This occasional Alphaville contributor just got back from a prolonged reporting stint in Las Vegas.
On the agenda was not one but two securitisation conferences. Some readers may recall that the American Securitization Forum (ASF) has for many years hosted an annual gathering, most often in the pleasant confines of the Aria hotel in Las Vegas. This year, a bitter schism within the securitisation industry meant there were dueling conferences – one organised by the ASF and the other by the break-away Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG). Read more
So, a particularly vocal disappointed banker has left the fold. And not just any banker: a Goldmanite banker. He’s been part of the empire firm long enough to get a top job in the US government see it change for the worse. Apparently.
Anyway, here’s a graph that expresses some of our feelings about it: Read more
In the first post about our meeting with Yves Smith, purveyor of the blog Naked Capitalism, we discussed the blogosphere and what prompted her to join it. Here we ask Ms Smith about her involvement with the Occupy movement and her opinions about banking and the contentious topic of bonuses.
AV: Naked Capitalism has a badge on it: “We support Occupy”. What drew you to the Occupy movement?Read more
European regulators plan tougher-than-expected restrictions on bankers’ pay, in spite of concerns raised by French, UK and Spanish officials that the rules could make the EU uncompetitive, reports the FT, citing people familiar with the talks. Discussions concluded late on Thursday and the Committee of European Banking Supervisors is due to issue draft regulations within days. The document will be the basis of a one-month consultation with the industry. Some regulators, who believe the rules are impractical, plan to use the period to push for further changes.
Leverage is back on Wall Street, according to Bloomberg, and this time it’s the bankers who have it. Figures from the New York State Department of Labor showed that 6,800 financial-industry positions were added from the end of February through May, the largest three-month increase since 2008. And while most new hires aren’t receiving guarantees, Bloomberg reports banks including Nomura and UBS have offered top prospects one-year guarantees worth between $2m and $4 m, according to people briefed on the matter.
Dan Ariely of “Predictably Irrational” fame is out with a new book, the first chapter of which deals with the oh-so-topical issue of banker pay. And according to Ariely’s research, better performance is linked to lower bonuses. FT Alphaville has more. Read more
Financial services professionals in Australia might do better if they ditched their spreadsheets for hard hats, because according to Bloomberg, the real money is in mining. But as FT Alphaville points out, miners — like bankers — will find their incomes hit by a sharp tax increase. Read more
The average number of qualified candidates for each new City job vacancy has more than halved from 5.7 a year ago to 2.7 in March, according to research by financial services recruitment company Astbury Marsden, the FT reports. The jump in demand could prompt a return to the aggressive poaching of talented personnel rife in the pre-credit-crunch era, the company said.
George Osborne, the prospective Tory chancellor, has failed to win over the City’s top bankers, with the vast majority of senior financial services executives preferring the incumbent, Alistair Darling, an FT survey says. The FT poll of more than two dozen senior bankers revealed deep misgivings about Mr Osborne amid an election campaign that has seen all three main parties attacking big City bonuses.
Gordon Brown on Monday launched Labour’s manifesto claiming it was “rooted in the day to day concerns of the British people” and would produce “a fairer, greener, more accountable and more prosperous” country once the recovery was secured, the FT says. Key policies for the recovery include the promised new high-speed rail link, a green investment bank, broadband for all, a “new culture” in the City and moves to ensure that the banks pay their fair share to society through an international banking tax.
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, will unveil on Tuesday plans to crack down on banker excess by banning all bonuses at board level and stopping loss-making banks from paying discretionary bonuses, the FT reports. The pledge to “bring the bonus culture under control” comes as the three main parties compete to impress voters by taking the toughest stance on City pay.
Alistair Darling is considoring the possibility of giving shareholders veto rights over bankers’ bonuses, Bloomberg News reports, citing a government official. The UK chancellor will consult on the proposal, which could give shareholders a seperate vote over pay in annual general meetings. The official said the plan would make it easier to oppose pay packages “deemed unreasonable”.
Here’s what we hope could be a helpful collection of analysts’ comments on Goldman Sachs third-quarter results.
The major takeaway is that there’s still a reasonable amount of concern about whether the bank can continue its strong performance in places like Fixed Income Currencies and Commodities. There’s also a lot of talk about the amount of compensation the bank is paying its staff. Read more
Author Calvin Trillin has really set something off with “Wall Street Smarts”, a brief and whimsical take on the downfall of Wall Street, published earlier this week in the New York Times.
In brief, he argues that the smart guys caused the financial crisis, after flooding into Wall Street in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Up to then, the smart guys were drawn to “respectable” professions such as law, academia, or anywhere but finance. Read more
Confirming what everyone in the UK — land of the obscenely paid footballer — already knew, veteran banking analyst Richard Bove has authored a piece of research illustrating that bankers do not make as much as those in professional sports.
The Rochdale Securities analyst compared the salaries of the top 15 individual players in (American) sports, the top 15 non-financial execs, and the top 15 in finance. The results are in the table on the left, click to enlarge. Read more
It’s rather amusing to imagine the thought process that must have gripped the minds of the BBC producers who devised “Can you bank on me?” :
BBC Producer One: You know this credit crunch thing deserves some prime time viewing.
BBC Producer Two: The public are certainly angry about it — particularly at those bankers.
BBC Producer One: Indeed, perhaps we should attempt to bridge the gap between them?Read more