Daily Archives: November 23, 2015

These candidates are getting rich running for president

Yahoo Finance:

Here are rough estimates of the earnings of eight presidential candidates from select book sales in 2015. Totals for each author are highlighted in yellow:

Sources: Nielsen Bookscan, Amazon, Yahoo Finance estimates


Sources: Nielsen Bookscan, Amazon, Yahoo Finance estimates


Carl Icahn to Solicit Shareholder Support for AIG Breakup

Carl Icahn said he intends to begin a consent solicitation to give shareholders at American International Group Inc. the chance to express their views, a move he hopes will offer a mandate to force the insurer to consider his breakup plan.

The activist investor, who said he owns more than 42 million AIG shares, is pushing the giant insurer to pursue a split into three separate companies. A key part of his case is that if AIG were split up, each of the companies would be small enough to avert the “systemically important financial institution” designation.

Read on.

Banks eye less aggressive superintendent to lead NYDFS

It’s the Wall Street equivalent of Speaker of the House.

Regulating the big banks — a task that falls to the superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services — is getting a rep as one of the most thankless, unpopular and politically fraught jobs in the financial industry.

Five months after Ben Lawsky stepped down from the position, and with acting superintendent Anthony Albanese expected to leave at the end of this year, Gov. Cuomo is struggling to line up a permanent replacement to lead an office that has brought in billions to the state’s coffers, sources told The Post.

There are a couple of reasons why the position has gotten a bad rap recently.

First, potential candidates were turned off after reports surfaced last month that Cuomo was meddling with Albanese’s independence, such as demanding approval before subpoenas are issued in any investigation, sources said.

“It was always intended from the beginning that Mr. Albanese would be in the acting superintendent position on a temporary basis and that he would return to the private sector,” said Matt Anderson, a DFS spokesman.

“All enforcement decisions have been and are made independently by the Department of Financial Services.”

Read on.

A 1950s Superman Poster Says What We All Need To Hear About American Values Right Now

superman 1950.jpeg


This poster may date as far back as 1949, but its message is pretty relevant today.

Fear and prejudice in the wake of the Paris attacks makes this Cold War-era message as timely as ever.

The poster reads: “…And remember, boys and girls, your school — like our country — is made up of Americans of many different races, religions and national origins. So … if YOU hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin — don’t wait: tell him THAT KIND OF TALK IS UN-AMERICAN.”

It’s not clear where this photo of the poster originated, though a post on Reddit and Imgur referenced it about a year ago. It also received a bump in April from the Twitter accountHistory In Pictures.

The fine print on the poster says it’s from 1956, but a 2008 auction listing for a non-color version on the Hake’s Americana & Collectibles website puts the copyright date at 1949. With a copyright for National Comics, the poster clearly predates the 1970s, when the company rebranded as DC Comics.

Read on.

“High Profile” CEO Of China Brokerage “Disappears”: “Company Says Can’t Find Him”


As we outlined in September, Beijing’s “kill the chicken to scare the monkey” campaign has brokers, hedgies, and even securities regulators so terrified, that one money manager said the following to his friend after being “summoned” by Chinese authorities: “If I don’t come back, look after my wife.”

Earlier this month, WSJ took a look at China’s case against Xu Xiang, who runs Shanghai-based Zexi Investment. Xu is accused of insider trading and stock manipulation and not only did Beijing detain him, they also froze his parents’ accounts. “After Xu Xiang was arrested, many people got nervous,” one fund manager told The Journal. “I don’t want to get arrested,” said another.

Around the same time the media picked up on the Xu story, another CSRC official was arrested in China. Yao Gang, vice chairman of the securities regulator, is now under investigation for graft, Reuters reported a little over a week ago, noting that Yao is the second official from the capital markets watchdog to come under scrutiny.

This is the backdrop against which Guotai’s Chairman and CEO Yim Fung went “missing” on November 18. 

New York AG Opens Probe Into Currency Manipulation

The New York Attorney General has opened an investigation into possible manipulation of options contracts tied to currencies of developing nations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The regulator filed subpoenas last week to four brokers that operate platforms for trading the contracts: Tullett Prebon PLC, BGC Partners Inc., GFI Group Inc. and TFS-ICAP Ltd., the person said. The investigation was started after the attorney general’s office received a tip and is still at a preliminary stage, the person said.

The inquiries center on the alleged use of bids or offers by firms to bluff others into believing particular contracts had more buying and selling interest than they truly had, a practice also known as “ghosting” or “flying,” the person said. By increasing volume, brokers that operate trading platforms could gain more fees, the person said.

The office’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is leading the investigation. Representatives for the brokers who were sent subpoenas declined to comment.

Read on.

Fed’s Tarullo to Biggest Banks: Stress Tests Likely Will Get Harder

The Federal Reserve’s point man on bank regulation said the central bank’s annual stress tests are likely to get harder for the very largest banks.

Fed governor Daniel Tarullo said Monday that the Fed is likely to increase the minimum capital required for banks to pass the tests.

“I think there is a pretty good chance, in fact I think it’s more than a pretty good chance, that in the end of the day…there will be some net increase in the post-stress minimum capital requirements,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

That outcome has been among large banks’ biggest fears since this summer when the Fed raised capital requirements for eight of the largest U.S. banks. Those requirements apply during normal times, but the Fed left it unclear whether they would apply under the stress tests, which simulate a severe recession.

Firms such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. already have shed or shrunk business lines and spent millions of dollars rebuilding internal systems in order to pass the current versions of the stress tests. By raising the “post-stress minimum,” the Fed effectively would be forcing them to take further actions to shed risky assets or raise more capital.

Read on.