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Hot Cayman Address, 10 Needy Banks, UBS: Compliance

Seagate Technology, the world’s largest maker of hard disk drives, is based in Scotts Valley, California. Yet the documents it files with the Securities and Exchange Commission list its address on South Church Street in George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands, David Evans of Bloomberg News reports.

Seagate is just one of the companies that may be affected by President Barack Obama’s proposal yesterday to raise about $190 billion over the next decade by outlawing techniques used by U.S. companies in offshore locations to avoid paying taxes. While the U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent, Seagate paid an effective tax rate of 5 percent in the year ended June 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Caymans have no corporate income tax for companies incorporated there. The Caribbean island has helped scores of U.S. companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and Oracle Corp., to legally avoid billions in tax payments to the U.S. government, says U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan.

One quarter of the 100 largest contractors with the U.S. federal government, including Altria Group Inc. and Tyco International Ltd. have had subsidiaries in the Caymans, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office. At least 10 of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average have had units with addresses in the Caymans.

A five-story office building on South Church Street in the Caymans serves as the official address for 18,857 corporations. That building, called Ugland House, is listed in SEC filings as Seagate’s headquarters. About half those Cayman companies had billing addresses in the U.S., according to a 2008 GAO study.

President Obama referred to Ugland House yesterday.

“On the campaign, I used to talk about the outrage of a building in the Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 businesses claim this building as their headquarters,” Obama said. “And I’ve said before, either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam. And I think the American people know which it is: The kind of tax scam that we need to end.”

Maples and Calder, the law firm that occupies all of Ugland House in Grand Cayman, said Obama is mistaken.

“I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but our office is neither the largest building in the world nor a center of financial misconduct,” said Charles Jennings, joint managing partner of Maples and Calder.

“Having a registered office address in the Cayman Islands is driven by commercial considerations, not by tax avoidance,” Jennings said. “It allows companies to raise capital and conduct global business.”

The firm, which provides services for the corporations that use its address, has incorporated more than 6,000 new companies over the past five years. Back in 2004, the building served as home to 12,748 companies using the same address in the Caymans, a British crown colony 150 miles south of Cuba.

For more, click here.

Obama’s Bid to End Offshore Tax Havens Faces Hurdle in Congress

President Barack Obama’s plan to end tax breaks for U.S.- based multinational companies drew a skeptical response from fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, indicating that his plan may face obstacles on its path through Congress.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, called for “further study” of Obama’s proposals within minutes of the president’s announcement yesterday. Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he’s wary because the tax changes would hurt Citigroup Inc., his New York district’s largest private-sector employer.

Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said that any tax overhaul should not lead to “unintended consequences.”

Other Democrats, including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York, support the proposal. Some lawmakers, including Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate finance panel, are still weighing the plan.

Obama proposed outlawing three offshore tax-saving strategies commonly used by companies such as Citigroup, General Electric Co., and Procter & Gamble Co. In doing so, he reignited debate about whether U.S. companies can remain competitive in world markets if they have to pay billions of dollars in taxes on foreign profits.

Lawmakers will have “a great deal of willingness to listen to companies” that face as much as a 10 percent tax increase under Obama’s plan, said Clinton Stretch, managing principal of Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington. One proposal to limit deductions by companies that defer U.S. tax payments on foreign profits faces “very tough sledding in the Senate,” he said.

For more, click here.

For more on Obama proposal, click here.

Fed Stress Test Results May Show 10 U.S. Banks Need Capital

The Federal Reserve plans to deliver results of stress tests on U.S. banks to executives today that may show about 10 companies need additional capital to weather a deeper recession, people familiar with the matter said.

Banks are formulating plans for filling their capital requirements, much of which would likely come from conversions of preferred shares, the people said. Many of the 19 lenders under review and the government are set to discuss publicly the examinations after markets close May 7, the people said.

Financial shares jumped the most in almost a month yesterday on optimism about the tests. The Treasury and regulators have presented different options for the banks to shore up their books without taking taxpayer money, including selling assets, seeking private capital and converting previous government investments from preferred to common shares.

Last week, the Fed delayed the release of the tests, originally scheduled for yesterday, as banks challenged some of the conclusions.

Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were among the banks found to need additional capital, people familiar with the matter have said. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Wells Fargo also would need more capital.

Both Citigroup and Bank of America disputed the Fed’s determination. Yesterday, Bank of America gained 19 percent after the company denied it was working on a plan to raise $10 billion. Citigroup rose 7.7 percent.

A person familiar with Citigroup’s plans said the bank wasn’t likely to need new taxpayer cash and was focusing on converting government shares and getting capital from private investors to satisfy regulators.

The number of banks deemed to need more capital has increased from six to eight a week ago, after regulators boosted their target for the reserves the firms must hold, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Officials favor tangible common equity equal of about 4 percent of a bank’s assets, up from a 3 percent goal earlier in the process, two people with knowledge of the deliberations said last week.

For more, click here.

Wells Fargo, Others in Turn, Buffeted by Buffett’s Optimism

Wells Fargo & Co. led a rally in bank stocks yesterday after billionaire Warren Buffett said he would be buying shares at these prices, overshadowing concern that the stress test is going to force companies to raise capital.

The 24-member KBW Bank Index jumped as much as 12 percent, the most in almost a month. Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. originator of home loans, was the biggest contributor, climbing 21 percent. Fifth Third Bancorp, Regions Financial Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. each jumped more than 23 percent.

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest shareholder of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, said the bank is a “fabulous” company and will prosper regardless of the stress test results due this week. In addition to Wells Fargo, Buffett said he would be buying shares of U.S. Bancorp and M&T Bancorp. Buffett is having more influence than analysts who are saying banks need to raise cash, said Blake Howells, an analyst at Becker Capital Management, which oversees about $1.7 billion.

For more, click here.

Buffett Dismisses Government Stress Tests, Praises Wells Fargo

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett dismissed the importance of the government stress tests in helping him assess banks, and said Wells Fargo & Co. will prosper no matter what the results show.

For more, click here.

Return of Risk Takers Drives Default Swap Cost to Six-Month Low

The cost of protecting corporate bonds from default fell to the lowest in at least six months as optimism the worst of the global credit crisis may have passed fuels demand for high- yielding assets.

“The risk takers are back,” said Tim Brunne, a Munich- based credit strategist at UniCredit SpA. “Some leading indicators may point toward a bottoming of the economic downturn.”

For more, click here.

As Outsider, UBS’s Gruebel Takes Steps that Eluded Predecessor

UBS AG chief financial officer John Cryan told reporters on a conference call today that the sale of the Swiss bank’s Brazilian unit will raise the Tier 1 capital ratio to 11 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Oswald Gruebel has announced 7,500 job cuts, replaced two executive board members and sold the Brazilian business since he was hired in February. UBS may shed more assets, Cryan said.

UBS said last month that its Tier 1 ratio was “roughly 10 percent” at the end of March, and that the sale of the Brazil operations would increase it by about 0.6 percentage point.

The higher ratio reported today makes an “equity capital increase even less likely,” said Peter Thorne, an analyst at Helvea in London who rates UBS “accumulate.”

“Gruebel is heading in the right direction, but he still has his work cut out for him,” said Wolfgang Matejka, who oversees about $3 billion as chief investment officer at Meinl Bank in Vienna. “To lose your reputation is easy but to regain it is a hell of a job.”

Ahead Cryan said “at the investment bank and the Swiss bank there will be continuing headwinds in relation to credit extension.” Leveraged finance commitments “remain one of our concern areas and risk concentrations, together with monolines.”

Gruebel replaced Marcel Rohner, 44, who left the bank after holding the CEO post for 19 months. UBS shareholders elected former Finance Minister Kaspar Villiger, 68, as chairman of UBS’s board of directors last month. He replaced Peter Kurer, 59, who left after a year in the job amid a probe into whether UBS helped wealthy Americans evade taxes.

UBS reached a settlement in February with U.S. authorities that required the bank to hand over the names of about 300 American clients.

Gruebel last month hired Ulrich Koerner, 46, as chief operating officer, tapping a former colleague who helped him turn around Credit Suisse six years ago and replacing Walter Stuerzinger, 53, UBS’s chief risk officer between 2001 and October 2007.

UBS named Alexander Wilmot-Sitwell, 48, and Carsten Kengeter, 42, co-heads of the investment bank last week, replacing 52-year-old Jerker Johansson after a year on the job.

“These are important steps that had to be taken, and it’s clear that these measures couldn’t have been taken by the old management,” said Marco Bider, a fund manager who helps oversee about $7 billion, including UBS shares, at Banque CIC in Basel. “Gruebel doesn’t owe anyone anything at the bank.”

For more, click here.

SEC Plans Tough Rules on Money-Market Fund Disclosures

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reforms of money- market mutual funds will probably be tougher than those recommended by the $3.9 trillion industry after a firm’s collapse eroded investor confidence, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said.

The agency is planning to propose rules in June that may require funds to shorten the average maturity of securities they own and hold more cash to meet investor redemptions, Schapiro said yesterday in a Washington speech. The SEC may also set a floating net asset value for money-market funds, which currently try to maintain a stable price of $1 a share, she said.

The Investment Company Institute proposed steps to bolster the industry after the September collapse of the $62.5 billion Reserve Primary Fund triggered investor panic. Reserve’s failure led to an SEC probe and prompted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to call for regulating money-market funds like banks.

“In light of the events of last fall, it is essential that the SEC comprehensively re-examine the money-market fund regulatory regime,” Schapiro said at a conference held by the Washington-based Mutual Fund Directors Forum. “Our eventual reforms are likely to extend beyond those advocated by the ICI’s” March report, she said.

For more, click here.

SEC General Counsel Gets Power to Change Personnel Mid-Probe

Former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner David Becker, who became SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s general counsel and senior policy adviser last month, got new authority last week to assign and remove officers from investigations being conducted by the Office of General Counsel.

Becker told Legal Times that even though the general counsel’s office never previously had the ability to add or remove officers assigned to probes, as any such staffing changes previously were made by commissioners and their surrogates, he sees the shift as nothing more than a housekeeping matter.

The agency last week gave final approval to a rule amendment vesting the general counsel’s office the same authority to change personnel mid-probe that had already been granted to the Division of Enforcement.

Assisting Becker will be Mark Cahn, a former partner at WilmerHale in Washington, who was named deputy general counsel for litigation and adjudication on March 6, replacing Andrew Vollmer, who left the agency.

Cahn, 47, is overseeing enforcement, appeals and adjudications, according to a statement. Cahn, who joined WilmerHale in 1988, was part of the firm’s securities litigation and enforcement practice in Washington.

Jeffrey Singdahlsen is the new SEC associate general counsel for legal policy. He fills a post formerly held by Meridith Mitchell, who was named deputy general counsel for legal policy in July, the SEC said in a separate statement.

For Levitt on hedge fund registry, disclosure, click here.

For hedge-fund regulatory proposals, click here.

Lawyers Prepare Muni Bond Disclosure Guide Ahead of Changes

The National Association of Bond Lawyers is preparing a new guide to disclosure in the $2.69 trillion municipal bond market, as the Securities and Exchange Commission says current practices are inadequate.

The handbook, last updated in 1994, describes what issuers and banks are revealing in bond sale documents to avoid violating anti-fraud rules. Municipal bond disclosures, unlike those for corporate securities, are voluntary and aren’t reviewed by federal regulators before bond sales.

“What we are trying to do is provide what we think are descriptions of best practices” in light of court cases and SEC actions, said John McNally, a Washington-based partner at Hawkins Delafield & Wood and coordinator of the handbook project.

Mary Schapiro, the commission’s new chairwoman, and a top aide, Mary Simpkins, senior special counsel in the office of municipal securities, have stated that this is a high priority.

For more, click here.

Taxpayers Lose $310 Million in Build America Profits

State and local public finance officials from New Jersey to California rewarded investors with $310 million of instant profit by selling debt through the government’s Build America bond program.

That’s how much prices of the five biggest bonds have risen in total since the first sales almost three weeks ago, according to Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board price data compiled by Bloomberg. About $7.6 billion of the debt, whose interest costs are partly subsidized by the U.S. government, has been issued.

For more, click here.

Chrysler Bankruptcy May Not Dent Economy as Cutbacks Were Set

Chrysler LLC’s bankruptcy may not rattle the U.S. economy even as the automaker idles all assembly plants for at least 30 days while it reorganizes.

Though the decision will reduce workers’ earnings and force suppliers to reduce or halt operations, Chrysler probably would have had to shut down temporarily anyway, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

“There’s no economic difference between Chapter 11 and the restructuring they would have done outside of bankruptcy,” Zandi said in an interview. “Chrysler, its employees, dealerships, and suppliers are going to end up in the same place whether they go through bankruptcy or not.”

Chrysler, which filed for the fifth-biggest U.S. bankruptcy last week, already had been reducing payroll and closing factories because of the industry’s slump. The third-largest U.S. automaker now will combine with Fiat SpA, a move that will require a retooling of manufacturing processes and products that probably was also inevitable, according to Zandi.

Zandi estimates a one-month shutdown of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler’s assembly lines would idle about 45,000 workers at the company and its suppliers. That would result in about $7.5 billion in lost output, which would shave about 0.02 percent from 2009 growth.

For more, click here.

To read about secured lenders’ secrecy request, click here.

Fed Says U.S. Banks Expect Loan Losses to Deepen This Year

Most U.S. banks expect loan delinquencies and losses to increase this year, a Federal Reserve report showed yesterday ahead of this week’s release of stress tests of the nation’s 19 largest lenders.

More than 70 percent of respondents said bad loans will rise should the economy progress “in line with consensus forecasts,” the Fed said in a quarterly survey of banks’ senior loan officers. More firms made it tougher for consumers to get home and credit-card loans in the past three months, while fewer tightened terms for businesses than in the previous survey.

For more, click here.

U.S. Small Businesses Find It Easier to Obtain Loans, WSJ Says

An easing of conditions in the secondary market for loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration is causing more lenders to make loans and more small companies to apply for them, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the Government Accounting Office.

Fed’s Rosengren Says Officials Need More Sway Over Global Banks

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said regulators need expanded powers to address the potential failure of institutions large enough to provoke financial market instability as banks expand overseas and use more derivatives to hedge risk.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September demonstrates the need to strengthen supervision in the U.S. and other countries, Rosengren said today in Hong Kong. Lehman Brothers operated in more than 40 countries and included more than 650 distinct legal operating entities outside of the U.S.

For more, click here.


Bankrupt Dealer’s 400 Creditors, Bank Compromise in Fraud Case

Bank of America’s First Republic unit agreed to share proceeds from the sale of art with other creditors of the bankrupt Salander-O’Reilly Galleries LLC.

The compromise was announced yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. As a secured creditor, First Republic could have claimed the proceeds before others.

At issue is the allocation of money recovered from the financial collapse of indicted art dealer Lawrence B. Salander, whose gallery operated in an Italianate townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and accumulated debts totaling about $300 million, according to claims filed in court.

For more, click here.

Ex-Peregrine Systems Vice President Sentenced to 27 Months

A former vice president of Peregrine Systems Inc. who pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud was sentenced to 27 months in custody for his part in a scheme that destroyed the software maker once value at $4.72 billion.

For more, click here.

N.Y. Mortgage Firm Agrees to Ban on Making U.S. Insured Loans

Madison Home Equities Inc., a Long Island, New York, home lender, agreed yesterday to be prohibited from making loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, prosecutors in the office of Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said in a statement.

The consent decree by Madison and principal Nadine Malone permanently bars the firm from participating in any federal program involving mortgage loans, Campbell’s office said. The decree, approved by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, also resolves a civil suit brought by the government against Madison.

Stanford Victims, SEC Oppose Stanford Bid for Assets

Stanford Group Co. investors and U.S. regulators are opposing Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford’s request to unlock $10 million in frozen assets to defend against allegations he ran an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford, two associates and three of his companies on Feb. 17, alleging they defrauded investors through the sale of high-yield certificates of deposit by Antigua-based Stanford International Bank. All of Stanford’s personal and corporate assets were frozen by court order, pending the outcome of the case.

For more, click here.

Ex-Morgan Stanley China Banker’s Insider Trading Trial Begins

Former Morgan Stanley managing director Du Jun’s insider trading trial began yesterday in Hong Kong, where regulators this year have already secured the Chinese city’s first jail sentences for the offense.

Du faces as many as seven years in prison, the maximum that may be given out at Hong Kong’s district court, where he’s being tried. Former BNP Paribas Peregrine Capital Ltd. banker Ma Hon-yeung was sentenced to 26 months in jail last month after the city’s first criminal trial for insider trading.

For more, click here.

Ex-AIG Manager Says She Was Fired for Bribe Complaint

A former American International Group Inc. compliance manager said she was unlawfully fired after she complained about what she says was an arrangement to bribe a foreign official to secure a $50 million investment.

Kimberly Lebron, in a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, said she was terminated in July of last year shortly after she had brought the alleged unlawful conduct to the attention of AIG’s compliance department. She seeks $5 million in damages.

Cosmo Remains a Flight Risk If Released on Bail, U.S. Says

Nicholas Cosmo, accused of running a $413 million Ponzi scheme, shouldn’t be released on $750,000 bail because he may flee, U.S. prosecutors said in appealing a magistrate’s ruling granting his release on bond.

For more, click here.

SEC Filings, Interviews, Company News

Wall Street Firms Will Revert to Pre-Crisis Model, Cohen Says

Wall Street, after getting billions of taxpayer dollars, will emerge from the financial crisis looking much the same as before markets collapsed, said H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

“The system will look more like what preceded the current environment than many people seem to believe,” Cohen said yesterday at a panel discussion on the future of Wall Street sponsored by Bloomberg News in New York. “I am far from convinced there was something inherently wrong with the system.”

Cohen, 64, joined Lazard Ltd. Deputy Chairman Gary Parr, 52, and Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, 59, in discussing the industry’s future after the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression forced the government to take equity stakes in hundreds of financial institutions. The panelists projected a future led by core banking and lower risk for established firms.

For more, click here.

U.S. Investors Meet 401(k) Withdrawal Obstacles, WSJ Reports

Some U.S. investors who want to withdraw money from their 401(k) retirement plans are finding that, for the time being, they can’t, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing investors.

Withdrawal restrictions caused by market turmoil are limiting options for plan participants and employers, the newspaper said, adding that there’s resentment among people who have lost their jobs and need access to their money.

Colgate Accused of Failing to Pay City $1 Million for Clock

Residents and workers in lower Manhattan have set their watches by the 50-foot high Colgate clock across the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey, for 85 years.

Jersey City now claims it’s time for the clock’s owner, Colgate-Palmolive Co., to pay the city more than $1 million it promised in 2005 to maintain and operate the structure. The city sued in state court in Jersey City, claiming the company didn’t give it the $1 million or the $20,000 in annual payments it promised.

Colgate, the world’s biggest toothpaste producer, once owned a large plant near where the octagonal clock now sits on land owned by New Jersey. The clock is just south of the state’s tallest building, an 801-foot tower housing Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and north of the Statue of Liberty.

“Colgate made a clear-cut, direct promise in 2005 in a room full of Colgate representatives and city officials to pay $1 million to the city,” city Corporation Counsel William Matsikoudis said in an interview. “In reliance on that promise, the city has made expenditures but Colgate has failed to live up to its promise to pay.”

Colgate spokeswoman Stephanie Clark said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. The city sued in state court on April 16, and the company had the case transferred on April 29 to federal court in Newark, New Jersey. That action was made public on May 1.

For more, click here.

Guaranty Bank of Austin Has 16 New Homes Demolished, WSJ Reports

Guaranty Bank of Austin, Texas, had 16 new and partly built houses in Victorville, southern California, demolished, on the basis that it cost less than finishing the development and selling the houses at depressed prices, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bank came into possession of the houses through mortgage foreclosures, the newspaper said.

Home prices in San Bernardino County, where Victorville is located, have fallen 60 percent from the housing peak in 2006, the Journal added.

Och-Ziff Capital’s Profit Declines 45%, Less Than Expected

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC’s first-quarter profit dropped 45 percent, less than analysts had estimated, as its biggest hedge fund produced above-average returns.

Distributable profit, a measure that excludes compensation costs related to Och-Ziff’s initial public offering, fell to $27.2 million, or 7 cents a share, from $49.7 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said yesterday in a statement. Och-Ziff was expected to earn 6 cents a share, the average estimate of 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

For more, click here.

Stocks Most Reliant on Economy May Gain, Goldman Sachs Says

Investors in U.S. stocks should buy companies whose earnings depend on economic growth because credit markets have improved and housing shows signs of stabilization, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

So-called cyclical businesses may be poised to advance because more than $12 trillion of spending by the government and Federal Reserve are fixing debt markets and banks have slowed the pace of loan writedowns, New York-based equity strategist David Kostin wrote in a note.

Berkshire’s Munger: Bankers Delusional or Flim-Flam Artists

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger, former real estate lawyer and founder of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, gave up law to manage investments in 1965, listed leverage, stupidity, “gross immorality” and accounting practices among the causes for the current financial crisis.

Munger and Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett spoke May 3 at a press conference one day after the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm’s annual shareholder meeting at the city’s Qwest Center. Excerpts from Erik Holm and Andrew Frye of Bloomberg News are below.

On the U.S. recession:

“This is the worst financial threat since the ‘30s.”

“There was gross immorality in the derivative-trading business.”

“Rooking your customer with some phony-baloney story when you say it’s good for him, when it’s really just good for the seller of derivatives -- that’s an immoral way to make money.”

“The nature of finance is: the most vulnerable people need protection from the mendacity of their fellow man.”

“The accounting provision has ultimately failed us in the United States.”

“We have reaped a whirlwind.”

For whole interview, click here.

Comings and Goings

Bankruptcy Sleuths Find Cash in Trader Receipts for Lap Dancers

As Sentinel Management Group Inc. neared collapse in August 2007, piling up $950 million in losses, the Northbrook, Illinois-based investment firm wrote clients, saying it was yet another victim of the credit crunch -- an asset manager that grew too fast as it tried to ratchet up gains for customers.

The task of unwinding Sentinel’s affairs and recovering money for an estimated 200 customers now falls to 56-year-old Frederick Grede, a former Chicago Board of Trade executive who is among the nation’s more than 1,400 federally appointed bankruptcy trustees.

These trustees -- along with overseers known as receivers - - find themselves in brisk demand these days as they sort through an avalanche of companies felled by the credit crisis and an assortment of alleged crooks and con artists who may have played a role in it.

For more, click here.

American Century Hires Archer for Asia-Pacific Role

American Century Investments, a Kansas City, Missouri-based money manager overseeing $70 billion, hired Tony Archer from Morgan Stanley as business head for Asia-Pacific as it opened a regional sales office in Hong Kong.

In the newly created position, Archer will lead a team to sell American Century’s products to financial intermediaries and institutional investors across the region, including Australia and New Zealand, the company said in an e-mailed statement. He will report to Michael Green, the company’s London-based senior vice president of international business.

Yorkville Names Fujimoto Japan Adviser to Aid Asia Expansion

Yorkville Advisors LLC, a Jersey City-based manager of $950 million of alternative assets, hired Katsutomo Fujimoto as senior adviser for Japan to help expand investments in the region.

Fujimoto, a former vice president in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s equity division in Tokyo, will be based in the city and will help Yorkville find and structure transactions in Japan, a market the fund manager is prioritizing, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Albert Gordon, Former Kidder Peabody Chief, Dies at 107

Albert H. Gordon, a Wall Street leader who survived the 1929 market crash and helped rescue stock brokers Kidder, Peabody & Co. in the Depression, died yesterday. He was 107.

The New York Road Runners disclosed Gordon’s death in a statement on its Web site. The New York Times reported Gordon died at his Manhattan home.

Gordon was an active investor for more than eight decades, outlasting Kidder and even ticker tape on Wall Street. Over the years he kept attuned to market trends and new ideas.

In August 2006, Gordon said he’d turned “bearish” on U.S. stocks in part because of the $8.41 trillion national debt at the time. “Three-quarters of whatever I own is foreign stocks,” he told a Bloomberg interviewer.

For more, click here.

International Compliance

Credit Swaps, Asset-Backed Bonds Need Rules, Global Panel Says

Asset-backed bonds and credit-default swaps need stronger rules, a global panel of market regulators said in recommendations on how to boost investor confidence after the financial crisis.

Market authorities should consider boosting disclosure requirements and requiring banks to retain stakes in securitization deals, in which loans or other assets are packaged into bonds, the International Organization of Securities Commissions in Madrid said today in a statement.

Lagarde Says France ‘Not Satisfied’ With EU Hedge-Fund Proposal

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said her government is “not satisfied” with the European Union’s proposal on hedge funds.

She spoke to reporters in Brussels yesterday.

Download: Gartman Sees Obama Moving U.S. Aggressively Left


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