Weil on Finance: Banker on Crack
Welcome back to another linkfest, View fans. On to your Monday morning reads.
Here's a banker who really was on crack -- crystal meth, too
Many times I have heard investors say things like "those people must be on crack" when talking about executives at dying companies who are in denial about their bleak prospects. Now we have the real deal. The U.K.'s Daily Mail broke the story over the weekend of perhaps the most incredible caught-on-tape video of a drug buy since Marion Barry was mayor of Washington: "The chairman who oversaw the near-collapse of the Co-operative Bank has been caught buying and using illegal drugs including crystal meth, crack cocaine and ketamine. The Rev. Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister, was filmed buying the substances just days after he was grilled by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee over the bank's disastrous performance." He apologized.
Last month Bank of Spain declared that the country had emerged from its recession, and maybe that will prove to be correct. But the loan books at Spanish banks keep deteriorating. The central bank said 12.7 percent of loans at Spanish banks were non-performing, compared with 12.1 percent in August and 10.7 percent a year earlier. Unemployment in Spain is 26 percent.
News you can use (if you're old enough )
See this New York Times article from over the weekend by Tara Siegel Bernard on the benefits of waiting until age 70 to begin collecting Social Security benefits, for those who can afford to. It beats buying an annuity from an insurance company hands down, especially with interest rates as low as they are.
Good advice on crowdfunding
Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued its proposed rules on crowdfunding for comment, Andy Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager, has some sage words of wisdom: "Once you're allowed to invest in private startups, my advice is: don't. Success is much harder than you might think."
Still haven't finished writing that Volcker rule
The Financial Times reports that the Federal Reserve may delay the rule again, whatever it winds up saying. Surprise, surprise.
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Jonathan Weil at email@example.com