Weil's View on Finance
Hello, View readers. Here is some of what I’ve been reading this morning.
The rigging of global currency markets
Liam Vaughan and Gavin Finch of Bloomberg News present evidence that currency dealers have been manipulating benchmark rates by “banging the close.” It happens routinely: Sudden spikes right before the closing bell in London followed by quick reversals, just as benchmark rates are being calculated. After the Libor scandal, it should surprise no one to learn that a lot of other kinds of benchmarks are rigged.
Crazy world of hedge-fund managers
Former hedge-fund manager Andy Kessler has a fun time ripping Carl Icahn, Dan Loeb and William Ackman in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. He says all hedge-fund managers are a little bit nuts. Imagine that.
Simon Rabinovitch of the Financial Times has another installment in his series on China’s debt burden, this time focusing on corporate debt: “The rise in Chinese government debt levels has gathered more attention in recent years, but the increase in corporate debt has been even bigger. The money owed by Chinese companies shot up from 90 per cent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 124 per cent of GDP, or Rmb64tn, at the end of last year, according to JPMorgan.”
The history of a concept: Maximizing shareholder value
Jia Lynn Yang writes in the Washington Post: “The belief that shareholders come first is not codified by statute. Rather, it was introduced by a handful of free-market academics in the 1970s and then picked up by business leaders and the media until it became an oft-repeated mantra in the corporate world.” She travels to Endicott, New York, birthplace of International Business Machines Corp., to chronicle the effects. Well done piece.
Costs of doing business as a too-big-to-fail bank
Amazing statistic from Bloomberg: “The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years.”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)