Mary Jo White: Fear and Loathing on Wall Street

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Wall Street should fear Mary Jo White, President Obama’s nominee for the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

As a former prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, White built a reputation as an aggressive and fearless legal mind who successfully squared off against some of the biggest names and companies that call New York home. If confirmed, White would be the first prosecutor to hold the seat, a potentially scary thought for Wall Street.

But White also has 10 years of experience as a high-priced defense attorney, representing clients like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. She’s seen firsthand the inner workings of Wall Street, and likely knows the legal loopholes that they prey on.

As Massimo Calabresi notes in a piece for TIME, White has “seen the banks naked… everything about their books, their vulnerabilities and where and whether they crossed the line.”

Yes, as a former Wall Street advocate of sorts, White may be susceptible to being sympathetic, but with her reputation, she’s more likely to leverage her experience as a weapon.

“There are enough checks and balances in the Commission that she can't go on outright witch hunts without good cause,” a former Goldman Sachs executive told eFC. “I think where there might be some real difference will be when they take enforcement actions it might be a more aggressive timeline.”

Be warned.

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January has been a shabby month for finance workers, with the number of job cuts announced in the last few weeks nearing those made in January 2009 after Lehman Brothers failed.

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Christian Bittar, an ex-senior proprietary trader at Deutsche Bank who was implicated in the Libor scandal, lost more than $50 million in bonuses after being fired.

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An unnamed organization that’s none-too-pleased with the “big shots” gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos blew up a mailbox at the home of Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore International, and shattered a window at a Credit Suisse branch in Zurich.

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Outgoing Treasury head Timothy Geithner, considered by some to be a candidate to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, has taken his hat out of the race. “Not a chance,” he said.

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Bonuses for directors and managing directors within Credit Suisse’s investment bank will be paid partly in cash that can be clawed back over a three-year period.

Outside Help (Bloomberg)

Wells Fargo has hired an outside consulting firm to help its investment bankers gain confidence and win more business.

Buzz Around the Office

Must See Television (Business Insider)

Billionaire activist investors Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman, who’ve had a long-running feud over a number of topics, verbally brawled on live television. Curses, insults and childish name-calling abound.

List of the Day: Resume Mistakes

Below are the three quickest ways to get your resume tossed in the trash.

  1. It doesn’t mention the key job requirement.
  2. The personal statement doesn’t fit the company culture.
  3. Botched details like off margins and spelling mistakes.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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