Weil on Finance: Doctors Acting Like Bankers

Morning links with Bloomberg View financial columnist Jonathan Weil

Happy hump day, View fans. On with the links.

If you think investment bankers have awful conflicts of interest , wait until you see doctors.

This comes from ProPublica: "Doctors Paid to Advise, Promote Drug Companies That Fund Their Research." The gist is that "doctors who conduct a clinical trial while accepting personal payments from the company sponsoring the study can feel beholden to the drug maker." But isn't that the Wall Street way? Because if drug companies can't bribe physicians to compromise their objectivity when conducting clinical trials, then what good are they?

Dan Loeb isn't going to let some annoying poison pill stop him from buying more shares of Sotheby's.

So he sued. Doesn't every company that deliberately tries to make its stock less valuable deserve to be sued?

You don't see hedge funds begging for bailouts.

OK, so Long-Term Capital Management was an exception, but that was more than 15 years ago. Dan McCrum at FT Alphaville sums up the latest findings from Hedge Fund Research Inc. "Close to a tenth of all hedge funds tracked by HFR succumbed to the inevitable last year as 904 hedge funds liquidated," he writes. And "half of all individual hedge funds have closed in the last five years." Sink or swim, which is how it's supposed to be.

Deutsche Bank is such a mess .

No wonder its stock trades for only 60 percent of book value. Nicholas Comfort of Bloomberg News explains: "Anshu Jain won the job of Deutsche Bank AG co-chief executive officer after leading its investment bank to record profit. Two years later that rainmaker role is coming back to haunt him. At the heart of the challenge for the one-time derivatives salesman is declining market share in fixed-income and potential fines arising out of industrywide investigations into the alleged manipulation of interest rates, currencies and gold after the Frankfurt-based bank spent at least $6 billion on settlements and penalties since 2009."

This guy isn't an attorney, but he played one at Finra arbitration hearings.

Ugly stuff, just when Finra didn't need any more scandals. From Reuters: "The outcomes of nearly 40 securities arbitration cases dating back more than 15 years and involving some of Wall Street's most well-known brokerages could be compromised because one of the arbitrators who heard them allegedly lied about being a lawyer. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on Monday confirmed that it removed the arbitrator, James H. Frank, of Santa Barbara, California, from its roster of arbitrators last year. Frank said he was a lawyer and a member of the bar in several states, when in fact, he was not, a FINRA spokeswoman said." You have to love this defense, too: "Frank claims that he was a `lawyer' -- putting the word in quotes -- and that the California bar must have lost his records."

There isn't an epidemic of banker suicides.

No matter what you read in the New York Post or anywhere else.

Here's a writer who should take his own advice .

Keep articles short, he writes in the New York Times. And he takes more than 1,000 words to say it, which was way too many.

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