The personal price of exposing financial wrongdoing can be devastating. Report for The Financial Times by William D Cohan, including interviews with whistleblowers formerly employed at Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase.
Michael Sam blazes a trail. Michael Sam, University of Missouri star football player, Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and prospective draft pick in this spring's 2014 NFL draft, may become the first publicly gay player in the NFL. [more inside]
On the last day of August, Arkansas will kick off against Louisiana-Lafayette, and Bielema will step to the sideline for the first time in this new conference. Hog calls will echo above and around him. The stadium will rumble with Week 1's blind optimism. The temperature will be warmer, the athletes faster, and the expectations higher. There will be more tailgaters, sundresses, and reporters. For now, on this practice field, every rep is geared toward preparing for that moment, when Bielema will begin to answer the question of just what the hell he's doing down here.Via Grantland.
Back in July, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on his Facebook page that users of the service had enjoyed over 1 billion hours of viewing in the month of June. The post was (and is) public, and subscribed to by over 200,000 users (some of whom were journalists). Netflix stock jumped for the day on the news. But the SEC was apparently less impressed. [more inside]
"The Canadian arm of the aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney closed a six-year U.S. government probe last week by admitting that it helped China produce its first modern attack helicopter ... The prosecution marked 'one of the largest resolutions of export violations with a major defense contractor in the Justice Department's history...'"
"Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. [...] The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation. Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down."
Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs. New York Time Op-Ed. March 14th 2012:
TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.[more inside]
"Ask yourself, is your candidate smarter than an Aggie?" The Marching Owl Band ponders the next election. At the same UT-Rice halftime show, they also had something to say about upcoming conference realignments. (Full show script.) The MOB has a bit of history (show script) with Texas A&M. [more inside]
Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? "A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals."
Let's find as many suckers as we can as fast as we can, because we'll only make more money as more and more shit hits the fan.
The People vs. Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi's latest magnum opus (previous coverage) lays out the full case for federal prosecutions against the Vampire Squid according to Sen. Carl Levin's Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. [Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse 650 page pdf].
Maybe Microsoft is trading in London at a penny less than it's trading at the same moment in New York. A high-frequency trader will buy shares in London and wait for them to rise. Since the discrepancy lasts a mere fraction of a second, speed is key. [Tradework CEO] M. Narang boasts it takes only 15 millionth of a second for his computers to place a buy or sell order after detecting an opportunity. Or, as he puts it, "If you try to pick up the penny, we'll probably beat you to it." [more inside]
"If anything goes wrong it's going to be an awfully big mess. Ha, ha, ha!" The day the S.E.C. changed the game. [flash w/ audio]
"When a company or individual receives a surprise subpoena on a Friday from the SEC, it is usually designed to ruin their weekend plans. Yes, the SEC can get personal in its own way...Back in the day as the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I received a surprise subpoena from the SEC late Friday afternoon. I had to wait until Monday before my attorneys had time to advise me on a course of action." Ex-white collar felon Sam Antar blogs about the SEC's recent move. [more inside]
SEC sues Goldman Sachs for fraud. GS has already come under fire for "betting against" financial products it was marketing, a practice that apparently helped it prosper from the real estate bubble but come out relatively unscathed. The SEC now says that one such product was designed specifically so that a Goldman business partner, Paulson & Company, could take a short position on it. Investors were apparently not advised of this fact. Goldman's stock was off more than 10% in the half hour following the announcement. [more inside]
Footnoted.org, a blog devoted to pointing out those buried atrocities in SEC filings, is having its annual worst footnote of the year contest. contenders include Chesapeake Energy disclosing it spent $12.1 million to purchase Aubrey McClendon's antique map collection, Martha Stewart's $3 million retention payment to remain at Martha Stewart Omnimedia and InfoGroup disclosing it really spent $852K on former CEO Gupta's yacht instead of zero. Polls close tomorrow.
You like documents? We got documents:
Who are the Fools here? "Many customers of Zecco Trading logged into their brokerage account yesterday to be greeted with a slightly higher buying power than before… on the order of 6 to 13 million dollars!" So what'd these customers do? They bought stocks. Oops. SEC may be getting involved. [more inside]
Dallas Mavericks owner, celebrity dancer, Dairy Queen manager, and bloviating billionaire Mark Cuban has been accused of insider trading. In its complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Cuban of selling his entire stake in Momma.com (since renamed) to avoid a $750,000 loss in 2004. But not even the government has a gag big enough to cover Cuban's mouth. On his blog, Cuban says the SEC is picking on him and presented an excerpt of a deposition of Mamma.com's CEO. And Cuban would like you to believe that he's being politically persecuted for his support of the 9/11 conspiracy film, "Loose Change." Cuban's Magnolia Pictures, which redacted Redacted, was said to be interested in a distribution deal.
Rule 10a-1, otherwise known as the uptick rule, provided that, subject to certain exceptions, a listed security could only be sold short at or above the last sale price. The uptick rule was introduced in 1934 when the public blamed bear traders for the 1929 crash, and was eliminated in July of 2007 after a temporary pilot program. The SEC is now considering reinstating the rule, an effort buoyed by rumours that downtick short-selling may have facilitated an alleged 'bear raid' on Bear Stearns.
Banning short selling? Firing Chris Cox? Treasury Secretary Paulson has reportedly floated the idea of an 80s-style "Resolution Trust Corporation." Maybe we're finally turning the corner...or at least stopping the hemorrhaging.
So You Think The V-22 Is Ridiculous? [previously] Let me present you its dumb brother, the DuPont Aerospace DP-2. (No relation to the chemical conglomerate). [more inside]
"The great thing about the market is that it has nothing to do with the actual stocks." Jim Cramer--probably most famous for his CNBC show "Mad Money"--comes clean in a TheStreet.com interview about the tactics he used while managing his hedge fund and how he, you know, might influence Apple's stock if he were in the game today. Feathers get ruffled.
Forum: The Pros and Cons of Director Liability. [more inside]
The SEC has proposed new rules [pdf] to drastically increase requirements on executive compensation disclosure. You can read a summary of the proposal in the SEC's press release, as well as statements from Chairman Cox and Commissioner Atkin. [more inside]
Bill Donaldson, chair of the SEC, is out effective June 30, presumably to go back to the private sector. Taking his place, if approved, is Christopher Cox. Many believe Donaldson restored investor confidence since the equity market implosion. What's the upside of a Chris Cox tenure and for whom?
Nader takes on the SEC, will a campaign be next? Bit by bit, Ralph Nader does what he does best, annoying those who abuse power. This last year, he has kept with advocacy that is in parallel with smart campaign strategy and the creation of the SEC watchdog group is an example of that. The Greens are still debating him in the forums, wondering if he is still their guy. Maybe they should be asking if he's OUR guy?
Is this a good idea? The SEC names an ex-Andersen partner to a top position regulating auditors. Why not have oil executives pick our energy policy while we're at it?
You've got jail? The SEC is no longer alone in investigating accounting irregularities at AOL Time Warner. Tonight the "world's leading media and entertainment company" confirmed that the U.S. Justice Dept. has opened its own probe. This, one day after President Bush signed the so-called Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act (pdf of HR 3763) (summary). Tonight, however, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa are criticizing the President for trying to weaken the corporate fraud bill before the ink is even dry.
Clinton Fires Back at Republican Accusations "There was corporate malfeasance both before he took office and after. The difference is I actually tried to do something about it and their party stopped it. And one of the people who stopped our attempt to stop Enron accounting was made chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission." He also talks about the Middle East and the related "Blame Clinton" movement. I can hear the teeth gnashing already.
This LA Times article goes into some of the details of the Bush/Harken SEC investigation. While it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, it's largely exculpatory.
The wall seperating analysts and traders appears to have completely broken down in Merril Lynch. Yesterday, NYT reported that SEC is joining the investigation. The accounting scandal in QWest is now one of many in the telecommunication world. There is also the well documented travails of Anderson Consulting.... This year there has been a crop of accounting scandals. Does the financial world needs stricter regulatory mechanism or is it simply a matter of lax supervision? (more inside)
Invest now! The SEC has created a fake website to try and educate the naive. I can't decide if this is a good idea, or if someone has too much time on their hands and is wasting my tax dollars.
from this weeks nyt mag: a fantastic article by the always-excellent michael lewis: Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis -- and 15