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Apparently it is possible to turn the recession, quantitative easing and the euro zone debt crisis into a laughing matter.
About ten financial professionals from investment banks, private equity firms and hedge funds participated in the first annual comedy competition for Wall Street Tuesday night sponsored by the Gotham Comedy Club in conjunction with Thomson Reuters.
This morning, a day after the world went gaga over a Royal engagment, my producing team for Worldwide Exchange in London thought it would be funny to have a split screen of me and the future queen of England .
Beyond any momentary laughter at a trivial stretch of a psychical resemblence, it got me thinking about the fiscal power this young woman could have to change a storied \(and currently broke\) nation—known for being home to The Beatles and Shakespeare but more recently austerity measures \($128 billion over 4 years\) and deficit woes \(10 percent of 2010-2011 GDP\).
Barclays Capital has been quietly laying off employees since this summer. Now, however, the firm is swarming with rumors that big layoffs could be coming in the next few weeks.
A group of corporate pranksters called The Yes Men is pranking again: This time, one of their targets is hedge fund manager John Paulson. The group is calling for a citizen's arrest of Paulson, based on his large holdings of AngloAshnati Gold stock—as pointed out by Lawrence Delevingne in his article today for Absolute Return + Alpha.
But, so far, the Yes Men fingerprints are hard to find. What there is this website . The website is a spoof—and impressive factual imitation—of the official Apple website . (Even the URLs look similar.)
The general idea seems to be this: Apple's iPhone contains minerals that are sometimes mined in conflict zones. In the words of the spoof website, "…[T]he minerals that are used in the production of various software products have largely been extracted from mines in Africa, especially the Congo. For the most part this mining has gone unchecked and therefore companies have been unable to tell whether or not the mines they source their materials from have been mines under the control of rebel groups further fueling a conflict that has killed more than 5,000, 000 civilians."
Any Cornell grads who go work for Goldman Sachs are "a**holes" according to an editor at the Ivy League school's student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun . He wants to see Goldman Sachs banned from recruiting on campus.
Tony Manfred, the associate editor at the student newspaper, is obviously borrowing a bit from Matt Taibbi, who famously called Goldman a Vampire Squid.
It must have been a little like when you find a wadded up $20 Bill in the pocket of last year's winter coat: Judge James Peck ordered the sum of $500 million to be returnedto the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers. Which party, exactly, was ordered to return a half billion dollars to Lehman? Bank of America.
The money had been provided by Lehman Brothers to Bank of America as collateral for Lehman checks in August of 2008.
Judge Peck said of the matter: "It is difficult to understand how BofA could have thought that taking the money was the right thing to do without first seeking permission from the court," which is not exactly a very sympathetic reading of Bank of America's failure to return the funds.
Goldman Sachs named 110 new partners, according to an internal memo obtained by Financial News .
Goldman partners, who are officially called Partnership Managing Directors or PMDs, get an increased base salary, the opportunity to invest in Goldman deals, a discount on Goldman stock purchases and a share in the partner compensation pool, among other perks. These latest PMDs join the firm’s existing 375 partners. Goldman names new partners every two years.
Goldman partners typically take around 20 percent of the firm's total compensation pool. That money is divided up between partners according to a secretive "points" system. Basically, each of the partners is assigned a certain number of points by the head of his department. The more points you get, the more you get paid.
My colleague John Carney wrote a piece yesterday about the politics of American monetary policy.
Carney's basic assertion is this: A major sea change—if not an outright reversal—has occurred in the political alignment between left and right on basic issues of inflation, unemployment, and monetary intervention.
He's looking at the issue over a 40+ year time horizon:
"The critics [of tight money] have traditionally been Democrats—such as banking committee chairs Wright Patman in the late 1960s or Henry Gonzalez in the early 1990s."
Carney's piece takes what I believe to be a fascinating tack—and got me thinking about the issues involved in an even more expansive sense.
The vast windows of the room had a terrific view of Central Park at night. It hardly seemed like the time or place to discuss the mortgage repurchase exposure of Citigroup, Bank of America and JP MorganChase.
But somehow the conversation had wandered in that direction.
“Here’s a good number to ponder—$500 million,” the young hedge fund manager said.
“What about $500 million?” I said.
“That’s the amount that Goldman Sachs spent litigating the Abacus deal with the SEC. A single deal gone bad. $500 million to wrangle with the SEC, and another $500 million in fines to settle the case.”
John Carney is a senior editor for CNBC.com, covering Wall Street and finance and running the NetNet blog.
Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.
Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.
Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of CNBC's 5pm ET show "Fast Money."
The unofficial odds are rising that the Fed will announce taper plans at its December meeting.
Three Wall Street trade groups sued the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to stop tough overseas trading guidelines they fear.
Paid in the form of assistance programs, the funds are in effect a subsidy to the banking industry, The Washington Post reported.