Citi Rescue Revealed, Markets Tank

cityfile · 02/27/09 07:20AM

• The Treasury Department announced a plan to save Citigroup from near-certain doom. The government will take a 36 percent stake in the company, three-quarters of the bank's shareholders will be wiped out, and the board will be overhauled. Vikram Pandit? He keeps his job. [WSJ, BN, NYT]
• New GDP figures indicate "the U.S. recession deepened a lot more in late 2008 than first reported." The figures haven't been this bad since '82. [WSJ]
• Stocks tumbled this morning on the Citigroup and GDP news. [BN]
Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed Bank of America seeking the names of the Merrill execs who received $3.6 billion in bonuses. This comes after BofA CEO Ken Lewis failed to provide the details during his deposition yesterday. [DB]
• A "mutiny is brewing" within UBS's investment banking unit following the ouster of the bank's CEO, Marcel Rohner. [NYP]
• Blackstone reported a fourth-quarter loss of $827.1 million. [BN]
• Bernie Madoff moved $164 million from London to New York in the weeks before he was busted, according to new court documents. [NYP]
• Scammer Sam Israel has moved from a prison hospital back to prison. [AP]

Ken Lewis Faces the Music

cityfile · 02/26/09 08:38AM

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis will be sitting down with investigators from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office today as part of the probe into the $3.6 billion in bonuses that Merrill Lynch paid out just days before it was acquired by BofA. Lewis didn't indicate what time he was scheduled to give his deposition, although in typical Lewisian fashion, he made it sound like something he was thrilled to be doing: "I look forward to the chance to speak candidly and forthrightly and honestly and tell the story." But he may be in for a rude awakening when he turns up at Cuomo's offices today.

BofA's Ken Lewis Gets Subpoenaed

cityfile · 02/20/09 06:59AM

• Bank of America chief Ken Lewis has been subpoenaed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo over bonuses and losses at Merrill Lynch. [WSJ, Reuters]
• Citigroup is raising more cash by selling off more assets. [WSJ, DB]
• More on the efforts to compel UBS to divulge the identities of 52,000 Americans suspected of using offshore accounts to dodge taxes. [NYT]
Jon Winkelried may have left Goldman Sachs because he realized he wasn't in line to take over for Lloyd Blankfein as CEO. [Clusterstock]
• There's evidence that the credit markets are thawing a bit. [BN]
• The cost of living rose in January for the first time in six months. [BN]

Washington's New Bailout, UBS Stays in the Game

cityfile · 02/09/09 06:39AM

• Details about the Obama administration's plan to revise the bailout are still sketchy, but more will be revealed by Tim Geithner tomorrow. [WSJ, BN, DB]
• UBS is slashing bonuses by 80 percent, but the bank says it does not have plans to get out of investment banking altogether. [BN]
• Barclays announced that quarterly profits exceeded analysts' estimates. [BN]
• More trouble for Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital. [DB, NYP]
• Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein addresses what went wrong on Wall Street in a op-ed piece for the Financial Times. [FT, FT]
• Sunday's New York Times, meanwhile, provides an account of what went wrong between Merrill's John Thain and BofA's Ken Lewis. [NYT]

Grim Job Numbers, Desperate Days at BofA

cityfile · 02/06/09 07:08AM

• Some 3.6 million jobs have now been lost due to the recession. [WSJ]
• BofA chief Ken Lewis purchased 200,000 shares of the bank this week in an effort to convince the world he's bullish about BofA's future. [WSJ]
• Good work, Hank. The Treasury Department overpaid by about $78 billion when it handed over all that cash to big banks last year. [Reuters]
• A hedge fund manager, a brokerage trader and a financial adviser were charged on Thursday for taking part in an insider trading scheme. [DB]
• The feds have also accused two people in the M&A groups at UBS and the Blackstone Group of handing over info to an insider trading ring. [NYP]
• Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos, who testified on Capitol Hill yesterday, says he's turned over evidence of several other big frauds to the SEC. [CNN]
• The markets have been up amid speculation the grim unemployment numbers will force Congress to pass an economic stimulus package. [BN]

More Bonus Backlash

cityfile · 02/02/09 07:05AM

• President Obama is expected to push for tight restrictions on executive compensation in order to improve public perception of the bailout. [WSJ]
• A group of angry Bank of America shareholders will demand that Ken Lewis get the boot at the bank's upcoming annual meeting. [NYP]
• Lehman Brothers is still hiring people to help wind down the firm. And it's receiving a ton of resumes from out-of-work Wall Streeters. [WSJ]
• Weill-gate continues: Now it turns out Sandy Weill used a Citi jet to go on a Mexican vacation, although he may reimburse Citi for some expenses. [NYP]
• Deutsche Bank plans to cut bonuses by an average of 60 percent. [BN]
Fortune explains why Merrill had such a disastrous fourth quarter. [Fortune]
• Consumer spending fell in December for a sixth consecutive month. [BN]

Ken Lewis Loves Planes, Hates Phones

cityfile · 01/23/09 10:22AM

Here's another $15,000 or $20,000 down the drain for Bank of America. Shortly before John Thain resigned from BoA yesterday, he met with Ken Lewis, Bank of America's chief executive, for what was described as a 15-minute meeting. "Ken Lewis flew to New York today to talk to John," a bank spokesman explained. We also hear that Lewis arrived in NYC aboard one of the bank's private jets. A quick tip for CEOs looking to trim expenses during these recessionary times: Try using the phone every once in a while.

Wall Street's New Pissing Contest

cityfile · 01/21/09 02:54PM

With banking stocks caught in a downward spiral, there's a wonderful way for bank CEOs to both demonstrate confidence in the institutions they lead and one-up their rivals: Just buy a lot of stock in your own company! Following the news earlier today that Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis plunked down $1.2 million for 200,000 shares of BoA, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon has now officially upstaged him by purchasing 500,000 shares in his bank for $11 million. Your turn, Vikram! [Clusterstock]

Mack Reclaims Bragging Rights

cityfile · 01/13/09 03:15PM

As expected, Morgan Stanley took control of Smith Barney this afternoon, paying Citigroup $2.7 billion for a 51 percent stake in the brokerage firm. Even better: It allows John Mack, Morgan Stanley's CEO, to go home to his wife tonight and brag that he controls the largest brokerage firm in America, grabbing the coveted title out of the hands of Ken Lewis, the Bank of America chief who completed the acquisition of Merrill Lynch just two weeks ago. [Bloomberg]

The List of Victims Gets Longer

cityfile · 01/07/09 07:21AM

• It wasn't just overly tanned Jews in Palm Beach who were ripped off by Bernie Madoff. London's Evening Standard says Italian fashion designer Valentino may have been a victim as well. [ES]
• Ten days before his arrest, Bernie Madoff convinced elderly Palm Beach entrepreneur and philanthropist Carl Shapiro into giving him an additional $250 million. [WSJ]
• Bank Medici founder Sonja Kohn, who raised $2.1 billion for Madoff from rich Europeans and Russians, is now missing. [NYT]
• Disgraced Madoff pal Ezra Merkin will step down as chair of GMAC. [FT]
• German billionaire Adolf Merckle, who committed suicide earlier this week, was in debt to the tune of $6.7 billion. [BN]
• American companies shed 693,000 jobs in December. [MW]
• Bank of America's Ken Lewis will not be getting a bonus. [BN]
• Ken Griffin's main hedge fund dropped 53 percent in 2008. [CNN]

Consumer Prices Fall, Citi Makes Cuts, Paulson Parties

cityfile · 11/19/08 06:18AM

♦ The U.S. consumer price index fell 1.0 percent in October compared to the previous month, the biggest drop in 61 years. [WSJ]
♦ Citigroup is liquidating another one of its hedge funds after it plunged 53 percent last month. Also: Citi's stock dropped to its lowest level in 13 years yesterday. [FT, NYP]
♦ Just because he spends his days taking aim at Wall Streeters doesn't mean Andrew Cuomo left any bigwig financiers off the guest list for his birthday party/fundraiser on Dec. 2. [NYP]
♦ The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler who pleaded poverty in front of Congress yesterday flew their private jets to get there. [ABC News]
♦ Most hedge funds are pulling back right now, but hedge fund king John Paulson actually celebrated on Monday night with a lavish dinner for more than 100 at the Metropolitan Club. [DB]

New Partners at Goldman, Hit to Hedge Funds

cityfile · 10/28/08 05:09AM

♦ Better news from abroad today: global stocks rebounded overnight, with shares in Hong Kong climbing more than 14 percent. [CNNMoney]
♦ Goldman Sachs will name its new partners today; it's expected to be the smallest such group in the firm's history. [Telegraph, Clusterstock]
♦ The average hedge fund was down 8.4 percent in October. Layoffs in the industry are mounting: Glenn Dubin's Highbridge Capital is the latest fund to announce cuts, trimming 10 percent of the company's staff. [NYP]
♦ Barclays is seeking to raise $10 billion from Russian banks. [WSJ]
♦ Fidelity may lay off 4,000 employees. [Boston Globe]

Welcome to the World of Commercial Banking!

cityfile · 09/24/08 09:08AM

So if investment banks are taking shelter from the financial shitstorm by morphing into commercial banks, does that mean Wall Streeters will soon have to deal with getting paid like commercial bankers, too? Good question! Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein took home $70.3 million last year; JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon collected $27.8 million; and Lehman Brothers chairman Dick Fuld walked away with $35 million. Of course that's not what their counterparts in commercial banking are making. Bank of America's CEO, Ken Lewis, earned a meager $16.4 million last year. (We're weeping, too.) "I think they [investment banks] are going to have to come more in line with a more traditional compensation plan," says one expert. Guess you might have to wait a few more years before you can afford that loft in Tribeca or four-bedroom in Scarsdale! [NY Post]