Levine on Wall Street: Traders Sued for Not Trading Enough

There is a JPMorgan mortgage settlement, because it is a day. $614 million settlements used to be news!

Morgan Stanley is settling a mortgage case .

With the Federal Housing Finance Agency. For $1.25 billion. That's about all the interest I can muster in this one.

So is JPMorgan.

What? How? For $614 million, with the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs. I hope the Department of Education is finalizing its settlement. How many more can there possibly be?

The SEC thinks some guys didn't trade enough.

Here is an SEC lawsuit against two traders named Thomas Gonnella and Ryan King. Gonnella was an asset-backed securities trader at a big firm (Barclays, apparently) who was docked some profits by his bank if he held bonds for too long, to encourage him to trade. But he didn't want to trade. He wanted to keep his bonds and, I guess, relax. So he (allegedly!) struck a deal to sell his bonds to his buddy King, at a different firm, and then buy them back at higher prices a bit later. King made some money, and Gonnella avoided being docked for not trading his bonds enough. I don't really get it, but as far as I can tell, these guys (allegedly!) committed securities fraud out of laziness. HIGHLY ENDORSED.

The chess game of men's suits .

Here is a Dealpolitik column about how the Men's Wearhouse - Eddie Bauer - Jos. A. Bank - etc. situation might play out. The basic idea is that, if you are a smaller company (JOSB) and you try to buy a larger one (MW), that may not work, and the larger company may just turn around and try to buy you. But you can even things up by buying yet another company (Eddie Bauer), because then you'll be bigger and can try again to buy the other, previously bigger company. Also this sort of weakens Revlon duties. If you're a shareholder and just want the combination and don't care about who buys whom, this all probably seems pretty silly.

Sachem Head has some notes for Helen of Troy .

I kind of don't get how Helen of Troy is the name of a public company? But it is, and so it is getting attention from an activist hedge fund called Sachem Head Capital Management, which is no prize name itself. DealBook finds the name as amusing as I do, apparently, judging by the illustration of this post. (It is not an OXO houseware.) Anyway, tax benefits, should pursue strategic transaction, mismanagement, blah blah blah.

There's a live Bitcoin trading pit .

I can't even with this. There's a man with a bow tie making hand signals. There's a separate Dogecoin pit. People wear souvenir pit jackets. They deal in units of, like, a dollar. It is interesting that Bitcoin is facilitating "the re-discovery of finance, from first principles up," but also come on. You've got a currency based on computer processing and anonymous online transactions! But you need to trade it live using hand signals?

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    (Matt Levine writes about Wall Street and the financial world for Bloomberg View.)

    To contact the author on this story:
    Matthew S Levine at mlevine51@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor on this story:
    Toby Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

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