Goldman Protest, Dancing Banker, Sandy Weill

The Herald reports that Goldman Sachs was 'unmoved' by the 'noisy demonstration' undertaken by cleaners outside the firm's London HQ building Wednesday. Around 150 people were said to have been protesting the 'poverty' wages paid to the cleaners who do the business at Goldman offices in London. Many of the protesters are said to have had bullhorns and whistles. At least a dozen police are said to have been in attendance.

The protesters claim that many of the cleaners receive just over $10-an-hour, and are urging Goldman to intervene with ISS, its outsourced cleaning company, to sort the matter out. Goldman is said to have acknowledged that it has an equity stake in ISS, and boardroom representation.

Mimi Monica Wong, the HSBC private (banking) dancer who earlier this year won her case for the return of millions in advanced Latin dancing fees after she fell out with her coaches, has had the interest rate she was originally to have received on her $7.7m award reduced. Bloomberg reports that a judge has slashed the interest from prime Hong Kong rate plus 1% to that based on bank deposit rate. The judge said that 'the award of interest is not intended to punish the unsuccessful party'.

The New York Post reports that Lazard is allowing a number of current and former managing directors who have been with the firm since before last year's IPO, to sell 10% of their total holdings in a upcoming secondary offering. Lazard plans to raise $262m in additional capital to reduce debt and fund acquisitions and investments.

Reuters reports that Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $95m to settle fraud claims in respect of its role in the 1999 collapse of General American Mutual Holding Co. The Wall Street firm was accused of encouraging the company to sell an investment product which it knew could, and eventually did, undermine its liquidity.

The New York Post says that Wall Street firms are likely to rake in $21bn in M&A fees this year. According to Thomson Financial, the biggest winner is (surprise, surprise) likely to be Goldman Sachs, which will earn around $2bn from this source. Morgan Stanley is expected to come in second with around $1.6bn in fees.

And Sandy Weill is still upsetting a few people who feature in his memoir 'The Real Deal: My Life in Business and Philanthropy'. The New York Post quotes one-time Weill associate George Sheinberg, who says that 'Weill takes so many cheap shots at people who helped his incredible career, it probably would have sold better as a psychological novel, because it's more fiction than fact'. (Source - Wall Street Folly).

Finally, The New York Times reports that the average WEEKLY pay for finance jobs in New York City was around $8,300 in the first quarter of 2006 - up more than $3,000 a week in the last 3 years.

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