Levine on Wall Street: Don't Look Secretariat in the Eye
Pimco sounds fun.
Here is another article about how tough it is to work for Pimco, and how tensions with Bill Gross caused former chief executive officer and heir apparent Mohammed El-Erian to resign last month. And you can see why. "On the trading floor, Mr. Gross doesn't like employees speaking with him or making eye contact," apparently. A former Pimco executive is quoted saying about previous Gross favorites that "After a four to five-year honeymoon period, the chosen one's halo would turn into a crown of thorns where interactions with Bill would turn adversarial, short, and unpleasant." And Gross is quoted saying ""if only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself ... I'm Secretariat," which I guess fits with the tone of his investment letters? It's all pretty awful. Felix Salmon thinks that Pimco's investors will not be impressed by this portrayal of a rather loose-cannon Gross, though performance excuses a lot of sins.
RBS is having its own kind of fun.
Royal Bank of Scotland is 81 percent owned by the U.K. government and it is trying to be kind and gentle. So "All RBS corporate bankers must spend at least two days a year working for a customer free of charge," and the customers apparently take advantage of it. Here is one banker who has served cappuccinos and sold greeting cards; others have collected trash and "chased chickens around a farm." I don't know, I feel like U.S. banks should do this voluntarily; a little trash collection and chicken-chasing could really improve the public perception of Goldman Sachs.
Don't insider trade!
Peter J. Henning summarizes the state of the law on insider trading disgorgement. Last week, the Second Circuit ruled that an insider trader who made trades for a fund is responsible for disgorging the entire profits that the fund made on his trades, not just the portion that he received personally. I hope he'll sue the fund to contribute?
Nice year for K and R.
"KKR & Co.'s billionaire co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts received more than $161 million each last year," mostly in dividends, after KKR's sales of HCA and Dollar General. Their salaries are $300,000 each, so they're making around 500 times their salaries in dividends. Maybe European banks should be giving their bonus-constrained bankers some sort of new equity series that pays giant dividends?
Less nice for JPMorgan.
"Several thousand" more job cuts are planned at JPMorgan, "on top of the 13,000-15,000 positions already due to be slashed because of plunging demand for home loans." JPMorgan is also planning to cut branch jobs by attrition because apparently having a branch on every block of every city "was awfully 20th century of them," according to Mike Mayo.
Don't put your money in Mt. Gox.
Mt. Gox, the most prominent online location for stealing Bitcoins, has apparently stolen more Bitcoins. How were there more Bitcoins to steal? Surely by now Mt. Gox has stolen all the Bitcoins that have ever passed through Mt. Gox? Really, how can trading on Mt. Gox still have seemed like a good idea?
Someone finally exposed @GSElevator.
The fake Goldman employee who recycled bad jokes on Twitter and pretended that he overheard them in a Goldman Sachs elevator has never worked at Goldman, though he may have once or twice set foot in a Goldman elevator. "A lot of times I pander, I'll be honest with you. I pander for retweets," he tells Andrew Ross Sorkin. Good job internet.
(Matt Levine writes about Wall Street and the financial world for Bloomberg View.)
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