BofA, Hedge Funds, John Mack, NatWest 3, UBS

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bank of America's Chief Financial Officer, Alvaro de Molina, has quit and will leave the bank at the end of the month. de Molina, 49, wants 'to find something where I can have more impact than CFO at a well-run business'.

The Financial Times reports that hedge fund Citadel Investment Group paid out more than $5.5bn in interest, fees and other investment costs in 2005 - emphasizing how important this client group is to investment banks. A blot on the landscape, however, is that some of the larger hedge funds are beginning to bring trade settlement in-house, and are seeking to raise permanent capital (Citadel is to raise $2bn in a bond issue), which will reduce their need for bank lending.

Reuters reports that US regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission has now formally cleared Morgan Stanley boss John Mack in connection with a probe for alleged insider trading at hedge fund Pequot Capital Management.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew (the so-called 'NatWest 3'), will find out this week if their trial for alleged Enron-related crimes will be brought forward from September to February. The 3 bankers are thought likely to claim, however, that they would not be able to get their defence case ready in time for a trial just a couple of months hence.

Finally, things still look up on the M&A front over at UBS. The Wall Street Journal quotes Piero Novelli, co-head of global M&A, who said in a recent interview that 'our (M&A) pipeline is very strong. So are our strategic discussions with corporate and financial sponsors'.

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