Blankfein Off the Hook, Dimon Dangles
Lloyd Blankfein: You’re one slippery fish. The chief executive of Goldman Sachs will retain his dual role of chairman after agreeing to a deal with a union-backed investment group that was demanding the bank divvy up his duties.
CtW Investment Group has withdrawn its proxy resolution a month before investors were set to vote on whether to remove Blankfein’s chairman title, handing it to an outsider. The group walked away from the motion after Goldman agreed to grant additional powers to its lead director, James Schiro. Nothing outrageous – Schiro can now set the board’s agenda, rather than just approving it, and write his own letter to shareholders in the annual proxy statement, according to Reuters.
Goldman didn’t lose much, and Blankfein lost nothing. He can now avoid the same messy ordeal facing J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who has yet to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Dimon is set to face a similar vote in May, one that is expected to be tight.
J.P. Morgan investors voted on the same proposal last year, with 40% of the vote going against Dimon. And that was before the $6.2 billion “London Whale” trading fiasco was front page news.
As we mentioned earlier this week, investors may want to think twice before casting their vote against Dimon. He knows how to generate revenue, and he’ll likely retire if stripped of his chairman role.
Three facts that will likely annoy you: Corporate profit margins are at an all-time high; wages are at an all-time low; the employment-to-population ratio just bottomed out.
Scott London, the former KPMG partner who has admitted to passing along stock tips to a friend in exchange for cash and gifts, was officially charged with insider trading on Thursday. The drama appears far from over; authorities are digging into the trading of shares of other KPMG clients.
Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman have produced a new copy of their annualized report on the state of the global investment banking industry. Depending upon where you work, the prognosis is not bad. The main takeaway is that you will be best off if you work in a large U.S. investment bank.
Stephen Daffron, global head of operations, technology and data at Morgan Stanley, is retiring. The firm’s tech team had a difficult 2012 with a rocky implementation of its new brokerage computer system.
Stephen Gallo, former foreign-exchange strategist at Credit Agricole, has joined Bank of Montreal as its new European head of currency strategy. Gallo is a top-ranked currency forecaster.
U.S. jobless claims dropped significantly last week, easing some fears brought on by last month’s woeful jobs report.
President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal likely won’t thrill the wealthy, or their children. The proposal would increase estate taxes and make it more difficult to transfer wealth to beneficiaries through trusts and IRAs.
Buzz Around the Office
A hedge fund portfolio manager and his Wall Street attorney friend tried to cheat an East Hampton real estate brokerage firm out of a commission, and were caught red-handed. The pair left handwritten notes in several high-end rental properties promising the owners an all-cash deal if they cut out the firm. The notes have gone viral.
List of the Day: Great Employees
Most top employees share these traits.
- You’re always learning something new.
- You admit to mistakes.
- You pick your battles, and walk away from others.