Bear, Goldman, HSBC, Merrill, SocGen, Hedgies

Bloomberg reports that ousted Bear Stearns President Warren Spector, the man once tipped to take over from CEO Jimmy Cayne, walked off with $23m in stock stock and options after being made the fall-guy for the firm's hedge fund problems in the summer.

Although Spector will no get a severance package from the firm, he will keep his $250,000 salary and use of an executive secretary until the end of the year. Bear is also said to have picked up his legal fees for the exit agreement.

And staying with Bear, Reuters reports that the bank has now been subjected to a lawsuit from a shareholder which claims it should have known that it was over-exposed to the US subprime lending market (Bear has written down $1.2bn in mortgage assets this year). The firm's shares are down 42% this year, having lost around $10bn in market cap since mid-January.

The Financial Times reports that Goldman is looking to raise $4 - $6bn for a new hedge fund which will focus on stocks. The fund will be run by Raanan Agus, the firm's former head of prop trading, and Kenneth Eberts, who ran the US prop trading desk.

Activist investor Knight Vinke Asset Management is now claiming that HSBC has changed its executive comp plan without obtaining shareholder approval - and doesn't like it, as it says that bank bosses can now be rewarded for sub-par performances. HSBC says that the terms of the scheme have remained unchanged.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Merrill Lynch has ousted Ranodeb Roy, its co-head of fixed income in Asia. He is said to have been asked to leave the firm Tuesday morning. Roy's departure follows last month's firing of Osman Semerci, the global head of fixed income, after $8.4bn in write-downs of fixed income assets (mostly mortgage-related). CEO Stan O'Neal also fell on his sword over the affair.

The newspaper also reports that Goldman Sachs has cut its stock rating on both Credit Suisse and Societe Generale from 'neutral' to 'sell'.

Finally, The Financial Times reports that, according to Man Group, over one in ten hedge funds are likely to go belly up due to current market conditions. New start-ups are also likely to fall off by around a third.

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