Weil on Finance: Fundraise for Fabulous Fab, Anyone?
Happy Thursday, View fans. On with the links.
Anybody want to pay Fabulous Fab's fines for him? Lloyd?
Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs employee who got sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud and lost, was ordered by a judge to pay about $825,000, including $650,000 in civil penalties. But there's hope. The ruling prohibits him from seeking reimbursement for the penalties from Goldman Sachs. However, the judge said it "does not prohibit Tourre from seeking reimbursement from any other persons or entities." So even though Tourre has said he intends to pay all of this himself, I wonder: Could Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein give the guy a hand and bail him out personally if he wanted to? Seems like it. Not that he'd want to, but maybe think about it? After all, Tourre took a big one for the team. Or at least throw a fundraiser for him, like the Clintons used to do in the old days when Ken Starr was always after them. Come on, what do you say, Lloyd? The guy has been loyal to the end.
Senator defends rights of public pensioners invested in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- wait, scratch that!
Here's a wonderful piece of journalism by TheStreet's Dan Freed. Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, for some reason has decided to start carrying water for Fannie and Freddie shareholders in a rather public way. But as Freed wrote, his attempt to "pass himself off as a defender of regular folks, as opposed to wealthy hedge funds, could use a bit of work." Toomey sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defending Fannie and Freddie shareholder rights, which would be wiped out in the latest plan to wind down the companies. "Taxpayers should be fully compensated, but once they are, investors, such as the York County pension fund in Pennsylvania, should not be denied their fair share of any remaining value," the senator wrote. That fund was the only investor he identified by name. But Freed did some digging, and it turns out the York County pension fund doesn't own any Fannie or Freddie shares. Oops!
Can't get enough of that Herbalife-Ackman thing .
So here's my question for Herbalife, following its disclosure that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the company: Why didn't it disclose the probe sooner? Because now we know the only reason Herbalife said anything about the FTC investigation was that it got a phone call from a Financial Times reporter who was about to break the story. Here's what Dan McCrum wrote at the top of his piece: "After we got in touch with the company to tell them we were writing this story, they halted trading and put out a statement confirming the investigation."
Volatility happens , so learn to live with it.
Here's a useful article by Northern Trust chief investment strategist Jim McDonald, who says "the best strategy to handle volatility is to reduce your sensitivity to the volatility and do not chase volatility-targeting products." So stay away from those exchange-traded notes that purport to track the VIX but do nothing but lose money.
Themis Trading reads prospectuses so you don't have to.
This post tells you 12 fun facts from the Virtu Financial registration statement, which I wrote about the other day. For instance, Virtu, which is a high-frequency trading firm, said this: "We employ the son of Mr. Viola, our founder and executive chairman, as a trader, and he received total compensation from us for the years ended 2013, 2012 and 2011 of $510,703, $636,066 and $391,538, respectively." But as Themis Trading said in its post, I guess a little nepotism never hurt anyone.
Gee, you know there might be something rotten in bank culture?
This comes from an article by Peter Eavis at the New York Times: "Money laundering, market rigging, tax dodging, selling faulty financial products, trampling homeowner rights and rampant risk-taking -- these are some of the sins that big banks have committed in recent years. Now, some government authorities are publicly questioning whether such misdeeds are not just the work of a few bad actors, but rather a flaw that runs through the fabric of the banking industry." And there's really one proper response to that: What took them so long?
You can now buy Taco Bell-branded socks .
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Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him onTwitter at @JonathanWeil.
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