This week five large global investment banks were fined $1.2 billion by the European Union
(I don’t really care about how much that is in Euros since everyone should use dollars like normal people) for rigging the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange market—and nobody gives a flying f*ck.
Any rational person would think that manipulating one of the largest securities markets would result in some sort of serious call for instituting change. You would imagine that bank executives and CEOs would quickly hire new Compliance, Legal, Audit and Regulatory personnel to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. A quick search of Indeed.com yield not one job opening for an FX Compliance professional.
Maybe the bank CEOs are rational. While the fine seems large, it’s like a parking ticket to them. They probably earned multiples of this amount in profits before they were caught. Most likely insurance covers the costs and the regulators don’t claw back any of their multi-million dollar pay packages. So, why should they bother hiring more compliance people and incur the added costs—especially when we’re in a period of deregulation?
On a serious, much more important note, world-famous Grumpy Cat—the face of millions of memes—passed away at the far-too-young age of 7, due to complications from a urinary tract infection. We will always fondly remember Grumpy Cat as a testament to our vacuous, stupid culture that spends way too much time surfing the internet for dumb sh*t. It has been reported that the Cat earned millions from her cat-lebrity status. Meanwhile, my two cats don’t bring a dime into the household. At least my two dogs bark to ward off scary birds, the wind, thunder, and the UPS guy, but they aren’t earning any money either. A soon as I get home tonight, I’m going to have a stern talk with the four of them about contributing to the household expenses.
Bitcoin Whales Fluctuate The Market Value… For The 1000th Time
Speaking of questionable ways to make money, Bitcoin prices plummeted less than a day after the world’s largest cryptocurrency traded at levels above $8,000. From Septemeber 2013 to today, the price of Bitcoin fluctuated from about $119 then up to $17,000 in December 2017 before falling to a little under $8,000 this month. Not I’m not saying there is any manipulations, pump and dumps or other shenanigans going on.
Nor am I the least bit bitter and angry that everyone told me to avoid buying Bitcoin when it was trading a small, itsy-bitsy fraction of what it is now. So, I’m totally objective on this subject. The only issue that I have about Bitcoin is that there is no actual metric to judge its value. Stocks can be valued by the price-to-earnings ratio and other measurements. Stocks are backed by something physical like buildings, factories, manufacturing plants, revenues and profits. Bitcoin’s value seems to based on nonstop emails, Tweets, and content farm articles, talking heads on cable business news, and a few whales that dominate and control the market. Yes, as you can see, I’m not bitter at all.
Elizabeth Warren Just Laid a Devastating Burn on the Comptroller of the Currency
Elizabeth Warren is not a fan of Wells Fargo’s enthusiasm for fraud. It also appears that she is not a fan of the current federal banking official, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who is in part responsible for regulating the repeat corporate offender (Editor’s Note: I can’t claim this snark. I give full credit to Slate).
Here is an exchange between the two:
Chief Scandal Officers
PwC’s annual CEO study found interesting statistics on CEO dismissals in 2018.
The #1 reason why CEOs have left or been dismissed was due to ethical lapses, more specifically “the removal of the CEO as the result of a scandal or improper conduct by the CEO or other employees; examples include fraud, bribery, insider trading, environmental disasters, inflated resumes, and sexual indiscretions.”
Scandals accounted for 39% of dismissals, 35% due to financial performance and 13% from conflicts with the company’s board.
In contrast, right after the financial crisis in 2008, 52% of dismissals were due to financial performance, 35% from board conflicts and 10% due to conduct.
Where are the statistics on DJ CEOs?
Government To Vet New Wells Fargo CEO
Wells Fargo’s search for its new CEO after Tim Sloan stepped down late March has become a bit more complicated.
As Congress piles on reasons that Wells Fargo should put their new CEO through the wringer before stepping into the role, the Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has stepped in to say that his office will review CEO candidates, as they should for the financially troubled lender.
However, Otting told Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Congress that he will not release any information regarding the process, which was met with fireworks with Congress members accusing him directly of being too soft on Wells Fargo.
U.S. Targets Huawei
As the trade war continues (with many saying that China is winning by retaliating with more tariffs), the U.S. decided to call a national emergency over the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei and has banned all U.S. firms from trading with them.
The decision was made to “prevent American technology from being used by foreign-owned entities in ways that potentially undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
With tariffs going back and forth on both the U.S. and China’s most profitable exports, the U.S. decided to target China’s equivalent of Apple/Verizon. When the U.S. arrested Huawei CFO months ago, the Chinese responded as if the U.S. had thrown Chinese royalty into foreign jail and an Apple boycott in China ensued shortly after.