women 20 to 24 years old and their male peers is smallest, but it widens considerably in the 35 to 44 bracket.
The day that report came out, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that from October 2016 companies with more than 250 employees will be required to publicly disclose information on the average pay of their male and female employees an effort to create the necessary pressure that can actually drive change. The regulations were passed in March and will be subject to public consultation in September, which will determine "exactly what, where, and when information should be published."