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Showing posts from October, 2013

SAC Capital Advisors will shut its London office by the end of the year

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Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors will shut its London office by the end of the year as the hedge fund downsizes in response to a long-running insider trading investigation, according to a memo sent to staff on Tuesday.
In the memo, SAC President Tom Conheeney, who informed the London staff of the decision in person on Tuesday, also told employees that the hedge fund cut six portfolio managers based in the United States this week.
"As our negotiations with the government have unfolded, it has become clear to us that the outcome the government is demanding is likely to have a greater than first anticipated impact on the firm," Conheeney wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. "We have concluded that we must operate as a simpler firm and reduce our capital allocations."
He said the decision to close the office "was not something we had been contemplating."
An SAC official declined comment on the contents of memo. The size of the…

JPMorgan Chase's reported fine of $13 billion to settle claims

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A lot of people are questioning whether JPMorgan Chase's reported fine of $13 billion to settle claims that it misled investors in mortgage bonds is excessive. It would, after all, be the largest settlement any single bank has ever paid to regulators.
But perhaps the better question is this: Why did CEO Jamie Dimon agree, if it has, to $13 billion?
Yes, regulators have plenty of evidence that JPMorgan (JPM) -- along with Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, both of which JPMorgan bought -- sold bonds to investors that were not what they claimed. But every bank did that. And there is no evidence that JPMorgan was the worst offender. Fannie and Freddie lost more money on bonds underwritten by Bank of America (BAC) and Countrywide, which BofA acquired.
MORE: JPMorgan's fine is bad news for Bank of America, Wells
That, of course, isn't a good defense, but it should play into considerations of just how much money JPMorgan should have to pay. What's more, last year, the Justic…

former UBS (UBSN.VX) and Citigroup (C.N) trader, allegedly conspired with 22 others to manipulate Libor

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Tom Hayes, a former UBS (UBSN.VX) and Citigroup (C.N) trader, allegedly conspired with 22 others to manipulate Libor benchmark interest rates, a London court heard on Monday.
The 34-year-old, who appeared alongside former RP Martin brokers Terry Farr and James Gilmour at Southwark Crown Court, was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to defraud with staff from at least 10 banks and brokerages between 2006 and 2010.
The three Britons are the first suspects to face trial in an inquiry stretching from North America to Asia into whether traders manipulated rates such as Libor, against which around $300 trillion worth of products, from derivatives to mortgages, are priced worldwide.
The high-profile trial will provide a test for David Green, head of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), who has staked his reputation on the success of “top tier” investigations such as the global inquiry into the manipulation of benchmarks such as Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate).
Judge Jeremy Cooke

Bank of Canada’s economists don’t write too good

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An internal report card says the Bank of Canada’s economists don’t write too good.
Economists’ writing skills were identified by many as an area for improvement,” says an audit ordered by the central bank.
“This includes difficulties being succinct, grammatically correct, and prioritizing the data into useful information.”
Auditors examined an elite group of bank economists, most of them with graduate degrees, who regularly dissect the current state of the Canadian and international economies.
The group’s advice is in high demand by Stephen Poloz, the governor, and his five deputies, who together must set Canada’s monetary policy in a volatile financial climate.
The workload of the group has grown tremendously since the global meltdown of 2008, the audit notes.
“The number of requests for analysis coming from the Governing Council members has increased as they seek to understand the impact of a growing number of factors impacting the economy, respond to questions concerning short-term…

The U.S. economy has been hurt by a recent budget standoff in Washington

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The U.S. economy has been hurt by a recent budget standoff in Washington and it is important that the nation does not go through another around of brinkmanship, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Sunday.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Lew said he was confident the economy, which he described as resilient, would recover from the 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government.
He described events leading to the shutdown, which eroded both business and consumer confidence, as a political crisis rather than an economic one.
"We know that from the shutdown, there was a loss of economic activity," Lew said. "We need to make sure that government does not go through another round of brinkmanship. This can never happen again."
A last minute deal in Congress pulled the country from the edge of an unprecedented debt default. It restored government funding through January 15 and extended its borrowing authority through February 7, though the Trea…

Check processing for internet and retail stores

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MasterCard forms partnership with competitor Travelex

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MasterCard logo used on cards 1997 to present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) MasterCard has forged a partnership with competitor Travelex to establish a multi-currency prepaid overseas credit card that will benefit both companies. The alliance will enable consumers to travel overseas with a reloadable and replaceable credit card available in five currencies. MasterCard's Seth Eisen says MasterCard serves as the network where the transactions for the cards are routed, while Travelex sells the cards to consumers. The card network's Michael Weitzman notes that partnerships are sensible for MasterCard because "we believe financially it can be greater than the sum of its parts," and the collaboration expands MasterCard's reach to overseas customers and allows Travelex to extend revenue on conversions and partner with a global brand. Weitzman cites the alliance's potential to bolster MasterCard's worldwide brand, noting "our secret sauce is to authorize, clear…

Deutsche Bank AG will pay $11.5 million to resolve a probe of its role in funding subprime

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A unit of Deutsche Bank AG will pay $11.5 million to resolve a probe of its role in fundingsubprimemortgage loans in Nevada, the state's attorney general said on Thursday.
The investigation focused on mortgage loans provided by other lenders but funded, bought and securitized by DB Structured Products Inc between 2004 and 2007, Attorney General Catherine Masto said.
At issue was whether the other lenders misled borrowers about the actual interest rates on their loans or piled on risky features without considering a borrower's ability to repay, and whether Deutsche Bank knew about such practices when it helped to finance the loans.
The bank neither admitted nor denied the state's allegations but agreed to review any future Nevada loans it helps to finance for similar problems.
"I remain committed to enforcing Nevada's laws against the players - including those on Wall Street - that contributed to and profited from mortgage lending and sales practices that misled Ne…

Should Jamie Dimon resign?

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Jamie Dimon (Photo credit: SuperSleuther)Jamie Dimon (Photo credit: SuperSleuther)New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkinputs his finger on the disconnect between average everyday folk and the Wall Street establishment with his assertion that, when it comes to criticizing JPMorgan-Chase (JPM) chief executive officerJamie Dimon, some people “matter” and others don’t. The “pundit class,” as he put it, seems to want Dimon to resign in the face of multiple regulatory and criminal investigations, which have prompted the bank to set aside $23 billion for potential legal costs. The bank reported its first quarterly loss since 2004, and its first under Dimon, on Oct. 11. Dimon told analysts on the earnings call: “This is very painful for the company.”
Sorkin writes:
“When I called Dennis Kelleher, president of BetterMarkets, a nonprofit Wall Street watchdog, he put it this way: ‘By any objective measure, Jamie Dimon should be fired. The compliance failures are egregious and systemic.’ Yet…

MBA Fastnet Challenge

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Fastnet or Carraig Aonair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)After 3 days of an exciting and diverse sailing race the first MBA Fastnet Challenge has come to a successful end!“Unbelievable that it’s already over” – this was the conclusion of a very tired but happy crew of 12 MBAs from 4 business schools and 4 Team Heiner coaches sitting together at the 24 hour bar at Plymouth harbor right after having finished Rolex Fastnet 2013, one of the four famous 600 miles Rolex races, toasting with champagne. The past couple of days had been very intense in every respect and while the team was proud to be back in Plymouth having arrived in 6th across the line in their class, but 12th position with handicap and 212th overall, most also felt a bit sad that it was all over.
After having trained towards this race for months in Holland, Portugal and England including sea survival training, ups and downs in sailing performance, qualification RORC races in the Channel and a torn main sail finally the big race wa…

Oracle claims second place

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Image via CrunchBaseIBM reported software revenue totaling $25.7 billion in the last four quarters, while Oracle's software revenue reached $27.8 billion. Oracle, citing public IT industry earnings reports, on Oct. 17 declared itself to be the second-largest software company in the world behind Microsoft. "Given IBM's recently announced quarterly results, we would like to take this opportunity to point out that Oracle's software business has been growing faster than IBM's software business, and now Oracle has moved up to become the number 2 software company in the world while IBM has slipped to number 3," Oracle said in an email advisory to the media.
Extending BI Systems & Data Warehouses for Real-Time Big Data Analytics Download Now 100% "Over IBM's last four quarters, they reported software revenue totaling $25.7 billion, while during Oracle's last four quarters, we reported software revenue totaling $27.8 billion. Microsoft earned $61 bil…

The new $100 bill will entered circulation

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The new $100 bill will enter circulation on Tuesday The Federal Reserve of the United States will begin circulating a new $100 bill on Tuesday. The redesigned bank note, which has been delayed by more than 2 and a half years, includes a number of measures designed to make it more difficult to counterfeit, including a 3D security ribbon and a new "bell in the inkwell."
Though the new note will still feature the familiar portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, alongside this will be a new vertical blue ribbon woven into the paper. The fine 3D nature of the ribbon creates a number of visual effects as the note is viewed or manipulated in various ways. Little bells that appear in the ribbon change to 100s as the angle of view is altered, and the pattern can be made to move either up and down or side to side by tilting the note in various directions.
Also on the front of the note is a copper-colored inkwell. This also includes a bell, which changes in appearance from copp…

JPMorgan Chase & Co posted its first quarterly loss

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JPMorgan Chase & Co posted its first quarterly loss under Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon after a tangle of legal and regulatory probes cost the biggest U.S. bank $7.2 billion.
Dimon managed to avoid posting losses during the financial crisis as the bank shied away from the worst subprime mortgage assets. But now legal woes, at least some tied to banks that JPMorgan bought during the crisis, are taking a toll.
JPMorgan posted a loss of $380 million, or 17 cents per share, for the third quarter, its first loss since the second quarter of 2004. A year earlier it reported a profit of $5.71 billion, or $1.40 a share.
Excluding litigation expenses and other special items, the company posted a profit of $5.82 billion, or $1.42 per share.
Analysts on average had forecast earnings of $1.17 per share excluding special items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was not immediately clear if the results were comparable.
The legal expenses - $9.2 billion, or $7.2 billion after taxes - includ…

Communications Security Establishment Canada

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In an exclusive interview with CBC News, the former head of Canada’s most secretive intelligence agency says there should be greater parliamentary scrutiny of the clandestine spy service.
Calls for more openness are certain to get louder in the wake of fresh allegations the agency spied on Brazil's mining and energy ministry in search of corporate secrets.
John Adams, former chief of the Communications Security Establishment of Canada, says the secretive organization needs more parliamentary oversight. (CSEC) In a rare interview, former spymaster John Adams told CBC News he thinks the government must do more "to make Canadians more knowledgeable about what the intelligence agencies are trying to do on their behalf."
Adams recently retired after seven years as head of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, and he admits the agency has deliberately kept Canadians in the dark about its operations for decades.
“There’s no question that CSEC is very, very biased tow…

Others could face charges over swindler Allen Stanford

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On the first day of its new term on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided over whether lawyers, insurance brokers and others who worked with convicted swindler Allen Stanford could avoid lawsuits by investors seeking to recoup losses incurred in his $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
New York-based law firms Chadbourne & Parke and Proskauer Rose and insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings Plc were all sued by former Stanford investors.
They are part of a consolidated case along with two other defendants, financial services firm SEI Investments and insurance company Bowen, Miclette & Brittin, for which the Supreme Court heard a one-hour argument on Monday.
The defendants sought Supreme Court review after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2012 said the lawsuits brought under state laws by the former Stanford clients could go ahead.
The former Stanford clients are keen to pursue state law claims because the Supreme Court has previously held that si…

charges against 13 suspected members of the hacking group Anonymous

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The United States brought criminal charges against 13 suspected members of the hacking group Anonymous on Thursday for allegedly attacking government, credit card and lobbying websites in a campaign in support of internet file-sharing.
A grand jury indictment of the 13 people was filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, charging them with conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to protected computers as part of Anonymous' "Operation Payback."
The loose-knit international group known as Anonymous has been in frequent battle with U.S. authorities, not only over file-sharing but also other ideological causes such as the willingness of financial institutions to process donations for the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
In March 2012, U.S. prosecutors in New York charged six suspected leaders of Anonymous for wreaking havoc on government and corporate websites.
The hackers launched "Operation Payback" in retaliation for the 2010 shutdown of Pirate Bay, a …

bitcoin digital currency dropped after U.S. law enforcement

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The price of the bitcoin digital currency dropped after U.S. law enforcement authorities shut down Silk Road, an online marketplace used to buy and sell illegal drugs.
The bitcoin, valued by many for its anonymity, fell to $129 from over $140 a day before, according to a website for trading bitcoins, Mt.Gox. Earlier, the currency traded as low as $110.
Supporters say using bitcoins offers benefits including lower fraud risk and increased privacy, though critics argue the anonymity it offers makes the currency a magnet for drug transactions, money-laundering and other illegal activities.
The digital currency's drop came after the FBI arrested alleged Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known as "Dread Pirate Roberts," on Tuesday in San Francisco.
Silk Road allowed tech-savvy sellers to post ads for drugs and other illegal products, which they sold for bitcoins and shipped to customers through the mail, according to the federal criminal charges filed against Ulbrich…

Windows 8.1 features tighter Outlook.com integration

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Webmail gets touchy. Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 8.1 update will include a revamped, mobile-friendly Mail app that features tighter Outlook.com integration. Inspired by the company's Outlook.com webmail service, Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system update will include a default email app that is designed with tablet users in mind. A new Mail app awaits Windows 8.1 users when it is released Oct. 17 in the U.S., one that "is optimized for mobile devices, built for touch" wrote Dawn Martynuik, director of Outlook.com Product Marketing in a blog post. She added that one of Outlook.com's most popular features, Sweep, "is coming to the Mail app exclusively for people with an Outlook.com email account." Sweep is a time-saving option that automates common email tasks and allows users to organize their inboxes. By invoking Sweep, users can move or delete all emails from a certain sender in one fell swoop. Users can optionally set Sweep rules for fut…

Vormetric study shows that many organizations do not restrict the actions

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New data from a Vormetric study shows that many organizations do not restrict the actions that a privileged user can take on a network. One of the biggest data breaches of all time occurred not by a malicious external actor, but by IT contractor Edward Snowden, who was able to take privileged information from the National Security Agency (NSA). The fact that Snowden had access is not a unique problem for the NSA, according to a new study sponsored by security firm Vormetric. "One of the big revelations in the survey is that 73 percent of respondents said they don't block privileged users from access to sensitive data," Vormetric CEO Allan Kessler told eWEEK. The Vormetric-sponsored study was conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group and surveyed 700 IT security decision makers. Fifty-four percent of the survey respondents also indicated that it is now more difficult to protect against an insider threat than it was two years ago. There are several reasons for this, according…