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Top Firm Cuts Back On Just About Everything

Citi announced its new expense policies and procedures to staff at its Institutional Clients Group (basically the investment bank) last week. It's all here - technology-related purchases, Blackberry usage, office moves and furniture, color copying and printing, travel expenses and entertainment, late night car service and meals, temporary employees, recruiting, management consultants, etc.

Top Firm Really On The Ropes Now

Boxing

Shares in Lehman Brothers fell 13.1% in New York trading Tuesday, on fears that the firm's third-quarter will be really 'ugly', and that more capital raising and the possible sale of asset management unit Neuberger Berman is on the cards.

Bob Diamond's Acquisition Plans, Fortis, Hedge Fund Problems

Barclays President Bob Diamond has consistently said that his bank is not really up for buying an investment bank to merge with Barclays Capital (preferring to grow the business organiclly instead), but, according to the Financial Times, Barclays may make a move on a US wealth management firm.

My Firm's Hiring Freeze Is Tip Of The Iceberg

Iceberg

'Let me start by saying that I've not got it in for my firm, Merrill Lynch. Despite the terrible securities losses that have engulfed our firm these last 12 months, and the resulting job cuts and pressures which have come with this period of turmoil, I still believe in this firm. I believe that, despite a couple of missteps, CEO John Thain is the right man to lead us, and I remain confident that we will emerge from our troubles a better, more focused business.

Another Major Firm's Going Belly Up

The Titanic

At least that's what the smart money says. Reuters reports that, according to a new survey of 146 banks, investors and hedge funds undertaken by Greenwich Associates, 60% of respondents said that they fully expect a major financial services firm to collapse in the next 6 months. 15% said that they felt a collapse was likely in the next 6 - 12 months. Only 27% felt that there was not likely to be another collapse like Bear Stearns.

Big Boss Goes - Another One Bites The Dust

As widely predicted, Fortis announced late Friday that it was parting company with CEO Jean-Paul Votron. Votron, 57, was in the end brought down for bringing Fortis in on the ABN Amro deal with Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. He was immediately replaced by Herman Verwilst, his former deputy.

Top Boss Pay - More Billy Big Bonuses

Barclays President Bob Diamond (who also runs Barclays Capital, BGI and Barclays Wealth) bagged $29.8m in cash and stock compensation for his troubles last year - 5 times more that Barclays CEO John Varley, the man who beat Diamond to the top Barclays job. Diamond, 55, is also in line for an additional $29m this year from a three-year performance incentive plan. During his decade at Barclays, Diamond is said to have built up a shareholding valued at around $127m.

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