It's been a few weeks now, but the smell that all is not right at Goldman continues to pervade the air. Although the Wall Street firm is having none of it.
Here's a lot more bad news for all you sadists out there who get off on the doom and gloom.
is a woman.
There's a lot of nonsense being talked about bonuses. There's been some noise in the media in the last few days about how UK bankers at US firms are likely to take a bigger bonus hit at year-end as, in addition to smaller payouts this time around, bankers who work at US firms will also lose a further 10% of their bonus when it's converted into sterling due to changes in the exchange rate since the beginning of the year. That's mostly rubbish.
There's been talk of Barclays President Bob Diamond leaving the firm for years now. Such is the job that Bob has done in recent years (particularly as boss of BarCap), that he is mentioned every time a big Wall Street job comes up (like Citi or Merrill Lynch). Conversely, if you believe the rumours (strongly denied by Barclays), he might be going soon should BarCap end up writing-down billons in subprime-related assets this quarter. Whatever happens, though, Barclays appears to be hedged.
The Wall Street Journal reports that rating agency Standard & Poor's has said that it believed that the trusteee of the $1.5bn Carina CDO Ltd, originally managed by State Street, has begun liquidating positions. Concerns are growing that the sale of the assets at firesale prices would force vehicles to use similar prices when valuing their own assets, and prompt further write-downs and panic in the financial markets. In the meantime, rumours have been flying that over a dozen other highly leveraged vehicles were experiencing liquidity problems and would soon be forced into the sale of assets at distressed prices.
It was bound to happen. UBS is the first firm to stand up and be counted in the brave new world post-subprime. From this year-end, UBS is to limit the amount of cash paid out as part of staff annual bonuses. Previously unlimited, from now on bankers will have to get used to a cash cap of $750,000. The rest of year-end bonuses will be paid in stock.
The New York Post reports that as Citi CEO Chuck Prince and Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal got their marching orders for what happened on their watch in the third-quarter, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein looks on target to bag a bonus of some $75m at year-end - around $20m more than he got for 2006.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Citi CEO Chuck Prince first learned that his company would face further asset write-downs a couple of weeks back, when new CFO Gary Crittenden called him up on his cell and indicated that there was trouble. At that moment Prince probably knew that the jig was up, and that his 28-year career at Citigroup was all but over.
Reuters reports that Bank of New York Mellon confirmed Friday that US regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission has completed three probes into the company activities (including possible market timing), and decided that no further action is required.
The mystery over South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius's role in the killing of the model Reeva Steenkamp has deepened amid a series of claims and counter-claims about what happened at his home in Pretoria last week.
More job loss / people news.
Sprinter charged with murdering girlfriend, as police deny making claims that he had thought she was an intruder