Daily Archives: December 22, 2015

Deutsche Bank’s suspicious Russian trades count climbs

Deutsche Bank has identified an additional $4 billion in suspicious trades involving its Russian operations, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing several people with knowledge of the bank’s review of the matter.

The new findings are in addition to the $6 billion in mirror trades already identified by the bank this year, bringing the total count to up to $10 billion.

The mirror trades involved clients using Deutsche Bank to buy securities in roubles only to sell them shortly after in a foreign currency.

The transactions may have allowed Russian customers to move money from one country to another without alerting the authorities, potentially allowing them to breach the sanctions against Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Deutsche Bank, which declined to comment on the size of the trades, said it is investigating certain equity trades in Moscow and London, adding the total volume of the transactions under review is “significant.”

Read on.

Bank of America uses copyright to censor business reporter’s tweets

I had an annoying surprise this weekend: an email from a bank telling me that Twitter had deleted two of my tweets for copyright violations. The email also contained a threat: If I continued to violate the bank’s rights, my Twitter account would be deleted.

Needless to say, I deny the allegation. Quoting from or posting a brief segment of a research document is not a violation of copyright.

The bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, did not return multiple messages requesting comment. Twitter declined comment other than to point me to the company’s copyright policy.

And while this is only two tweets, there is a principle at stake. Investment banks apparently have the power to censor journalists on Twitter, simply by asking.

Read on.

Libor Rigging: Trader’s Jail Term Is Reduced

A City trader who became the first man to be jailed for rigging Libor interest rates, receiving one of the longest sentences for white-collar crime in UK history, has had his jail term reduced.

Tom Hayes won a three-year cut in his 14-year sentence from the Court of Appeal – however, an attempt to get his conviction at Southwark Crown Court overturned was unsuccessful.

A panel of judges said the initial punishment handed to the 35-year-old, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome shortly before his trial began, was longer than necessary.

Read on.

Wall Street Mulls Naughty List for Ethically Challenged Bankers

Bankers’ misdeeds would be cataloged, by name, on a private registry for hiring managers under a proposal that’s gaining traction as Wall Street firms struggle to restore reputations damaged by the financial crisis and the Libor and foreign-exchange scandals.

When traders or bankers leave a firm, any instances in which they’ve violated the firm’s ethics or conduct rules would be listed on a central database, allowing prospective employers to see their records before deciding whether to hire them. The concept, promoted by Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley following a similar plan in the U.K., is aimed at stopping offenders from moving easily between banks.

Read on.

Morgan Stanley : to pay U.S. SEC $8.8 million in ‘parking’ scheme case

(Reuters) – A Morgan Stanley unit will pay $8.8 million (£6 million) to settle charges that one of its portfolio managers conducted pre-arranged trades that favoured certain clients’ accounts over others, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.

The portfolio manager, Sheila Huang, agreed to be barred from the industry and pay a $125,000 penalty, according to the settlement between the SEC, Morgan Stanley and Huang.

Read on.

New Yorker threatens to become war journalist to stop mother selling his home

From the “truth is stranger than fiction” file comes a real doozy from New York.

Here goes. A New York man is currently fighting to retain his ownership of a well-known building that he inherited from his mother, but not before allegedly threatening to go to extreme lengths to keep her from selling the building, reportedly telling her that the sale of the building would leave him homeless, drive him to commit suicide, or perhaps even worse, to become a journalist.

DNAinfo.com has the whole story, and it’s a head scratcher of the highest order.

CFPB: Complaints about Ocwen keep falling

Long the target of regulators and consumers due to its mortgage servicing practices,Ocwen Financial finds itself in a unique position in a new report from theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The report is the CFPB’s latest snapshot report about its consumer complaint database, and Ocwen again sits in the top ten most-complained-about companies. That’s not what’s unique about Ocwen’s place in this month’s report.

Read on.

Virginia officials deny Center of Public Integrity access to reports from auto-title lenders

Despite saying they have no legal basis to do so, Virginia state officials have denied the Center for Public Integrity immediate access to annual corporate reports filed with the state by the nation’s three major auto-title lenders.

The title-loan companies TitleMax of Virginia; Anderson Financial Services LLC, doing business as LoanMax; and Fast Auto Loans Inc. argue that releasing the reports would seriously damage their businesses.

In November, the Center for Public Integrity sought copies of the 2014 annual reports the three lenders filed with the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions. In addition to revenues, the lenders must report data such as the number of title loans and their terms, the number of defaults and how often they sue customers or repossess their cars. The companies also must disclose if they have been the subject of any “regulatory investigation” for misconduct anywhere in the country within the past three years.

In a filing made public on Monday, state officials, in reaction to petitions filed by the three loan companies that argued the information should not be made public, said they were “not persuaded” by objections from the title companies. Officials also said they “were unaware of any statutory or other legal basis preventing the reports from being treated as public records.”

Read on.

Wall Street watchdog blasts omnibus deal

One of the nation’s top financial regulators is blasting the low level of funding his agency received in the recent passed spending bill.

Timothy Massad, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said the level of funding his agency received is far short of what it needs to be effective.

“The failure to provide the CFTC even a modest increase in the fiscal year 2016 budget agreement sends a clear message that meaningful oversight of the derivatives markets, and the very types of products that exacerbated the global financial crisis, is not a priority,” he said in a statement. “The CFTC’s appropriation simply doesn’t match our vast responsibilities.”

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending package Friday, including $250 million for the CFTC, which oversees the financial derivatives marketplace. That leaves the watchdog’s funding levels unchanged from fiscal 2015 and below the $280 million Obama requested in his last budget request.

Read on.

Freddie Mac sells first pool of non-performing loans to non-profit buyer

Small pool of Wells Fargo-serviced loans sold

Freddie Mac announced Monday that it sold its first pool of non-performing loans to a non-profit buyer, Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Inc.

The non-performing loan sale was initially announced in November, as part of a larger offering of $1.2 billion in “deeply delinquent” loans that were currently being serviced by Wells Fargo.

The sale to Community Loan Fund of New Jersey was part of Freddie Mac’s Extended Timeline Pool Offerings, which target participation by smaller investors, including non-profits and minority and women-owned businesses.

There were two EXPO pools that were offered as part of the November sale, but only one of the pools found a buyer via auction.

The pool to be purchased by Community Loan Fund of New Jersey carries an unpaid principal balance of $18.4 million on 103 loans.

According to Freddie Mac, the loans have been delinquent for approximately three years, on average.

Read on.