Wednesday, December 30, 2009

UPDATE: executive compensation, corporate governance, and securities

I am so tired I want to scratch my eyes out. And so in lieu of going blind, I am only posting updates of some of what has transpired over the last two weeks regarding some of my pet issues. FWIW - presented here briefly to bring this blawg up-to-date. Thanks - have a *Great* New Year's!!

Bank of America

So with only two weeks left in the year, and right after they repaid their federal funding, BofA chose a new CEO ... who knew it would be the same guy who had a hand in the way the Merrill merger closed and who did not impress Congress while testifying about it. Oh, and FYI: the SEC has broadened its investigation.

Bank Closings

We're now up to 140 banks the FDIC has closed in 2009 alone. Good times.

Banker Bonuses

France follows the U.K. and levies a hefty tax on banker bonuses. Some call it "unfair."

Goldman is a veritable money machine, but there are rumblings inside that the "ethos" has changed ... which is largely of no importance to the demonstrators on the street who still want to see the firm burn.

Outgoing Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack has, for the third year in a row, rejected his year-end bonus. He noted the "unprecedented environment" and "extraordinary financial support" the federal government has used to buttress the banking industry. Morgan Stanley itself is modifying its compensation structure; nothing is definite yet, but rumour is that nearly 2/3rds of executives' pay will come in the form of stocks and will be subject to a clawback provision.

And whether you needed a rumour to confirm it: that all important meeting between banking heads and the President was more show than anything else. From whose perspective, I wonder ...

Compensation Czar

Citi Group and Wells Fargo got out from under TARP restrictions, including Kenneth Feinberg's executive compensation rulings. Good week for Citi - they also got a tax break.

It was announced just yesterday that GMAC will receive several billion more in federal funding.

And just as we learn about the inner turmoil AIG faced as it melted, we shouldn't be surprised bonuses promised to NYAG Cuomo to be be repaid are slow in materializing ... Oh, and Feinberg's recent rulings were modified in light of some fits thrown at AIG.


The ABA is out to destroy it.

Barney Frank's Wall Street reform package includes significant regulation of the credit rating agencies, including offering investors the explicit right to sue the agencies.

Stock Option Backdating

Broadcom criminal suits are dismissed; all three. Just today, then, Broadcom antes up to settle outstanding shareholder suits.

Similarly, Comverse settles for a record amount, represented by our favorite counsel du jour, Wachtell.

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