BMO, Barclays Wealth, Citi, Enron, Goldman, Hedge Funds

Bloomberg reports that Bank of Montreal is to take a $200m write-down in the fourth quarter relating to asset-backed secutities.

Financial News reports that Barclays Wealth is to hire an additional 800 staff in its global wealth management unit, at least 250 of whom will be based in the UK.

Bloomberg reports that Citi has replaced David Bushnell as its chief risk officer with CAO Jorge Bermudez. The news agency quotes William Smith of Smith Asset Management, who said that 'they're addressing a situation that should have been addressed two years ago. Heads have to roll, and Bushell's head was next'.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a US judge has cleared the way for the US government to snatch $13m in assets from the estate of former Enron chairman Ken Lay. And included in the assets is the house where Lay's wife, Linda, currently resides.

The newspaper also reports that Goldman's US chief economist Jan Hatzius has become more bearish about the prospects for the global economy. He said that 'the likely mortgage credit losses pose a significantly bigger macroeconomic risk than generally recognised. It is easy to see how such a shock could produce a substantial recession, or a long period of sluggish growth'.

Finally, The New York Post reports that hedge funds are finding it more difficult to obtain the finance they need to leverage their assets. Investment banks, the traditional source of funding, have become much more cautious in the wake of the subprime lending fiasco. But Reuters reports that, after a difficult period, Vega Asset Management appears to have turned the corner. The news agency quotes Vega partner Michael Mann, who said that 'Vega is coming back, and it will be built up again. We obviously ran into business problems, (but) we took aggressive measures and we're very pleased with the way things are going so far'.

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