TOP NEWS: Economy: August 15th, 2012
- British Bank in $340 Million Settlement for Laundering
- Rising Retail Sales Ease Fears for Economy
- Regulators seek curbs on trading bugs
- Federal workers feel campaign heat
- Fund Managers Unload Banks
Excerpts and More Top Stories
BANKING/STANDARD CHARTERED: British Bank in $340 Million Settlement for Laundering
JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG, NY Times – New York’s top banking regulator had accused Standard Chartered of laundering $250 billion for Iranian clients and lying about it to authorities.
STANDARD CHARTERED: Lawsky’s Spitzer Moment
WSJ, Opinion – Britain’s Standard Chartered bank agreed Tuesday to settle charges by the New York Department of Financial Services that it had helped Iran evade financial sanctions. The bank is paying a cool $340 million, but no one should believe that this makes New York banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky some kind of superhero.
RETAIL/SALES: Rising Retail Sales Ease Fears for Economy
WSJ – Consumers started the third quarter with a bang, increasing spending at the fastest pace since February and easing fears about the economic impact of the still-tough job market.
COMPUTERIZED TRADING: Regulators seek curbs on trading bugs
Michael Mackenzie, FT – Recent technical errors involving BATS and Knight Capital spur regulators to beef up risk controls on computerised trading of US equities
FEDERAL WORKERS: Federal workers feel campaign heat
Eric Yoder , Washington Post – The continuous battles this year over the number of federal employees and the value of their pay and benefits reflect the larger campaign-year debate over the cost and scope of government.
INVESTING: Fund Managers Unload Banks
LIZ MOYER, ERIK HOLM, WSJ – Some well-known hedge-fund managers reported significantly reduced stakes in big banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs as well as food companies such as Kraft Foods in the second quarter.
TAXES: America’s Aversion to Taxes
By EDUARDO PORTER, NY Times - Though the nation’s fiscal challenge has taken center stage in the presidential campaign, raising more taxes from American families remains stubbornly off the table.
INSIDER TRADING TRIAL: Fund Manager Testifies Against Insider Informant
Chad Bray, WSJ – In a bid to discredit the testimony of a key government witness in his insider-trading trial, hedge-fund manager Doug Whitman testified that he thought the informant was lying when she said she had a secret source for Google in 2007.
BOOK/FINANCE: The Accounting Trick Behind Thirty Years of Scandal
Christopher Matthews, Time – New book contends that some of the most notorious financial scandals are linked by their use of an esoteric accounting mechanism, SPE, which can amount to nothing more than financial sleight of hand, tricking regulators and investors into seeing something that isn’t there.
FINANCIAL REFORM: For Stability’s Sake, Reform Money Funds
William C. Dudley, Bloomberg, OPINION – The crisis in the euro area is a reminder that threats to financial stability are never far away. While progress has been made on financial reform over the past two years, more must be done to ensure that the financial system is robust enough to absorb shocks and still provide the credit needed for economic growth and job creation.
BANKING/REFORM: Too Big To Fail Has Become a Permanent Bailout Program
Peter Wallison & Cornelius Hurley, Forbes, OPINION – What better time than now to have the long overdue discussion about the central issue of the Financial Crisis–what to do about banks and other financial firms considered too-big-to-fail. That discussion need not be rancorous or partisan once all sides recognize that these firms are being bailed out every day.
BANKING/SETTLEMENT: Wells Fargo to Settle SEC Mortgage-Securities Case
Wells Fargo agreed to pay more than $6.5 million to settle SEC charges that the bank’s brokers didn’t properly disclose to customers the risk of mortgage-derivative investments.
HCA HOSPITALS: A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail
JULIE CRESWELL, REED ABELSON, NY Times – Under private equity ownership, HCA made an aggressive push for more revenue that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over patient care.
MOBILE PAYMENTS: Payments Network Takes On Google
ROBIN SIDEL, WSJ – Wal-Mart, Target, 7-Eleven and Sunoco are among the companies with plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network to battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies.
The push is at an early stage, but while few shoppers use their phones as mobile-payment devices, mobile-payment transactions are expected to surge to an estimated $600 billion world-wide by 2016.
ENTERTAINMENT/TECHNOLOGY: Hulu Faces Privacy Test in Court
SOMINI SENGUPTA, NY Times – The online video streaming site Hulu.com faces a privacy test, under a quarter-century-old law meant to protect the privacy of video rentals.
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