Lots of news recently on what firms are facing on the auction-rate securities front.
In sharp contrast to rival Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch has imposed a global hiring freeze for the rest of 2008. The freeze will be imposed across the board, excepting the firm's retail broking unit, and will even apply to positions where budget has already been allocated. The freeze covers both permanent and temporary positions, and includes replacement hires. Exceptions will be considered, but all applications will need to be submitted to Merrill's Management Committee.
An interesting item in The Financial Times this week. The newspaper reports that UBS's current top two executives were aware of 'rule breaches' over at the offshore banking unit in the firm's US wealth management business as early as 2006. With the company mired in a US Department of Justice probe into allegations that bank staff helped clients hide assets to evade taxes, was this to be the 'smoking gun' that could undermine the firm's leadership, and heap even more ridiclue on the troubled Swiss bank ? Well, actually, no.
Banks and securities houses have had to raise hundreds of billions in additional capital to beef up their balance sheets in the wake of the asset writedowns and credit losses they have sustained over the last year.
With a US Presidential election coming in November, and all this talk about British Prime Minister Gordon Brown not being up to the job, we thought it would be a good idea to find out who our readers thought was the best US President / British Prime Minister since the war.
As we're now one year on from what is commonly regarded as the start of the credit crunch, we thought we'd send out another little ditty. This song should be sung to the tune of Stevie Wonder's 'I Just Called To Say I Love You':
This little ditty was sent in by one of our readers, 'Lady of the City'. It should be sung to the tune of Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'.
In late 2006, the U.S. subprime mortgage industry entered what could only be referred to as a crisis. A rise in subprime mortgage defaults and foreclosures caused over 100 lenders to fail or file for bankruptcy. Enter Richard Bitner, a former subprime lender, who reveals for the first time the insider perspective of the worst mortgage crisis in US history in his new book, 'Confessions of a Subprime Lender: An Insider’s Tale of Greed, Fraud, and Ignorance'.
Reuters reports that Goldman analysts have come out and said that Barclays may need to writedown an additional $2.8bn over the next 18 months, and said that it remained concerned about the bank's capital position.
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A rogue UBS employee who lost £1.5bn for one of the world's best-known banks by trading huge sums in off-the-book deals, has been convicted of fraud.
It will reorganize its investment bank and merge asset management with the private bank to save costs and reduce complexity.
JPMorgan Chase has named Marianne Lake to succeed Chief Financial Officer Doug Braunstein, extending an overhaul of senior leadership at the firm.